How To Write Headlines That Pull Readers In To Your Fundraising

5 Reasons Your Nonprofit Needs A Strategic Online Communications Plan

By Julia Campbell

In my work with nonprofits, I often hear the same refrain about nonprofit marketing and communications: People are feeling very overwhelmed and stressed out by their never-shrinking to do lists.

With so many digital marketing and online fundraising tools out there, how can a small nonprofit choose what to focus on, and how can they manage their time and resources effectively?

There are constantly emails to send out, a website to update, a Facebook page and Twitter feed to manage, Instagram and Snapchat to explore, plus phone calls and meetings… how can a small nonprofit get it all done?

The answer? You don’t have to do it all!

Creating a Strategic Online Nonprofit Communications Plan will help you re-focus, re-prioritize, and get yourself back on track with your online communications.

Here are 5 reasons that you need a Strategic Online Nonprofit Communications Plan:

1. You will be able to allocate resources more efficiently.

By spelling out a plan for your online communications, you will be able to take a look at your budget, your staff time, and other needed resources and see what needs to be allocated and what needs to be raised. If you find that you have zero budget and zero staff time to allocate to online communications, this is also an important discovery. You may find that you need to focus on raising enough money or hiring staff/interns to do this work, even if just for a few hours per week.

2. You will understand the steps required to be successful.

Cutting through the noise and the clutter and getting your message heard is difficult, and it requires creativity and a lot of elbow grease. I will not sugar coat it for you. But with a plan in place, you will know what to do first, what to do second, and so on – and you will know what success looks like, rather than throwing things up to see what sticks.

3. You will be able to reach your audience.

Spending time working on your Strategic Online Communications Plan will focus your message and enable you to target the right audience. Your target audience should not be everyone in the world. Your target audience should be the people that you need to accomplish your online communications goals.

4. You will stay organized and on task.

Creating an Editorial Calendar so that nothing slips through the cracks is essential to managing your online communications. The Calendar will keep your ideas in one place and serve as the central location for your content.

5. You will be able to measure success.

All great plans have a way to measure whether or not they worked. Did you reach your destination? What does success look like, and how will we know if we achieved it? With a Measurement Spreadsheet, you will be able to identify which metrics matter, and how to collect and analyze them.

What other reasons do you have to creating a Strategic Online Communications Plan? Share them with us in the comments section of the website or via social media.

Looking for more detailed advice about all things digital marketing, online communications, social media and nonprofits, visit us here!

Join us for How to Create a Strategic  Online Communications Plan for more digital marketing and social media strategies.

About The Author

Julia C. Campbell, Founder of J Campbell Social Marketing, consults and trains nonprofits on the best ways to use digital tools to raise money and awareness for their organizations. Her blog is consistently featured in the list of Top 150 Nonprofit Blogs in the world, and she is currently publishing a book on storytelling and social media with Charity Channel Press. She has helped dozens of nonprofits small and large with their online fundraising and marketing campaigns, raising over $1 million for social causes.  

$10,000 per month of free Google advertising for nonprofits – a success story case study

Step 1 – Strategizing

Our case study is called Save The Redwoods and their mission is to protect and restore Redwood forests. To help fulfill this mission, we wanted to reach out to their target audience, i.e. people concerned about the Redwood forests, for support.

Direct fundraising tends to be difficult with Google Grants, so we decided instead to run an email capture campaign. That way we could engage the audience and turn them into donors over time.

Step 2 – Developing landing page

A key aspect of this strategy succeeding was to have a killer landing page that would convert a visitor into an email subscriber. We knew our target audience would be interested in Redwoods, so to hook them we created a series of guides to various popular Redwood forests. The high-quality PDF guides were free, require an email sign-up.

Step 3 – Researching keywords

With our landing page in place, we could now start driving traffic to it using Google Grants. We had to research keywords that 1) were relevant to the landing page 2) had many people searching for it and 3) were not competitive to the point that we couldn’t rank well with a $2.00 max CPC bid. Keywords like “sequoia national forest” were perfect, since they were highly relevant, had 27,000 average searches per month, and had an estimated CPC bid of $1.15.

Step 4 – Building campaign

After thoroughly going through the keyword research process, we structured it inside the AdWords campaigns into the appropriate ad groups. Importantly, we had to write and fine-tune the ad text to make it as relevant as possible to the keywords we were using.


During a one-year period, Save The Redwoods collected almost 6,500 emails directly from the Google Grant ads. These emails could be used as part of future email marketing campaigns where they could engage their audience and turn them into donors.

With the right strategy and implementation, Google Grants can be a game-changing tool for your nonprofit. It’s not always simple to implement, and in fact, most nonprofits let their Google Grant go to waste.

We can help. Not only are we certified by Google as ad experts, but the only thing we do is work with nonprofits on managing their Google Grants. You could not be more specialized than we are.

If you think your nonprofit could benefit from having experts manage it for you, please let us know so we can get in touch to talk about how to maximize your Google Grants.

The # 1 Fundamental of Monthly Giving

By Erica Waasdorp

I’m so excited… Because monthly giving is becoming more and more popular! Systems keep getting easier and easier.  More organizations have seen the ‘monthly donor light!’

But yet, so many organizations are slow to come on board.  With just a little bit of training, you too can start your monthly donor program and grow that sustainable revenue you need to keep your operating budget growing!

A few years ago, it was all about systems. That’s not the case any longer. You can literally create a monthly donor page in a few minutes, so no more excuses.

Let’s look at one of the biggest fundamentals of monthly donor programs: ASKING.

Building a monthly donor program requires that you ask donors to do so. The more you ask, the more monthly donors you’ll get.  I see the biggest successes with organizations that start with the low hanging fruit in their organization (board, staff, volunteers) and then expand to donors by asking all the time. They start by asking on their donation pages. They ask in their emails. On their reply forms. In their newsletters. They create special invitations.

The more you ask, the more you grow. The more you’ll see monthly donors’ tremendous power. 

If you’re still not convinced,  talk to some organizations who have started building their program. Look at their annualized value.  If you see that the current average gift of a monthly donor is some $24 a month, that’s $288 a year!  What if you were to grow to 100, to 1,000 to 10,000 monthly donors… $28,800, $288,000, $2,800,000… what’s your goal?

Some of the organizations I’m proud to work with now see 50 to 60% of their revenue from monthly donors. So, start asking… Your donors will love you for it because you’re allowing even small donors to help execute your mission.

To help you, check out the monthly giving webinars at Charity How To today and go to for resources about monthly giving and sign up to follow my #MonthlyDonorMonday with practical tips every week. And if you have any questions, just ask! We’re here to make your life as a fundraiser easier and monthly giving will certainly help you do that.

Erica Waasdorp is President of A Direct Solution, located on Cape Cod, Massachusetts.  Erica lives and breathes direct response and fundraising and can be considered a Philanthropyholic. She has published one of the very few books on monthly giving, called Monthly Giving. The Sleeping Giant. She co-authored the DonorPerfect Monthly Giving Starter and Marketing  Kits and she regularly blogs and presents in person and via webinars on anything direct mail, appeals and monthly giving.

CharityHowTo FREE resources for Nonprofits: Live Webinars, Recorded Webinars, Videos and ……

Upcoming Live Free CharityHowTo Webinars

We cover a range of topics including, grant writing, nonprofit annual reports, social media for nonprofits, nonprofit silent auctions and more!  Click the link above to see our current list of free upcoming webinars.

Free CharityHowTo Nonprofit Webinar Recordings

Free: 21 Ideas You Can Steal To Build Your Nonprofit Email List

 ** We don’t sell, rent or share your email.

Despite the phenomenal growth of social media, email is still the most effective nonprofit communication channel.  Email is your direct connection to supporters (plus you own that relationship, not Facebook!). Ask any successful nonprofit which online tool triggers the bulk of their donations, advocacy actions and volunteer sign-ups, and they will say email.


This free resource is provided by John Haydon, a member of the CharityHowTo team

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