The Austrian philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein once said, “The limits of my language are the limits of my mind. All I know is what I have words for.” While he wasn’t talking specifically about fundraising, his words hold true for nonprofit marketing experts. Executing effective campaigns is all about strategy, but understanding and improving those strategies becomes a lot easier when you’re equipped with the right vocabulary.
How prepared are you to create your next winning nonprofit campaign? Before you answer, test your knowledge of these key terms.
20 Must-Know Nonprofit Marketing Terms
1. A/B Testing
A/B testing refers to the process of comparing two variations of an offer or creative treatment to gauge which produces better results. A/B testing can be used to test the same Facebook ad with two different images, the same blog post with two different headlines, or the same call to action with two different image options. These are just a few examples. To improve nonprofit marketing, accurate A/B testing must always compare only one variable at a time.
2. Bounce Rate
Bounce rate measures the percentage of visitors to a specific web page who leave the site after only viewing one page. A high bounce rate can indicate issues with site load speed, navigation, poor targeting of paid ads, or ineffective web page design. Bounce rate is an important data point for nonprofit marketing.
Often abbreviated as “CTA,” a call to action is literally that: an image or text that prompts the viewer to act. In the world of nonprofit marketing, that action could be to download a whitepaper, fill out a volunteering form, or donate.
4. Capital Campaign
A capital campaign is any campaign focused on raising a specific sum of money within a specified time frame. These campaigns usually focus on a distinct, often intense, need—for example, temporary housing for a large group of people displaced after a natural disaster.
5. Cause-Related Marketing
In cause-related marketing, or simply cause marketing, nonprofit and for-profit businesses work together on a single campaign. The goal of the campaign is to boost sales for the for-profit business by dedicating a portion of the proceeds as nonprofit donations.
6. Clickthrough Rate
Often abbreviated as CTR, clickthrough rate is a measure of the percentage of people who clicked on an ad after viewing it. As an equation, CTR=clicks/impressions. The higher the clickthrough rate of an ad, or call to action, the more engaging and relevant the campaign is to its target audience.
7. Conversion Path
The conversion path is the journey a website visitor takes from the moment they visit your webpage until they become a “known lead.” In terms of nonprofit marketing, a “known lead” could be someone who donates, signs up for a newsletter, or completes another micro or macro conversion.
8. Digital Asset Management
Digital Asset Management, or “DAM” software provides cloud storage and organization of digital files for nonprofits and other organizations. These files can include things like logos, videos, and volunteer training manuals. Quality DAM software is a critical tool for maintaining brand consistency while providing access to assets for marketing execution on the local level.
9. Direct Mail
Direct mail campaigns are physical (not digital) messages sent to current and prospective donors, volunteers, or consumers. Thanks to variable data printing, nonprofit marketers can now send thousands of personalized messages within the same direct mail campaign.
10. Engagement Rate
When nonprofit marketers discuss engagement rate, they’re talking about the effectiveness of created content in eliciting a response. That content can be a blog post on annual giving or a social media ad for a holiday fundraising campaign. Engagement rate is a measure of interaction including clicks, comments, shares, and likes. A/B testing can help uncover why certain pieces have a higher engagement rate so their success can be replicated for even more interaction in the future.
11. Inbound Link
Inbound links live on other websites but link back to yours. Inbound links on high-ranked third-party websites tell Google, Bing, and other search engines that your website is a reputable resource. This helps to raise search engine rankings and leads to more traffic over time. Inbound links also help potential supporters learn about your cause and organization.
In general terms, the word indicia simply means a sign or distinguishing mark. In nonprofit marketing, the indicia refers specifically to the mark used on direct mail pieces in place of a stamp. Indicias mark nonprofit mailings and allow them to be sorted and delivered in bulk at reduced rates.
13. Key Performance Indicator
Key performance indicators, or KPIs, are metrics used to gauge nonprofit marketing success. KPIs are always specific and compared across time. For example, an organization’s goal might be broad: “to write more engaging blog posts.” One KPI they can use to track their success is time on page. If web visitors spend three minutes reading their newest blog post, but only spent an average of one minute reading their previous post, they can conclude that their newer content is getting “stickier” and their efforts are paying off.
14. LAI Principle
The LAI Principle stands for Linkage, Ability, and Interest. The concept is used to qualify which potential donors are most likely to give based on:
- Linkage: their connection to the organization or cause.
- Ability: their financial ability to make a gift at a specific level.
- Interest: their understanding and excitement about the nonprofit’s mission and goals.
This acronym stands for donors who made gifts “Last Year But Unfortunately Not This Year.”
16. Marketing Automation
Automated marketing, or “trigger marketing” campaigns allow marketers to deliver collateral to segmented audiences without having to manually control each action. With automated marketing, nonprofits can send repeatable, consistent campaigns across all channels and platforms. This allows for a high degree of targeting without risking brand consistency or wasting time and money executing each effort separately.
17. Standard of Giving
Different nonprofit marketing campaigns may target different segments of prospective donors. The “standard of giving” is an estimate of the potential giving power of each individual in a targeted group. This value is based on past giving, market research and other industry insights.
This acronym is similar to LYBUNT but stands for donors who gave “Some Year But Unfortunately Not This Year.”
19. Unrestricted Gift
The monetary donation of an unrestricted gift can be used as the fundraising organization sees fit. This means that in addition to funding charity efforts, unrestricted gifts can help offset rent and utilities or pay employees’ salaries.
Hubspot does a great job of explaining what a workflow is in the world of nonprofit marketing: “A workflow is a series of automated actions that you can trigger to occur based on a person’s behaviors or contact information. With workflows, you can send emails, update contact information, add or remove contacts from lists, and trigger email notifications.”
How many of these nonprofit marketing terms did you know? While these definitions provide a great foundation, they certainly aren’t the only terms nonprofit marketers should be familiar with. Which items would you add to this list? Tell us by posting a comment, then share this list with your colleagues so they can test their knowledge and improve their vocabulary.