Your Simple Nonprofit Marketing Guide

Updated: Jun 16, 2020

There are many challenges today facing most nonprofits. Marketing is among the biggest. Where do you find the time and money for marketing? Additionally, there are many other marketing issues today in the nonprofit sector:

  • Knowing your  target audience

  • Tracking your results

  • Building your culture and reputation

  • Technical issues - Making it happen

Unfortunately, there is also an assumption that nonprofit organizations are bad at marketing. This is one of the reasons we have partnered together -  to create this simple nonprofit marketing guide for nonprofit leaders.

Why is Marketing So Important to Nonprofit Organizations?

It’s time for a pop-quiz! What is the common purpose of marketing strategies for nonprofit organizations? The answer is different from other industry sectors. The purpose for nonprofits is to achieve a goal other than something business-related.  In other words, to help people and organizations other than your own.

Unfortunately, there is a paradox here. In order to provide services to those you want to help, you need your own resources. This is why marketing is so important. You need to place your marketing strategy into the context of your organizational goals. There are great benefits to your cause and you can make it happen.

3 Simple Marketing Strategies for Nonprofits

There are many affordable opportunities and marketing strategies for nonprofits. However, the best strategies for any business are the same. In any sector, your target audience should shape your marketing strategy.  The target market for your nonprofit can have a large impact on what you do. So you should think about who your nonprofit target market might be. Are you looking for large donors who care about the local park system? Perhaps you are looking for something other than donors. Maybe you are looking for somebody needing your funds. The specifics of your target audience will shape how you market your nonprofit. 

Once you know your target market, the second biggest consideration is your marketing plan. A nonprofit marketing plan should include the following in this order:

  1. Specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and timely goals.

  2. Create key points in your messaging that demonstrate consideration for your audience (in the tone and specifics of the content).

  3. A strategy for distributing messages along with the traditional and digital marketing tactics involved.

  4. An implementation plan including a content publishing calendar and who on the team is responsible.

  5. A method for tracking and analyzing delivered results to improve in the future.

A nonprofit with an established marketing plan will see better results. Here are some specific marketing tactics to get you started:

#1 - Marketing Grants & Fundraising

Successful nonprofits spend approximately 5-15% of their budget on marketing. This is why nonprofits are no stranger to requesting grants and fundraising. But did you know some of the biggest funding opportunities come from programs by major tech companies?  Getting set up with one of these programs could be a great start to supplementing your marketing budget. The best part of all, it costs only a little or nothing to benefit from these programs.

  • Amazon Smile - You can register your organization on Amazon to receive 0.5% of purchases made by shoppers who choose your organization as their cause. This could result in something great if you can target heavy Amazon users.

  • Facebook Social Good - This is a guide on Facebook for using their built-in tools to support your cause. You can use your Facebook page to hold fundraisers online, create a network of support during a crisis, and you can even be a mentor to others.

  • Google Ads Grants - Google will give $10,000 in ad credits a month to eligible charities to advertise themselves online. Google offers a large breadth and depth of advertising opportunities for you to reach your specific audiences.

#2 - Digital Marketing

If done effectively and strategically, digital marketing can be a very cost-effective method of marketing your nonprofit. Here are some key components of a digital strategy for nonprofits:

  • Social media marketing allows nonprofit organizations to engage with the target audience, and effectively spread awareness of their cause with emotional messaging.

  • Nonprofits can use email marketing to engage and build an ongoing relationship with potential and existing donors.

  • Mobile or SMS marketing is good for nonprofits who have a very urgent cause and need to reach out to their audience directly and quickly. 

  • A well developed and planned website is a great point for other digital marketing strategies to come together and direct a call-to-action.

#3 - Follow Through With Community Outreach

In addition to reaching your target audience directly, it’s also beneficial to include community outreach as a part of your nonprofit marketing plan. Reach out to local associations, chambers of commerce, Kiwanis clubs and other business or service networks to share your cause. You never know who they may get you in touch with. Ask municipalities and other government entities to talk about your cause on their own channels. You can even hold small press events and invite the local media. 

Are you ready to take your marketing to the next level?

Benjamin Weinberg

Benjamin Weinberg is a freelance digital strategy consultant and expert on website development, search engine optimization and digital marketing. He is also the owner of BACE Digital LLC in Orlando, FL. You can see his freelance profile on Upwork and you can follow his business on Facebook and LinkedIn.

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