White papers for nonprofits
What is a white paper?
A white paper is an in-depth report. Some white papers present a problem and provide a solution. Others explain a very technical product or service. While another type of white paper highlights the common features and benefits of a product.
The white paper is a method by which you provide additional value for your audience. With a visually appealing and easy to read layout, it’s a great tool for growing email lists or tracking event conversions from downloads. However, as a tool, the white paper is different than a blog post or an opt-in ebook. It is a serious piece of heavily researched material that does not explicitly attempt to sell something to the reader.
The white paper does not sell. It educates. It does not persuade. It explains. For this reason, conversions that come from white papers stick.
Build lasting supportIs a white paper right for your nonprofit? Here are a few questions to help you decide.
- Do you offer a complex service that benefits the community in ways that are difficult to explain?
- Does your organization represent a misunderstood or marginalized group of people?
- Are your campaigns generating a lot of interest but not much engagement?
- Do you promote a large variety of initiatives?
- Would you like to capture the attention of a niche demographic?
- Do you need to establish longterm funding for an important cause?
If you relate to any of the above, it is time to add white papers to your strategy.
Commission a white paper for your nonprofit
Prove the value of your cause
A high-vlaue prospect will often get stuck in the research phase after discovering your organization. This is a specific type of donor or volunteer. This person isn’t convinced by what they’ve read so far. They’ve bookmarked your website to return later once they have the time to do more research. Before they’ll make the next move, they require proof that what you’re doing will have real impact.
Proof is what white papers are great at. The white paper can convince a prospect to make the decision to move. Inbound channels like blogs and social media referrals attract traffic that is resourceful, careful, and skeptical. This traffic prefers to make informed decisions, comparing the pros and cons. Because they’re so cautious, you stand the chance of losing their attention. There’s a win-win solution for both you and your prospect. By giving them a white paper, you are giving them the gift of time.
With a white paper, you free them to act now. You’ve already done the research for them. You’ve collected sources they can verify. You’ve created a narrative that maps out opportunities and solutions. Best of all, because your white paper made the research phase easier, they will start their relationship with your nonprofit on any even more positive note.