Four Phases of Inbound Methodology for Nonprofits  

By Kate

Raise your hand if... 

  • You’re tired of constantly having to do more with less 🙋⁠ 
  • You’re looking for creative ways to grow your Nonprofit but feel limited by your budget or resources 🙋⁠ 
  • Your team is stretched and adding marketing to the mix feels like yet another task on top of an already exhaustive to-do list 🙋⁠ 

If your arm is starting to ache or you’ve found yourself furiously nodding along in agreement, we hear you! 

And you know what? You’re not alone.  

In 2020, there are over 10 million non-profit organisations worldwide- all competing for the attention and support of your potential stakeholders! 

So how do you stand out from this busy crowd? 

While your organisation might not operate for profit, it can still gain value from the traffic, funds and awareness marketing can bring.  

In today’s digital age, how we connect with one another and market ourselves has completely changed. 

Rather than waiting for you to reach out through traditional forms of marketing like cold-calling or direct mail, your potential stakeholders can now search online and find almost instantly, an organization or cause aligned with their passion.  

So, how can you add value and help your stakeholder find your non-profit along their journey? 

The answer is Inbound Marketing.  


What is Inbound Marketing? 

We like to think of Inbound Marketing for Nonprofits as a tool for creating deeper and more purposeful connections with your stakeholders.  

It’s all about creating meaningful and valuable experiences. Experiences that help keep your non-profit’s message top of mind and turn members of your community into engaged donors, volunteers or advocates who are passionate about your nonprofit’s mission.  

And the best bit? 

By keeping your stakeholders at the centre of every marketing decision you make, you are held accountable for shaping your campaigns with a view to both, bring in new stakeholders and strengthen existing relationships. 

And that’s the beauty of Inbound Marketing. 


inbound marketing flywheelSource: HubSpot Flyewheel.


HubSpot’s Inbound Methodology for Nonprofits  

As proud HubSpot Partners, we firmly believe that the best way to attract quality stakeholders and turn them into promoters is by implementing an automated inbound marketing framework.  

Through HubSpot’s Inbound Methodology, they look at a stakeholder’s journey with your organisation as a circular rather than linear process. 

Within their framework, your stakeholder is taken through a seamless journey of 4 main phases, starting at the top as a stranger and ending up as an advocate and long term supporter of your organisation.  

This methodology allows your Nonprofit to not only attract new supporters but also connect and engage with existing valuable donors and inspire your community. 


Phase 1: Attract 

The attraction phase is all about drawing in potential stakeholders through content that resonates with them and provides value. Blogging and Social Media, paired with a targeted SEO strategy, is key to getting found in search results and driving stakeholders to your website.  

At this stage of their journey, your potential stakeholders are still strangers, looking for a reason to connect with your organisation. It’s worth remembering that people do not make philanthropic donations to an organization from their head – they give from their heart.  

Creating content with a compelling message that speaks to your stakeholder’s emotions is extremely important at this stage. You want to create content that communicates the importance of your mission as well as how your community is affected by what you are doing. The strength of non-profit marketing is rooted in emotional storytelling. Video content is an effective tool to help tell your organization's story and provides a narrative way to reinforce the cause that it promotes.  

 attract phase inbound marketing

Phase 2: Connect 

Ok, so you have the attention of your stakeholders. Now what?... 

As the name suggests, this phase is all about making a connection.  

Your aim is to get to know your audience and distinguish casual “information gatherers” with those who are truly interested in supporting your cause. Once identified, the idea is to pique their interest with premium content and compelling calls-to-action to encourage them to make a stronger commitment to your organisation.  

It’s not enough to simply offer your stakeholders great content. You need to capture information about them so that you can qualify and serve them with the most suitable personalised content. We can do this by “gating” valuable content (free download, free video guide) that is relevant to your stakeholder behind a landing page and asking them to share their details in exchange for the free content or offer. 

The result?  

The ability to follow-up with personalised content that grows the size and quality of your stakeholder database and engages and converts your most valuable visitors, be it prospective members, volunteers or donors.   


Phase 3: Engage 

From inspiring advocacy to generating donations and growing your membership base, your aim during this phase is to encourage your stakeholders to do more than just consume your content and deepen their trust in your organisation.  

Using personal data and on-site behaviour, you can segment your database and build more targeted, nurturing campaigns and compelling digital experiences that create lasting relationships with prospects on the channels they prefer. 

Today, your audience expects to engage with nonprofits in much the same way they would a for-profit company- enticed by a “heartstring-pulling” mission, nurtured through thoughtful stories and finally “sold” by a clear call to action to donate, volunteer, or become a member.  

 engage phase inbound marketing

Phase 4: Inspire 

The inbound process doesn't end when someone actively engages with your organization online. Your focus in this phase is to maintain and foster this relationship with your stakeholders. The aim is to keep them inspired to both continue to support and also advocate and inspire others to do the same.  

In order to inspire, you want to continue to deliver content and communications that evoke their emotions. The great news is that this phase can be automated, allowing you to deliver timely, customised content that makes donors feel connected to your mission and respected by your organisation. Automation tools can also help you to measure the success and effectiveness of your inbound marketing campaigns, allowing you to test and constantly improve your process.  

By continuing to invest in strengthening the relationship your nonprofit has with your stakeholders, you create lasting impact.  

Ultimately, Inbound marketing can help your Nonprofit connect on a meaningful level with stakeholders on their terms, making them more willing to commit time and resources to your mission.  Win-win? Yes! 


Ready to unlock the power of Inbound Marketing for your Nonprofit?


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