Branding + Messaging

Can your nonprofit content marketing empower people (and earn them as supporters)?


Nonprofit content marketing often revolves around “the ask.” Generally speaking, a nonprofit marketing campaign’s ultimate goal is to drive funds, volunteers and support for their cause. Hence, most digital content leads towards a plea for help.

What if, instead, your nonprofit refocused some of your content production goals; at creating content that empowers your audience. Rather than asking, “how can we best ask them to donate, volunteer and support us?” some content could ask, “how can we empower our readers, and in effect, motivate them to take part in our cause?”

Marketing case in point: Uber

Surprisingly, Uber can help illustrate this content marketing style. In their recent campaign in India, they tell a story about their users. Instead of having this story revolve around exactly how Uber works and how great the company is, it revolves around two people’s lives and brings Uber in at the end.

Shankar is an Uber driver, but we don’t find that out right away. Instead we see a dad successfully driving his young daughter to school on time, despite rush hour traffic. We see his worry as he wants to help his daughter out so she can get to her test on time. We also see how anxious see is to make it on time and how relieved she is when her dad succeeds. Once Shankar finishes his task – and after a sweet goodbye with his cute daughter, of course – he pulls out his phone and begins his day as an Uber driver.

Ultimately, the audience witnessed how Uber empowered Shankar to be both a good dad and an entrepreneur. Similarly we saw how Uber empowered the daughter to get to school on time as well as have a dad who has the flexibility to drive her to school.

A post on The Drum points out,

“For users, it explored the concept of having the freedom of mobility in an affordable way and for the drivers, it shows how it can turn them into micro-entrepreneurs.”

Nonprofit content marketing’s turn:

How can you sell your audience in the same way this video – with 1.2 million views – did?

1. What does your nonprofit do in just a few words?

For example, Uber offers “the freedom of mobility” for riders and enables drivers “to improve their livelihoods.” In a nut shell, they move users forward. Hence “Move Forward” is the name of the campaign.

Your nonprofit may change lives, feed the neglected, fuel the earth. Keep it simple, and use that simplicity to impact people.

2. What does your nonprofit audience look like? What are their day-to-day needs that your nonprofit can help meet?

The rider (the daughter) needs to get from place to place in an efficient manner. The driver (Shankar) needs a job with flexible hours and an employer he can trust.

Your nonprofit can easily sell how they help those in need, but how do you also help your donors, volunteers and contributors? You may make them feel good, you may keep them involved in the greater world, you may help their friend. Study your audience and hone in on their needs, not just your nonprofit’s.

3. What scenario could you portray that catches your audience in a moment of need? What are they feeling in that moment and why?

The daughter is feeling anxious as she needs to get to school. Shankar is feeling nervous as he wants to get her there on time and be a good father. Then, as Uber works well for them, the daughter feels relieved as she gets to school and Shankar can be proud of his job.

Your audience may be feeling guilty they haven’t given back enough. Or they’re looking for help for their neighborhood and need an organization to help move their cause forward. Develop content that helps answer those moments. Read more in “Where the micro-moment meets the nonprofit.”

Watch the video below & be sure to reach out to ArcStone if you’d like to get a video rolling.