Beyond Donations: Engaging the Whole Person in Your Digital Marketing Strategy


People aren’t one-dimensional. Your digital content mustn’t be either. 

When it comes to digital marketing plans and management, we need to emphasize how important it is to engage the whole person. This means more than simply focusing your marketing efforts on getting people to donate to your cause. Donations are vital to your work, but they are not the only way to engage your audience.

Marketing efforts that focus only on converting donors-to-dollars will quickly become white noise to your donor base. The main issue here is that you are singing only one tune, and your donors want to hear your entire album.

Instead, you need to be engaging with the whole person.

Your followers love your organization and the work that you do. If they didn’t, they would have unfollowed you long ago. But you don’t only provide them opportunities to be generous with their finances. Your work touches their hearts, and you give them a chance to be a part of something bigger than themselves by being connected to you and the vital work you do

To get the most out of your digital marketing, you must invite people to engage with their whole being. When Liminal Creative works with nonprofits on their digital marketing plans, we use a simple framework that focuses your digital marketing content for the entire person. We believe that this approach pays long-term dividends by creating more engagement, which will lead to a broader donor base and increased funding.

Our strategy focuses on these four facets of human engagement:


Your digital strategy should engage people emotionally. As they read your online content, they should be moved, inspired, challenged, and engaged with their emotions. This is not about emotional manipulation or exploitation of the people you work with or serve. Instead, it is possible to create honest, vulnerable, realistic, and emotionally engaging content. Your digital readers’ hearts should be warmed, challenged, or pulled as they engage with the stories and news you share.  A helpful resource for telling these stories and creating this type of content is Ethical Storytelling.


Being able to engage your community spiritually is especially important for faith-based organizations. As a religious organization, you must be able to engage the folks you are communicating with on a spiritual level. This might mean inviting them to pray or providing a form of spiritual encouragement or teaching. No matter how you do it, if you neglect this level of engagement, you are missing an essential part of your calling as an organization. People want to be led, and they are looking for organizations like yours to lead them into deeper levels of spirituality.


When marketing to your audience, you need to directly invite people to engage with their physical beings and their time. This is easier for some organizations than others. Shelters, food pantries, clinics, and similar organizations can invite people to join them by volunteering their time and engaging in events. International organizations can ask volunteers to visit the work in the field with a team or group of leaders. When these options are not available, it is often practical to invite potential partners to utilize their current peer networks by spreading the hope and supporting the work through peer-to-peer fundraising or hosting house parties. It’s essential to be as creative as possible. Engaging people in person can be a game-changer for an organization’s mission and funding.


Finally, we get to the content that everyone wants to skip to first. Of course, we all know that we need to be inviting people in our donor base to invest their finances in our work. However, I am convinced the better we engage the whole person (physical, spiritual, emotional), the more effective our appeals for financial engagement will be.

Todd Hiestand

Todd has over 20 years of experience as a leader in the nonprofit sector. He has served in a wide variety of roles, guiding digital marketing, technology, fundraising, eCommerce, and communications strategies. His expertise in developing systems and processes has helped launch organizations and sustain growth over time.