Nonprofit Marketing Case Study
Americans donated $390.05 billion (or 2.1% of GDP) to nonprofits in 2016. Washington residents give $4.4 billion to charity each year, representing 3.08 percent of household income, and state nonprofits employ 211,400, over 9% of the state’s workforce. In addition to paid staff, nonprofits in Washington State leverage volunteer hours valued at over $5 billion per year. 30.6% of Washington residents volunteer, placing us in 16th place for volunteering nationally.
Washington’s 17,000 active 501(c)(3) nonprofits generated 32.4 billion in total revenue in 2016, the vast majority of which, almost 75%, came from program service fees, while only 20% came from individual donations, grants, etc.
It's doubly critical for non-profit organizations to tell compelling stories about the work they're doing. It's the only way to reach out and do more good.
– Rion Haber / Founder, 1205 Marketing
Special Olympics is a major charitable organization, with 220 national and U.S. state programs in 169 countries. It is dedicated to changing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities through sports and other programs. Over 3.5 million athletes compete in, Special Olympics programs around the world, with support from over 1.7 million volunteers.
Special Olympics Washington (SOWA) is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization supported entirely by individual, corporate and foundation contributions. Athletes participate at no cost to themselves or their families. More than 17,000 athletes participate in SOWA activities, and more than 8,000 volunteers give their time to the organization.
SOWA is divided into several regions, and stages hundreds of events each year at the local, regional and state level, allowing athletes with intellectual disabilities to participate in sports ranging from track & field, to soccer, golf and stand up paddleboarding.
SOWA relies on social media to help increase athlete participation in SOWA events; increase volunteerism; and generate charitable contributions that help fund SOWA’s mission, but needed help doing it a way that both respected the needs of the various stakeholders (regional and program leaders, athletes and their families, coaches, etc.), and was in keeping with the organization’s overall marketing strategy and standards.
1205 helped the organization better curate content through collaborative groups and understand their editorial calendar.
Content Strategy & Publishing
1205’s first step was to begin managing SOWA’s website and social media presence, including regular posting and engagement with athletes, volunteers, donors, and other supporters through Facebook, instagram, and Twitter.
The next step was to develop, in conjunction with SOWA staff, a workflow that would turn their existing calendar of events — the most frequently updated section of their website, and the function around which the organization is built — into an effective content engine. This involved:
- Creating a process that encouraged event stakeholders to contribute to digital marketing efforts.
- Training staff to identify potential conversion points throughout the event marketing process
- Streamlining some of SOWA’s internal communication and information sharing systems.
Finally we were able to build an aggressive editorial calendar that leveraged SOWA content via layered campaigns, each with their own KPI (recruiting athletes or volunteers, etc.), across the organization’s various social media channels, all with the goal of creating unique and engaging stories that also furthered the objectives of any given event.