Nonprofit Marketing Missed Opportunities (and resources to fix this)


Have you ever watched the Francis Alys video, “When Faith Moves Mountains“? It’s crazy what amazing changes can happen when people come together and use all the resources available in their community toolkit. In a similar way, it’s amazing what can happen for a nonprofit’s marketing presence on the web, when they optimize all the resources available to them.

As a nonprofit, it’s likely that you believe in the ability of community to pull together their resources and overcome challenges. But it’s similarly likely that you’ve been discouraged by the online community, assuming nonprofits that have grand websites and standout social media campaigns know some secret you’ll never grasp. It’s daunting to try to keep up with the digital sphere.

To instill some greater confidence, I want to point you to all the online resources your nonprofit marketing team has available to them and shed some light on how these can move your online presence forward. You might not have been aware of nonprofit marketing missed opportunities passing you by.

Nonprofit Marketing Missed Opportunities

– using Free resources –

– Following bloggers & subscribing to newsletters

There are writers and influencers out there that are offering free news updates, guidebooks and webinars on all things nonprofit. They want you to follow them and engage with them. If you come to their page, share their articles and ask them questions, you’re actually helping them out through increasing their site traffic and their relevancy. Meanwhile you’re learning, for free. It’s a win-win situation.

– Read more in “Best Nonprofit Bloggers to Follow” and “Subscribe to These Five Nonprofit News Updates


– Receiving your free money

Did you know that most nonprofits qualify for a $10,000 grant from Google? Yes, they want to grant you help as you try to show up on their front page of search results.

-Read about how you might be missing out in “Not Fully Utilizing Your Google Grant?” and gather some best practices in “Google AdWords for Nonprofits [Slideshare]

Using a social media network most nonprofits under-utilize

As a nonprofit, you likely have quite the profound story to share. Video is one of the best ways to communicate this in a way that really grabs viewers. And you have a free platform for which to do this on: hint hint = YouTube. What’s more, YouTube has a nonprofit program. They want to help you, yet again!

– To get started read, “Optimized YouTube for Nonprofits.”

Taking advantage of free tools

If you feel like you’re always one step behind the next greatest gadget or tool, we’ll point to a few resources to help you keep up. There are far more apps and sites in place than nonprofits may think.

– Discover all the ways Google helps nonprofits besides what we’ve mentioned above: Review of Google Apps

– Wearing too many hats? Review some more free tools/apps that suit marketers well in “7 Free Tech Tools,” “Digital Marketing Lessons on Demand,” “Expand Your Digital Knowledge Base.”

– Informing your visitors –


Whether visitors are coming to your site to discover more about your nonprofit or not, they should definitely learn something about your cause. Your nonprofit’s blog can be a space for learning about the realm in which your nonprofit works (ex.: news updates about the cause). It can provide a resource for gathering resources on volunteerism and community building. And perhaps the most specific to your nonprofit, it can be a venue for learning about the broader world through stories you share about the people your nonprofit effects.

– Still not blogging? Take a look at “Is Your Nonprofit Blogging?


Sending a consistent newsletter

Similarly, you can curate information for your subscribers so they don’t have to seek it out themselves. Just make sure you’re sending the right info to the right people; you’ll want your newsletter to resonate with your audience, and it’s likely not a one-size-fits-all matter.

– Learn to better segment your newsletter with, “How to Configure List Segmentation for Email Marketing” and question if your current newsletter is worth a read or not in, “Would YOU Read Your Newsletter?


Empowering your visitors:

Providing a platform for action

We often forget how people want to help and they can help a lot more when they have an efficient method and supportive platform for doing so. Take a look at charity: water. They encourage their site visitors to launch their own campaign. Then they follow-up with their help for making it all work to the best of the volunteer’s abilities.

Optimizing your thank you’s

Once you’ve done all the leg work of gathering volunteers, donors and the community to help your mission, you want to make sure you thank them and then empower them to do more. One of the most effective ways to do just this is a proper, creative and authentic, “thank you.”

– Gather some ideas in “Follow-Up Ideas for Nonprofits

For more help in taking advantage of these opportunities, grab a copy of our monthly newsletter, The Nerdy Nonprofit.

Nonprofit WordPress Website Design: Masonic Heritage Case Study

Can a website generate interest in something that does not yet exist? 

Indeed. By studying your potential audiences for your new project, business, or marketing campaign, you can design a site that speaks to their needs and in doing so, build up excitement around your project before it even happens. At ArcStone, we recently finished a nonprofit WordPress website design that’s helping to develop interest in the Minnesota Masonic Heritage Center before its completion.

Minnesota Masonic Charities approached ArcStone with this predicament: their new Masonic Heritage Center was still under construction, but they needed a way to garner excitement before its grand opening.

We decided to study their potential audiences for each of their venues: an event center, a museum, and a theater. Then we mapped out how each of these distinct groups might be inspired to act and eventually come to the event center. We asked:

Q: How might they learn about the Heritage Center?

Q: What information will be important to them at first contact?

Q: What would be an appropriate action for them to either become a lead or enter marketing campaigns? (subscribe, download, request a quote, etc.)

We went through this Q/A for each of the potential audiences, generating our ideal paths-to-contact and designing the WordPress site around those user paths.



The Heritage Center is set to open next summer, so the website will continue to evolve up until and after the grand opening.

With any similar nonprofit redesign project, it’s important to recognize your ultimate goal once visitors reach your site. The website design can do more than just bring about awareness. Your nonprofit can encourage visitors to donate, volunteer, download information, contact you for more information and more. Make sure that with each desired action, there’s a path to lead your visitor there.

If you need help determining your site’s goals and user flows, contact ArcStone today for a free consultation. You can also download our ebook on understanding your audience personas.



Nonprofit WordPress Redesign – Masonic Home Case Study

Although Minnesota Masonic Home had a lot of traction offline, their online presence was limited. That’s why this nonprofit called on ArcStone to build them a site on which they could depend.

They knew the effort would be worth it, seeing as their previous site was causing the organization more trouble than anything. For their internal team the amount of work it took to make changes to current content and to add in new blogs and the like was always a challenge. Perhaps more importantly, the site’s navigation was a challenge for users and wasn’t mobile-friendly, causing high bounce rates and definitely not drawing people to their home.

As ArcStone embarked on this project, they mapped out their priorities:

  1. Emphasize the beauty of the newly built Masonic Home
  2. Highlight the compassion of employees and the care they give
  3. Show all the different service offerings available to a tenant

How do we approach a project like this?

  1. Use a WordPress platform – read more on why we continually go back to WordPress as our CRM.
  2. Gather high-quality images from the organization and then design the site with those in mind – read more about our designer’s approach in an interview with her.
  3. Study who the audience personas might be – read more in our ebook: Nonprofit Audience Persona Development.
  4. Create a design that’s right for their audience. Take a look at the text feature as seen by the header in the image below; this allows users to adjust the font size which is especially great for this older generationnonprofit-uses-wordpress
  5. Optimize the site so that services are easy to find and show up in search results – read more about the State of SEO


Service Offerings page

Want the ArcStone team to build you a custom WordPress site? Get a free quote for your next project! We recently partnered with Idealware to understand the relationship between WordPress and Nonprofits – download a report on this here.

Best Nonprofit Bloggers to Start Following Now

1. On Nonprofit Fundraising: Future Fundraising Now.


Jeff Brooks, creative director of a marketing company (TrueSense), has been writing about and involved with nonprofits for over a decade – focusing on the value of nonprofit fundraising. As Jeff puts it, nonprofits should, “know that fundraising is both a number-driven science and a heart-driven art.” In short, he understands the nonprofit struggle and seeks to alleviate it.

His blogs get right to the point – not glossing over any of the truths to nonprofits, which is quite refreshing. What’s more is he doesn’t try to cover everything about nonprofits, so you know you can come here and get what you asked for. Overall, he has great insight into a fundraiser’s audience, how to best speak to them, and common mistakes to avoid. Plus his tone is slightly sarcastic, making fundraising ideas and news a bit more entertaining.

Twitter: @jeffbrooks. He also has a newsletter on his site which will keep you updated on fundraising specifically.

2. On Increasing Community Engagement: Community Organizer 2.0

Screen Shot 2016-02-05 at 2.09.21 PM

Debra Askansas seems to thrive on engaging with others and teaching them how to do so more effectively. She takes this passion and helps nonprofits apply engagement in the digital realm. This strategy is aimed at moving people forward to act.

Although engagement is her main purpose, the blog covers many aspects beyond social media. She covers broader aspects such as ways to measure progress, community conversations, and storytelling. There is a strong collaborative aspect in her blog; she really emphasizes how she seeks this to be an open conversation.

Twitter: @askdebra. As per request, converse on her blog. She also works as a trainer and produces a webinar if you want to go beyond the blog.

3. On Optimizing Nonprofit Tech: Amy Sample Ward’s Version of NP Tech


Amy focuses specifically on technology for nonprofits and how that can drive improvement for the world. She sees how innovative technology can do even more than we imagine.

The blog points to many tools for nonprofits and opportunities for growth based on changes in tech. This is a great hub to look for conferences and opportunities to get invovled in the tech community.

Twitter: @amyrsward. She’s also open to emails so as to talk through ideas. She even offers to speak at conferences and workshops.

4. On Nonprofit Leadership, Development & Management: re: charity

Brady Josephson is involved in many aspects of the nonprofit realm. His blog is re: charity, but he also writes for Huffpost Impact, owns the creative agency shift and manages to find time to be a adjunct professor teaching on nonprofit management at North Park University. It goes without saying that he is a go-getter and wants others to take action, too. Clearly he has many avenues for inspiring us to do so, but for re: charity he focuses on leadership, management and fundraising.

His blog is separated out into “social fundraising,” “cause marketing,” “storytelling,” “marketing,” “fundraising,” and “philanthropy” so there are plenty of resources for any cause. As a whole, the blog feels very motivational and is an encouraging resource.

Twitter: @bradyjosephson@HuffPostImpact, and @shift_charity

5. On Content Marketing for Nonprofits: Kivi’s Blog

Kivi Miller has worked in all areas nonprofit. She’s done large scale and small scale; served as a board member, grant writer and director; worked in the HR, development and IT departments; and worked with both big budgets and minimal ones. Needless to say, when it comes to nonprofits and how they should form a content strategy, she has seen it all. She currently trains nonprofits and works to take her experience to apply a unique approach to their new situations.

Her blog covers a breadth of information, but especially focuses on productivity and strategy for content marketing. She keeps all of this information light – as a “Mom. Vegetarian. Baker” living in the rural south, all this strategy has a friendly-vibe and comes from a good place.

Twitter: @kivilm

And of course, follow us! Receive a monthly newsletter in which we curate the most useful blogs and resources we came across that month. We’d also love to offer you our free ebook – Nonprofit Audience Persona Development Guide.