Last month we hosted a dedicated webinar about how to utilize digital content in order to effectively market your nonprofit organization in 2022 and beyond. Hosted by BeWellPBC, The Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County, and our team at Issuu, the panel of experts discussed everything from reasons for going digital to how a content transformation has impacted their entire organization. For those of you unable to attend, here’s a recap:
Meet Our Guests
Lauren Zuchman serves as the Executive Director for BeWellPBC, a behavioral health and wellness initiative in Palm Beach County, Florida. Their mission is to foster a community in which every person in Palm Beach County feels hopeful, supported, connected, and empowered. They advocate for behavioral health and wellness for every resident, no matter a person’s age or background. Explore their Issuu publisher profile to learn more. Since using Issuu, BeWellPBC has successfully tripled the number of newsletter subscribers.
Kallie Sulanke is the Engagement Officer for The Community Foundation of Muncie and Delaware County. With a primary goal of raising funds for the community and then directing those assets towards key neighborhood initiatives, they help foster a community that people want to live in. The organization’s work is expansive, serving around 120,000 people in Delaware County, Indiana. Kallie was hired six years ago to help modernize their communications and storytelling, evolving an existing print-based model to a digital format along the way. Explore their publisher profile here.
Why Nonprofits Are Going Digital
From meeting your audience where they are – which is almost exclusively online these days – to saving money, there are many reasons to shift your content from print to digital. Doing so can have an enormous impact on your overall marketing efforts and success, too.
Here are the top ten reasons we shared for why going digital will take your nonprofit marketing to the next level:
Raise awareness of your organization more effectively.
Sell your publications digitally and monetize your marketing efforts.
Raise funds online with direct links for donors strategically placed throughout your content.
Get your message in front of the masses.
Reach new audiences through your digital marketing and social media channels.
Save time by turning your existing print publication into a digital version that’s easy to update.
Save money and eliminate the hassle associated with printing.
Measure the results of your content and campaigns more easily with built-in analytics.
Grow your audience and boost read times with engaging content that’s easy to find, peruse, and come back to later.
Share your content across all channels, regardless of the device, with supporting assets to promote your digital publications.
Next, we asked our guests why they chose to make the switch to digital publishing within their nonprofit. Check out what they had to say:
Lauren Zuchman: “We serve over 1.5 million people, so it's a pretty large county and it's really important that we communicate correctly. It would be impossible to pass information through word of mouth, or even knock on everyone’s doors, so we decided to explore communication platforms. Needing to reach as many people as possible, it was a no-brainer to look for the right digital platform to connect the many residents in our community. When we first started using Issuu, it was actually for our monthly newsletter. However, with so much content to share, our newsletter evolved into what is now The Well of PBC magazine.”
Kallie Sulanke: “We originally focused on producing high-quality print publications and were mailing those to an extensive list of around 3,000 people. The list had not been updated with new names and addresses, however, so only about 1,200 of those people were truly engaged (like active donors and other partners). We wanted to keep sharing our publications without the cost of printing to people who may not be interested anymore. Transitioning digitally, we still print, but we mail to a smaller list and then use our digital option to try to extend our reach beyond the core audience of our closest partners.”
Content Marketing During (and After) a Pandemic
Issuu’s digital content publishing platform became increasingly critical during the COVID-19 pandemic due to the accessibility factor and subsequent shift to digital-first sharing. While many other marketing efforts fell short the last few years, the consumption of online content grew exponentially. Kallie and Lauren took advantage of the platform and quickly embraced the new content marketing realm.
For both nonprofits, digital publishing felt natural because it offered a way to better connect with their donors and audiences during a time of limited face-to-face interaction. Kallie shared her mindset surrounding the initial shift towards digital marketing:
“During the pandemic, we wanted to ensure that besides just posting our publications online, we were actually sharing them with our audience. This means embracing the digital world to reach our donors and partners. As a local company, we don’t need the world to see us. We just want people in our community to see us.”
For Kallie, using Issuu was a no-brainer. After their first few document uploads, Kallie and her team realized the process’ simplicity was unparalleled. Lauren was intrigued by the plethora of user-friendly features such as auto-detected links and turning pages. For both nonprofit organizations, Issuu was a platform that offered accessibility, seamlessness, and simplicity. It maintained the quality of their formerly printed magazines while broadening their audience base and enabling better promotion of their publications online.
And, now, there’s no going back. Increasingly sophisticated audiences across industries expect to have information at their fingertips instead of waiting for the mail. They want to receive an email with an eye-catching GIF, click through, and be taken to a fullscreen publication with flippable pages that make them want to bookmark, share, and download to read again later.
Digital Publishing Features Every Nonprofit Needs
It can feel as though Issuu’s possibilities are endless – and that’s why millions of users love it! But, let’s be honest, sometimes it can also feel overwhelming for many. Luckily, Kallie and Lauren shared some of their top features with our attendees. Check out the most-used features at their nonprofits:
Content analytics and statistics (learn more here)
Customization and embedding (visit a how-to here)
Embedded videos (take a look here)
Article stories (watch a step-by-step process here)
In a world of information overload, Lauren and Kallie also discussed how they aim to keep their nonprofits top-of-mind for readers.
Lauren Zuchman: “Content is produced by our community, so we put out calls for articles and perspectives. By not editing anything, we tell the story the way you want it to be told: that is the beauty of storytelling. We are small but we are a conglomerate of grassroots initiatives and bigger providers. Stories are the most fundamental components of non-profit organizations and we focus on preserving the voices in our community.”
Kallie Sulanke: When creating content, it’s important to remember that people are not going to stumble upon your platform. Instead, you need to proactively push content towards your target audience. Remember, you’re never done when the file is sent to the printer. The next step is uploading that publication on a digital platform. That is when Issuu comes into play: taking time to add links, create Article Stories, and share these Article Stories helps distinguish your content from others.
Making the Move at Your Organization
The ways in which we collectively create, promote, distribute, and consume content have shifted. Nonprofit organizations such as the ones Lauren and Kallie work for are proof that a little flexibility, ingenuity, and willingness to try something new can chart the course for long-term growth and success. But they are not the only ones who can crack the digital content code. We make it easy with a user-friendly platform and weekly webinars and workshops to support and empower you.