Data Hygiene: Keeping Your Donor Database Clean

Data Hygiene: Keeping Your Donor Database Clean

Imagine a monthly donor contributes to your organization’s latest campaign. When they signed up for your monthly giving program, they listed their address as “123 Smith Street.” However, when they gave their additional contribution, they listed their address as “123 Smith St.” 

At first, this may not seem like a very big deal. Both addresses are technically correct, so what’s the harm? The issue is that when this information is entered into your CRM, your system may create a new profile. If your CRM doesn’t alert you to duplicates, this may go unnoticed.

The result? You could forget to thank the supporter or accidentally solicit another donation at an inappropriate time. This can lead to upset or insulted donors, hurting your organization’s donor retention and reputation. 

Unclean data is unusable data. Keep your donor database clean and organized to ensure you’re reaching out to the right people at the right time to build stronger relationships. 

This means you’ll need to re-examine your data at regular intervals. In this guide, we’ve laid out the activities you should complete to ensure your data is up to date and the timelines on which you should complete these activities. All of these insights are taken from Bloomerang’s donor management ebook and are designed to help nonprofits do more with the information they collect. 

Maintain the information you collect on a daily or weekly basis.

On a daily or weekly basis, your nonprofit needs to maintain the information you collect and save in your donor database. We recommend setting a dedicated time on your calendar either daily or weekly to conduct the updates that need to be done on a regular basis. 

Some of these regular maintenance activities include: 

  • Entering new data. You should record new information gained from interactions with donors, notes from meetings, and data from surveys and other engagement metrics in your CRM as soon as possible. 
  • Updating existing data. Your donors’ lives change on a regular basis. If you encounter these changes, go ahead and update your database to reflect them! For example, your donors might get married, change their names, move homes, get new jobs, etc. Updating records that are pulled by your billing software for recurring payments is particularly important to keep transactions running smoothly.
  • Backing up your database. Some donor database software automatically updates your organization’s data to the cloud or a hard drive. However, they don’t all do so! To avoid losing important information about your supporters and fundraising efforts in the event of a crash, be sure you back up this information as frequently as possible.

If you have integrated systems, some of these input and information updates will occur automatically. For example, if your donation forms integrate with your donor database, the information collected as people contribute to your cause will be automatically uploaded into your database. If not, you’ll need to manually pull files from your donation system and upload them to your CRM. 

Perform monthly maintenance activities. 

You may not perform other maintenance activities on a daily or weekly basis, but you should keep up with them frequently to keep the data in your database clean. Performing monthly data hygiene activities not only helps keep your information clean, but it also keeps your staff members updated with the latest information about your organization and its campaigns. 

Complete the following activities on a monthly basis: 

  • Identify and merge duplicate records. Remember the example we cited earlier on about a donor writing “St” instead of “Street” in their address? Simply formatting information in a different way or having a typo in a form can lead to an accidental duplication of a record in your CRM system. Regularly identify and merge these duplicate records to be sure all supporter information is kept in a single location, allowing you to reach out to them and build relationships based on the most accurate data. 
  • Run reports to update your team members. You keep more than donor data in your nonprofit CRM. Consider which metrics are most important to your organization, your supporters, and your team members. Generally, these are the metrics most directly tied to your organization’s goals. Pull reports regarding your progress and share them with your team members so they know if they’re achieving their goals.
  • Review fundraising campaign activity. Some of your more specific goals for your organization may involve your various fundraising campaigns and activities. Whether you’re hosting a capital campaign, monthly recurring gift campaign, peer-to-peer fundraising campaign, or a one-time event, keep your staff members informed about the progress of your various initiatives by reviewing your activity. This keeps them motivated and determined to reach those specific goals. 
  • Review your LYBUNT and SYBUNT lists. LYBUNT and SYBUNT stand for “last year but unfortunately not this” and “some year but unfortunately not this,” referring to when donors contributed to your organization. These are the supporters you’re trying to re-engage now instead of later. Because the recapture rate for lapsed donors rests around 4%, these lists should be kept up to date to prevent losing supporters to begin with. 

Performing monthly check-ins is not only important for your donor data hygiene, but it’s also the key to keeping your team updated with the latest information regarding your goals and initiatives. Block off a time on your calendar each month to report on necessary metrics and check in on your donor data. 

Revisit your strategic plan every three to six months.

Revisit your strategic plan. Don’t wait until the end of the year to determine if you’re hitting your goals. If you’re not performing to your expectations, you can make tweaks or changes to ensure that your campaign is a success by year’s end.

Every quarter or biannually at your nonprofit, there are several large-scale updates that you should make to ensure your fundraising team is working with the most accurate and descriptive information possible and that this information is being leveraged to its fullest potential to help your nonprofit achieve its goals. For example, donor data can help inform how much your development director should be raising

Invest in advanced data services to build out the information in your donor database and create more complete pictures of your supporters. 

According to NPOInfo’s guide, there are three main types of appending services that you can use to get a more comprehensive picture of your supporters: 

  • Forward services add new information about your supporters based on what you already know. For example, from someone’s full name and address, you can find information such as their birthday or their phone number. 
  • Reverse services allow you to fill in the gaps in your current information based on what you have. For example, if you have a phone number for a supporter, you can reverse append information such as their full name and email address. 
  • Fractional appending allows your nonprofit to sort data to find the specific information you need and add it to your database. For instance, if you have a supporter’s email address and name, you can use that to compile a number of data points about that supporter, and choose what you need to add— such as their birthday. 

Gathering information is one of the most useful tools that you can use to reach your supporters and show them you care. You can further personalize communications with them to craft the most applicable messages and engage them further. 

Next, revisit your strategic plan to be sure you’re on track to hit your annual goals.

Make sure you’re on track to hit your nonprofit’s goals. If you wait until the end of the year to check out how well you kept to your strategic plan, it’s more challenging to identify where your campaigns and activities may have fallen short of expectations.

However, if you check in on a regular basis, you’ll be able to determine where your team is off track and adjust your plans accordingly. This will help you make sure you achieve and hopefully exceed all of your goals by the end of the year. 

Update your database frequently.

On a frequent basis, you’ll need to update your database with some of the important changes that occur on a less frequent basis. For example, conduct updates such as: 

  • Run an NCOA update. On average, 10% of Americans move each year. This means you’ll need to update address information for an average of 10% of your donor database on an annual basis. Use the National Change of Address database to be sure you have the latest address information for your supporters.
    • Run a deceased suppression. If a donor hasn’t given in the last two years, the chances that they will return to your organization to give again is around 2.2%. Therefore, instead of using your energy to recapture these lost donors, focus on retaining the supporters you still have! Purge your donor list of those who haven’t donated to (or engaged with) your cause in more than three years, except for those who have volunteered or those who are board members. According to one study, 16% of donors lapsed because they passed away. A deceased suppression will alert you to anyone in your database that has passed away. Removing deceased individuals from your mailing list can save you the embarrassment of appearing insensitive to a surviving spouse or household member who is receiving mail addressed to their deceased loved one. 
  • Update business partner information. While businesses don’t generally move or change quite as frequently as individuals, you should still make sure you have the updated information for each of your for-profit partners. Update your contact information and revisit their social responsibility policies to see if you can strengthen the partnership, providing and deriving additional value for both parties. 

On an annual basis, you should also review and update your organization’s policies for data management. Standardize the way that you enter information and abbreviate words (Street vs. St.), and assign who is responsible for making what updates. Then, train your staff members so they can make these updates. This reduces the potential for human error and ensures data is being used effectively. 

Data is only valuable for your nonprofit if it’s clean and tidy. Then, you can leverage it for segmentation, personalization, and to build relationships with donors. Use these best practices on the suggested timeline above to be sure your organization is effectively sorting, organizing, and updating the information you store about supporters. 

Three people talking as one works on a computer

6 Common Challenges with Marketing and How To Solve Them

Finding new ways to reach and engage donors is a continual challenge for nonprofit marketing professionals. Effective marketing requires being creative, staying aware of ongoing trends, and navigating obstacles efficiently. Of course, there are still several common challenges that most nonprofits’ marketing strategies will encounter.

Facing challenges is a normal part of the marketing process, and what matters most is how your nonprofit responds to them. Do you first devote more time and resources to the problem? Attempt to minimize its impacts? Hold a meeting to reevaluate your nonprofit’s strategy?

Each of these approaches can be the correct solution depending on the specific challenge and the resources your team has to invest in resolving it at that time. Of course, the first step to overcoming many common challenges is to conduct research and determine if an equally common solution already exists. To help your nonprofit with that research, this article will explore six common marketing challenges:

  1. Lack of a Defined Audience
  2. Unclear Lead Sources
  3. Unready Website
  4. Data Silos
  5. Poor Follow-Up
  6. Attaining Board Buy-In

For most nonprofits, the most common marketing challenges will be related to their digital strategy. This article will explore specific strategies for overcoming these problems, though keep in mind that often the most effective approach to technology-related issues will be reassessing how your nonprofit uses software and potentially investing in a new solution.

1. Lack of Defined Audience

Who is your nonprofit marketing to? While your marketing team may be aiming to attract a wide variety of audiences, creating materials that are too broad can inadvertently limit the number of supporters who will take interest in your nonprofit.

To define your audience, first assess your current supporters. Identify their shared characteristics, such as demographics, engagement trends, and interests. Use this information to divide your audience into several unique groups with similar goals, problems, and motivations. By defining multiple audiences, you will be able to better tailor your messages to each group, increasing the likelihood they will engage with your content.

Additionally, try varying your marketing strategies depending on the group you are targeting. Remember, not every supporter needs to be invited to every event, participate in every fundraiser, or read every article your nonprofit creates. For example, you may hold a gala specifically for your older major donors, as well as a 5K targeting younger, more active supporters.

2. Unclear Lead Sources

A marketing campaign is effective if it earns your nonprofit new leads who later become donors or volunteers. If your nonprofit lacks an established framework for tracking leads, it can be difficult to determine if your marketing campaigns were successful.

Use lead-tracking methods and resources such as:

  • Tracking links
  • Analytics tools
  • Donor survey questions
  • Referrals

Track clickthrough rates and popular landing pages to discover which links are resulting in supporters visiting your website and which of your pages are the most successful at attracting supporters.

Other marketing materials may require taking a more indirect tracking approach. For example, perhaps your nonprofit creates a matching gift video promoting corporate giving opportunities and includes it on your website homepage. Some donors who immediately apply for a matching gift may have been influenced by your video, while others may have done so independently.

To determine the video’s effectiveness, nonprofits could compare the overall volume of matching gift applications before and after posting the video to check if there was a notable increase. Alternatively, the nonprofit could create a follow up survey specifically for completed matching gift applications with a question asking how they learned about the matching gift process.

3. Unready Website

Your website is one of your strongest marketing tools, providing donors with key information about your nonprofit and leading them towards converting. A website that looks unprofessional, is difficult to navigate, or is generally unengaging can negatively impact the extensive work put into your external marketing materials.

If your website has a high bounce rate, session times, or low conversions, you may need to update it. To leverage your website as a marketing tool, ensure that it is:

  • User-friendly. Your website’s navigation should be as intuitive as possible. Improving your website’s interface often requires an outside perspective to understand how new visitors are most likely to interpret your navigation. To create a more user-friendly interface, gather a group of volunteers and run tests such as card-sorting. Ask volunteers to reach a certain page and narrate their thought process aloud, providing insight into the decisions and assumptions a person may make while navigating your website.
  • Optimized for mobile. Optimizing your website for mobile ensures your audience will be able to use your website no matter what device they are using. Most CMSs will automatically create mobile-friendly versions of your webpages. However, it can be worthwhile to take the time to adjust the mobile version of your pages further to reduce load times, streamline navigation, and minimize scrolling.
  • SEO ready. You can increase organic traffic to your website by improving your search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. SEO best practices can increase the chances that your content will appear on the search results page for keywords related to your nonprofit. You can improve your SEO by creating content, such as blog articles, that are optimized for keywords your supporters are likely to search. For example, an animal shelter might write an article for their blog that’s optimized for the keyword “local no-kill shelters.”

If your nonprofit is in need of a new website, DNL OmniMedia’s nonprofit website design guide recommends partnering with a consultant.

A nonprofit marketing and website design consulting service can create a new website designed to your nonprofit’s specifications that also makes use of marketing best practices. For example, consultants will have insight into where to strategically place calls to action, what images best inspire action, and how you can create campaign pages that will be shared across social media.

4. Data Silos

Your nonprofit collects data from a variety of sources and sends messages to numerous staff members to take action on that data. However, nonprofits are often slowed down or experience outright interruptions in their work due to data not moving as it should and instead getting siloed in specific databases or systems.

Data silos are a common occurrence and can be particularly challenging if they occur during a marketing campaign. As your outreach efforts require receiving and sending an extensive amount of messages, it is essential that internal feedback, donor messages, and engagement data all flows to your marketing team as quickly as possible.

You can prevent data silos by integrating your various software solutions. This ensures information in one database will be automatically updated in another system, rather than requiring a manual migration. Some platforms, such as Salesforce NPSP, can integrate with a wide variety of native and third-party applications, making it easier to synchronize your software and eliminate data silos.

5. Poor Follow-Up

Once your marketing campaign attracts a new donor, what steps does your nonprofit take afterwards? Nonprofits that only focus on the initial conversion and have limited follow-up are unlikely to significantly grow their donors’ value or make long-term connections necessary for cultivating major gifts.

For each of your marketing strategies, ensure you have a follow-up procedure in place. This can be as straightforward as sending automatic thank you messages to donors who give under a specific amount and flagging donors who give over that threshold for additional follow up, such as a thank you card or phone call.

This applies to fundraisers and events, as well. After participating in an advocacy campaign, peer-to-peer fundraiser, virtual gala, silent auction, or any other activity your nonprofit hosted, reach out to donors to thank them for their participation and provide next steps to continuing their involvement with your nonprofit.

You can improve your follow-up by using an email authoring tool. These tools allow you to construct follow up emails and welcome series for each event or campaign you host. You can also create separate emails for those who didn’t participate, invoking a sense of FOMO that will provide another call to action to attend your next opportunity.

6. Attaining Board Buy-In

When planning a new marketing campaign, ensure that one of your strongest assets, your board, is being leveraged to improve your campaigns rather than acting as an obstacle. When launching a new marketing campaign, include your board in your stakeholders to consider to help attain their buy-in early on.

While planning your marketing campaign, consider strategies for getting your board involved and how you can pitch these strategies to your board members. Some board members will naturally be more ready to help with your fundraising campaigns than others, but there are several steps you can take to make your board more fundraising-friendly overall. These include:

  • Setting expectations. Does your board already think of fundraising as one of their responsibilities? If not, consider how you can reset expectations to get them more involved in your marketing strategy. In your board members’ job descriptions, ensure you include specific details about how you expect them to contribute to fundraising. Then, when presenting a new campaign, write out a description for how you would like board members to get involved and have specific roles in mind that you can delegate to each member.
  • Addressing common concerns. Board members often hesitate to take part in fundraisers due to common concerns and misconceptions about marketing. For example, a board member may express that they wouldn’t know what to say when conducting outreach. You could address this concern by providing board members with fundraising scripts, conducting orientation sessions, and walking them through the details of your marketing plan.
  • Providing resources. Marketing and fundraising are ultimately skills, and you can help your board attain them by providing necessary resources. These can include basic tools all of your board members will likely appreciate, such as message templates and scripts, and more intensive solutions for specific members, such as training courses. NXUnite’s guide to fundraising training suggests looking for workshops tailored specifically to board members, which can help them manage their board responsibilities and fundraising work, as well.

Making your board a part of your outreach strategy can lend your marketing campaigns additional credibility and access to new networks. Work with board members to tailor your marketing approach to specific donors they have a connection with, improving your ability to steward major giving prospects.

Marketing is often resource-intensive, requiring a significant amount of your budget and time to acquire new donors. To ensure your marketing efforts lead to a high return on your investment, have strategies in place to overcome common challenges, from defining your audience and ensuring you have internal buy-in to preparing your software for your next campaign.

Carl Diesing Author Photo

Author: Carl Diesing, Managing Director

Carl co-founded DNL OmniMedia in 2006 and has grown the team to accommodate clients with on-going web development projects. Together DNL OmniMedia has worked with over 100 organizations to assist them with accomplishing their online goals. As Managing Director of DNL OmniMedia, Carl works with nonprofits and their technology to foster fundraising, create awareness, cure disease, and solve social issues. Carl lives in the Hudson Valley with his wife Sarah and their two children Charlie and Evelyn.

Nonprofit Website Design Made Easy: A Digital Guide

Your nonprofit’s website is a powerful tool to expand your reach. With more and more people spending time online, your website can help you gain supporters from all over the world and make people more passionate about your cause. However, if your website doesn’t stand out from the crowd, it’ll be much more difficult for your organization to prove that it’s worthy of people’s support.

A tried and true way to improve your website’s digital presence is through designing an engaging website. With a well-designed website, you can maximize support and increase revenue, helping your organization better reach its goals.

Web design can be an easy process for anyone, even for people without previous design or technical experience. In this guide, we’ll walk through how to streamline the entire website development process. Use these key tips to create a well-designed website:

With a strong website, your organization can effectively market itself and turn casual site visitors into loyal supporters. Let’s begin.

Choose a nonprofit website builder.

A content management system (CMS), or a nonprofit website builder, can streamline the design process so your nonprofit can focus on creating great content. The right website builder will offer nonprofit-specific features that enhance the user’s experience and offer all the tools you’ll need to engage supporters effectively.

To support your programming and fundraising efforts (and grow your supporter base), choose a nonprofit website builder with the following features:

  • Embedded forms. Your nonprofit will need forms for a variety of purposes, such as facilitating event sign-ups, collecting donations and contact information, and more. Rather than sending your supporters to an external website, your nonprofit website builder should allow you to easily create forms directly on your website.
  • Social media integration. Social media integrations can help your nonprofit easily advertise fundraisers and programs so current supporters can stay in-the-know and new supporters can learn about your organization.
  • Customizable templates. Coming up with a website theme on your own can be difficult, which is why a website builder with built-in templates is a must-have in order to simplify the process. The right website builder will allow you to use their templates and adjust them to match your nonprofit’s unique style, allowing your nonprofit to stand out online.
  • User-friendly interface. If your site has a slow loading speed and is hard to navigate, you might face a significant drop in support. Your website builder should come with accessibility features—like a straightforward layout and accessibility widget—that promote a positive user experience and encourage users to interact with your site’s content.
  • Blog. To engage supporters and keep them informed, you should actively maintain a blog on your website. Here, you can post new projects your nonprofit is working on, spotlight volunteers or people who have been positively impacted by your nonprofit, and upload educational guides to help people learn about your mission. Choose a website builder that allows you to create and customize a blog roll.

Getting started with all these tools might take time and require additional support. Your nonprofit website builder should offer training on how to use its system as well as live support from web developers. This way, you can use these features as efficiently as possible and reduce your stress.

Brand your website.

By customizing your website to be unique to your nonprofit, you’ll be able to build brand recognition and help supporters feel more connected to your organization. With added brand awareness, site visitors will start to see your organization as credible and will be more likely to turn into loyal supporters.

Include the following features to boost your branding strategy and create a professional-looking website:

  • Color scheme. Pick colors that work well together and use them throughout your website. This will create a consistent feel that ties your website together. Your colors should make your website visually appealing and help users feel more engaged with your content. If possible, choose colors that relate to your organization’s values. For example, if you’re an environmental organization, colors like brown and green give an earthy feel, which will help supporters feel more connected to your cause.
  • Font. Use the same one or two fonts throughout your website to create a seamless reading experience. For instance, you can use one font for all the headers and another font for the body text. Choose fonts that are legible and have a clean, professional look.
  • Layout. Each page on your website should have the same general layout to create a unified appearance. Use your website builder to create a custom layout that will automatically apply to each webpage.
  • Logo. Create a simple yet effective design that conveys your organization’s values and allows someone to easily recognize that this logo belongs to your nonprofit. Once you have a well-designed logo, display this prominently at the top of your website to help build brand visibility and strengthen relationships with supporters.

Remember that the key to developing your brand is simplicity. If you make your web design complicated or distracting, users will be more likely to click away from your website. Create a clean design that intrigues users but allows them to focus on your website’s content.

Create event landing pages.

Your nonprofit will likely host events and fundraisers to help advance your mission. In order to effectively market your event, you’ll need well-designed event landing pages. An event landing page is a designated page that gives supporters a complete overview of your event. This way, existing and new supporters can easily learn about your event and sign up.

To make your event landing pages visually appealing and informative, include:

  • Time and place. Put this information boldly on your event landing page and include a countdown clock, so supporters know exactly when and where your event is taking place. If you’re hosting a virtual event, be sure to include details on how to access it, such as a Zoom conferencing link and password if needed.
  • Topic of event. Let supporters know the general details of your event and why it’s taking place. Be sure to emphasize how the funds raised from this event will benefit the community.
  • Branding. Your event landing page should feature the same branding style as the rest of your website. Include consistent font, color scheme, and page layout so donors recognize that this event is being run by your organization.
  • Registration form. Help donors sign up easily for your event by embedding a registration form onto the event landing page. This streamlines the process and makes it more likely supporters will fill out each prompt. Make it clear if your event requires an entrance fee, then include a billing information prompt in your registration form.

Your event landing page should motivate people to sign up, so get creative and point out all the highlights of your event. Tailor your event landing page to your audience so you can appeal to their interests and compel them to want to join in on the fun.

Optimize your website for mobile devices.

By extending your website’s reach to mobile users, you’ll be able to get more people to learn about your nonprofit and bring in more donations. After all, people are spending more time on their phones than ever. Why not prioritize your audience’s convenience so they can engage with your website right from the palm of their hand?

According to Morweb, the best nonprofit websites include the following mobile-friendly features:

  • Appropriately sized text and visuals. No matter what size screen your users are on, they should be able to clearly see your website’s content. This means that all images and text should automatically resize to fit smaller screens and maintain the website’s readability.
  • Easy-to-complete forms. All forms—especially your donation page—should be accessible and quick to fill out for mobile users. People using mobile devices shouldn’t have to do too much pinching or scrolling to fill out their information.
  • Clickable buttons and links. All buttons and links should work for mobile users and take them to the appropriate place on your website.

Not sure how to optimize your website for mobile devices? No sweat! The right website builder will automatically optimize your website for mobile devices so all users can engage with your content.

Create a strong donation page.

In order to develop an effective online fundraising strategy, you’ll need a well-designed donation page. A donation page that is accessible and visually appealing will attract more donations and help your nonprofit boost its revenue. Plus, donors who have a positive experience on your page will be more likely to give again,

Your donation page should include the following to maximize support:

  • Visuals. Include photos of volunteers, staff, or people your nonprofit has positively impacted. This helps build credibility for your organization and humanizes it so donors can better connect with your nonprofit. Plus, providing a photo or video of someone directly benefiting from your nonprofit lets donors see how their funds will be used. Under these visuals, write a few sentences telling this person’s story to help your supporters emotionally connect with your cause.
  • Limited number of prompts. Your donors should be able to quickly fill out your donation page. Stick to the most important information, like name, phone number or email, and billing information. You can always ask for more information once you’ve retained people as loyal supporters.
  • Matching gifts tool. Did you know there’s an easy way to double (or triple) your donations? By adding a matching gifts tool to your donation page, donors can easily search if their employer has a matching gifts program and whether they’re eligible. If they’re eligible, donors’ contributions will be matched by their company, increasing their impact and the revenue your nonprofit will receive. According to 360MatchPro’s fundraising statistics, an estimated $2 to $3 billion is donated through matching gift programs annually. This is a great opportunity for your nonprofit to strengthen its fundraising strategy and give donors a more rewarding donation experience.
  • Payment processor. In order to safely transfer donors’ funds to your nonprofit, you’ll need a nonprofit payment processor. A payment processor protects donors’ billing information so they can feel confident giving to your organization. Plus, you can feel confident knowing that you’ll receive all donated funds.

As with all of your nonprofit’s webpages, make sure to use consistent branding on your donation page. Branding builds credibility and will help drive more site visitors to your page so you can increase revenue. As a result, your nonprofit will be able to better reach its goals.

The Gist

Nonprofit website design doesn’t have to be complicated! The right nonprofit website builder will streamline the process and make it easy to build a beautiful website. With a strong digital presence, your nonprofit can reach more people and take its digital fundraising strategy to the next level. Good luck!

This guide walks through eight tips for designing nonprofit logos.

Our Top 8 Tips and Tricks for Designing Nonprofit Logos

Whether it’s a portrait of a mythical siren in a green circle, a “swoosh,” or a red-and-white Play button, logos are all around us. Many for-profit companies—from local businesses to internationally known brands like Starbucks, Nike, and YouTube—use logos to identify their products and services and sell them to consumers. But nonprofit organizations just as much to gain from a logo as these for-profit businesses!

Your nonprofit’s logo is essential to an effective marketing strategy. It allows your audience to get an idea of who you are and what you stand for with a single glance. Plus, when you add a logo to each of your marketing materials, it helps your mission to stick in their minds.

Every nonprofit can benefit from a well-designed logo, whether your organization is just starting out or has been around for some time and wants to take its branding to the next level.

In this guide, we’ll walk through all you need to know to start designing nonprofit logos, including:

Using the tips and tricks in this guide will put you well on your way to creating the best logo for your nonprofit. If you need help or have questions along the way, don’t hesitate to reach out to nonprofit graphic designers who can work with you on all things related to logos.

Learn what makes a good nonprofit logo.

What Makes a Good Nonprofit Logo?

The most important aspect of a logo is that it reflects what you want your nonprofit’s brand to look like. Branding is what makes your nonprofit stand out in your supporters’ minds, and your logo is the center of that brand. After all, when people talk about “branded communication” or “branded merchandise,” they’re usually referring to something that features an organization’s logo.

When designing your nonprofit’s logo, make sure to use your nonprofit’s brand:

As far as logos are concerned, tone refers to how the design reflects your organization’s mission and values. Your logo influences how your supporters perceive your nonprofit, so you’ll want to make it memorable, impactful, and unique.

To see these ideas in practice, let’s look at an example: the WWF logo. Pandas are one of the most vulnerable animals that the WWF has made it their mission to protect. They’ve been using a panda image in their logo for so long that audiences around the world instantly recognize the design. The organization also uses a similar graphic style and black-and-white color scheme across their website and social media.

The WWF has one of the most recognizable nonprofit logos.

Start designing a nonprofit logo with these eight tips.

8 Tips for Designing Nonprofit Logos

Whether you’re designing your nonprofit’s first logo or your organization is rebranding, you’ll need to put a good amount of time and effort into the process. Get started with these eight helpful tips:

1. Start with your mission statement.

Your nonprofit’s mission statement is the core of all the work you do. So, naturally, you’ll want to express it through your logo design. Supporters should be able to tell, generally, what your nonprofit does with a quick glance.

You can connect your nonprofit’s mission to your logo design by following these three steps:

  • First, carefully read over your nonprofit’s mission and vision statements.
  • Second, write down whatever words, symbols, and images come to mind when you think of your mission.
  • Finally, consider what logo colors could be associated with the ideas you’ve brainstormed.

One example of a nonprofit with a mission-centered logo is Feeding America, whose mission is to ensure equitable access to food for everyone in the United States. The grain stalk “growing” from the two I’s in the logo is a common symbol related to food security. The colors they chose also work well with their mission—green is associated with peace and life, and orange is associated with friendliness and affordability.

Feeding America’s logo places the nonprofit’s mission front and center.

2. Brainstorm on paper before moving to digital design platforms.

When you create your nonprofit’s logo, you have a lot of options in terms of what digital design tools to use. But your most valuable tools might just be a pencil and paper.

In many cases, it’s easier to navigate the features of a digital design tool when you already have a visual reference for what you want the finished product to look like. Plus, if you’re working with a professional graphic designer, you may be able to get your ideas across to them more effectively with a sketch than if you just wrote down or told them your vision for your nonprofit’s logo.

3. Keep it simple, but make sure it stands out.

Good graphic design is all about balance, especially when it comes to creating logos. On one side of the spectrum, you need to make your logo stand out from other similar organizations so that supporters recognize your nonprofit. But on the other side, simpler designs are more memorable and tend to stand the test of time.

The Girl Scouts logo design is a good example of this balance. They use a basic color palette of white, black, and their trademark green in their logo, which is made up of their name and just one shape. But that shape is a trefoil, which is distinctive to the Girl Scouts because it represents the three points of the Girl Scout Promise. The organization makes their logo even more memorable (and delicious!) by selling shortbread Girl Scout Cookies in the trefoil shape.

The Girl Scouts logo is simple but stands out.]

4. Make sure all text is readable.

To make your logo stand out, you might want to write your organization’s name in a unique font, have the words read in a direction other than horizontal, or use standout colors for text. Those ideas are all well and good—as long as you can still read the words easily.

If your logo uses a custom typeface or has vertical or diagonal text, it’s often best to make the words the main focus of the design. Bold text colors are also generally more readable than pastels or light neon shades. But whatever color you choose, make sure it contrasts with the background (light-colored text on a dark background or dark text on a light background tends to work well).

For example, the Trevor Project’s logo does a great job of giving text a unique look but ensuring it’s readable. Whether it’s against a light or dark background, the logo’s orange text is striking and contrasts well. And even with the vertical direction and hidden star, the text is fairly easy to read.

the Trevor Project logo has unique-looking but readable text.

5. Design with your audience in mind.

A good logo design will resonate with your nonprofit’s audience. Besides being able to identify your nonprofit by its logo, your supporters should relate to the logo in some way.

To create a logo your supporters connect with and understand, you’ll want to do some research on these audience-related topics:

  • Demographics, such as age, gender, location, and family status.
  • Psychographics, which refers to your audience’s interests, values, beliefs, and motivations.
  • Direct feedback, because after you make inferences about your audience from their demographic and psychographic characteristics, you can test your logo design on some supporters and adjust it based on their reactions.

The Humane Society of the United States is an example of an organization with a logo design that fits their audience. The logo is shaped like the country where their supporter base primarily lives and includes a variety of animals that audience members may be interested in helping.

The Humane Society has an audience-centered nonprofit logo design.

6. Remember that your first idea may not be your best idea.

You don’t have to make the perfect logo on the first try. When your organization creates its first logo, the design will be more effective if you revise it several times based on feedback from inside and outside your nonprofit. 

Also, if you’re designing a nonprofit logo with your audience in mind, you’ll probably notice that your audience will change over time. Both for-profit and nonprofit organizations will rebrand and roll out new logos when they feel it’s time to adapt to a new social climate. So, keep in mind that your logo will be most effective if it evolves with your audience’s needs and interests.

The YMCA is one nonprofit that has rebranded several times in its long history. The two black-and-red, sharp-edged logos that the organization used throughout the 20th century contrast strongly with the version they started using in 2010. The new logo has softer edges and uses a variety of colors to appeal to modern audiences. Plus, it focuses on the letter Y to emphasize inclusion, but it also includes the acronym YMCA because the organization is still known by both names.

the YMCA used a sharp-edged, bold logo design throughout the 20th century.

The YMCA added a second nonprofit logo with just the letter Y in the 1960s.

The YMCA rebranded in 2010 to a modern nonprofit logo.

7. Create several versions of your logo.

Once you’ve settled on one new logo design, you’ll want to create several versions of it. Each place where you use your logo will have a different amount of available space, so you’ll need a logo that can fit each one. For example, you’ll be able to fit a much larger logo on a t-shirt than you would on a social media graphic.

Designing your logo as a vector will come in handy so you can change its size without affecting image quality. If you need help with this, contact a professional graphic designer. Also, you’ll want a few variations of your logo to fit the aesthetic of each piece of content you create.

To look at an example, the United Way uses several different versions of their nonprofit logo across their marketing materials. They have a main color logo with the organization’s name and a symbol, one with the same elements in black and white, and a version with only the symbol and no text. Each design is obviously a variation on the same theme, but different versions work in different situations. For instance, the black-and-white logo is the easiest to print, and the symbol-only version fits well in tight spaces.

The United Way uses several versions of their nonprofit logo, including this classic one.

The United Way uses several versions of their nonprofit logo, including this black-and-white one.

The United Way uses several versions of their nonprofit logo, including this image-only one.

8. Experiment with your designs in context.

When your logo design is finished, you’ll put it on every piece of marketing content your organization creates, including:

  • Your website
  • Email newsletters
  • Social media posts
  • Branded merchandise
  • Signs or billboards
  • Direct mail
  • Print and digital flyers

To make sure you like how your logo looks and envision how it will fit into each content type, create a few sample designs. Once you come up with some ideas that work well, add the samples to your organization’s brand guide for reference over time.

charity: water is one nonprofit that uses its logo in creative ways across different marketing materials. For example, they used it in place of a title on a flyer that gives an overview of their organization, and they made a physical version of the design to fit into an Instagram photo.

charity: water used their logo as the title of a fundraising flyer.

charity: water made a physical version of their nonprofit logo for an Instagram photo.

These tools can help you design effective nonprofit logos.

Tools to Get Started With Designing Nonprofit Logos

As mentioned previously, there are a number of graphic design tools available to help you create a logo for your nonprofit. Some of our favorites include:

  • Canva
  • DesignMantic
  • Adobe Express

These tools all work well for beginner graphic designers and can easily be used in-house. But if you want to take your logo design to the next level, your best bet is to partner with nonprofit graphic designers.

Kwala is a graphic design service that connects nonprofits with a team of experienced professionals. These designers then work with nonprofits to create logos as well as a variety of other graphics. Their subscription model gives your organization an unlimited number of designs and revisions each month for a flat rate. If you want to try out Kwala’s services before committing to the monthly rate, you can also request a quote on a one-off project.

Design your nonprofit logo using Kwala's services.

Wrapping Up: Additional Logo Design Resources

A strong logo is central to your nonprofit’s branding and marketing, which fuels your ability to make an impact. Ultimately, your logo should reflect your organization’s mission and resonate with your audience. Use the tips in this guide and the resources available to you—particularly the help of nonprofit graphic design experts like those at Kwala—to help create the best logo for your nonprofit.

For more information on nonprofit logo design, check out these resources:

In this guide, we'll cover how to start an effective nonprofit blog.

How to Start An Effective Nonprofit Blog

So, you’ve decided to join the exciting world of nonprofit blogging. Your website’s blog lets you tell your nonprofit’s story in your own words, update audience members about your events and activities, and even engage with a new audience of potential supporters.

But just like any marketing endeavor, you must approach nonprofit blogging strategically. Your posts should be intentional, engaging, and informative. This helps your organization build a professional reputation and ensure your content meets your online engagement goals.

With that in mind, we’ll explore these five steps to starting an effective nonprofit blog:

  1. Set goals for your blog.
  2. Find your storytelling style and voice.
  3. Create a content strategy.
  4. Craft your graphic design strategy.
  5. Promote your blog.

Of course, the very first step of starting a nonprofit blog is ensuring that your CMS supports blogging capabilities. Popular platforms like Drupal and WordPress have built-in blogging features that make it easy to get your new blog up and running. Once you’ve determined a blog is an actual possibility for your organization, you can launch into the following steps.

1. Set goals for your blog.

After deciding to launch a blog for your nonprofit’s website, you might have some lofty ambitions in mind, such as entering the ranks of the best nonprofit blogs and inspiring thousands of new supporters to join your cause. Certainly, it’s good to dream big and aim high.

But when you’re first starting, set specific, achievable goals that you can feasibly reach given your organization’s time and resources. For example, you might identify goals such as:

  • Traffic goals. For instance, you might aim for 700 blog views within your first three months or 1,500 unique visitors in your first year.
  • SEO goals. Create keyword-optimized blog posts to improve organic search-related traffic. Perhaps you’ll aim to have at least three blog posts rank on page one of Google search results for specific keywords.
  • Conversion goals. Adding links to your donation page in blog posts can help boost your online fundraising. Perhaps you want to increase your fundraising revenue resulting from blog posts by 20% within six months.

Your blog can be an effective tool to increase awareness of your mission and encourage more donations and volunteers. By setting specific goals, you can more easily measure progress toward these ambitions.

2. Find your storytelling style and voice.

A blog allows you to be creative and speak directly to your audience. Work on cultivating a unique voice—this is the tone you use to address your audience and the feeling you wish to convey to readers. Having a distinctive, engaging voice can set your blog apart and make your posts more memorable.

As you develop your blog voice, think about your target audience—what tone of voice will they respond to best? For example, younger audiences may prefer a more casual style, while older audiences often appreciate more formal and authoritative writing.

Also, consider your nonprofit’s overall brand—what image or personality are you trying to convey? Would you like to come off as a helpful teacher introducing new concepts to your audience or a friend speaking casually about the activities and programs you have going on?

Here are a few words you might use to define your blog’s tone:

  • Authoritative and reassuring
  • Friendly and casual
  • Playful and upbeat
  • Witty and humorous
  • Emotional and inspiring

For example, according to Kanopi’s guide to healthcare web design, medical-focused websites often take on an authoritative, professional tone to reassure potentially anxious visitors seeking medical help. On the other hand, an organization that seeks to increase voter registrations among young voters might use an upbeat, witty, and playful tone to appeal to young adults.

Create a style guide for your blog that describes your unique tone and storytelling style. Include examples of words and phrases to use and ones to avoid to match the brand personality you’re looking to cultivate.

3. Create a content strategy.

Your content plan will be the bread and butter of your nonprofit blogging strategy. Having a clear blogging plan ensures that your blog roll will stay updated with new, thoughtful, and well-researched content. This shows supporters that your organization is active and continually working on new and exciting projects, initiatives, and events.

Follow these steps to build your blog’s content strategy:

  • Recruit a blogging team. Who will write the posts? Who will take photos and videos at events? Who will draft the posts and publish them online? Decide whether these tasks will be taken on by one or multiple people. Meet with your blog team regularly to assign responsibilities and ensure everyone is on the same page.
  • Define your SEO objectives. Use a tool such as Google Keyword Planner or Moz to identify high-traffic keywords relevant to your nonprofit’s mission. Create clear guidelines for ensuring all posts are SEO optimized, such as using headings to structure posts, including keyword mentions throughout the text, and writing alt text for all images.
  • Create a posting calendar. Create a rough posting calendar that aligns with your blog goals. For instance, to reach your SEO objectives, make sure you’re consistently writing keyword-optimized posts. If you already have certain events on your nonprofit’s calendar, plan to publish wrap-up blog posts the week after the event.
  • Establish a verification process. The facts, statistics, and data in your blog posts should be true and accurate. Including misleading or incorrect information can damage your credibility among supporters. To avoid errors slipping through the cracks, create a process for double-checking facts before pushing your posts live. Make sure at least two people read through your posts before publishing.

Your content strategy doesn’t have to be set in stone—it can be a rough outline that you adjust when necessary. Current events will undoubtedly impact your organization throughout the year, so you can write posts as needed to address recent developments and news stories as they come up. But outlining a plan ahead of time ensures that your blog won’t become stagnant or outdated at any point.

4. Craft your graphic design strategy.

Images can stir emotions, inspire empathy, and ultimately lead to visitors feeling a deeper connection to your cause. Double the Donation’s guide to nonprofit web design says it best: “humans are a visual species, so information that’s conveyed in a visual way is more immediate and visceral.”

Establish your graphic design strategy up front to ensure your blogging team is on the same page when designing graphics and choosing images. Ask yourself the following questions while developing your approach:

  • Will you use infographics? How will you design and format these images?
  • What fonts and brand colors will you use in infographics?
  • Where will you source blog images? Will you use any stock photos or only original photography?
  • What types of images will you use as feature images? For example, do you want all feature images to show people? Do you have any guidelines for choosing stock images for feature photos?

As you build your graphic design strategy, take some time to standardize your blog post layout. Include specific guidelines in your brand style guide for the font styles and sizes, colors, button types, post margins, and other stylistic elements of your blog posts. This ensures consistency, even if multiple team members are uploading posts.

5. Promote your blog.

Once you start creating well-researched, informative blog content, you’ll need a way to drive traffic and increase engagement with your posts. Marketing your blog posts can increase awareness of your blog, boost your website traffic, and introduce more people to your mission.

Promote your blog across platforms such as:

  • Social media. Post links to your new blog posts on any social media sites you use—Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, etc. Pull out interesting quotes or statistics from the posts to include in your captions.
  • Email. Include recent blog posts in your weekly or monthly email newsletters. You might even create exclusive blog content or sneak peeks just for email subscribers.
  • Paid advertising. Promote blog posts using Google Ads to help capture both paid search engine traffic, supplementing your SEO efforts. Consider applying for the Google Ad Grant program to earn $10,000 per month in Google AdWords funds. This can allow you to pursue a paid advertising campaign without spending more of your marketing budget.

You can grow your blog audience quickly by promoting your content regularly across each of these platforms. The more eyes you can get on your blog posts, the wider your audience of potential new donors, volunteers, and other supporters will be.

Adding a blog to your nonprofit’s website can be a great way to revamp your online presence and grow awareness of your mission. By following these steps, you can ensure that your blog is a valuable, trustworthy resource for learning more about your cause and how to get involved.

Allison Manley is the Director of Marketing & Communications for Kanopi.

Author: Allison Manley, Director of Marketing & Communications for Kanopi 

Allison is a recovering (and award-winning) designer who applies her creative and organizational skills to marketing strategy for Kanopi. Her diverse, multi-disciplinary background — which in addition to design includes glassblowing, publishing, podcasting, and figure skating — contributes to strong relationships to which she offers a broad perspective.

Her job is to tell the story of Kanopi by sharing information, writing, working with staff and partners, and keeping the brand cohesive across all channels. When not keeping the Kanopi brand on point, Allison is working on double jumps on an ice rink, chasing small children, or organizing something somewhere.

Mobile Optimization: 5 Reasons it Matters for Nonprofits

You’ve heard it time and time again: optimizing your website for mobile devices is crucial. Your website goals probably include engaging with donors, volunteers, and other supporters, and encouraging them to stay involved for the long term. A mobile-optimized website can support these goals and help you drive more online traffic. 

Specifically, we’re going to discuss five reasons why mobile optimization is so important for nonprofit websites: 

  1. Most people spend a large portion of their day on their phones.
  2. Mobile donations are more popular than ever.
  3. Social media use is also increasing globally.  
  4. Mobile optimization is a Google ranking factor. 
  5. Mobile load speed affects bounce rate.

The best nonprofit websites engage and excite supporters whether they’re using their laptops, tablets, or phones to connect. Let’s take a closer look at why you should emphasize mobile-friendliness when designing your website. 

1. Most people spend a large portion of their day on their phones.

Research shows that the average smartphone user spends five to six hours per day on their phone. People use their phones for everything from online shopping to binge-watching TV shows, messaging loved ones, and ordering food. 

Therefore, your nonprofit’s supporters expect to be able to connect with your organization using their mobile devices. The first step to keeping donors close is appealing to their preferences by offering them a way to engage with and learn more about your nonprofit from the palm of their hand.  

2. Mobile donations are more popular than ever.

Supporters want to be able to give any time, anywhere, without having to pull out their laptops to do so. To attract and retain donors, you must offer plenty of convenient, simple donation opportunities, including a mobile-responsive giving page and text-to-give options. Your supporters should be able to easily fill out and move through the donation process on their phones without squinting or having to pinch their screens and zoom in.

3. Social media use is also increasing globally.  

Creating mobile-friendly marketing content is also critical for increasing engagement with your social media campaigns. 78% of social media users worldwide only use their mobile devices to access social media platforms. Plus, 55% of people who engage with nonprofits on social media eventually take some sort of action, whether that’s contributing monetary or in-kind donations, volunteering, participating in advocacy campaigns, or attending events.  

Developing social media campaigns that look great on mobile devices, with elements such as vertical videos and mobile-friendly landing pages, should be a priority for your organization. 

4. Mobile optimization is a Google ranking factor. 

Since 2015, Google has used mobile-friendliness as an SEO ranking factor. That means that to improve your site’s chances of ranking higher on search engine results pages, you must ensure it’s mobile-optimized.

To create a mobile-optimized website that ranks highly on Google, keep the formatting and design simple, ensure your text sizes are large enough to be read on mobile devices, and review and edit your site in the mobile view to check for any formatting issues. When you combine these efforts with other SEO best practices, such as optimizing your website’s pages for relevant keywords, you can help your content become more visible on Google and drive more traffic. 

5. Mobile load speed affects bounce rate.

A mobile-optimized website is not only crucial for SEO—it’s also a central element in creating a better visitor experience. That’s because visitors expect a streamlined, fast-loading mobile website experience. In fact, 53% of visitors will leave your website if your mobile pages take more than three seconds to load. 

If you’re planning to reformat your website’s mobile version, keep web design best practices in mind. Decrease load times by resizing and compressing images, leveraging browser caching, and eliminating unnecessary characters and spaces from your code. 


If you’re running into any roadblocks when trying to create a mobile-optimized website, reach out to a nonprofit web design firm for support. These experts can help you carry out audience research and develop a website revamp strategy with your organization’s unique branding and goals in mind. 

Whether you tackle your website design in-house or with the help of an experienced professional, these five reasons make it clear that mobile-friendliness should be a top priority.

13 Types of Fundraising Flyers to Market Your Organization

When your nonprofit develops a marketing plan, you’ll probably brainstorm some of the content you’ll create for several popular communication channels, including your website, email, social media, and direct mail. To make your nonprofit stand out, consider branching out from these typical marketing methods and adding a new—but also traditional—marketing channel: fundraising flyers.

Fundraising flyers have been around for years, whether they were attached to bulletin boards,  handed out at events, stacked in a bin by the front desk, sent in the mail, or delivered door-to-door. While paper flyers are still an effective way to draw attention to your cause, digital fundraising flyers open up even more opportunities for nonprofits.

Fundraising flyers come in all shapes, sizes, and content types. In this article, we’ll help you incorporate the types of fundraising flyers that will be most helpful to your organization into your marketing strategy by answering these questions:

Designing fundraising flyers can be highly rewarding for your organization, but it can also come with challenges. If you’d like help getting started or have any questions along the way, you can reach out to a graphic design service that will work with you on all your fundraising flyer needs.

Key information to include on fundraising flyers

What information should be on a fundraising flyer?

The exact information you include on a fundraising flyer will depend on your organization’s current goals and the delivery method you choose. For instance, you’ll prioritize different details on a mailer promoting an ongoing fundraising drive than you would on a downloadable digital flyer advertising a one-time event.

There are a few common pieces of information that should always be on fundraising flyers, including:

This checklist shows essential fundraising flyer information.

  • Your organization’s name and logo. These foundational pieces of your nonprofit’s brand will allow supporters to identify that the flyer belongs to your organization immediately. In addition to increasing brand recognition, these elements make it stand out from any other flyers they may see.
  • Consistent visual branding. Aside from your name and logo, you’ll want to use your nonprofit’s brand fonts and colors to cement the connection between your flyer and your organization. While you’re focusing on these elements, ensure that your flyer is legible—for example, use dark-colored text on a light background or light-colored text on a dark background.
  • The title and purpose of your fundraiser. Supporters will only want to get involved if they know what they’re putting their time and money towards. Give your fundraiser a catchy name and explain its goals clearly on the flyer.
  • How supporters can participate. If you’re hosting an event, put the date, time, and location on the flyer. If you’re promoting a different fundraising method, such as a product fundraiser or in-kind donation drive, include the different ways in which supporters can contribute (online, in-person, via text, etc.).
  • Any benefits of participating. Supporters will have extra motivation to get involved in your fundraiser if they see on your flyer that they can enter a raffle, earn a prize, or enjoy a fun activity by participating. If you aren’t offering these incentives, place extra emphasis on the positive impact that supporters can make by contributing.
  • A specific call to action. Include a link or QR code where interested supporters can go to give to or register for your fundraiser as soon as they see your flyer, accompanied by a noticeable call-to-action phrase like “Sign Up Today!” or “Click Here to Donate Now!”
  • Contact information for your organization. Some supporters might have questions or want to learn more about your fundraiser before they commit to participating. To help them out, add a line of text to the bottom of your flyer that says, “For more information, contact us at…” followed by a phone number or email address.

Above all, your fundraising flyer should be helpful to supporters, so plan the content and style of your flyer with them in mind.

fundraising flyer content types

What are some fundraising flyer content ideas?

In some ways, the name “fundraising flyer” can be a bit misleading as it may sound like it applies only to flyers that promote traditional donation drives. In reality, you can use a fundraising flyer to promote whatever fits with your organization’s current goals, whether that’s non-standard fundraisers or even fundraising-adjacent initiatives.. These nine content ideas are great places to start.

This list shows an overview of 9 fundraising flyer content types.

1. Organizational overview flyer

If your nonprofit is relatively new, trying to reach an untapped group of potential supporters, or promoting your annual fund, you may want to create a flyer explaining the basics of who you are and how you make a difference. This way, you can connect new supporters to more resources after they get an overview of your mission and impact. While you may gain donors in the process, the main result will likely be increased awareness about your nonprofit that you can leverage for future support.

Elements to include

  • A more prominent logo than on other types of flyers.
  • Your organization’s mission statement and core values.
  • Examples of major impacts you’ve made, supported with statistics and images.
  • A link to the homepage of your website and/or a contact form.

Example: charity:water

this charity:water fundraising flyer is an example of the overview type.

2. Giving Tuesday fundraiser flyer

Your organization likely relies on receiving many donations on Giving Tuesday, but you’ll need to make your nonprofit stand out from all the others that will be vying for gifts. Sending out a fundraising flyer well in advance will allow your supporters to mark their calendars, know where to go to donate, and learn about any perks you may be offering in exchange for donating that day.

Elements to include

  • The Giving Tuesday hashtag or logo in addition to your organization’s.
  • Special initiatives happening that day, like one-time matching programs or raffle entries for each donation made.
  • Photos illustrating the impact supporters’ donations can make.
  • A link to your donation webpage (either your regular one or a special one set up for the day).

Example: YMCA

This YMCA fundraising flyer advertises a Giving Tuesday challenge.

3. In-kind donation drive flyer

Fundraising flyers aren’t just for collecting monetary donations—they also work well for in-kind donation drives. Spread the word about your next food drive, clothing drive, school supply collection, or other need that can be fulfilled with gifts of physical items by designing a flyer.

Elements to include

  • A list of items that need to be donated (and anything your organization can’t accept).
  • Start and end dates for the drive.
  • How donations will be collected—for example, indicate whether they’ll be picked up from supporters’ homes and workplaces or if they need to be brought directly to your organization.

Example: Community Food Bank

This Community Food Bank of Southern Arizona flyer promotes an in-kind donation drive.

4. In-person event fundraiser flyer

Attract more attendees to your organization’s next event by distributing flyers far and wide. Because in-person events often require large upfront costs, attracting participants to come and make donations is key to an effective event fundraiser. A flyer is also a great way to put all the basic information that supporters need to know in one place.

Elements to include

  • The title, date, time, and location of the event.
  • A short description of what participants will do at the event.
  • Some ways in which attending the event will make an impact.
  • The names and logos of your event’s sponsors.

Example: American Red Cross

This American Red Cross fundraising flyer advertises an in-person event.

5. Virtual event fundraiser flyer

Using a flyer to advertise your organization’s virtual event has similar effects to advertising an in-person event. You’ll just need to include slightly different details and keep the design a more simple as you’ll probably distribute the flyer via digital channels only. The flyer should be easy to download and skim for supporters who may quickly scroll past it.

Elements to include

  • A more concise, image-heavy description of the event, its impact, and its sponsors.
  • Any relevant links and instructions for how to participate virtually.
  • The date and time if applicable, or a note that participation is flexible.

Example: Coats’ Disease Foundation

This flyer from the Coats' Disease Foundation markets a virtual event fundraiser.

6. Raffle fundraiser flyer

If supporters have a chance to get an appealing prize in exchange for donating, tell them about it by making a flyer for your raffle fundraiser. Distributing this type of flyer in print or on social media is especially effective since you’ll likely get entries from supporters who have never engaged with your nonprofit before but notice the raffle prize. Once they enter, you’ll be able to send them more information about your mission and encourage further involvement.

Elements to include:

  • A small-print description of your nonprofit’s purpose at the bottom of the flyer so that you can feature the prizes more prominently.
  • Specific details about and images related to the prizes.
  • Where to buy raffle tickets and how much each ticket costs.
  • The drawing and prize pickup dates.
  • The name and logo of the organization(s) providing the prizes.

Example: PURRfect Partners

This fundraising flyer markets a raffle for PURRfect Partners.

7. Product fundraiser flyer

If your organization is raising money by selling a product, give people everything they need to know via a flyer. Photos of branded merchandise, food, holiday decorations, or household items are eye-catching, encouraging participation by showing off the rewards that supporters will get when they donate.

Elements to include

  • The products you’re selling, their prices, and any other significant details (like materials or allergen information).
  • Start and end dates for the sale.
  • A link to your online shop or other information on how to purchase items.

Example: Girl Scouts

This flyer markets a Girl Scouts product fundraiser.

8. Specific fundraising initiative flyer

Your nonprofit can spread awareness of new donation programs, major funding needs, or initiatives targeted at specific groups by highlighting them on fundraising flyers. Audience analysis will be especially helpful in this situation to ensure that you distribute your flyer in ways that your intended donors will notice.

Elements to include

  • Your mission statement front and center, no matter how well recognized your organization is.
  • Lots of details about the initiative’s purpose and rationale, supported by statistics.
  • Multiple ways to give.

Example: United Way

This United Way flyer describes a specific fundraising initiative.


9. Volunteer opportunity flyer

Your organization can use flyers not only to attract donors, but also to bring in volunteers. You’ll still help to fulfill important needs, and volunteers are likely to engage with your nonprofit again in the future—and eventually donate—once they’ve seen your impact firsthand. You could choose to make a large flyer explaining all the volunteer openings your nonprofit is trying to fill or several smaller flyers highlighting specific opportunities.

Elements to include

  • A description of what volunteering opportunities entail, supported by images.
  • Benefits both to your nonprofit and to volunteers.
  • The date, time, and location of each opportunity.
  • Several ways to sign up or contact your organization.

Example: Habitat for Humanity

This Habitat for Humanity fundraising flyer shows volunteer opportunities.

format ideas for fundraising flyers

What are some fundraising flyer format ideas?

In addition to the variety of content types that you can use for your fundraising flyers, you can design them in several different styles. Each format type is suited for different delivery methods, and although you could use any style of flyer with any content you wanted, some types below and in the previous list pair particularly well.

This list shows an overview of 4 fundraising flyer format types.

10. Classic poster-style flyer

When you think of a flyer, the first thing that comes to mind is probably a rectangular poster about the size of a piece of printer paper. These are probably the most versatile style of flyer—in digital form, they’ll be small files that download quickly from your website; and you can print many copies in-house to deliver door-to-door or post around your community with permission.

Best content types for this flyer style

  • Raffles
  • In-kind donation drives
  • In-person and virtual events

Example: American Heart Association

This American Heart Association flyer is an example of the poster style.

11. Mailer-style flyer

When you start a direct mail marketing campaign, include a flyer with information and updates on your organization to illustrate the impact that donations will make. Alternatively, mail out flyers individually to spread awareness of your organization.

Best content types for this flyer style

  • Giving Tuesday
  • Specific initiatives

Example: BRAC

This fundraising flyer from BRAC is an example of a mailer.

12. Uniquely shaped flyer

Anyone can make a rectangular flyer, and nearly all organizations will. To make yours stand out on a bulletin board or in the mail, try designing your flyer in a different shape. It could be the outline of your logo, a shape related to your mission (such as a paw print for an animal shelter or a stack of books for an education-focused nonprofit), or an important item to the fundraiser you’re advertising (like a running shoe for a 5K or a can of soup for a food drive).

The main drawbacks to uniquely shaped flyers are that they can be more time-consuming to produce in-house since your staff or volunteers will have to cut each one out individually, and a print shop may charge more for each one. But if you really want to make your flyer stand out, these extra costs will be worth the added benefit of grabbing supporters’ attention.

Best content types for this flyer style

  • Anything that doesn’t require too much explanation as you may have less available space than on a rectangular flyer, but where you want to catch people’s attention.

13. Brochure-style flyer

For fundraisers where you need to go into extra detail in the marketing materials, creating a tri-fold brochure instead of a single-page flyer will maximize the available space on a standard piece of paper. These may take longer to download digitally than a poster-style flyer, but they’re just as easy to print many copies of so that each supporter can take one and refer back to it later. If you need help creating an effective three-column layout, reach out to an experienced designer.

Best content types for this flyer style

  • Organizational overview: Include a variety of statistics and photos of your impact.
  • Product fundraiser: Show all the items you have available for sale in detail.
  • Volunteer opportunity: Give supporters several options for involvement.

Example: Make-a-Wish

This flyer from Make-a-Wish is an example of a brochure.

resources to design fundraising flyers

How do I get started with designing fundraising flyers?

When you decide to make any content type or style of fundraising flyer for your nonprofit, you have two main options for creating the design. First, someone within your organization can make the flyer themselves. There are a number of nonprofit graphic design tools available to help you, each of which offers a range of templates and features so that you can choose the program that best fits your needs.

But if you run into challenges when trying to create a flyer in-house or want to take your design to the next level, you can partner with expert graphic designers. Kwala is a graphic design service that connects nonprofits with a team of experienced professionals. Their subscription model gives your organization an unlimited number of designs and revisions each month for a flat rate. If you want to try out Kwala’s services before committing to the monthly rate, you can also request a quote on a one-off project.

This screenshot shows Kwala's services.

Wrapping up: Additional fundraising flyer resources

No matter what content or format type you choose, fundraising flyers are a great way to market your nonprofit. Spread awareness and spark engagement by creating a flyer for your organization today!

For more information, check out these resources:

Check out these nonprofit marketing ideas to help expand your organization's reach.

Nonprofit Marketing Ideas: Promote Your Cause Effectively

Nonprofit marketing is the key to growing your organization, gaining support, and having people show up to your events. Without marketing, there’s no way for people to know about your nonprofit and all the great work you’re doing.

It can be difficult to come up with effective marketing strategies for a variety of reasons. Maybe you’ve been in the marketing world for a while and feel like your marketing plan could use a refresh. Perhaps you’re constrained by your organization’s small marketing budget. Or maybe you’re completely new to the nonprofit marketing space and have no idea where to start.

Whatever your position is, we’re here to offer a comprehensive list of nonprofit marketing ideas to choose from to help you successfully promote your organization’s work. Take a look at the categories we’ll go over:

Here at Getting Attention, we specialize in teaching nonprofits about the Google Ad Grant program. Google Ad Grants are one surefire nonprofit marketing idea that comes at no cost to your organization. We believe that when paired with other nonprofit marketing ideas, the Google Grants program can skyrocket your promotional efforts and build the support your mission deserves.

Schedule a free consultation with Getting Attention to learn about how Google Grants is an effective nonprofit marketing idea.

We have many nonprofit marketing ideas to cover, so let’s get started!

These are the basics of nonprofit marketing.

What is Nonprofit Marketing?

Nonprofit marketing is the process of strategizing and planning ideas that will help your organization spread its reach and mission, obtain donations, and recruit supporters like volunteers, board members, and event attendees.

You’ve developed an organization that stands for a good cause. However, what you can do in service of your mission is limited by how much others know about your nonprofit. You certainly can’t take on something as big as ending the climate crisis or saving endangered animals without the help of others. That’s where effective nonprofit marketing ideas come in.

While nonprofit marketing is necessary for all organizations, it’s not always easy. You must be organized and focused on the goals you have for your nonprofit. Once you figure out the nonprofit marketing tactics that work for your nonprofit, they can help your organization by:

  • Spreading awareness of your mission. At the heart of your organization is your mission or cause. Nonprofit marketing can let people know what your organization is working so hard to achieve.
  • Securing donations. The more you can share your organization and its mission with others, the more potential donations you can receive.
  • Building relationships with donors. Of course, any monetary contributions your organization can obtain are useful, but recurring donations allow for a more stable income. If you can communicate with your donors effectively, they’ll be more likely to continue supporting your organization.
  • Gaining other supporters. Donors are just one group who can help out your organization. Don’t forget about volunteers, board members, and event attendees. Effective nonprofit marketing ideas can help you reach all kinds of people who are willing to assist you in achieving your mission.
  • Showcasing your services. Your nonprofit has a mission, but how do you specifically carry it out? Knowing exactly what your organization provides will inspire people to contribute to your nonprofit, and a comprehensive marketing plan can help highlight your services.Effective nonprofit marketing ideas can help your organization achieve these objectives.

Now that you know just how useful the right nonprofit marketing ideas can be, we’ll go over some strategies for how to use them effectively. We’ve split these ideas into different categories based on the overall outcome they will have for your organization.

Here are some nonprofit marketing ideas for developing your organization's mission.

Nonprofit Marketing Ideas For Developing Your Organization’s Mission

Without a clear focus, it will be difficult to promote and operate your organization. That’s why developing your organization’s mission is so important. It provides the basis for your nonprofit’s values that likely govern what your organization does, how your employees approach their work, and how others see your organization.

Here’s how to get started with crafting your nonprofit’s mission:

There are many different nonprofit marketing ideas that can help you develop your nonprofit's mission.

  • Create an original nonprofit taglineIt’s important to be able to sum up your mission in a short phrase or sentence. That way, people interested in your work can quickly get a sense of what it’s all about.
  • Come up with design, personality, and attitude guidelines. Cohesiveness is key. Not only do you want your marketing materials to match your mission, but the way your employees act should as well. Be clear with how you want your employees to represent your organization so that everyone knows your standards.
  • Change up your look. If your organization has been around for a while, it might be worth thinking about changing your logo or branding. Doing so can freshen up your online presence and show people that you’re committed to modernizing your organization.
  • Provide information about your nonprofit’s goals and progress. Being transparent about what your organization is trying to achieve and the results you’ve gotten so far will help people to get a sense of where their help could fit in. It’s also just good practice for your nonprofit to be honest and forthcoming about its operations.
  • Exude confidence. If you want people to become a part of your organization, then you need to first believe in your work yourself. List your organization’s strengths so that people can see all the ways you excel as a nonprofit. In turn, people will be more willing to support your organization since it gives off a robust and self-assured image.
  • Incorporate storytelling. It’s the classic dilemma: showing people the work your organization has done is way better than just telling them the services you provide. Gather stories and quotes from those your organization helps so that people can develop a personal connection to your organization. Seeing the impact your organization has on real people will help others understand exactly what they could contribute to.
  • Develop a stable marketing plan or strategy. Staying organized for any task requires making a plan, and marketing is no different. A comprehensive nonprofit marketing plan will map out what you want to achieve in the near and distant future to give your efforts some direction.

Once you have a good understanding of your organization’s mission, it’s time to get online and spread the word.

Here are several nonprofit marketing ideas for using technology effectively.

Nonprofit Marketing Ideas For Using Technology Effectively

In today’s media age, productive technology use is the key to marketing success. Using technology effectively can amplify your organization’s outreach even further and spread your mission to more people. Try out these tech-savvy nonprofit marketing ideas:


It’s important to have a strong nonprofit website to showcase your organization and cause. Here are some website nonprofit marketing ideas:

  • Make a website. A well-designed website for your organization is the perfect place to start. It’s the most widely recognized online marketing tool that people of all ages can comfortably use on any device. Ensure that yours is easy to use and features all the up-to-date information that potential donors, volunteers, employees, supporters, and clients need to decide if they would like to be involved with your organization.
  • Create a blog. Content marketing is a great way to share what’s going on within your organization and provide relevant information about your industry. Writing lots of blog content will show that you’re a reputable source for industry and nonprofit-related topics. Also, people searching for topics you feature in your blog could stumble upon your organization’s website and become interested in supporting your cause.
  • Write engaging copy. Informing people about your cause will warrant a lot of writing. To make your copy easy to follow, break it up with graphics and try to be as concise as possible. It can also help your copywriters if you indicate what you’re envisioning for your brand’s voice and tone.
  • Work on your content’s SEO. SEO, or search engine optimization, is what ensures your content gets found on Google and other search engines. Do some keyword research to find what relevant terms people are searching for and incorporate them into your website and blog.Here's a checklist of nonprofit marketing ideas for your organization's website.

While these ideas are an effective way to strengthen your site, there are plenty of other nonprofit marketing strategies out there.

Social Media

Social media is the perfect way to engage with your younger supporters. Check out these nonprofit marketing ideas for social media:

  • Build out your social media accounts. Social media is always changing, but it’s important to stay on top of the trends and new platforms. As of right now, Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, TikTok, and Snapchat are the places to be. Lean into trends and adapt them to your organization for a fun yet relevant social media presence. If you have room in your budget, it might be beneficial to hire an intern to run your social media accounts so that your content stays fresh.
  • Make videos. Videos often allow you to portray and elicit emotion in a way that images can’t. If you have the resources to do so, try creating a short video related to your mission and post it on YouTube, your website, and your social media channels.
  • Establish a connected online presence. None of your online marketing tools should exist in a vacuum. Connect your website, blog, and social media accounts together to provide a cohesive user experience. For example, provide the link to your website in the bio of your social media accounts and feature your social media accounts on the homepage of your website. Making it easy to jump from platform to platform will ensure that users can find the one that best suits their preferences for interacting with your organization.Here's a checklist of nonprofit marketing ideas for your organization's social media.

After you have developed your nonprofit’s website and social media accounts, remember to follow all general digital marketing best practices.

General Online Nonprofit Marketing Ideas

Finally, take a look at these general nonprofit marketing ideas to improve your organization’s online presence:

  • Utilize multiple marketing channels. Marketing comes in all different forms, and it’s important to leverage as many of them as you can. Combine emails, phone calls, direct mail, social media posts, and website updates for the most comprehensive marketing strategy. You’ll want to try different avenues so you have the biggest chance to capture your audience’s attention.
  • Include calls to action. To inspire action, tell people how they can help create change. Maybe you include a button in one of your blog posts linking to your donation page. Perhaps you add an event registration link to your email newsletter. Making it easy for people to take the actions you want them to makes it more likely that they’ll respond accordingly.
  • Take advantage of virtual events. The boom of video chatting platforms in the workplace has opened up doors for virtual events. Now, you can plan an event that reaches hundreds or thousands of people all around the world. Host a panel or share some updates about your organization with your supporters for an engaging online experience.Here are some general nonprofit marketing ideas.

Smart technology use can push your mission forward and help you gain support. However, it can get expensive to create so much content across different platforms, so it’s important to know how to budget your marketing plan.

Here are some nonprofit marketing ideas for keeping your costs down.

Nonprofit Marketing Ideas For Keeping Costs Down

Nonprofits are typically on tight budgets, but that doesn’t mean that they can’t market their causes effectively. They just need to be smart about how they use their funds. Here are some ways you can promote your organization while keeping costs low:

  • Create a marketing budget. What better way to stay on a budget than by creating one in the first place? It’s important to allocate your resources where they will be most useful and stay aware of how much money your organization has available to spend.
  • Print strategically. These days, there’s less and less of a need to print things, so think about what truly needs to be printed. Additionally, try to print double-sided pages whenever possible and implement batch printing.
  • Unbrand direct mail. There’s no need to send branded envelopes if it’ll overwhelm your budget. Besides, all the important stuff is inside, right? Just make it clear that the letter came from someone at your organization, so recipients won’t think it’s junk mail and toss it.
  • Add a “Donate Now” button to your Facebook page. If your nonprofit qualifies, Facebook will add the button to your page for free. It’s an easy way for supporters to donate and requires no work from your team to upkeep.
  • Team up with a local business. If what’s holding your organization back is funds, seek out someone who can offset your marketing costs. Local businesses are often happy to pair up with nonprofits as a way to give back to their community. See if you can find a local business that will donate food or supplies for your event or keep a donation bucket in their store.
  • Use AmazonSmile. AmazonSmile is a program available through Amazon where the company will donate 0.5% of people’s eligible purchases to a nonprofit that they choose. There are over one million organizations to choose from, and making sure yours is one of them is an easy and free way to collect some extra cash. Let your supporters and employees know to select your organization on the AmazonSmile website to start earning from their purchases.Try these ideas for how to keep your nonprofit's marketing costs low.

Keeping costs down where you can will ensure that you can set aside the funds you need for bigger marketing projects and more expensive resources.

Here are some nonprofit marketing ideas for advertising your organization.

Nonprofit Marketing Ideas For Advertising Your Nonprofit

There are so many different nonprofit marketing ideas for advertising your organization’s services and making sure they’re put in front of the right audiences. This is great news because it means your organization can pick and choose the tactics that fit your nonprofit best. Check out some nonprofit marketing ideas for advertising your organization:


Marketing your nonprofit online will allow you to reach a larger audience. Here are some nonprofit marketing ideas for spreading the word online:

  • Use Google Ad Grants. The Google Ad Grant program provides eligible organizations with $10,000 per month in Google Ad spending at no cost. You just have to apply, create your ads, and you’re good to go! However, you must maintain your account and follow all program requirements. If you need help with your Google Ad Grants account, schedule a free consultation with us. We’ll help you apply for the program, target the right keywords, and create highly effective ads for your cause!
  • Encourage peer-to-peer fundraising. Peer-to-peer fundraising is when individuals raise money for a nonprofit by reaching out to friends and family. People can set up a donation page, but social media has made peer-to-peer fundraising even easier by building in fundraising options on apps like Instagram and Facebook. For birthdays, holidays, memorials, or no occasion at all, individuals who are passionate about your organization can raise money for your cause.
  • Analyze your data. These days, every action you take online can produce some valuable data points. Track and review data such as clickthrough rate and time spent on each page to see if you can find any patterns and improve your marketing efforts. This nonprofit marketing idea can be especially useful when planning your advertising budget so that you can see where money needs to be allocated.

While it’s important to advertise your nonprofit online, there are still helpful ways to expand your organization’s reach using offline methods.


Combine your online marketing efforts with these offline nonprofit marketing ideas:

  • Sell branded merchandise. Turn your supporters into walking advertisements for your organization! If you get creative with your merchandise and make it something your supporters will love, then others will be interested in what they’re wearing and research your nonprofit.
  • Find brand ambassadors. Choosing a leader in your nonprofit to be the face of the organization can help with brand recognition and familiarize people with your nonprofit. Additionally, recruiting supporters or influencers to be brand ambassadors for your nonprofit is a great way to spread the word about your organization. Yes, they can post on social media, but they can also help you host in-person events and implement your other nonprofit marketing ideas.
  • Give people a personalized experience. Whether that’s sending a letter to a donor thanking them for their support or reaching out to a supporter to deepen your relationship with them, customize the experience. People respond better when they know you took the time to give them something special and meant for them only.
  • Emulate larger organizations. It never hurts to see what other more established nonprofits are doing and try to reproduce it with your own resources. Check out their blogs and scroll through their social media pages for tips and an idea of the progression of their organization.There are so many ways you can incorporate advertising into your nonprofit marketing plan, both online and offline.

Mixing up your advertising methods is a great way to reach many different people. It also allows you to learn more about your audience and which marketing efforts they respond to best.

These nonprofit marketing ideas can help you foster relationships with partners and donors.

Nonprofit Marketing Ideas For Fostering Stakeholder Relationships

All of your supporters are important, but developing relationships with partners and donors will strengthen your organization’s network and broaden your reach. Take a look at some of our marketing ideas for nonprofits looking to recruit more partners and donors:

Developing relationships with partners and donors is not only a large part of your nonprofit marketing plan but also of your organization's reputation and credibility.

Welcoming Partners and Donors

From the very beginning, you’ll want your new supporters to feel welcome in your organization’s community. Try out these nonprofit marketing ideas for new partners and donors:

  • Send a welcome package. What better way to welcome partners and donors than with a welcome package? Include tons of information about your organization and partner or donor program. Additionally, you’ll want to give them some fun branded merchandise such as a t-shirt, pen, or mug. Doing so can get people excited about working with you and show how much you appreciate them from the very start.
  • Take them out for a meal. Having lunch or coffee with a partner or donor is a great way to develop a relationship with them. You can show them that you care about getting to know them face-to-face and can tell them a little more about your organization. This is also a great opportunity to get any feedback from your partners or donors about their work with you so far.
  • Remind them of matching gift opportunitiesIf a donor’s employer is willing to match their donation, you could receive double the funding for your organization. It’s best for donors to use software that will inform them of matching gift opportunities beforehand, but it doesn’t hurt to them let know after they have made their donation to see if their employer can help.

Once you develop relationships with your partners and donors, it’s important to keep them strong.

Maintaining the Relationship

Keeping your relationships with your supporters is an essential part of your nonprofit’s success. Take a look at these nonprofit marketing ideas to help you maintain stakeholder relationships:

  • Be strategic with the timing of your messages. It’s important to build a regular email rapport with your partners and donors, whether that be by reaching out to them individually to chat or sending an email newsletter. However, make sure you look into the best time to send these messages. This may depend on the age, career, lifestyle, and time zone of your partners and donors.
  • Reach out to lapsed donors. Just because a donor hasn’t contributed in a while doesn’t mean that they’ve lost interest in your organization. Sometimes, donors are just busy or don’t have your organization on their minds. Sending them a gift or explaining how your donor program has changed can help to re-engage lapsed donors.
  • Keep up with donors. Stewardship is an important part of maintaining relationships with donors. Build trust by following up with supporters and showing them that you are using their money responsibly.
  • Respond well to partner or donor feedback. These people are contributing to your organization, so it’s important to remember that when they give you constructive feedback. Listen to their concerns and try to make things right. Your supporters will appreciate your patience and willingness to help them out.

Forming relationships with supporters is one thing, but keeping them requires effective communication. Apply these nonprofit marketing ideas to your outreach to make sure you’re doing everything you can to create lasting connections with your supporters.

Once you have their support, it's important to keep up your communication with partners, donors, and other supporters using effective nonprofit marketing ideas.

Nonprofit Marketing Ideas For Communicating with Supporters

After you develop relationships with your supporters, you need to figure out how to keep them around. As we’ve mentioned, the best way to ensure that your supporters continue their support is by effectively communicating with them. These are some best practices for communicating with your nonprofit’s supporters:

Communication Style

The way you communicate with your supporters is inherently tied to their perception of your organization. Use these nonprofit marketing ideas to develop a good communication style with your supporters:

  • Be responsive. An easy way to keep your communication style professional is to respond quickly. Responding efficiently to people’s messages shows them you respect their time.
  • Keep a positive attitude. You want your supporters to have a positive experience with your organization, which starts with you and your staff. Approach your communications with optimism despite any challenges your nonprofit encounters.
  • Use a donor database. Keeping track of your supporters’ information and past interactions with your organization can help you make more informed decisions regarding your communication with them. For example, if you have multiple phone numbers listed for the same donor, choosing the preferred one can ensure a quicker response.
  • Implement segmentation. Dividing your supporters into appropriate categories can enable you to send more personalized messages to each group. An easy way to segment your supporters is by type of support: donors, partners, clients, brand ambassadors, board members, and so on. You could also segment supporters by how long they have been involved with your organization or by how frequently they interact with your nonprofit.Here are some nonprofit marketing ideas for improving your organization's communication style.

Improving your organization’s communication style will help you keep great relationships with your stakeholders.

Getting Supporters Involved

While it’s important for your organization to keep your supporters informed, you’ll also want to hear from them about what they think of your nonprofit. Get your supporters involved with these nonprofit marketing ideas:

  • Send out surveys. Receiving feedback from your supporters can help improve areas of your organization that need work. Additionally, the act of asking for feedback shows supporters that you care about their input and are committed to improving your nonprofit.
  • Encourage interactions on social media. If you’re using social media effectively, you can really get to know your supporters and encourage them to interact with your organization in unique ways. For example, you can create polls, ask questions in your captions, and interview supporters so you can feature them in a post or newsletter.
  • Ask your supporters about their experience working with your organization. The best way to promote your organization is by sharing quotes from real people who believe in your nonprofit. Asking your supporters to offer a quote about their experience allows them to reflect on what they enjoy about your organization and share that with others.Check out these nonprofit marketing ideas for getting your supporters involved.

Fine-tuning your communication with supporters can help to maintain your relationships with them and remind them of why they prioritize contributing to your cause. These ideas offer a solid start, but be sure to consistently brainstorm new ways to maintain open lines of communication with your community.

Take a look at these resources for more nonprofit marketing ideas.

Conclusion & Additional Resources

Developing and implementing a marketing strategy can be a lot for a nonprofit to take on, but these nonprofit marketing ideas will give you a solid foundation on which to build. From solidifying your organization’s mission to fostering relationships with your supporters, there are so many ways to promote your nonprofit and make it stand out to prospects.

While we were able to give you a quick glimpse into several marketing ideas for nonprofits, you might want some more information about them. Below we’ve highlighted some resources about ideas that we mentioned:

Donor engagement strategies to drive nonprofit support

8 Donor Engagement Strategies to Drive Nonprofit Support

Nonprofits often rely on generous donors to help fund their mission programming, general overhead costs, and more. But an organization can’t expect to sit back and watch the revenue roll in without first establishing efforts in place to identify, build relationships with, and solicit donations from its supporters⁠—which is where donor engagement strategies come in.

In this guide, we’ll walk you through eight fantastic methods that have been known to drive nonprofit support by elevating engagement levels among contributors. These include:

  1. Matching gifts
  2. Google Ad Grants
  3. Peer-to-peer giving
  4. Volunteerism opportunities
  5. Donor appreciation
  6. Segmentation and personalization
  7. Unique fundraising ideas
  8. Powerful storytelling

By incorporating these tactics into your nonprofit donor engagement strategy, you can better connect with your supporters, who will be increasingly interested in supporting your fundraising initiatives over time.

1. Matching gifts

Matching gifts are an extremely popular type of corporate philanthropy, and they’re one that places individual donors at the heart of their employers’ giving strategies. Thus, they’re not only a corporate giving opportunity, but they simultaneously function as a top donor engagement strategy for your organization.

Here’s how these workplace giving programs typically work:

  1. An individual donor gives to your nonprofit.
  2. The donor is encouraged to look into their matching gift eligibility through their employer (typically by providing access to a matching gift database or directing them to contact the company directly).
  3. The donor, upon determining that their employer offers to match gifts, completes a quick online submission form to request their corporate donation match.
  4. The employer reviews the submission and verifies that the initial donation adheres to pre-determined matching criteria.
  5. A corporate matching donation is provided by the donor’s employer, ultimately leaving your organization with two gifts for the price of one.

Highlighting matching gift opportunities can be one of the most effective ways to engage your donors⁠—and there’s a ton of research to back this up. In fact, research shows that 84% of donors are more likely to donate if a match is offered, with 1 in 3 donors indicating they’d give a larger gift if matching is being applied.

Not to mention, following up with matching gift donors after their initial contribution provides nonprofits with an additional touch point with which to ensure their mission remains at the top of the donor’s mind for longer.

2. Google Ad Grants

If your nonprofit isn’t already leveraging Google Ad Grants in your marketing strategy, you’re missing out on a huge opportunity to engage with existing and prospective donors alike. Here’s what this looks like for organizations looking to increase awareness and support for their missions:

  1. Google offers up to $10,000 in free advertising credits to eligible 501(c)(3) organizations per month.
  2. Your nonprofit leverages this in-kind advertising space to promote your cause and its fundraising efforts to supporters by targeting specific keywords.
  3. A (potential or existing) supporter conducts a Google search for a search term related to your nonprofit.
  4. Your nonprofit’s website shows up in the top spots on Google’s search engine results page.
  5. The supporter clicks through to your nonprofit’s site and decides to get involved with your cause, such as by making a donation.

Google Ad Grants are essential for increasing donor engagement on two key fronts⁠—attracting new supporters to your cause and providing additional engagement opportunities for existing supporters. By utilizing the free ad space made available by the number 1 search engine, your organization can easily put your cause in front of tons of new and recurring donors, opening up even more chances for building on those relationships.

3. Peer-to-peer giving

Peer-to-peer campaigns are a popular form of nonprofit fundraising for many reasons. Organizations hosting the campaigns are able to reach new donors (via existing supporters who take on a fundraising role for your nonprofit) while offering one of the most engaging ways for existing supporters to participate.

Supporters, equipped with customizable donation pages from the organization’s peer-to-peer platform, then reach out to their own networks of friends, family members, and more to solicit donations for a cause they care about. First-time donors are more likely to contribute when asked by a peer, rather than directly by your organization. That means this strategy enables your team to get in touch with new supporters you may not have won over on your own.

All the funding goes to your organization’s mission, and you’re left with a ton of donors who are highly engaged with the cause. From there, you can work to continue building your connection with new and existing individuals through additional donor engagement ideas. Who knows⁠—some of your brand new donors may be willing to take on a fundraising role of their own for your next peer giving campaign!

4. Volunteerism opportunities

Even your most dedicated donors don’t want their only communications with your team to be additional requests for funding. That’s why it’s an excellent idea to offer unique opportunities for involvement with your organization and its mission as a key way to further engage your donors.

And one of the best ways to do so is by encouraging donors to participate through volunteer opportunities! This can be an excellent way for donors to see your cause in a new light. Plus, getting a behind-the-scenes look through volunteerism can help inspire increased giving as well.

Not to mention, you can even monetize this engagement strategy by highlighting the potential for volunteer grants. Many donors (especially those previously determined to be eligible for matching gifts) will work for companies that provide financial support to the nonprofits their employees volunteer with. Encourage them to look into any volunteer grant programming offered by their employers to help stretch their contributions even further.

5. Donor appreciation

You probably know that it’s important to say thank you to your donors for their gifts. But do you know how important it is?

Two of the most common reasons why donors stop giving to nonprofit organizations they’ve supported in the past are 1) that they were never thanked for their gift and 2) that they were not informed about how the funding was being used. Both of these ideas together can lead a donor to believe that the nonprofit in question didn’t really need their donation in the first place⁠—and ultimately, a lack of donor engagement.

Luckily, effectively communicating appreciation for your donors can assist in solving all of the above problems. You’ll want to thank each individual donor for supporting your nonprofit with their hard-earned dollars. Not only is it the polite thing to do, but it also helps close the loop and reiterate to the donor that their contribution was received and processed successfully. Plus, you can use it as an opportunity to emphasize your nonprofit’s cause and the specific way that the donor’s gift is able to help move your mission forward.

Bottom line? Appreciated donors are more likely to become and stay highly engaged with your organization.

6. Segmentation and personalization

Unfortunately, a donation appeal that begins with “Dear donor” or “to whom this may concern” and ends with a generic request of $5, $10, $25, or $50 is not likely to produce great results. That’s because it won’t elicit the emotional connections that are required for effective fundraising nowadays.

Why not? An effective ask needs to incorporate strategic segmentation and personalization⁠—two things that, when done well, can go particularly far in terms of donor engagement for your organization. It’s what makes a donation request feel like an intimate appeal to an essential partner in your organization’s mission (which, as you know, is what your donors are).

In order to drive engagement, all messaging should be segmented. Donors should be grouped by specific characteristics with other similar individuals to receive targeted information relevant to that slice of your network. This might be in relation to donation level (small, mid-size, or major donors), geographic region, communication preferences, and more.

Further, your communications should also be personalized to each individual. That may include addressing the recipient by name, referring to a donation recently received, or anything else that shows that the message was crafted just for them.

The more you segment and personalize your fundraising efforts, the more your asks will stand out to the individual, the more engaged they will be with your cause, and the more likely they are to partake in your intended response.

7. Unique fundraising ideas

Dedicated fundraising campaigns can be some of the best ways to connect with your organization’s donors and solicit generous gifts at the same time. However, if you go for the same old, same old “been there, done that” fundraising ideas, you’re likely to face more donor burnout than donor engagement.

That’s why choosing unique, exciting, and refreshing fundraisers is such an essential part of donor engagement! And that’s not saying you have to drop your tried-and-true fundraising ideas, either. Just try sprucing them up to make them stand out, and your audience will be more than happy to participate.

For example, do you host an annual charity auction event that does well each year? Consider adding a shiny, new theme⁠—or, even better, a virtual bidding component! Not to mention, similar ideas can be used to optimize your event-a-thons, galas, and more. And don’t forget to incorporate workplace giving opportunities alongside your favorite new fundraising ideas whenever possible!

8. Powerful storytelling

Finally, the story you tell about your nonprofit and its mission-related efforts is essential for securing, engaging, and retaining donor support.

In order to bring your strategic storytelling practices to the next level and inspire more supporters to get involved, it’s important to incorporate essential elements. This should include a group or person in need of aid (your organization’s beneficiaries), a compelling hero (your nonprofit team and the donors who support your work), and a key solution (what your organization does to make a difference). From there, you’ll also want to include supporting data, an emotional narrative, sensory details, and relevant imagery when possible.

The idea is that donors feel connected to the story and desire to play a role in the solution⁠—thus, supporting (or continuing to support) your organization in its work!

Final Thoughts on These Top Donor Engagement Strategies

Your donor base forms an essential component of your overall nonprofit organization, and their engagement with your cause is critical for continuous mission success. A highly engaged donor is more likely to contribute to your cause time and time again⁠—so you don’t want to settle for base-level efforts.

Luckily, utilizing donor engagement strategies like workplace giving promotions, strategic fundraising, cost-effective marketing, and more can make a huge difference. That means it’s time to begin incorporating these ideas into your nonprofit strategy and make sure you equip your team with the tools required to do so effectively!

Want to learn more about getting donors engaged with your nonprofit organization? Browse these additional Getting Attention resources to learn more:

Matching gifts despite economic downturns and how corporate funding remains steady

Matching Gifts Remain Steady (If Not Growing) Despite Economic Downturns

Effective fundraising can be difficult in the best of times, and strenuous economic circumstances can throw a wrench in any organization’s well-laid-out plans. That said, matching gift programs remain a top source of funding for many nonprofits, and matching gifts despite economic downturns is entirely possible.

In order to best craft a matching gift strategy for your organization, it’s essential to both look at past examples and cite probable trends for the future.

Which is why, in this guide, we’ll share valuable insights into the following:

The good news is this ⁠— research shows that matching gift opportunities remain steady and are likely to continue doing so. At the same time, it’s important to equip your team with the knowledge surrounding matching gift programs, their current status in the nonprofit sector, and what you can do to set your mission up for success.

Let’s begin.

What We’ve Learned From Previous Economic Downturns

Since the conclusion of the Great Depression in 1939, the U.S. has fallen into thirteen economic recessions. In the most recent circumstances, we’ve seen the effects that difficult national (and even global) financial crises have had on one of the most popular forms of corporate philanthropy⁠—matching gifts.

Luckily, the evident impact has been largely positive, which is a benefit to the companies, their employees, and nonprofit causes around the world.

Matching Gifts in the Great Recession

The Great Recession, which occurred from December of 2007 to June of 2009, was one of the first to take place while matching gift programs were a commonplace type of philanthropy. And while many were concerned about companies taking away the giving opportunities, this didn’t tend to be the case.

In the words of Aron Cramer, president and CEO of Business for Social Responsibility, “This recession is wiping away a lot of things, but so far, corporate responsibility seems to be a survivor.” Looking back on the happenings, we’re glad to report that corporate giving continued to thrive throughout the downturns.

Here’s what a few well-known companies had to say (and do) concerning corporate giving in the 2008 recession:

General Electric is an example of a company continuously matching gifts despite economic downturns.General Electric — According to its 2008 annual report, the GE Foundation re-allocated an additional $20 million to increase its support for organizations providing communities with basic needs such as food, clothing, and shelter. In fact, General Electric’s overall philanthropic giving grew by 13.6% as compared to the previous year⁠—despite a stock price decrease of 55%.

In the words of GE’s Chairman and CEO at the time, Jeffrey Immelt, “When we come out of this fog, this notion that companies need to stand for something – they need to be accountable for more than just the money they earn – is going to be profound.”

Starbucks is an example of a company continuously matching gifts despite economic downturns.Starbucks ⁠— In December of 2008, Howard Schultz, at-the-time CEO of Starbucks Coffee Company, published a contributor piece in the Huffington Post outlining his passionate belief in the participation of corporate social responsibility. Amidst the economic downturn of the time, Schultz proclaimed that it was not the time to cut giving and other social contributions.

In his own words, the Starbucks CEO stated, “With that mindset comes the false belief that investments in people and training can wait; that corporate social responsibility can be put on the back burner.” And the idea is reflected in Starbucks’ matching gift data, as well! Not only did the company retain its matching gift program despite overall financial hardship, but it saw a 28.6% increase in matching gift totals from year over year (source: 2007 and 2008 Global Impact Reports).

Matching Gifts + COVID-19

The next recession seen by the U.S. took place between February and April of 2020 and was the direct effect of the coronavirus pandemic during the same time period. And again, many were pleasantly surprised at the charitable responses taken by tons of businesses, small and large.

Check out these companies’ matching gift responses to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting economic downturn:

AbbVie is an example of a company continuously matching gifts despite economic downturns.AbbVie ⁠— In order to aid in COVID-19 relief efforts, global biopharmaceutical company AbbVie opted to significantly increase its charitable contributions to nonprofit causes amidst the pandemic outbreak. In late March of 2020, the company announced a $35 million donation above and beyond its existing nonprofit funding⁠. This was in addition to an expanding matching gift program for its employees, offering to match team member donations at a 2:1 rate, rather than its typical dollar-for-dollar approach.

According to chairman and chief executive officer, Richard A. Gonzalez, “AbbVie is making this donation to nonprofit partners that will have an immediate and significant positive impact in communities that have been hit hardest by this unprecedented crisis. Our 30,000 AbbVie team members around the world are proud to be able to help make a difference in the fight against this virus.”

General Mills is an example of a company continuously matching gifts despite economic downturns.General Mills ⁠— General Mills, Inc. similarly chose to increase its employee matching gift program in response to COVID-19 as a way to further motivate its employees to give back to their communities. In March of 2020, the company increased its maximum matching gift amount per employee by 50%. Not to mention, when you consider General Mills’ already-established 2:1 match ratio, the company set its employees up to continue making a significant difference, resulting in over four times their initial donations’ impact.

Mary Jane Melendez, president of the General Mills Foundation, reported the following: “As a company, we have the values, insights, and partners to positively impact the lives of millions of people worldwide during this unprecedented time as the world navigates the COVID-19 pandemic. These grants will help expand food access and lend added support for many of our communities around the world.”

And it didn’t end there, either! Double the Donation compiled a list of even more key companies that chose to expand their matching gift initiatives in response to the COVID-19 pandemic⁠. This includes Apple (introduced a two-to-one ratio as opposed to their traditional dollar-for-dollar match), Google (significantly increased their matching gift cap to $20,000 per employee), Honda, Microsoft, and more.

What We Can Expect for the Future of Matching Gifts

As the U.S. economy trends downward, many are once again beginning to question the future of matching gift fundraising opportunities. Will companies cancel these programs as their own profits are in danger? Or will they up their giving efforts as their communities’ needs continue to grow?

Unfortunately, there’s no way to look directly into the future and figure out what companies will end up choosing. However, a look at the past, and an analysis of current matching gift trends, can help us craft our hypotheses.

And that being said, here’s what we can expect to occur in terms of matching gifts despite economic downturns:

Companies with existing programs will continue to match employee gifts.

First things first, most companies that already match employee donations are likely to continue doing so. A matching gift program is typically an ongoing initiative rather than something that is often canceled and re-instated at a later, more promising point in time. Most companies see matching gifts as what they are⁠—long-term, positive investments⁠—and will not opt to negate their offering, even despite a nearing or existing recession.

Not to mention, the vast majority of companies will have already established their matching gift budgets for the time being. Plus, cutting corporate philanthropy programming in order to increase business profits would be a pretty poor public relations strategy⁠. This is especially true in a time when corporate social responsibility is being increasingly demanded from businesses across the globe.

More companies will begin offering employee donation-matching initiatives.

In a recent survey, 39% of companies reported plans to expand their workplace giving programs (such as matching employee gifts) in the next two years. Regardless of challenging economic conditions, the demand for charitable-minded companies is increasing.

Employees want to work for companies that support the greater good⁠—often through nonprofit causes⁠. Not to mention, consumers want to spend their dollars in the same way by supporting businesses that care about giving back.

This is particularly crucial in a time such as now, which is being referred to as the “Great Resignation.” Individuals are leaving their existing companies in droves in order to find employment that better suits their wants and needs. For many, that means locating opportunities with companies that prioritize social responsibility and philanthropy⁠—especially to the nonprofits that they themselves support.

Thus, more and more businesses are looking for new ways to demonstrate their participation in corporate social responsibility. One of the easiest and most impactful ways to do so is with employee gift-matching, which is why employers are launching new programs every day⁠. And we expect that they’ll continue to do so!

Some employers will expand their matching gift program thresholds.

Considering how many companies opted to increase their matching gift programs during the recessions of 2008 and 2020, it can be expected that some will choose to do the same now.

Economic difficulty and community needs tend to share a positive correlation⁠—when one increases, the other follows suit. As a result, corporations see a growing demand for nonprofit services and feel compelled to do even more.

And as a bonus for nonprofits, these expanding programs tend to see particularly high levels of employee participation as well. When team members see their employers giving or offering more to charitable causes, they can be increasingly inspired to contribute their own dollars as well.

Next Steps for Elevating Your Nonprofit’s Gift-Matching

What can you do to help your organization make the most of available corporate donation-matching dollars? The #1 step you can take is ensuring your donors are aware of the opportunities in the first place.

In fact, studies show that over 26 million individuals are currently employed by companies with matching gift programs. But more than 78% of this group has never been informed about them! And, despite being eligible to participate, these individuals will be unable to secure matching gifts from their employers on your behalf if they don’t know about the programs.

So keep an eye out for companies with matching gift programs as they’re constantly changing, and new programs are being added every day. Then, be sure to educate your donors about the vast opportunities at hand⁠—and how they can get involved.

Interested in learning more about matching gifts (despite economic downturns and beyond)? Check out these other information-packed resources:

  • 14 Important Questions to Ask About Matching Gifts. You probably have some questions about matching gifts and how your organization can make the most of these programs for your cause. Read up on these frequently asked questions and answers to find out everything you need to know!
  • The Ultimate Guide to Securing Corporate Sponsorships. Matching gifts aren’t the only corporate giving program these companies are offering, either. Browse this comprehensive guide to determine the best ways to secure corporate sponsorship opportunities for your cause.
  • Matching Gift Best Practices: Raise More for Your Nonprofit. Do more with matching gifts! These tried-and-true matching gift fundraising best practices will show you how to inform your audience about the programs, simplify the participation process for donors, and much more.