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Nonprofit Inbound, Outbound or Both?

Posted By Luke Glover on 9/23/14 7:00 AM

Utilize Inbound Marketing Slowly

By now you’ve heard all the buzz around inbound marketing for nonprofits. Even if you haven’t studied much about the term 'inbound marketing,' you’re already thinking about how to integrate your social media, events, website, and online giving. Ta-Da! You are thinking about inbound marketing.

Let’s just say there is a lot of communication out there about helping your nonprofit organization reach younger donors with online methods and inbound marketing. It often goes like this: “Abandon using traditional and old-fashioned marketing and embrace the hottest inbound marketing methods!” The problem is, if you forgot about your current programs and jumped head-first into inbound marketing, your current donor base would quickly shrivel to the size of a raisin.

Don't get me wrong, we are big fans of inbound marketing (we'll be sharing a plethora of information on inbound marketing for nonprofits in upcoming blog posts). However, we believe it is important to take a gradual approach to embracing inbound.

A recent survey done by Blackbaud (makers of The Raiser’s Edge software) studied donation habits based on age demographics. The findings are telling:

  1. Keep Targeting Baby Boomers. According to their report, Baby Boomers accounted for 43% of all donors! Wow! That’s a lot for one group.
  2. Direct Mail isn’t dead! 40% of Baby Boomers responded to a direct mail piece. 
  3. Multi-Channel is King. Each demographic responded differently depending on what channel was utilized. So if you want a broad group of donors use multiple methods.
  4. Don’t Underestimate Social Media.  Baby boomers are starting to embrace social media – 71% utilize Facebook. This reflects the largest increase of social media usage among the various age groupings.
  5. Accept The X’ers. The Generation X, known as the “what’s in it for me” generation, is beginning to become more generous. They represented 20% of all donors.
  6. Matures still give! The Mature generation (65+) represented 26% of donors, and they overwhelmingly responded to direct mail.

While it is important to continue to utilize traditional methods of constituent management, we are recommending that organizations not get too comfortable. We are telling them that they must maintain their current donor base and at the same time develop a pipeline for the future by embracing (gradually) inbound marketing.

In an upcoming blog post we will begin to give you some ideas on how you can begin to adopt some of the inbound methods without decimating your current base.

For more information on Blackbaud's The Next Generation of American Giving check out:


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Topics: Fundraising, online giving, DONOR

The Nonprofit Marketer

This blog is dedicated to sharing innovative trends, best practices, and case studies for fundraising, donor development, and nonprofit marketing professionals. Our content comes from our partnership with nonprofit organizations both large and small, and the lessons learned from the implementation of marketing technologies for constituent development.

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