Start planning 2015 marketing efforts now

The end of 2014 is almost here, which means it's time to look ahead to 2015. If you want to increase your online donations next year, you may need to consider your marketing budget and plan. You need a cohesive marketing strategy to meet your 2015 goals.

Organizations have a variety of choices in marketing techniques, such as direct mail, social media, email, websites and search engine optimization. Digital tactics are highly effective for charities that accept donations online. However, determining the right balance between all these tactics can help you spend your marketing budget more effectively, according to an infographic from Nonprofit Hub. There are some benefits of each marketing method:

Email marketing is the most cost-effective channel, and it allows you to reach a large audience. Like any marketing method, email takes work to be effective. You need to actively grow your subscriber list. Encouraging email signups at events can help you gain engaged new subscribers, Business 2 Community said.

One of the most important considerations for 2015 is mobile-friendly emails. Many people read their messages from a smartphone, and an email that doesn't display well from these devices will most likely be deleted immediately. It may be a good idea to consider responsive design.

Social media
This is another great option for nonprofits because social media is free and can extend your reach. However, someone in your organization needs to be responsible for cultivating this presence. You need to post regularly. Nonprofit Hub suggests social media should make up 20 percent of your marketing plans. 

It may be a good idea to pick one or two networks and build an active presence on them before moving on to other platforms. Find out which social sites your target donors use most frequently and focus on them. 

Direct mail
If you cater to an older audience, direct mail may be a highly effective way to engage with donors. Even for other demographics, direct mail commands attention because many organizations are shifting to digital channels. The Internet is crowded with content marketing, nonprofit websites and social media, making it harder to stand out. Mail is highly customizable, and donors will appreciate the personal attention. This tactic is great for year-end giving, event invitations and other special occasions.

If you want to direct traffic to your online donation form, you need to invest in your website. This is one of the most important marketing tools at a nonprofit's disposal. If potential contributors are unfamiliar with your organization, your website will be their first impression. You need to provide a high-quality, streamlined experience or you may not capture as many online donations as you want. Even direct mail can be used to send donors to your website, so the donation process needs to be seamless. 

Be sure all contact information is up to date. Similar to email marketing, mobile website experience will be more important in 2015. 

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