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Nonprofits: Your Guide to Building out a Digital Marketing Center of Excellence

By July 3, 2018

Create a Great Constituent Experience

For today’s nonprofit organizations, delivering a top-notch experience to constituents across their lifecycle is no longer optional. After all, experience is the basis on which organizations will attract and retain the right constituents for their causes.

In the past, when you think of the constituent experience, you might picture an individual learning about an organization through their community or circle of friends, volunteering at a local event, or writing their annual donation check when the holiday season rolls around. And while all of these experiences are important and valid, today’s organizations need to do much more to attract and retain the same types of donors for their causes.

Nonprofit marketing requires teamwork.

Constituents expect engagement across the channels that they frequent at a level that’s synonymous with their favorite companies like Amazon, Netflix and others. Delivering on these expectations can only happen with the right digital marketing strategy and operations, making modern tools that support great engagement mission critical across the constituent lifecycle.

Getting Started with Nonprofit Marketing: What’s Changing

Understanding the digital marketing landscape is often times the hardest part. For many, the world of digital marketing might seem a bit intimidating. Even for seasoned pros, learning and keeping up with the ever-evolving buzzwords, tools, strategies and best practices can be a daunting task. Where does that leave nonprofit organizations and departments where marketing isn’t their number one focus or skill set? Luckily, a little background and guidance can go a long way in not only understanding the technology platforms, channels and trends, but leveraging them to their fullest extent to best serve current or prospective donors and supporters.

This guide provides a high-level look at how organizations can improve their current digital marketing efforts and build governance, data management strategy, and more with a nonprofit center of excellence.

 For the best nonprofit marketing today, you have to keep up with technology. Improve your fundraising results.

Exactly why you need a CoE at your nonprofit or university will be driven by many factors including your size, ambition and Salesforce footprint. In some cases you may not even need this to be a formal group; but whether you are a startup organization using 10 free subscriptions or a nationally recognized enterprise, defining the vision for your CRM and planning for its future should always be at the heart of your decision making.

Establishing a Center of Excellence

Let’s talk definitions briefly: A Center of Excellence is a team or an entity that provides leadership, best practices, research, support and training to departments or business units across an organization when they’re utilizing a technology platform.

  • Platforms: The most successful Centers of Excellence work on the most innovative, high end technology platforms. Make sure your organization is considering these platforms: Marketing Automation, Constituent Relationship Management (CRM), Data Management, Analytics, & AI.
  • Channels: Maintaining a high performing team of internal and external followers means connecting across multiple channels. Create processes and communications that work across email, social media, SMS and text messaging, digital advertising and paid search.
  • Governance: Governance is accountability. Making sure that your organization, and your Center of Excellence, are helping future enhancements to sustain your mission. Establish a governance model from the gecko.
  • Building the Team: The success of your CoE and governance relies on ensuring you’ve assembled the proper team. For some organizations, your team may be as small as 2 people; others may have a more formal engagement with up to 10. Roles may include: Strategic Leader, Marketing Specialist, Marketing Manager, Designer-Developer, IT.

We also share best practices in our “Ask an Architect” blog series.

For more insights and recommendations, download our full Center of Excellence e-book:

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