Ep104: Content Marketing and the Future of Nonprofit Fundraising

Russell Sparkman

Today on CauseTalk Radio, Megan and I talk to Russell Sparkman, CEO, Content Strategy for FusionSpark Media about new research on the content marketing practices of nonprofit professionals.  

With Blackbaud and the Content Marketing Institute, FusionSpark Media has published its second annual Nonprofit Content Marketing 2015: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends.

Russell, Megan and I discuss what is content marketing, the key to its success, the elements of a content marketing plan and why content is the future of fundraising success!

Why Content Marketing is so Important

"It's inevitable!" said Russell. "Even if you don't call it content marketing, you'll still be using it to build relationships and drive outcomes."

"The key is not to create content for the sake of creating content," said Russell. "You want to create it to drive an outcome."

"The greatest challenge people have is thinking like marketers but acting like publishers," he added.

The One Thing that Will Make or Break Your Content

"A written and documented content strategy becomes the organization's north star," said Russell.

Not having a plan is like sailing without a compass. "You'll have lots of random acts of marketing," he said.

"The flip side of the coin is that you have to have the organizational capacity and the will to execute the plan," said Russell. "Content marketing isn't an add-on to someone's existing responsibilities. If you plan to use existing staff, workloads needs to be adjusted - and not just increased."

The Key Elements of a Content Marketing Plan

  1. Identify the desired outcomes for an organization. Shoot to have 3 to 5.
  2. Within the chosen desired outcomes, prioritize them.
  3. Identify the content to create and to curate.
  4. Decide what the call to action (CTA) will be for each piece of content.
  5. Aim to be the definitive resource on your subject matter 
  6. Measure the success of your efforts and adjust your course.

Is Content Marketing the Future of Fundraising?

"A nonprofit's big events are absolutely one of the best places to gather content for the upcoming year," explained Russell.

This could drive individual fundraising through the year and ultimately exceed the donations collected from the event!

"Nonprofits need to tell their stories in compelling ways," he said. "Marketing does that and it will go hand and hand with fundraising success."