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Case Study: This Nonprofit Rocks Inbound To Attract Donors Online

Posted By Luke Glover on 1/15/15, 3:27 PM

This nonprofit rocks inbound marketing!

The Union Gospel Mission of the Inland Northwest, based in Spokane, WA, faced a growing problem most nonprofits deal with - how to reach potential donors, volunteers, and clients online with limited resources, time and staff. UGM turned to inbound marketing and HubSpot to help more people learn about their social services around the area.Union Gospel Mission's Panhandler Guide

The Union Gospel Mission of the Inland Northwest operates an independently run and operated center providing for the needs of the poor for more than 60 years. The center considers itself  "a comprehensive ministry encompassing Rescue, Recovery and Restoration with three shelters, two thrift stores, an automotive enterprise and a summer camp for underprivileged youth. In 2011 alone, UGM provided more than 97,000 nights of shelter and served more than 303,000 meals."

We recently sat down with Barbara Comito, Director of Marketing & Communications of this local chapter, to talk about their inbound marketing efforts and the successes they've had attracting supporters online.

What we found out was amazing! Here are the results of our conversation:

How did you initially find out about inbound marketing for nonprofits?

"We needed help planning and managing our social media posts," said Barbara. When UGM started exploring using social media and online methods for donor development they were posting messages and content sporadically. Barbara searched Google for an example of a social media calendar. What came up was information on inbound marketing from HubSpot. Over the next several weeks Barbara read educational content on using inbound marketing for nonprofits. After reading the methodology of inbound marketing she was convinced that it would help them establish, measure and expand their online presence.

What goals did you hope to accomplish when you started using inbound?

They wanted to find a new way to reach potential donors other than direct marketing. Their traditional donor acquisition appeals  had been effective in the past but were declining in keeping donors engaged in between appeals. They were seeing an attrition of donors from year-to-year so they wanted their inbound efforts to gradually replace the donors they lost. They knew they needed to establish a way to create, measure and manage their content marketing strategy.

They wanted to become a resource for supporters interested in the services they provided locally by creating content that would educate and inspire readers to get involved.

Lastly, they wanted to keep volunteers engaged by providing them with customized content that would let them on the "inside" of the organization. 

To do this they needed to increase online traffic, leads, and eventually donors.

Did you meet your goals?

They decided to establish a goal to post content twice a week and develop premium downloadable content that would help readers learn more about their services. Some of the premium content they developed included a free book, client videos, counselor videos, a tip sheet on how to handle a panhandler,  and a resource card for local services.

Readers found the premium content very appealing!

In the first 18 months UGM increased their online visits by 35%. In the first fall campaign leads increased 40% over a short time frame. During 2014 donor acquisition increased 5% as a direct result of their inbound efforts.

"We've seen a steady increase in donors over the last 18 months and believe that our inbound strategy will continue to pay off over the long-term," Barbara commented.

I would say that was a success!

One of the major elements that contributed to their success was creative premium content that was valuable to their readers depending on where they were in the inbound methodology process.

Have an idea of some great premium content for your readers to download? Enter it in the comments below or message me on Twitter @lglover36

 Interested In Learning How You Can Rock Inbound For Donor Development? Click  Here

Topics: Nonprofit, Fundraising, Donor Engagement

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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