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Nonprofit Content Marketing - What’s Holding You Back?

In a post a while back, we asked Do You Have a Membership Content Strategy?  While our blog readers didn’t offer up the answer, a recently released report provides some insight.

The Nonprofit Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends - North America  report (produced by the Content Marketing Institute and Blackbaud, and sponsored by FusionSpark Media), looked at the content marketing habits of 1,714 respondents representing a broad range of non-profits and organizations. Their research found that:

  • 92% of nonprofit professionals use content marketing
  • 65% of nonprofit professionals are producing more content than they did one year ago
  • only 25% have a documented content strategy in place
  • 69% of nonprofit organizations have someone in place to oversee content marketing strategy.

Are you asking "what is content marketing” and why do we need it?

If you are unfamiliar with the term “content marketing” odds are that your non-profit or membership organization hasn’t developed a formal content strategy. That doesn’t mean that you aren’t offering up a wealth of content - on your website, through your newsletters, journals, etc.  But a content strategy helps to set objectives, strategically manage and measure outcomes for all of this great content across all of your communications channels.

In terms of why organizations are investing time and budgets in content marketing, the study found that “fundraising is the top organizational goal for nonprofit content marketing.”  However, the objectives differed for large versus small organizations:

  • Large nonprofits cite brand awareness (79%) and engagement (69%) as top goals over  fundraising (68%).
  • Small nonprofits cite volunteer recruitment as a goal more often than large organizations do (45% vs. 26%)
  • Large nonprofits place higher emphasis on lead generation (29% vs. 16%).

What content marketing tactics are your non-profit and membership peers using?

While the report notes that “Nonprofit professionals use an average of 11 content marketing tactics”, here are some of the tactics study participants report using:

  • in-person events - 88%
  • social media (other than blog) - 86%
  • articles on your website - 85%
  • eNewsletters - 84%
  • videos - 71%
  • annual reports - 68%
  • print newsletters - 56%
  • articles on other websites - 51%
  • blogs  - 47%
  • print magazines - 33%
  • infographics - 31%

Most effective content marketing tactics

When the study participants were asked to rate the effectiveness of all of these content marketing tactics, they ranked in-person events as the most effective content marketing tactic (79%), followed by eNewsletters (64%). But the report also noted, “the most effective nonprofit professionals  consider all tactics to be more effective than their least effective peers do; however, they rate some tactics a great deal higher in  terms of effectiveness, including: articles on their website (71% vs. 19%), eNewsletters  (85% vs. 35%), social media – other than  blogs (85% vs. 32%), and  videos (74% vs. 26%)."

So what’s holding non-profits back?

The report notes that “in addition to lack of time (69 percent), nonprofit professionals are challenged with a lack of budget (67 percent), producing engaging content (48 percent), and lack of knowledge and training (45 percent). However, the most effective nonprofit professionals are far less challenged than their least effective peers are with producing engaging content (37 percent vs. 62 percent) and lack of knowledge/training (22 percent vs. 71 percent).”

Download the report:

If you’d like to check out the entire report you can download it here: 2014 Nonprofit Content Marketing: 2014 Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends - North America.

Infographic offers additional tips and insight from industry experts:

You might also want to have a look at the great infographic that Blackbaud has created with highlights from the report. It offers additional insights from the report as well as tips and advice from industry experts such as Joe Pulizzi (Founder of the Content Marketing Institute), Kivi Leroux Miller and more.

Want additional content resources?

Here are some of blog posts and resources about content marketing and content strategy that are available in our Membership Knowledge Hub:

So what's holding your organization back from implementing a content marketing strategy?  Let us know in the comments below.

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