Marketing is difficult at the best of times. Rapidly changing trends, mediums, and strategies keep experienced marketers on their toes. Nonprofit marketing is even more difficult.
As nonprofits attempt to balance their need for exposure with limited available funds, the decision is often made to forego extensive marketing efforts. However, without effective nonprofit marketing then people cannot be made aware of donation drives, upcoming events, and volunteer drives.
With a lack of funds to dedicate to marketing, how can nonprofit groups reach potential donors? Is the solution to simply spend money or are there other methods of attracting awareness?
Here are some tips to take your nonprofit marketing to the next level.
Effective Nonprofit Marketing
1. Create a Blog for Your Nonprofit
Blogging is one of the most effective marketing methods available yet so many organizations do not keep a regularly updated blog on their website. In many cases, there is no blog at all.
Ideally, there should be a new blog post at least every week. Even more frequent posts would drive additional traffic. The most important thing, however, is to keep a regular schedule. Give people a reason to keep coming back to your website looking for new content.
Blogging may seem like a challenge until you begin. Regular updates about what is happening at your organization, related industry news, and other topics will be popular among donors who are interested in learning more about the nonprofit they have chosen to support. People who have not donated may be swayed by having more insight into your organization.
Best of all, blogs can be shared on social media to help increase views. Use blogs as part of your regular social media updates to keep social media pages looking fresh and interesting.
2. Try Live Video Updates
New mediums like YouTube live streaming and Facebook Live make it easy to reach social media followers and provide fresh content that they can enjoy. Do Q&A sessions live for followers, show off new facilities, or share what it’s like to spend a day volunteering.
The Facebook algorithm places high value on live videos so it’s more likely your followers will see your video when compared with text-only posts. Best of all, Facebook Live video costs nothing more than the time it takes to do the actual video.
When you are feeling more comfortable with live streaming you may wish to host a major announcement on the stream. This gives the opportunity to hype the announcement and promote the method you will be making the announcement. People will be able to prepare to tune in live and watch the stream from the comfort of wherever they may be.
3. Start a Nonprofit Podcast
Sixty seven million people listen to podcasts on a monthly basis. The media format is becoming one of the most popular ways for people to connect with personalities they wish to follow.
However, your community probably lacks a local podcast focused on nonprofits. While these type of hyper local podcasts will never be at the top of the podcast charts on iTunes or Spotify, you will be able to build a loyal local following.
Creating a podcast is relatively easy and inexpensive. Find new guests to join the podcast each week or build a regular panel featuring other nonprofit organization representatives for a regular discussion about the challenges, successes, and experiences in the nonprofit world.
These podcasts could be opportunities to promote events, share news, and discuss the topics that affect nonprofit organizations. Most importantly, the format of podcasts allows for a flexible timeframe and gives hosts the opportunity to dive deeper into issues while also presenting a unique personality that people can relate with.
4. Use Existing Contact Lists to Your Advantage
Many established nonprofit organizations have contact lists that include current and former volunteers as well as donors. These lists are often not used to their full potential. The occasional announcement is sent out through email blast but, otherwise, the lists are left untouched.
Existing contact lists are an untapped resource. These people included on the list are people who have previously interacted with your organization and shown interest in some way. In a sales-focused environment, these people would be called “warm leads.”
Establish a regular email newsletter that goes out to contacts on a weekly basis. This newsletter could share updates about fundraising events, build awareness for future events, and share general news about your organization.
Concerned that your organization may not have enough news to share in a weekly newsletter? Connect with other nonprofit organizations to create a combined weekly newsletter for volunteers, donors, and other interested parties.
5. Find a Corporate Partner
Many corporations aim to donate time and money to nonprofit organizations. Often, these corporations look for a small list of nonprofits to support rather than spreading their funds too thin.
Connecting with a committed corporate partner can help with marketing. Corporations may want to help plan a major event where their name is seen by all who attend. Working with businesses to create these events takes stress off of your nonprofit marketing budget while helping create bigger and better events with the help of corporate partners.
Corporations are also great sources for volunteers. Many businesses look at charitable work as a part of their marketing plan. When becoming involved with nonprofit organizations companies hope to be seen as a caring member of the community. Their staff can be contacted quickly and easily for help with events and donation drives which significantly reduces the need and cost of future volunteer drives.
6. Hold a Submission Contest
Need a powerful new video to share on YouTube with your loyal following? Looking for a new poster promoting an exciting initiative or event? Holding a submission contest for content from artists is a great way to build excitement and awareness while keeping costs low.
Holding an open submission period with online voting to determine the winner not only gets artists involved in the creative process but also creates excitement as artists promote their work to friends and family with the hope of being chosen.
Supplying a prize could be a part of the marketing budget or donated by a supportive donor or corporate partner. In any case, any expense that goes in to an open submission contest will likely be less than what it costs to pay an advertising agency.
7. Target High Value Donors
Of course, never forget the donors that have helped your organization through difficult times. The amount of money spent taking a high value donor for lunch is much less than what would be spent on a larger campaign trying to attract people who may never donate.
For example, spending $50 to buy a donor a nice lunch is a drop in the bucket when the donor provides a yearly donation of $1000.
In some cases, spending money on gifts for donors could also be a great way of staying top of mind with donors who have shown consistent, long term support.
Some marketing tricks are meant to reach out to people who have never donated before. However, the best marketing could be marketing that builds on existing relationships. Of course, always have a budget in mind and ensure the money being set out to show appreciation to donors is within the targets set for donation and marketing efficiency.
Be Creative with Marketing Plans
Whether you use any of the tips listed above or try your own marketing strategies, the important thing to do is to be creative and unique. Put the personality of your organization and its volunteers into every marketing campaign.
People want to feel a personal connection to the nonprofit organizations they choose to support. When you build a marketing plan, be sure to make it your own. Some ideas may work well in some communities while they fall flat in others.
Most importantly, always build a budget before embarking on any marketing endeavor. Effective marketing doesn’t have to cost a lot of money but a plan without a budget is a recipe for cost overruns and disappointment.
Ready to grow the following of your nonprofit organization? Take these effective tips, make them your own, and have fun!