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GlobalGiving | The 2019 Excellence in Marketing and Communications Awards

Category | Content Marketing
Division | Nonprofit

Describe the Challenge

In 2017, GlobalGiving launched its content marketing hub, Learn Library, to acquire new nonprofit partners to our community, which connects nonprofits with resources and donors and companies with charitable projects.

One year later, we had produced 150+ articles on topics from crowdfunding to technology. Our strategy yielded 185,128 views, 5,736 email leads, and 157 applicants (conversions). However, as a nonprofit, GlobalGiving's goals must support our business needs and advance our mission to transform aid and accelerate community-led change. We became aware that our content marketing strategy should move beyond a growth-only mindset.

Define the Target Audience

Our target audience is local nonprofit leaders who lack access to the resources they need to become financially sustainable, largely due to inequitable distribution of aid. Through content marketing, we want to attract nonprofit leaders in need of resources to join our community and encourage them to share their perspectives.

Describe the Solution

After our first year of content marketing came to a close, it was clear that GlobalGiving staff had become our primary content authors, while our current and prospective nonprofit partners had a smaller share of voice. We realized our mission-oriented mandate to amplify the underheard perspectives of our nonprofit partners, particularly those in the Global South, through Learn.

We set two ambitious goals, which we pursued concurrently in 2018, to increase our content-acquired applicants and our community's  share of voice by 100 percent. Increasing our content-acquired applicants would break down barriers for local nonprofit leaders who joined GlobalGiving, as they would have access to more resources in the form of GlobalGiving donations and tools and training. Increasing our community share of voice would enrich the content available to both prospective and current partners and accelerate systems change in aid and philanthropy through the circulation of diverse ideas and perspectives to individual donors and corporate funders.

Describe How the Solution Was Deployed

To double content-referred applicants to GlobalGiving, we deployed three main solutions:

  1. MailChimp drip campaigns We developed a MailChimp drip campaign to convert content-acquired leads into applicants.
  2. Google Ads We focused on using our Google Ads grant to drive more traffic to our best-performing content from 2017, which is behind an email acquisition gate powered by LeadPages.
  3. Premium Yoast Subscription Our premium subscription to this SEO WordPress plugin allowed our team to quickly identify article key phrases, rather than keywords only, and optimize content to meet SEO benchmarks.

To double project leader share of voice, we deployed three main solutions:

  1. Content Templates We created three content templates to share with nonprofit partners interested in Learn contributions. To reduce confusion, we later created a document for staff to reference as they invited partners to contribute. The document outlines four steps to follow when inviting someone to contribute, along with sample invitation language.
  2. Rapid Response We quickly realized the need to operate outside of the template system and deploy a rapid response strategy as issues relevant to our community emerged. For example, when media uncovered sexual abuse by Oxfam staff and #AidToo became a trending topic, we invited select partners with relevant experiences and perspectives to author op-ed content.
  3. Content Series We produced several content series to reserve space and time in our editorial calendar for partner participation, including a year-end philanthropy prediction series, quarterly success story Q+As, and a “Top 10 Nonprofits Committed To Impact” contest.

Describe the Qualitative or Quantitative Measures of Success

We exceeded our goal to double content-acquired applications, seeing the following 2018 gains:

  • Content-acquired emails leads grew 183 percent
  • Content-acquired applications increased 108 percent
  • Page views increased to 300,000+—a 68 percent jump. Our best-performing ad-supported content earned 21,000+—views with a 70 percent conversion rate (i.e. email lead generation).
  • 49 percent of traffic to Learn was organic, up from 26 percent. Our best-performing organic content, quotes for World Refugee Day, earned 16,000+ views.

We also exceeded our goal to double community share of voice, publishing 35 articles written by or featuring our nonprofit partners. From 2017-18, referrals went from fifth to third largest traffic acquisition source, drawing thousands of new users. One of our largest referral sources is a Learn author and partner's  blog. Qualitative data also underscores the impact of a diverse share of voice, as illustrated best by the words of our partners:

“I am thankful and very appreciative of @GlobalGiving, @intldogooder, @acarlman & @fannicanelles for their commitment to including voices, thoughts, ideas and perspectives of Global South leaders.”

Tweet from Learn author Marie-Rose Romain Murphy

“It is quite beneficial for me to read about what other projects are doing. I am looking forward for more interactions with you in the future.”

List the Tools Involved

  • Google Ads Grant—to create Google ads for in-demand content
  • Google Analytics—to analyze content performance
  • Google Documents—to draft and edit content in an interactive, trackable manner
  • Lead pages—to collect email address of prospective nonprofit partners who consume content
  • MailChimp—to distribute content to current and prospective nonprofit partners, primarily in the format of a monthly tips + tools e-digest
  • Twitter—to distribute content to current and prospective nonprofit partners
  • WordPress Content Management System—to publish and display content
  • Yoast Premium—to enable key phrase identification for partner-published articles and advance Learn EO



About the Excellence in Marketing and Communications Awards

The Excellence in Marketing and Communications Awards, presented by The Conference Board Marketing and Communications Center, honors organizations for their innovative use of communications technologies. Formerly the Society for New Communications (SNCR) Excellence Awards, the case study program has been recognizing excellence for 13 years. The awards were presented at a gala and dinner on June 26, 2019, in New York City.








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