Content Marketing for Nonprofits – The Ultimate Guide

Without the right strategy, nonprofit marketing can feel a lot like spinning your wheels – and getting nowhere. If you’re posting the same material to Facebook over and over, you’re missing out on a lot of engagement and excitement. Adding valuable, content-driven marketing campaigns to your nonprofit fundraising strategy can significantly boost your fundraising, awareness,…

9 minutes read
Content Marketing for Nonprofits – The Ultimate Guide

content marketing for nonprofits

Without the right strategy, nonprofit marketing can feel a lot like spinning your wheels – and getting nowhere. If you’re posting the same material to Facebook over and over, you’re missing out on a lot of engagement and excitement.

Adding valuable, content-driven marketing campaigns to your nonprofit fundraising strategy can significantly boost your fundraising, awareness, and brand recognition. And it’s popular, too – 92% of nonprofits use content marketing in some way.

So whether you’re new to nonprofit content marketing or looking to improve your current content strategy, we’ve got you covered. We’ll review the types of content you should be generating, as well as the skills you need to succeed and some steps to help you get started.

  1. Content Marketing for Nonprofits and Its Benefits
  2. 9 Types of Content Your Nonprofit Needs to Generate
  3. 5 Skills You Need for Effective Content Marketing
  4. 5 Steps to Devising A Content Marketing Plan

Along the way, we’ll share helpful resources from our Nonprofit Blog, Webinars, The Nonprofit Podcast, Donorbox Library, and more!

Content Marketing for Nonprofits

Content marketing refers to creating written, audio, or visual content that entertains or engages an audience. The goal with this content is to drive conversions – i.e., turning your content audience into supporters of your organization.

For nonprofits or churches, content marketing works a little differently. In some cases, creating content to educate and inform might be part of your nonprofit’s mission already. But often, the goal is also to convert your readers/viewers into donors.

Benefits of Content Marketing for Nonprofits

With nonprofit content marketing, you’re making a subtle ask through valuable, engaging content – which is often more convincing than an old-school appeal letter.

Content marketing helps build your nonprofit’s brand, too, which can increase positive associations with your organization and boost your overall fundraising and outreach.

9 Types of Content Your Nonprofit Needs to Generate

The following types of content can bring real value to your nonprofit – and your supporters.

1. Email

On average, people receive 121 emails a day. That’s a ton of noise to try to break through.

So you need to focus on making your email marketing content as valuable as possible so people want to open your emails. In addition to sharing timely information about your nonprofit like upcoming events and initiatives, consider sending other kinds of updates with a regular newsletter.

For example, check out this beautiful newsletter by Save Venice. They email their newsletters out annually and visitors can download them from their website. The newsletters are informative, attractive, and compelling!

For more help with email content, check out our conversation with Jennings Wright on The Nonprofit Podcast about improving your email open rates.

Pro tip: Are you segmenting your email list? This best practice means aligning content with the people on a segment of your list – as opposed to sending one email to everyone. Learn all about this practice with our blog, How to Effectively Segment Your Donors and Audiences.

2. SEO-optimized content

SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization, meaning content on your blog or website that will perform well on Google and other search engines.

SEO content utilizes the same keywords found in popular online searches so when someone makes that search, they’re directed to your content. This matters because it can help drive more people to your website, which could result in more donors.

SEO blog content should still hold value outside of its ability to rank on a search engine. In other words, you still need to come up with entertaining or educational content – which will help connect newcomers to your nonprofit’s brand.

Need some help getting started? In this blog, we share 8 Practical SEO Tips to Make Your Nonprofit Rank Higher.

3. Social media

Aside from updates, you need to post a steady stream of content to create a full social media presence.

Consider reposting talking points from long-form content you’ve already created. You can also create short-form content directly for social media, like video check-ins with your board members or interviews with people you’ve helped.

We love how Upward Scholars uses Instagram and Facebook to share interesting, attractive content with a purpose. This post has an eye-grabbing graphic (that matches their branding!) with some strong statistics that are interesting to the general public. Then they put their call to action in the text of their post.

social media content example for nonprofits

To get started, check out our webinar on stories nonprofits should tell on social media.

Bonus Resource: Listen to this Podcast on How can Nonprofits Simplify Social Media Marketing.

4. Video

As of 2023, YouTube has 2.68 billion active users. TikTok has over 1.53 billion users. Leaving video content out of your nonprofit marketing strategy is no longer an option!

Video is a fantastic storytelling tool because it gives you a chance to connect with your audience on both a narrative and visual level. This makes it the perfect fundraising tool.

It can also demonstrate your important work and provide updates to your audience.

For example, check out this YouTube page created by For the Love of Alex. They regularly create compelling video content detailing their success stories funding live-saving veterinary care for pets living in low-income households.

youtube content examples for nonprofits

They repost this content on social media, creating a cohesive experience for their audience.

Bonus Resource: Watch this webinar on Nonprofit Visual Storytelling.

5. Annual/impact reports

This can be a massive project for your nonprofit to take on. But it’s so important for donor stewardship and financial transparency.

This should be one of your main sources of content for the upcoming year as you reflect on your successes from the year prior. The more valuable you make the content in your annual report, the more you can reuse it in other channels.

Whether you’re new to this process or looking to step it up this year, check out these resources from our Nonprofit Blog:

Bonus Resource: Listen to this insightful podcast on strategies for nonprofit reporting to enhance donor engagement.

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel to get trending fundraising ideas and strategies from nonprofit experts every week!

6. Virtual webinars and events

Virtual events can boost fundraising through ticket sales and additional donations during the event. But they also provide value on their own as extra content such as recordings or video clips or even screenshots that you can add to your website or post on social media to create a sense of social proof and attract more people to your future virtual events.

Webinars are especially valuable as nonprofit content marketing because you have the opportunity to inform and educate your audience. Consider asking experts in your nonprofit and beyond to help create the script and materials for your webinar.

In episodes 55 and 56 of The Nonprofit Podcast, we answer the question: Do virtual events still deliver real results? Our hosts Jena and Cara dive into this topic.

7. Podcasts

In the near 20 years since the first podcast was posted, this content medium has absolutely exploded. 28% of people in America listen to podcasts on a weekly basis.

Podcasts are a great way to build your brand and connect with potential donors through entertaining and/or educational content.

If you need some inspiration, check out our list of 12 Nonprofit Podcasts You Need to Listen to.

8. Storytelling for fundraising

It’s time to rethink the content you create for fundraising. While it should still be driven by a call to action, it should also be engaging and valuable on its own.

You can tell a story using video, pictures, and text. Perhaps the most important content you’ll create, telling a story for fundraising purposes – usually for a donation page or crowdfunding page – can still be value-driven content that connects your audience with your mission. Even if they don’t end up making a donation this time.

Check out how Tapestry used both video and text to tell a compelling story about their Giving Tuesday campaign.

nonprofit campaign storytelling

To learn more about why telling stories is so important for nonprofits – and to use our handy guide to get started – check out Telling the Perfect Fundraising Story for Your Campaign.

Bonus Resource: Watch this comprehensive webinar on visual storytelling with examples from successful fundraising campaigns.

Subscribe to our YouTube Channel to get trending fundraising ideas and strategies from nonprofit experts every week!

9. Case studies

Case studies demonstrate how effective and important your work is as a nonprofit. Usually, they showcase a success story and detail how you helped.

These short pieces of content can live on your website or blog. They can also be emailed, posted in parts on social media, and act as the base for your annual report. Case studies are your one-stop shop for solid nonprofit content marketing.

Case studies fit well in your case for support, too. To learn more about how this content can help you fundraise, check out episode 29 of the Nonprofit Podcast about The Persuasive Power of Strong Case Statements.

5 Skills You Need for Effective Content Marketing

Nonprofit content marketing isn’t easy for everyone. If you aren’t sure how to get started, consider improving these 5 skills.

1. Research

Research is key for creating unique content full of useful information.

Good research skills include the following:

  • Digging for the best, most relevant information
  • Search engine literacy
  • Always crediting the source of your information

Practicing solid research skills will help you get better as you continue your nonprofit content marketing journey.

2. Editing

It’s so important that your content is error-free to help build your brand identity. You should also perform plagiarism checks to avoid potential backlash if you post something too similar to other content already online.

You can use online grammar review software like Grammarly to both catch errors in the writing and perform plagiarism checks. Plus, Grammarly is free for nonprofits and NGOs!

You should also edit for voice and consistency. For example, if you always spell out numbers in your copy, you should be sure you consistently do that throughout your content channels.

Read these 9 Actionable Tips to Improve Your Website Copy for some editing guidance.

3. Technology

You will need a certain level of comfort with technology. Plan on using the following tech tools:

  • CMS or content management system
  • Website builders
  • Data analytics tools
  • CRM or donor management software
  • Social media scheduling apps
  • Video and audio editing software

And more.

The good news is there are a ton of easy and free tools online. We have a list of 10 Essential and Free Marketing Tools for Nonprofits on our blog to help you get started.

4. Promotion

This one is tough for a lot of nonprofit professionals because we tend to be more humble, but promoting your content is the key to success.

Promotion can happen via email marketing, social media posts, and even direct mail.

Direct mail is an often underutilized channel for promotion. Our webinar, Top 10 Direct Mail Hacks for Nonprofits will demystify the channel for you – and show how it’s still a useful medium for content promotion.

5. Creativity

This skill will sharpen over time, but successful nonprofit content marketing relies, in part, on your creativity. How can you come up with a new way to connect with your audience through your content?

The best way to sharpen your creativity is to watch what other nonprofits you admire are doing. As you familiarize yourself with their content marketing, you’ll begin to come up with ideas about how you can create your own new content.

5 Steps to Devising A Content Marketing Plan for Nonprofits

content marketing plan

1. Choose your types

This step will depend wholly on you. Which types of content do you want to tackle as you start your content marketing journey?

Choose at least two (but preferably more!) of the types from the list above to get started.

2. Divide the workload

To avoid burnout, you should make assigning nonprofit content marketing tasks a key part of your plan.

For example, who will write your blog content? Who is responsible for coming up with ideas? Who will post the finished product?

3. Come up with your first 3 pieces of content

Content marketing works best with consistency. So although you may have a great idea for your first content email, you want to have at least 2 more in mind to send later so you’ll have consistent content for your audience.

Check out our comprehensive guide to nonprofit marketing and content plans to help build this out. This goes for any type of content you want to create. Be patient! It’s worth it to start right.

4. Schedule

Scheduling your blog posts, social media posts, and emails is vital because it will keep you on track and ensure consistency.

You can use apps like Hootsuite to help with scheduling social media posts.

Donorbox integrates with thousands of apps through Zapier, including email marketing platforms like MailChimp, Constant Contact, and Active Campaign, which makes it easy to send segmented emails to your supporters. We also integrate with HubSpot which is great for marketing and scaling your organization.

Get Started with Donorbox

5. Repeat

Keep up the momentum! Plan your next 3 pieces of content. And the next. And the next!

Once you have several pieces of content live, you can analyze their traffic and popularity.

Use our Rose, Bud, and Thorn Worksheet to evaluate how launching your content marketing plan went.

Bonus Resource: Listen to this podcast on prepping and planning your campaign and communications:


Content marketing is a must for nonprofits and churches these days. In order to compete with all the content out there, yours needs to be original, engaging, and attractive – no matter what types you choose to include in your strategy.

The good news: you don’t have to do this alone! Nonprofit content marketing examples are everywhere, so you can find another organization to serve as an inspiration for you. There are also a ton of free resources available to help you in your content marketing journey.

At Donorbox, we love sharing our hard-earned nonprofit marketing knowledge with nonprofits through our blog, webinars with experts, interesting conversations on our podcast, free downloadables in our library, and more! Subscribe to our blog newsletter to receive the best collection of Donorbox’s best resources in your inbox every month.

Ready to boost your fundraising? Check out our wide range of features and sign up for Donorbox to launch your first campaign in 15 minutes.

Lindsey Baker

Lindsey spent years wearing many hats in the nonprofit world. Whether she was helping arts nonprofits with their messaging and content, planning a fundraising gala, writing an NEA grant proposal, or running a membership program with over 400 members, she learned how to navigate – and appreciate! – the fast-paced world of fundraising. Now, she loves sharing those hard-earned lessons with the Donorbox community.

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