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:
- What is Nonprofit Marketing?
- Developing Your Organization’s Mission
- Using Technology Effectively
- Keeping Costs Down
- Advertising Your Nonprofit
- Fostering Relationships with Partners and Donors
- Communicating with Supporters
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.
We have many nonprofit marketing ideas to cover, so let’s get started!
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.
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.
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:
- Create an original nonprofit tagline. It’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.
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.
While these ideas are an effective way to strengthen your site, there are plenty of other nonprofit marketing strategies out there.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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 opportunities. If 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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
- How to Apply for Google Grants: 5 Easy Steps for Nonprofits. One of our ideas for advertising your organization online was Google Ad Grants. If you’re interested and want to learn more about the application process, check out this article.
- Does Your Website Need Plugins, Add-Ons, or Custom Software? Creating a website is an essential part of any nonprofit’s marketing strategy. Here are some tips for how to make sure yours runs smoothly.
- Marketing a Virtual Nonprofit Event: 3 Essential Tips. We talked about how virtual events can reach a wide variety of people. This article features tips for how to market your virtual nonprofit event.