7 instances when it may be okay to DIY your nonprofit digital marketing


The Atlantic recently posted a daunting article, “The Plight of the Overworked Nonprofit Employee.” As if nonprofit marketers weren’t already stretching their tight budgets enough, the article indicates this may get worse.

Due to a new law going into effect in December, “millions of employees who make less than [$47,476] will be guaranteed overtime… when they work more than 40 hours a week” (The Atlantic). This sounds like a positive benefit to many, but for some, it could have negative consequences.

Since many nonprofit workers fall into this category, it could be less affordable for nonprofits to have a sufficient number of employees. The U.S. Public Interest Research Group stated, “[T]o cover higher staffing costs forced upon us under the rule, we will be forced to hire fewer staff and limit the hours those staff can work—all while the well-funded special interests that we’re up against will simply spend more.”

Whether or not you share this worry, it’s always good to know which tools you have in your back pocket to help with nonprofit marketing efficiency. We don’t often recommend DIY-ing your way through the digital sphere, but there are some instances when we think you just need a little boost to be able to take care of a digital task. Here are tools and tricks we’ve worked with in the past to help clients maximize their budget.

7 digital marketing instances where you might get away with DIY-ing

1. Google Analytics Go-To’s

If you simply want to know the basics of what’s going on your site – i.e. site traffic, referrals, popular pages, etc. – this blog can help you know where to look when you open your account. It probably won’t replace an agency or knowledgable staff member, but it can help you manage some of the day-to-day metrics and stay on top of your Analytics game without being certified.

2. Marketing Automation Software

A great way to see results with your digital marketing is through automating some of what you do. This post walks through how Hubspot has helped ArcStone organize and optimize blog content, promote on social media, manage email marketing, easily update our website, keep track of leads and sales, and keep most of our marketing content in one hub. We talk about how this could apply to a nonprofit as well. If you are running low on staff members, having a strong CRM is crucial to tracking volunteers, donors and your web content.

3. Email Marketing Software

In this post we visually mapped out some of our top pics for email marketing – Mailchimp, Contant Contact and Emma.  Rather than spending hours each day tracking down donors and responding to individual emails, using a email marketing software service can automate much of this process. Even the free accounts will help you manage your email newsletter subscribers, send out special offers to people who downloaded your content, or send out a reminder to those who registered for an event.

4. Social Media Tricks

Keeping track of your social publishing calendar can be a huge time sucker. It’s also been said that giving your social media responsibilities over to an intern can have negative effects, as they don’t know your organization and industry well enough. This post walks through each social media account that your nonprofit likely uses and how to optimize a post on each. Or review this podcast and exercise to learn about how to narrow down your social media focus to those platforms that really count.

5. Content Management Tools

If you simply need a free (or cheap) option to help you manage both blog content and social publishing, this post can help you select a great content management tool – check out what we think of Trello, Coschedule and Buffer.

6. Design Tool – Canva

We definitely don’t recommend handling all your own design work yourself. However, there are a few pieces of your digital content that you can probably create within Canva. This post points to how the Spina Bifida Association used their free tools well in email marketing and on social media to promote a conference.

7. Additional Tech Tools

If you’ve already invested your full budget into tech tools and need a few options that are more affordable, these five tools could cover the rest of your bases. There are a few tools we can recommend for site design, donations and other digital needs. Take a look at what we think of Squarespace, Upwork, Clickbooth, Searchmetrics, and Paypal.

If you need any further recommendations or would like to outsource any work to a professional, get in touch with our digital strategists at ArcStone. We do free website audits to assess your situation and help you prioritize your goals.

Nonprofit staff bonding or fundraiser idea – Olympics

nonprofit-fundraising-ideasIn our ArcStone office, we were rather inspired by the athletes of Rio this year. Rather than merely watching the games, we decided to participate, to the best of our abilities. When you put together designers, developers and business gurus, the competition gets fierce.

Continue reading if you want to take these games into your own nonprofit office or even your next fundraiser. Don’t worry, we won’t penalize you for gleaning some ideas from us!

Nonprofit Fundraiser Ideas (or staff bonding) from ArcStone Olympics:

1. Host an opening ceremonies of your own:

What you need:

2. “Discus” throwing competition

It helped that we had unwanted, unusable laptops at our disposable, but you’ll have to think up an item related to your nonprofit or fundraiser. We don’t recommend throwing your own laptops. They will break.

What you need:

  • Field or path (again, Midtown Greenway saves the day – look out bikers…)
  • Two strong participants with good aim so they don’t knock out your videographer
  • Two items – preferably flat and throwable – that you don’t mind breaking

3. Arrow shooting contest

Again, the unwanted computers came to our aid.

What you need:

  • Bow and arrow from ToysRUs
  • Target (computer screen may not be a good option for you, but a window should work)
  • Way to mark the target

4. Swimming Race:

What you need:

  • Swim “suit”
  • Snorkels
  • Filing cabinets with wheels

If you need help brainstorming, promoting or recording your next fundraiser, contact our team! We promise we’re not as weird as we appear in these videos.

Olympics + your nonprofit – August Nonprofit Marketing News

With so much focus on fundraising in the nonprofit world, we often forget to reflect on what to do before we ask for money. This post, “Nonprofit marketing isn’t all about the ask” with thoughts from Gary Vaynerchuk, may help you reassess your messaging goals.

More on what we found important to nonprofit marketers this month:

– The Nerdy Nonprofit – August 2016 – 

Fundraising: 3 Ways Nonprofit Board Members Can Tell Stories & Raise Money

From the Storytelling Nonprofit

It’s hard for board members to constantly try to raise money, so the more direction you can give, the better. [Read More]nonprofit-marketing-news

Social Media: What wording should your nonprofit use for LinkedIn vs. Google+? When? What format?

Infographic from MyCleverAgency

 A nonprofit’s guide to social media posts. [Read More]

Facebook: Even when your board doesn’t know it, building a Facebook community is worthwhile

Success story from Presbyterian Homes & Services

How their determination to focus on Facebook is paying off. [Read More]

Inspiration: Good Advice from Good People (for good nonprofit workers like you)

Thoughts from Olympians

How to crush self doubt. [Read More]

Inside ArcStone: ArcStonian Office Olympics

With our top office athletes + Nick’s video footage

Spoiler Alert: We will win the gold [Watch ArcStone Archery here]


Setting up Google Analytics Goals

Over the past year I’ve received Phil Frost’s newsletter, recommended to me by a coworker. These weekly emails are full of detailed steps for optimizing your content and understanding the digital marketing sphere – all for free. He’s founder and COO of Main Street ROI, a digital marketing agency in New York City. The weekly emails he sends out display his expertise in digital marketing and sales. If you take a look at his education and background, you’ll be as eager to hear his advice as I am. 

He has given us permission to share a copy of his email below. It’s regarding Google Analytics Goals, as applied to small businesses, but it fits the needs of nonprofit marketers as well. Setting up goals allows you to gain more insight within Analytics, helping you more diligently track website performance with donors, volunteers and other users. 

Be sure to sign up for Phil’s newsletter yourself, or even attend his free training sessions!

Main Street Marketing Tips – 8.15.16

Today’s article is all about Google Analytics Goals (aka conversion tracking).  Without conversion tracking, it’s simply impossible to be successful with digital marketing so make sure you have the correct Goals set up in your Analytics account.

And in today’s Check This Out, register for Thursday’s LIVE Google Analytics training…

Don’t Miss Out!

There’s still time to register for our upcoming LIVE Google Analytics training…

Introduction to Google Analytics

Thursday, August 18, 2016 at 12pm – 1:30pm Eastern time

Click here to learn more and register

7 Google Analytics Goals to Create for Your Small Business

Have you ever considered what a visitor’s experience is like when they’re on your website? Are they engaged in your content, or do they leave without clicking to a new page? Are they reading your blog posts or moving on quickly? Which of your marketing channels are resulting in more leads or sales?

Using Google Analytics Goals will give you the answers to these important questions.

Without answering these questions, your marketing efforts are doomed to underperform. It’s not enough for shoppers to visit your business online; the whole point of “all this digital marketing stuff” is bringing in visitors who convert into customers.

You need to see whether you’re accomplishing your various Goals – and if you’re not, where your sales funnel is breaking down – in order to get the most return on your investment.

In this article, you will learn about seven Goals that are commonly used across a wide range of small business websites.

But first, we’ll review the types of Goals available in Google Analytics.


Types of Goals

You’ll be able to create all kinds of Goals once you install Google Analytics on your website. However, all the Goals you’ll create will fall under one of four categories:

1. Destination Goals are met when a specific page of your website is viewed. We’ll talk more about these in the next section.

2. Duration Goals reveal whether visitors are staying on your website for as long as you’d like. This type of Goal isn’t as vital for many small businesses, and the Goal’s methodology is lacking in some ways. Still, some businesses will find this type useful.

3. Event Goals keep track of when visitors perform specific actions throughout your site. Like Destination Goals, this Goal type is also highly useful for most small businesses.

4. Page/Screens per Session Goals show how many pages of your site people visit before leaving. You can set a target number of screen views to count as a conversion.

That’s simple enough, right? Now let’s move on to the most valuable goals…

Top 7 MVGs (Most Valuable Goals)

In no specific order, here are seven popular Goals that can enhance your Analytics data:

1. Page Views: Are visitors engaged in your site, or do they not find your content interesting? Set a Goal for page views and see whether visitors who land in different sections of your website behave differently. The data can reveal the need for more compelling content or perhaps even a landing page overhaul.

2. Account Creations: Do visitors need to create accounts on your website in order to place orders or request services? If so, then you’ll want as much data as possible regarding who follows through with this process. Create a Goal funnel encompassing each page of your account creation process. (You’ll see where to do this when setting a destination Goal.) If people are bailing out of the process before finishing, you’ll see it in the data and know what needs to be fixed.

3. Order Confirmation: You should always show visitors a confirmation or “thank you” page when they complete a purchase or place an order on your site. Create a Goal to keep track of these transactions to learn how your website is directly impacting your bottom line.

4. Quote and Information Requests: Your website might urge people to request a free quote or information packet. You can gauge the effectiveness of this call to action by creating a Goal funnel and by tracking form submissions. If your business offers quotes and information regarding various services, you can see which services attract the most interest.

5. Shopping Cart Funnels: Are willing buyers bailing out of your shopping cart process because it’s too cumbersome? Or perhaps you’re losing customers when they’re asked to provide a specific piece of information? Create a Goal funnel for your shopping cart pages to make sure you’re not losing customers during checkout.

6. Clicks to Call or Email : If your website encourages prospects to call or email, then make sure you’re tracking both using an Event Goal.  That way whenever prospects click to call on their mobile device or click to send you an email, you’ll see those actions in your Analytics reports.

7. Offline Ad Conversions: Many small businesses pay for advertising on TV, radio, magazines or the local newspaper. Create unique landing pages for your offline ads with simple URLs to display with your ad copy. Then, create a Goal funnel to track those offline ad conversions. You’ll quickly learn whether your traditional advertisements are generating leads and sales on your website.

Analytics Is Worthless Without Goals

Google Analytics is a powerful tool that can take your digital marketing to the next level. But you need to incorporate Goals for Analytics to be effective.

The seven Goals we highlighted are relevant for a wide range of small businesses. However, the possibilities are endless when considering how Goals could help you improve your marketing. You’ll find some Goals to be more relevant to your business than others.

Subscribe to Marketing ROI’s newsletter here!

What motivates people to take action for your cause? [Infographic]

Day to day, we often get caught up in many little things and neglect the bigger picture: what motivates us? Better yet, what motivates the people we work with and to whom we market towards? Same phenomena happens with your nonprofit. Donors, volunteers and the community at large says, “yeah, I’ll help and contribute to the greater good,” and they have the intention to do so. Then day to day they are too busy to remember to do something with that thought. Your nonprofit needs members, but how are they motivated to actually join? And what can you do to keep them motivated to stay?

Software provider and consultant company Abila conducted a study and came up with an in-depth infographic on what motivates people to be a member of a nonprofit. The data and visuals help clarify what is the reality behind motivation versus what many nonprofits assume it to be.

The infographic on nonprofit membership engagement covers…

  • The age people are most likely to sign up – are they ambitious millennials, or only taking time when they retire?
  • Why they might decide to opt out – was it what your nonprofit did, or their own personal life that got in the way?
  • The difference between why most organizations assume people sign up versus why individuals do sign up – what motivates them in the first place and on what is your nonprofit missing out?
  • What benefits each generation values from their membership. This is especially great for you if you have a content strategy based on audience (if not, check out this infographic). It also compares this to what organizations assume people value.
  • A spectrum of engaging vs. dull activities – what types of activities can your nonprofit do to engage their members?

Take a look at the full article here or click on the infographic below to see the larger image:


Need help targeting your audience?

ArcStone specializes in audience persona development. Request a quote or set up a meeting with our team!

Nonprofit marketing isn’t all about the ask – thoughts from Gary Vaynerchuk

In a recent post by Gary Vaynerchuk entitled “Nonprofit Marketing: The Same Rules Apply” had us thinking about what is missing in many nonprofit’s marketing strategies. We often focus on “the ask” or the part where we ask for money to keep our nonprofit going. Although enticing your client act/purchase might be the goal of all your marketing efforts, it can’t be the sole focus. What comes before you encourage readers and site users to donate is building their trust.


How do you build this trust? One rule that comes to our minds is the 80 / 20 concept – 80% of content should be helpful to your audience (answering their questions about your field as a whole and providing them with tools) while 20% of content can be more salesy, or in a nonprofit’s case, donation-focused.

Gary uses a boxing analogy to describe two types of user engagement with your content.


For context if you haven’t read my books, jabs are the value you provide your customers with: the content you put out, the good things you do to convey your appreciation. And the right hook is the ask: it’s when you go in for the sale, ask for a subscribe, ask for a donation.

In the nonprofit world, you probably have a little more permission to throw more right hooks more frequently than a regular business does. However, I am reluctant to even say that statement because the biggest problem in this world is that many nonprofits are only in the right hooking business.

– Gary Vaynerchuk

Even if this strategy seems obvious, it’s one that most nonprofits forget. It is hard to prioritize “helping” and informing your audience, when ultimately you need them to help you via a donation. There’s never enough time to execute these marketing campaigns.

Gary mentions a few nonprofits in the post including Charity Water and Pencils of Promise. Both of those nonprofits have a lot more resources and influence so they do a lot of storytelling and marketing campaigns – often driving more donations.

So how can your nonprofit make progress?

  • Take a look at your messaging across channels. How much of it is oriented towards driving donations vs. helping inform your audience and spread the message about your cause?
  • Create audience personas and make sure you are engaging each of them in the various points of the buying / donation cycle
  • Tell your nonprofit’s amazing stories (like this nonprofit did!) as well as incorporate data and news from the field, so that when your audience is in donation mode, you’re top of mind.
  • Take advantage of free content management tools to ensure you stay on top of consistent social publishing.
  • Use marketing automation software to keep track of your audience and recognize how you can meet them where they are.

If you need help with the “before the ask” our team can set up a digital strategy with you. Contact ArcStone to learn from our experience with other nonprofits.

How to microblog on Instagram as a nonprofit

We’ve already established that as nonprofit marketers, there’s never enough time to keep up with the social media sphere. Luckily, there are a few shortcuts here and there. One such method of building your brand efficiently: the microblog via Instagram.


What is a microblog?

In short, the microblog is a short-form blog post. The user optimizes a social media site – such as Instagram – to share short updates and content relevant to their audience. Rather than taking a few hours to write out a full post, a microblogger / your nonprofit can share a quote, a quick update, a photo, infographic or video without a long introduction that a typical blog would necessitate.

And why Instagram?

Because Instagram operates around visuals, it’s ideal for quick and easily-digestible posts. How so?

a) It’s not as busy as Twitter and is not limited by characters.

b) Since it uses an algorithm similar to Facebook’s, if people care about your cause and they like and comment on related content, your content is more likely to show up in their feeds.

c) Millennials love Instagram. In fact, “Over half of all millennials use Instagram every single day” (Media Kix). If you’re nonprofit is seeking out that age group, leveraging a microblog may be key to your strategy.

d) Everyone seems to love visuals. “Visual content drives engagement. In fact, just one month after the introduction of Facebook timeline for brands, visual content – photos and videos – saw a 65% increase in engagement” (Hubspot). Seeing as microblogs on Instagram are largely comprised of a visual component, and your nonprofit is probably full of photos/content from your work, this makes it a powerful tool for your nonprofit.

Ways to begin microblogging:

1.Find your value proposition:

What does your nonprofit know a lot about? Most likely you’re highly informed on whichever cause your fighting for, even if you don’t stop to consider it. Share content from the field with a perspective that news stations don’t have. For the most part, people want to become more informed, even when they’re just passively scrolling through Instagram.

2. Share tips:

Not only is a list-based format more digestible, as you see on posts with tips, it can also be the best way to reach an Instagram audience. If you can have your visuals tell the story or inform the viewer quickly, you’ll get closer to the power of the microblog. In fact, 23% of Instagram users get their news on this app so it’s likely they’ll appreciate an update from your field (Pew Research Center).

3. Entertain:

The first two points being said, your posts don’t all have to be facts and figures. The whole idea of a microblog is that your posts are quick and frequent. And perhaps more importantly, Instagram was created for community and fun, more so than for products and marketing. If that means you post an update on your team’s latest staff party or a funny photo from a recent event, more power to you!

What to keep in mind:

1. Connect with your other content

Instagram is a strong tool for community-building, but it’s even more impactful if it connects users to your site and inspires them to take action. Remember to entice them to read your blog or follow up with a call to your organization.

2. Recognize your specific goals on this platform vs. others

Your goal is not necessarily the same here as it may be on your actual blog. Your site’s blog can revolve around in-depth content and case studies, while your microblog can be focused on getting people to read these longer posts or simply reminding people of your nonprofit’s presence.

3. Encourage interactions

If your nonprofit wants attention on Instagram, you should give it as well! Follow other nonprofits, recognize your donors and volunteers, comment on posts related to your cause and have something to say about the greater good.