4 Things Your Social Impact Brand Should Do Before Investing in Paid Ads

I’ve known quite a few social impact brands and nonprofits jumping into paid ads way sooner than they should have and who are still at the same place they were before, despite the use of ads. A lot of nonprofits or social impact startups think that once the site is up, paid ads are the next step, but this line of thinking can actually harm your brand. Should you invest in better content or paid ads in the first few years of your brand? The research shows that one choice is actually better than the other (spoiler: it’s not the paid ads).

A lot of time and money can be spent in paids ads, which aren’t always trackable or worth the investment. The average consumer is changing, too, in terms of marketing. There are so many brands, apps, and orgs competing for our attention, that consumers are loyal to those brands to which they have an emotional attachment to, not just because they saw an ad for it. With the hundreds of brands fighting for consumer attention daily, a paid ad won’t do much to grab that loyal consumer or follower. Before you allocate money towards paid ads, make sure you are investing in these four things first.

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1.  Invest in SEO

This should be a priority for your non-profit or social impact brand. I see a lot of brands spending money on this, only to ignore it once the initial audit and optimization is done. Invest in learning how to do this, even after an SEO specialist sets it up for you. Your keywords and the maintenance of SEO will determine whether your site shows up on the front or last page on Google. This is the first form of “paid” advertising you should invest in, because it’s investing in something that will give you long term benefits, not just a short term ad that people may or may not pay attention to. You’re buying your way into being a leader in your industry google search and that’s invaluable for your brand.

2. Focus on Organic Content

Like Gary Vee of Vayner Media says, “"No amount of paid media is going to turn bad creative into good content". Invest in photoshoots, videos, and social media graphics, develop a content strategy, and hire a social media manager to engage with your audience. Did you know including video in a landing page can increase conversion by 80%? So not only will you have quality content, it will help your SEO as well. If you have good content, other brands will also be more likely to collaborate, which is another mutually beneficial way to get free exposure.

Mostly importantly, invest in your consumer. Send a nice note to be sent out with your purchases thanking them and reminding them of your organization’s mission and include a discount for their next purchase. If you’re a nonprofit, include a thank you and information or content on the details behind their donation and support. Focusing on your content and relationship with your consumer or follower will create a happy and inspired follower and a happy customer or follower is more likely to be impressed with these personal touches and share your brand with others.

Lastly, focus on your engagement. Push your social impact message with a call to action every chance you get. People want to help and if they get something out of it they love too, then win-win. Run contests, giveaways, and create conversations on your social media platforms. Pay attention to trending hashtags and how they can be relevant to your content. Creating content that people like aesthetically or are inspired enough to engage with also increases your chances of being seen on social media algorithms.

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3. Perfect Your Brand Strategy

Do you have a comprehensive vision and feel for your brand? A font, logo, user friendly website? Does your website have a call to action? Do you have an elevator pitch for your brand? Before you send people to your website, make sure you aren’t going to lose them right when they get the bottom of the funnel. Don’t hype up your brand, only to lose them once they get to the actual site. Make sure your brand is accurately represented, aesthetically pleasing, cohesive, and inspiring to others.

4. Prioritize Your Email List

Dont. ignore. the. power. of. newsletters! With changing social media algorithms, newsletters are the main way to ensure your following sees your content. You have direct communication with your email list and it’s a way to form a relationship outside of single social media posts. It’s a great way to showcase your monthly focuses and send out promos to those who opted-in and genuinely want to see your content and hear more from you. Social media is essentially borrowed space, but your newsletter is direct communication you can control with your audience. Push for email sign-ups by having an automated welcome newsletter with a promo-code or freebie.


Growing your organization or brand should be strategic and in the beginning you should be using every dollar intelligently. We hope these tips help to give you some ideas on how to better your brand before you jump into paid advertising.