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What Can Marketing Cloud Do For Nonprofits?

We’re continuing our series of exploring just how valuable Marketing Cloud’s automation tools can be. Last time we shared how Marketing Cloud can impact the higher education industry and this time around we’re vetting it for our friends in the nonprofit space! 

When nonprofit organizations come to Cloud for Good, we spend a substantial amount of time uncovering the specifics around their unique constituent lifecycle. Specifically, we focus on how the individual organization we’re working with moves a constituent from awareness of the organization and its mission all the way to advocacy on behalf of the organization and the good it is doing in the community, country, and/or world. 

During this discovery, we unpack each of the constituent lifecycle phases: 

  • Awareness: How does someone find out about your organization? What sort of marketing are you doing currently (event, social, etc.)? 
  • Acquisition: What are all the ways you collect a person’s information? How do you encourage them to provide this information? What happens after they provide their information? 
  • Engagement: How do you keep your constituents engaged? What are all the different ways someone might engage with your organization?  
  • Advocacy: How do you encourage your constituents to spread the word about your mission? What tools are you equipping them with to make this easier? 


With this information in mind, we can help you envision just how Marketing Cloud can bring your constituent data together and automate your cross-channel communications to the right person at the right time – meeting them exactly where they are at in the constituent lifecycle. Through these automations, you’re also freeing up staff time to innovate on current communications, strategize for large-scale fundraising campaigns, or even just be a little more hands-on with campaigns that require a little more intervention. 

Below are some examples of journeys and automations we’ve created with some of our clients across the constituent lifecycle. 


During the awareness phase, it’s all about putting your mission out there for your constituents and supporters to find. Whether that be a presence at community events, word of mouth from your current supporters and advocates, or being searchable on Google, it’s important to make your mission easy to find and therefore easy to support. 

In addition to the methods listed above, with Marketing Cloud’s Advertising Studio tool, you can utilize your existing constituent data to find “lookalikes” (other social media users who share similar demographics or interests) for you to target with ads on Facebook. Many clients will create lookalike audiences off some of the most engaged contacts in their database (recurring donors, regular volunteers, contacts who have benefited from the mission, etc.) depending on the types of potential constituents they are trying to bring awareness to or gather contact information from. 


Speaking of gathering contact information, the Acquisition phase is all about acquiring a person’s contact information so that you can continue developing a relationship with them.

Lookalike audiences paired with Facebook Lead Capture forms, newsletter signup forms on your website, or email signups at an event allow you to capture the email addresses of these new supporters and trigger an Onboarding Journey.

An Onboarding Journey is one of our top recommendations for our nonprofit clients because it’s the best way to digitally introduce your organization and its mission to a new subscriber.  It also helps prepare these new subscribers to take their next step with the organization whether through volunteering, becoming a member, donating, or just continuing to learn about the organization. As part of an Onboarding Journey, we typically recommend sending three to five emails. The content of those emails should be customized to your organization, but here’s a good starting point:

#1 Welcome Message: The first message in the journey is a basic welcome message to introduce the new subscriber to the organization and thank them for signing up. In this message, ask the subscriber what types of messages they’d like to receive from your organization and highlight the preference center.

#2 Value Message: In this email, your focus is the resources or selling points that your organization wants to convey to new contacts. While our journey screenshot below is just showing one message, some organizations might have enough that this becomes a series of messages.

#3 Thank You, #4 Become a Recurring Donor, #5 Support Our Work: These messages come after a decision split that looks at whether the user has already committed to a recurring gift, given a one-time gift, or never given at all. The individual messages are meant to move the user up the ladder to a higher level of commitment.


After acquiring these new constituents, it’s important to keep them engaged based on the data you have about their previous interactions. Below are some samples of engagement journeys we’ve built for some of our clients.

One-Time to Sustainer Journey

For those who have given a one-time gift, try encouraging them using a journey to turn their one-time gift into a monthly gift. Using Journey Builder, you can easily pull in one-time donors who haven’t donated in the last few months to see if they’d be interested in making a monthly gift. Using AMPscript, it’s even possible to customize the ask amount and donation form based on what they gave previously.

Gift Anniversary Reminders

For many organizations, if a donor doesn’t give a gift within a year of their previous gift, the likelihood of them giving again drops significantly. Using Journey Builder, you can trigger a gift anniversary reminder email to thank them for their previous gift and ask if they would be willing to support the organization again this year.

Volunteer Opportunity / Event Invitations

Using journeys to manage your volunteer opportunity and event invitations is a great way to automate both the initial invitation and the reminders for those who haven’t signed up. In this journey, following the invitation to volunteer or attend an event, the journey will evaluate anyone who has not already signed up and remind them about the opportunity available to them. This journey can also serve as a template for future volunteer opportunities and event invitations, making it easy to scale your automation capabilities and increase staff efficiency.


Once you have developed a strong relationship with our constituents, you hope that they will share their experiences with the organization with their own social networks (both in-person and online) about their experiences. This is especially important surrounding large fundraising and advocacy campaigns where every person counts.

For these campaigns, we would recommend using Journey Builder to execute a series of messages about the campaign and how your constituents can be involved, including an email about how to share the campaign with their networks with simple instructions and “share to social” features.

The most important part of utilizing Journey Builder in your marketing toolset is truly understanding your constituents, where they are at in the lifecycle, and what results in engagement from them. While the journey examples above are a great place to start, you know your constituents, your data, and your goals and objectives best. Adjust to fit those needs. Test out your theories and then test another theory after that until you get to a place where your constituents feel connected to your mission and are engaging with not only their wallets but also their time and their hearts.

And it probably goes without saying, but we would love to help you get there! We pride ourselves on being an extension of your team and truly investing our time and energy into your mission while also bringing along a wealth of industry, Salesforce Marketing Cloud, and digital marketing experience all in an effort to do more good in the world.

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