At KWSM, we are lucky to help tell the stories of some amazing companies. We recently partnered with one of the nation’s most important nonprofit organizations, The Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation, to raise awareness of their mission to perpetuate the legacy of Medal of Honor recipients.
Here’s a look at how we developed a comprehensive digital marketing strategy designed to help raise funds for the Foundation by increasing awareness of the organization and growing their online audience.
The Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation wanted to grow their social media audience to build a wider base of potential donors. However, they lacked a comprehensive marketing strategy to effectively attract and grow a highly engaged audience. While the Foundation received consistent donations from their larger supporters, they had not been successful in raising funds from their online fan base.
While they were active online, the Foundation was missing a key element in their marketing efforts: content that shared the stories of those that were being impacted by the organization’s work… educators who were implementing the classroom Character Development Program designed by the Congressional Medal of Honor Society, veterans who benefitted from the Veterans Outreach Program, and citizens who were touched by their encounters with Medal of Honor recipients.
The Foundation is fully-funded by donor support, and these stories were necessary to show donors how their money was put to work in the community and why donations were important.
The Strategic Plan
After intensive research and analysis, KWSM developed a tailored strategy and several targeted messaging campaigns. The strategy was designed to grow the Foundation’s online audience and increase engagement with their fan base. Our goal was to establish the organization’s credibility as a nationally recognized nonprofit and spread awareness of their mission and programs.
This involved pulling together several digital marketing tactics to make an integrated push across many channels.
Website and Search Engine Optimization
The Foundation needed a new website with faster load times, better functionality, and a smoother user experience. We built a new website with bold images, simple navigation and a seamless user experience. We wanted to ensure that visitors would quickly be able to find what they wanted to read about on the site. We also prominently displayed the donation button on every page to ensure quick access in the event that a visitor would be inspired to donate during browsing.
In addition to a new website design and copy, we implemented an SEO strategy to help improve search rankings for the site and drive traffic to the website through organic search.
The Foundation was celebrating their 20th anniversary, and we designed a new logo to commemorate the milestone. The organization asked for a fresh brand image that embodied their progress and growth. This new logo became the signature icon for the year-long campaign, and a symbol of their goals – to raise $20 million in 2020, to mark their 20th year.
Social Media Management
Although the Foundation was active on social media, one of the roadblocks that was negatively affecting their audience growth and credibility was the existence of several mock accounts posing as the Foundation’s official page.
We refreshed their social media, ensuring that the About sections were updated, links were functioning properly and linking back to the official website, and that the information on their headquarters was accurate. As we continued to publish content regularly and attract a larger audience, we applied for the verified badge on both Facebook and Instagram. Through maintaining an active profile and updating all account information, we received the verified blue check on both Facebook and Instagram — giving them more credibility online, and helping them stand apart from the fake profiles.
When we analyzed the existing content strategy, we found that the Foundation’s social media posting schedule was sporadic and much of the content lacked a call-to-action to entice the audience to learn more.
Our strategy involved creating engaging content that gave the audience a way to further the relationship, whether it was to learn more through a blog, join the newsletter, make a monetary donation, reshare the post, or follow the Facebook page. We maintained an active social media presence 7 days a week on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram & LinkedIn.
In addition to social engagement, we revamped the messaging across social media to demonstrate the importance of helping to perpetuate the legacy of Medal of Honor Recipients through donor support. We also created fresh visuals to share in our content, including graphics, videos of Recipients sharing their experiences, and facts about the Congressional Medal of Honor and the Foundation.
To improve search rankings and drive traffic back to the website, we wrote weekly blogs that showcased the Foundation’s community work, highlighted Recipients, explained the history and significance of the Medal of Honor, and told the stories of donors and those impacted by the Foundation.
Blogging was an essential tactic in our campaign to drive website traffic and improve SEO. These longform pieces of content provided the Foundation with an opportunity to share the most important elements of their work, and discuss topics related to current military news and events.
As part of the refreshed brand collateral, we built a new email newsletter template and implemented regular outbound communication with the Foundation’s audience. We used this monthly informational newsletter as an additional touch point with current, past, and potential donations. The newsletter showed the Foundation at work in the community, and featured stories of Medal of Honor recipients, news about the organization, and corporate donor highlights.
One of the most successful initiatives we created was the Medal of Honor Moments campaign. We gathered individual stories from Foundation supporters about how the organization had touched their lives: stories about how teachers utilized the Medal of Honor Character Development Program in their classroom, a special moment private citizens shared with a Medal of Honor Recipient, reflections from the loved ones of Recipients, and more. These authentic stories represent the essence of the Foundation’s work and demonstrate hope, sacrifice, service, patriotism, unity, and gratitude. They showed how the Foundation’s programs have changed the lives of both young people and Veterans. Potential donors could easily see how they could make a difference by making a contribution.
After eight months of consistent implementation, actively telling the Foundations’ story and engaging with their audience through social media, the website, and email marketing, we grew the fan base across all channels.
We were able to achieve increases of:
- 148% on Facebook
- 188% on Instagram
- 7% on Twitter
- 950% on LinkedIn
These numbers don’t just represent growth in the Foundation’s following, but also growth in their potential donor pool. In addition to audience growth, we saw website traffic significantly increase. Also, the public began voluntarily sending in their own Medal of Honor Moment stories and the overall brand exposure of the organization continued to increase exponentially.
The traction we created for the Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation is a good reminder that not all success online comes from advertising. A solid content strategy, executed consistently, can help grow brand awareness, engagement and, ultimately, drive action.
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