Explore this ultimate nonprofit marketing guide to learn everything you need to know.

Nonprofit Marketing: A Guide for Amplifying Your Mission

Imagine this: Your nonprofit spends months planning the perfect fundraising event. You’ve planned out all the activities, lined up catering, and recruited volunteers to pull it all together. A scattering of your most active supporters register, but you don’t get the turnout that you hope. You’ve likely fallen short because of poor nonprofit marketing.

As a fundraising professional, you already know the importance of an effective marketing strategy. A comprehensive nonprofit marketing plan can spread awareness of your mission, deepen relationships with donors, engage new prospects, and better align your team with your organization’s values and goals.

However, every marketing effort has its challenges. Whether resources are tight, strategies aren’t garnering the needed results, or you just aren’t sure how to craft your next fundraising email, nonprofit marketing is no walk in the park.

You’ve come to the right place! In this ultimate nonprofit marketing guide, you’ll learn everything you need to craft a plan that makes sense for your mission. Here’s what we’ll cover:

At Getting Attention, we empower nonprofits to expand their nonprofit marketing capabilities with the Google Ad Grant. While we’ll explore that channel a bit more later, know that it’s a powerful addition to any nonprofit’s toolkit. Plus, it’s completely free!

Whether your organization is at the grassroots level or your nonprofit is more established, it’s always beneficial to ensure that your current nonprofit marketing strategy is airtight. Let’s dive in with an overview.

Contact us to learn how the Google Ad Grant can help your nonprofit marketing.

Here's a definition of marketing for nonprofit organizations.

What Is Nonprofit Marketing?

Nonprofit marketing refers to the marketing strategies and channels used to amplify an organization’s cause, solicit donations, attract new supporters, and retain existing ones. Depending on an organization’s goals, nonprofit marketing can involve several marketing activities, such as social media marketing, content marketing, and text marketing.

Organizations often create a nonprofit marketing plan to allocate their budget and time appropriately. This document outlines essentials like your core mission, tone, target audience, preferred marketing channels, and branding.

Inbound vs. Outbound Marketing for Nonprofits

When it comes to promoting your mission, choosing the right methods is paramount to your success. There are two categories of marketing methods your nonprofit can leverage:

  • Inbound marketing refers to the ways organizations gain prospects’ attention through unpaid promotion or content production. Common examples include search engine optimization (SEO), blogging, and organic social media posts.
  • Outbound marketing relies on paid methods to capture prospects’ attention and is often referred to as “advertising.” You might use Google Ads, social media advertising, radio ads, or any other paid outlet to promote your mission.

While inbound marketing methods help draw potential prospects in a natural way, outbound marketing can help connect with audiences who might not otherwise encounter your cause.

Striking the perfect balance between inbound and outbound channels will allow you to cast a wider net and reach more prospects. While paid outlets might initially seem out of your budget, know that some paid advertising platforms (like Google Ads) offer discounts or free access to nonprofits.

Nonprofit marketing costs can add up if you're not careful.

How Much Do Nonprofits Spend on Marketing?

Conducting meaningful marketing initiatives without adequate resources is like chasing a rainbow: you’ll never quite make it. Your team needs sufficient funds to support its goals, or it’ll spend all its time spinning its wheels without ever gaining traction.

While there’s no clear-cut answer to how much an organization should spend on marketing, there are a few methods you can use to calculate a smart budget:

  • The percent method: Allocate between 5 and 15 percent of your total budget to marketing, communications, and fundraising. As essential outreach activities, many organizations group these three areas together as a single line item in their budget. This budgeting method makes it easy to scale your nonprofit marketing budget as your organization grows.
  • The dollar method: Give a set dollar amount to marketing, communications, and fundraising based on past expenditures. This method eliminates the need for predictions and makes spending expectations clear.
  • The incremental method: Take the current period’s budget and revenue into account. Then, use that to adjust each line item by incremental amounts to create your next budget. This makes it easy to allocate money smartly without starting from scratch.

No method is perfect, but these are some common ones that organizations follow. Note that nonprofits often make the mistake of cutting marketing from the budget when resources get tight. However, promoting your mission allows you to stay prevalent in donors’ lives and drive more donations to keep your doors open.

Whether you’re facing budgetary constraints or simply want to reduce nonprofit marketing costs, it’s smart to reduce marketing costs by applying for grants like Google Ad Grants.

Effective marketing for nonprofit organizations can launch you toward your mission's goals.

Why Nonprofit Marketing Matters

After your fundraising team plans an exciting fundraising event or your volunteer coordinator creates new volunteer opportunities, the next step is getting supporters interested and invested. Without effective nonprofit marketing, you won’t be able to grab your supporters’ attention, let alone meet new prospects.

Effective marketing for nonprofits is easier said than done, however. You need a carefully-crafted plan with clear goals in mind and dedicated software to carry them out. This level of thought and comprehensiveness in your nonprofit marketing can benefit you by:

  • Raising mission awareness: One of your nonprofit’s biggest roles is to spread the word about your mission. Effective nonprofit marketing will raise mission awareness, ensuring that people know your mission’s goals and what you’re doing to achieve them.
  • Increasing funds: This is obvious but worth noting. When you’re able to market your nonprofit and raise awareness about your mission, you’ll naturally receive more donations.
  • Driving long-term donor support: Nonprofits don’t just thrive with monetary funds; they need long-term support. Effective marketing can build key relationships and result in more consistent and reliable donations rather than one-off gifts. In fact, Nonprofits Source estimates that the average monthly online donation is $52 (which is a total of $624 per year) compared to the average one-time gift of $128.
  • Attracting all types of support: As you craft your nonprofit marketing strategy, you might be thinking that your main goal is to get donations. However, there’s an abundance of other types of support that your marketing can help with. This includes volunteer recruitment, event participation, membership programs, and other forms of support you may have. Garnering other types of support can even lead to monetary gifts down the road. In fact, volunteers are 66% more likely to donate than non-volunteers.
  • Promoting your services: What exactly does your organization do? How does it aim to impact your mission? Your nonprofit services are an integral part of your fundraising efforts and inspire your supporters to give. With a comprehensive nonprofit marketing strategy, you can more effectively promote those services to supporters and beneficiaries.

Effective nonprofit marketing offers these great benefits.

In other words, effective outreach impacts every area of your organization. Promoting your organization is a non-negotiable if you want to achieve your mission and incite real change in your community.

Before kicking off your nonprofit marketing strategy, make sure you're aware of common challenges.

Challenges of Nonprofit Marketing

While nonprofits share overall marketing challenges with for-profits, they face unique hurdles. No one quite comprehends these challenges as well as the nonprofits that face them. Understanding what you’re up against will help you think ahead, overcoming these challenges as they arise:

  • Establishing trustworthiness. Unfortunately, there are quite a few fraudulent organizations out there posing as real organizations. You’ll need to convince prospects that your organization is legitimate, knows how to steward funds properly, and is worthy of their monetary support.
  • Selling your mission. Unlike for-profit companies, nonprofits must sell their ideas to prospects rather than a product. On the bright side, nonprofits have well-defined missions and can leverage peer referrals through methods like word-of-mouth outreach and digital greeting cards.
  • Working on a limited budget. Budget constraints make marketing difficult, even with a well-defined mission and compelling story. Paid outlets can be harder to tap into because of this. Although, the Google Ad Grants program gives free access to Google’s paid advertising platform.
  • Appealing to all audiences. Connecting with different target audiences can be difficult. For example, your older donors might prefer print outreach, while younger audiences prefer text or social media outreach. Luckily, segmenting your audiences and thinking through the messages you promote on each platform can help tremendously here.

There’s nothing your nonprofit can’t overcome with a little tenacity! Think through these challenges while crafting your nonprofit marketing strategies, and you’ll successfully connect with supporters without breaking the bank.

There are several great channels you can use in your nonprofit marketing.

Nonprofit Marketing Channels to Explore

The nonprofit marketing channels you use are incredibly important when it comes to effectively reaching your donors and meeting new prospects. With new tools making online communications easier, the list of marketing channels expands each day!

Best of all, you can use different channels in tandem with each other. A multichannel marketing approach will allow you to connect with as many supporters as possible. If someone doesn’t regularly check their email, they might still come across your social media posts. Or, maybe a text message or direct mail solicitation will inspire them to get involved.

In any case, using several channels is a great way to keep your nonprofit top of mind! The good news is you don’t need to leverage every platform for your nonprofit marketing to be successful.

Let’s walk through some of the most popular channels that can catapult your nonprofit marketing efforts forward!

These are the most common nonprofit marketing channels.

Search ads are a valuable addition to your nonprofit marketing strategy.

Search Ads

A popular way that nonprofits expand their marketing is with Google Ads, a platform where organizations display advertisements, service offerings, products, and other marketing content. Google places these ads strategically on search engine result pages to grow each organization’s online presence.

This is why many nonprofits will apply for the Google Ad Grant. This program offers nonprofits $10,000 in ad credits to spend each month. In turn, nonprofits can promote their website content for valuable keywords that their prospects are searching online. This is an incredible opportunity to not only expand your nonprofit marketing strategy but do it all without pushing your budget.

The best part? Any nonprofit that is eligible and complies with Google guidelines can use this grant. It automatically reactivates every month, too. As long as you comply with the program’s rules, you’ll add up to $120,000 to your nonprofit marketing budget each year.

It’s up to you to choose the right keywords related to your work. For example, Science Moms created a Google Ad campaign to target terms related to “fight climate change.”

This example image shows Science Moms using Google Ads in their nonprofit marketing strategy.

However, there’s a considerable learning curve for the program. That’s where an expert Google Grants agency can step in. The specialists at Getting Attention are here to champion your cause at every turn. We’ll handle every aspect of the Google Grant management process, working to understand your nonprofit marketing goals first. That way, you can focus on other areas of your mission and relax knowing your Google ads are in good hands.

Contact us to learn how the Google Ad Grant can help your nonprofit marketing.

Email marketing for nonprofit organizations is one of the most valuable strategies.

Nonprofit Email Marketing

Email is an extremely reliable and comprehensive channel for nonprofit marketers, because it allows you to connect with all types of supporters. From first-time donors to longtime major donors, marketers use email to send appreciation letters, event invitations, and regular newsletters with general organization updates.

Here are a few ways to leverage email marketing for nonprofits to reach all of your audiences:

  • Send a regular newsletter with your newest content, updates about your organization, industry data, and volunteer needs.
  • Send monthly emails with donation needs and opportunities.
  • Segment your email audience based on common traits for more targeted and relevant messaging. 78% of marketers agree that subscriber segmentation is the most effective strategy for email campaigns.
  • As soon as a donor gives, a volunteer participates, or someone shows some other form of support, send an email showing your appreciation.

Thanks to organizations leveraging careful marketing strategies, email generates $36 for every $1 spent. With such a high ROI, it makes sense that this is a nonprofit marketing channel worth investing in and taking the time to flesh out.

As part of your nonprofit marketing strategy, rely on supporters to spread the word about your cause.

Word-of-Mouth Nonprofit Marketing

Don’t discount the power of word-of-mouth marketing! Your existing supporters are your biggest nonprofit marketing assets.

When your volunteers and donors feel strongly about your cause, they’ll naturally want to brag about your valuable work to their friends and families. These friends and family members are often like-minded, sharing similar values and making them great prospects for your cause.

Peer-to-peer outreach can be incredibly powerful. In fact, 92% of consumers will believe a recommendation from loved ones over any other type of marketing. Instead of relying on supporters to do so themselves, encourage them to reach out to their networks, post online about your cause, or share your organization’s social media posts to spread the word.

One of our favorite ways to encourage peer-to-peer referrals is with nonprofit eCards. They’re an easy and interactive way to spread the message about your mission, activities, and successes.

Create eCards to market your nonprofit.

Create designs for every occasion to encourage referrals year-round. Here are just a few ideas to get started:

  • Birthday fundraising eCards to encourage supporters to give in a loved one’s name as a way to wish them a happy birthday
  • Holiday eCards to spread some holiday cheer during special times throughout the year
  • Thank you eCards to help supporters express their gratitude
  • Tribute eCards for individuals to give in honor of their loved ones
  • Mission awareness eCards to call attention to your work during a cause awareness campaign

You can customize the message sent with each eCard to encourage users to check out your cause online. Once you publish your eCards, you can offer them for free, sell them for a set price, or give them in exchange for donations. No matter what, people will be excited to browse your collection and share a cause that’s close to their hearts.

Social media marketing for nonprofit organizations enables social sharing.

Social Media Marketing for Nonprofits

By 2027, the number of social media users is expected to skyrocket to 6 billion. It’s no surprise that this is one of the most viable and successful ways to reach supporters and market your mission.

Not only is social media free, but it’s also a key way to connect with supporters on a deeper level. You can engage with followers, encourage them to comment or repost content, and build a brand personality that supporters want to keep coming back to.

While this will depend on the social media platform you use, here are some general ways you can leverage this type of online engagement in your nonprofit marketing strategy:

  • Share news about your organization and cause.
  • Boost brand awareness and recognition.
  • Post calls-to-action for online gifts, event registrations, volunteer signups, and more.
  • Recruit volunteers and employees.
  • Publicly recognize your committed donors, employees, and volunteers.

Whether you use TikTok for connecting with younger generations or Facebook for its long-form posts and peer-to-peer fundraising features, social media is definitely a channel you should spend a good amount of time thinking about.

Direct mail isn't dead! Use it in your nonprofit marketing.

Direct Mail Marketing

Many nonprofit marketers make the mistake of assuming that direct mail is dead. However, direct mail response rates hover around 9%. When compared to the email response rate of 1%, it’s clear why direct mail is still an incredibly valuable channel.

For nonprofits, direct mail marketing and fundraising is the process of writing, printing, and sending out hard copy requests for funds, event invitations, or thank-you letters to your passionate supporters. These letters arrive in your supporters’ mailboxes and end up in their hands, providing a tangible connection to your organization — especially when compared to opening up an email.

If you want your direct mail content to hold genuine value and inspire action, here are some tips:

  • Lean on storytelling. Perhaps the most unique aspect of direct mail is the personal touch. This is a key opportunity to connect with donors through good storytelling. For example, you could describe a family that your nonprofit has helped to get readers invested in your cause and excited to give.
  • Connect copy with visuals. No one wants to read a huge wall of text. Make sure you incorporate visual and written elements together so that they support your call to action.  This applies to everything from your letters to your fundraising flyers and brochures. Whether you use photos of real people or creative graphics to explain different points, the visuals you choose should be strategic and reinforce the messaging in your copy. Plus, a compelling photo can do wonders in enticing readers to internalize your mission.
  • Combine direct mail with digital marketing. Direct mail marketing does best when combined with your digital marketing efforts. For instance, make sure to include easy ways for direct mail readers to connect online if they’d like. You might include a QR code within the letter directing supporters to your online donation page. Or, you can include social media information to encourage engagement on a different platform.

Direct mail can benefit both your nonprofit and show donors that you really care. Make sure to check each recipient’s communication preferences before sending out letters willy-nilly, however. Plus, consider partnering with a direct mail marketing company to make the process of writing, stuffing, and sending your letters easier.

Paid ads can take your nonprofit marketing to the next level.

Nonprofit Advertising

While people commonly interchange “advertising” and “marketing,” advertising is actually a specific subset of nonprofit marketing. It specifically refers to using paid channels to promote your mission. And as we mentioned, paid channels are also referred to as “outbound marketing channels.”

Some of the most common nonprofit advertising channels include:

  • Search ads (like Google Ads)
  • Radio and TV ads
  • Social media ads
  • Influencer advertising

Advertising is a great way to expand your audience and amplify your content to people who aren’t actively researching nonprofits.

Even if you’re working on a limited budget, paid channels aren’t entirely out of reach! As we also mentioned earlier, many advertising platforms offer free or paid options for nonprofits.

Dive into the world of nonprofit advertising with our ultimate guide to learn more about leveraging paid channels in your nonprofit’s outreach.

Use videos in your nonprofit marketing to engage in visual storytelling.

Nonprofit Video Marketing

Video marketing has grown exponentially in popularity, and for good reason! From short videos on TikTok to longer content on YouTube, many nonprofits have found success in using this form of media to promote campaigns, events, and their mission in general.

Why is this? Well, here are some reasons why video marketing for nonprofits is so valuable:

  • Easy to process: Humans process visual content 60,000 times faster than text. This is why it’s so great for educating your audience or explaining a point.
  • Inspire action: Videos are known to do really well when it comes to inspiring emotions. This is much harder to emulate with just a photo or a paragraph.
  • Shareable: Who hasn’t gotten a cute video of a pet sent from a friend? In fact, 92% of consumers on mobile will share videos with others.
  • Entertaining: 60% of people report that video is a media they consume thoroughly, unlike images which are easy to flip through.

Some popular ways to use video marketing are within your nonprofit website, in social media posts, and in email content. Send out an event invitation with a video teaser or record a video of a community member your nonprofit has helped to show donors just how much they’ve made an impact.

Bonus Tip! Because of their file format, videos can potentially slow down a website. When publishing videos to your website, we recommend turning off auto-play to prevent this from happening!

Amplify your website's content by using SEO best practices in your nonprofit's marketing.

SEO Marketing for Nonprofits

Your website is a huge resource when it comes to marketing your mission. It’s likely the first place prospects go to learn about your mission and where long-term supporters go to give support. It not only hosts valuable information about your organization but also provides engagement opportunities like online giving, event registration, and more.

By implementing a few SEO best practices, you can boost your site’s organic rankings. When designing or optimizing your nonprofit website, keep these tips in mind:

  • Center each page around a core topic related to your cause. Be sure to pick relevant keywords for each page.
  • Ensure full and regulatory accessibility compliance with the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
  • Liberally use calls-to-action buttons and links to direct users to your popular landing pages.
  • Keep the user experience in mind when it comes to ease of use and navigation.
  • Make sure all tools and content management systems are functioning properly and are updated.
  • Have consistent branding throughout the site.

Not all of these tips are directly related to SEO, but they all contribute to your site’s performance in some way, whether you’re optimizing the user experience or improving your content.

Plus, optimizing your website will set you up for success with multichannel outreach, like when you’re promoting it via social media or search ads.

It’s important to remember just how much your website does. Not only do you use it to collect online gifts, but it’s also where supporters learn about your mission and get inspired through your online content. Essentially, your website is the accumulation of all of your nonprofit marketing efforts in one platform.

Thus, making sure your website is optimized and functioning well is essential if you want your nonprofit marketing strategy to be successful.

Content marketing for nonprofit organizations can be helpful for establishing credibility.

Content Marketing for Nonprofits

Content marketing is all about creating valuable and promotable nonprofit content that can build your nonprofit brand and reputation in the sector. This content will likely live on your website, but you can also create specific content to email or host a downloadable or gated resource.

Here are common types of content you might create:

  • Educational content about your mission, cause, and industry news and trends.
  • SEO blog content to get your online content ranking higher in search engines.
  • Easily shareable content that encourages your audience to send it along to their friends.
  • Content that is easily repurposable, like attaching a downloadable resource to an email message!

Plus, your content marketing materials can be used for other nonprofit marketing efforts, whether you promote it email, Google Ads, or social media. Consider creating a dedicated team focused on content copywriting.

Develop a texting strategy for marketing your nonprofit.

Text Message Marketing

With a 99% open rate and 90% read rate within just three minutes of sending, text message marketing is one of the best ways to promote a campaign and reach your audience where they already are.

To use text marketing, we recommend investing in a comprehensive text-to-give tool. This not only allows you to send outbound messages but also empowers donors to give by text as well! Tatango’s guide to nonprofit text messaging recommends looking for a text messaging provider with the following features:

  • A2P (Application to Person) messaging. A service that offers A2P messaging makes it easy to send off a single message to hundreds or thousands of supporters at once. This saves your nonprofit time, which can be used towards creating compelling donation appeals that will inspire giving across your entire donor base.
  • Ability to handle fast messaging speeds. When you’re operating around tight fundraising deadlines, you need a reliable way to reach supporters quickly with your donation appeals. A provider with a fast messages per second rate will ensure that your campaign reminders reach supporters just moments after sending them.
  • Security for your campaigns. To protect your subscribers’ personal information and maintain your nonprofit’s good standing, you need to protect your text-to-give campaign from cybersecurity threats. Your text messaging provider should come with multiple security measures like two-factor authentication, secure sending, and automated logout so only your nonprofit’s team can access your sensitive data and send off messages.
  • Subscriber segmentation. Segmentation is the process of dividing your contact list into subgroups based on similar characteristics, such as recency of opting into your text messaging campaign, donation frequency, and their average giving amounts. Work with your text messaging platform to create highly tailored lists and messages that are more likely to motivate donors to give.

With a secure and user-friendly text messaging platform, your nonprofit can confidently deliver a high ROI and engage supporters year round. Plus, the right text messaging service can help you leverage contextual giving.

Contextual giving is a donation given at the moment when the donor was inspired in the first place. For instance, let’s say a prospect attends an in-person fundraising event and is inspired by the turnout and the mission. They see the phone number plastered on event signage and decide to text it to give a gift. If you didn’t have text giving, they might have decided to wait until they got home to give, at which point they may have lost momentum.

Use text marketing to announce events, send urgent appeals (remember to include instructions for donating!), remind volunteers about upcoming shifts or training, and promote donations throughout your campaign or specific event.

Spend time creating powerful graphics to use in your nonprofit marketing.

Creating Graphics for Your Nonprofit Marketing

Any kind of nonprofit marketing leans heavily on effective visuals. For one, this makes your content stand out. It doesn’t matter whether someone’s scrolling through their social media feed or passing by a bulletin board with your fundraising flyer pinned to it — they’re more likely to notice marketing collateral that has eye-catching graphics and vibrant colors.

Considering that people retain 55% more information when paired with an image, effective visuals make your content more memorable to prospects,too.

More nonprofit marketers have realized this over the years and have stepped up their graphic design game. Whether you realize it or not, graphics already play a huge role in your outreach including everything from your email newsletters to direct mail outreach. Here are a few areas where graphic design comes into play:

  • Your logo. This is one of the most crucial marketing assets your cause has. It’ll appear on everything from your fundraising letters to your business cards. Prospects should see it and immediately associate it with your organization.
  • Website design. The graphics you include on your website are just as important as your site’s layout. You’ll want to include everything from images of your beneficiaries and volunteers to artistic elements that emphasize the most important aspects of each page.
  • Merchandise. If you sell t-shirts, mugs, or any other fundraising products, make sure you feature effective designs on them. Eye-catching graphics will make the buying experience much easier for prospects who come across your ads for them.
  • Printed materials. Effective graphic design doesn’t just apply to your digital marketing materials. It also factors into any printed collateral like your fundraising letters, flyers, and service brochures.

If graphic design isn’t your forte, that’s where a graphic designer can come in to save the day. Those that have experience in the mission-driven space understand what it takes to make charitable causes stand out.

We recommend Kwala! Their team will work with yours to create anything your team requests, including flyers, logos, stickers, and even fundraising product designs. Take a look at this postcard that they designed for the Wildlife Rescue Group:

Create nonprofit marketing postcards like this with help from professional designers.

Kwala designed this nonprofit marketing postcard.

Well-designed materials like this will ultimately reel supporters in and drive more action, whether you want people to donate, volunteer, or get involved in some other way. Turning to professional graphic designers means you can focus on furthering your mission and trust that your marketing materials are resonating with supporters.

Creating a nonprofit marketing strategy involves a few steps.

How Do You Create a Nonprofit Marketing Strategy?

To successfully connect with supporters and beneficiaries, we recommend crafting an organized nonprofit marketing strategy. Your strategy should outline all the information you need to meet your audience’s needs and spread your mission effectively.

It will be unique to your goals, mission, and audience. However, you can take these general steps to ensure you’re not missing any essential elements.

Conduct an audit to determine the effectiveness of your current nonprofit marketing strategy.

1. Perform A Marketing Audit.

It’s a good idea to get a sense of your current marketing standing and gather the resources you have. That way, you can start thinking about the changes and tweaks you’ll need to make.

Gather past outreach materials and campaign metrics. From here, you’ll conduct an audit to analyze your most recent outreach efforts. A nonprofit marketing audit often consists of conducting a SWOT analysis, which stands for:

  • Strengths: List any areas where your nonprofit excels and stands out from competitors. For example, maybe you have unique services, strong brand awareness, or an astoundingly loyal base of supporters.
  • Weaknesses: List anything that prevents you from achieving your nonprofit marketing goals. For example, maybe you have a very limited budget or a poor digital presence.
  • Opportunities: Include any external factors that give you advantages over competitors. For example, maybe your mission is prevalent in the news, or you have a strong pipeline of corporate sponsors.
  • Threats: This includes any external factors that negatively impact you. Considering that they’re external, these factors are out of your control. For example, maybe someone’s attempting to discredit your organization.

With all of this written out, you’ll have a strong visual representation of where your nonprofit marketing currently stands. Analyze your results, and create an action plan for playing to your strengths, overcoming any weaknesses, increasing your opportunities, and mitigating any threats.

Define the goals you want to achieve with your nonprofit marketing.

2. Define Your Marketing Goals.

Your nonprofit marketing strategy shouldn’t just guide your actions, but it should also really support your nonprofit journey to your ultimate goals. Are you trying to raise money or awareness? Encourage volunteering? Garner registrations for a fundraising event? Every marketing campaign needs a concrete goal and target action in order to be successful.

We recommend using the SMART method to create your nonprofit marketing strategy goals:

  • Specific: Define the exact goal your nonprofit is aiming to achieve, and be able to explain how achieving it will support your mission.
  • Measurable: Your goal should have clear performance indicators attached.
  • Attainable: Given your organization’s current standing (e.g., time, money, expertise), choose something you can realistically achieve.
  • Relevant: Whatever goal you choose should contribute to your organization’s overall success. For example, increasing volunteer registrations clearly impacts your organization more than reaching a certain number of likes on an Instagram post.
  • Time-based: Give your team a realistic deadline by which to achieve your goal. Then, create milestones along the way.

From here, list your goals by priority. The end result will be clear nonprofit marketing goals that allow you to drive greater outcomes for your cause.

Knowing your audience will help you tailor your nonprofit marketing to better suit your constituents.

3. Understand Your Audiences.

It’s critical that you focus your nonprofit marketing strategy on who you’re trying to reach. Outline both your current audience and your target audience. From here, narrow down your audience with segments, such as:

  • Type of supporter (e.g., first-time donor, recurring donor, major donor, volunteer, corporate partner, etc.)
  • Preferred communication method
  • Demographics like age group, geographical location, and education level

Every nonprofit marketing campaign should have a target audience in mind. Knowing what demographic group or type of supporter you are trying to reach will inform every step of your nonprofit marketing strategy.

When crafting your nonprofit marketing strategy, create and share inspiring messages.

4. Create and Share A Compelling Message.

Your supporters are bombarded with online ads and organizations constantly trying to get their attention. It’s important that your nonprofit marketing messages stand out from the crowd. To do so, we recommend using the CRAM rule to bring your powerful marketing ideas to fruition and connect with supporters. This stands for:

  • Connected to a cause: Your message should connect your mission to something your audience cares about.
  • Rewarding: Your outreach should be rewarding in some way for the reader.
  • Actionable: Make sure to include a clear call to action, whether that’s donating, volunteering, registering for an event, or something else.
  • Memorable: Your message must be sentimental or have tangible rewards to stick with prospects.

This is also where you’ll think about the language and tone of your message, the specific calls to action you’ll use, and any visual branding elements. From here, choose your nonprofit marketing channels and start sharing your outreach.

Measure the results of your nonprofit marketing strategy.

5. Track Results and Make Adjustments.

Every nonprofit marketing strategy needs a dedicated way to measure performance. Otherwise, how do you know if it worked or whether it needs to be improved in the future? Consider the metrics you want to track and the tools you’ll use.

Here are some examples of KPIs for different channels you might track:

  • Click-through rate (CTR) for Google Ads
  • Email opens for email marketing
  • Video views or likes for video marketing
  • Likes, shares, and comments for social media
  • Page views or time on site for your website
  • Number of downloads for content marketing

Data is the backbone of your nonprofit marketing efforts. Not only is it tracked to ensure that your campaign is performing positively and creating genuine benefits, but it can also be used to improve future campaigns or act as a resource for supporters wanting to learn more about your nonprofit efforts. In the end, tracking the right nonprofit data can be an incredibly valuable asset!

Marketing for nonprofit organizations is easier when you implement best practices.

Nonprofit Marketing Best Practices to Follow

When it comes to your nonprofit marketing, there are a lot of moving components that you have to keep in mind. From crafting your messaging to picking the strategies and channels you use, there’s quite a bit to juggle.

To keep your marketing team organized, here are some general best practices that can help any fundraising team hone its marketing:

  • Segment your list. We mentioned this already, but segmenting your marketing audience is critical. After all, people will respond best to communications that are targeted to their needs, goals, and preferences.
  • Use current events. A good way to bolster your nonprofit marketing is to use what is currently going on in the world as a way to create urgency. Is there a story related to your cause in the news? For instance, during the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, many nonprofits took the time to connect their mission to this broader world issue and leverage that public awareness.
  • Proactively follow up with donors and volunteers. For a successful nonprofit marketing campaign, you don’t just send out materials and communications and be done with it. Marketing isn’t just about promoting your nonprofit services; it’s also about building ongoing relationships with supporters. Make sure you have a system in place to check in with current donors or volunteers, as well as follow up with any lapsed supporters to ensure they stay active.
  • Make sure you have accurate contact information. People constantly change their phone numbers, get new email addresses, or move. In other words, their contact information can become quickly out of date. NPOInfo’s guide to data appends explains that you can use appending services to fill in missing or outdated information. That way, you’ll never be out of touch with constituents.

Follow these nonprofit marketing best practices to maximize your results.

The fundraising landscape seems to change year by year, so keeping up with nonprofit marketing best practices and trends is critical. With digital innovations making it easier to connect with donors and new tools increasing the types of support you can utilize, you have to remember that your supporters’ needs are a priority. Without them, your nonprofit cannot make as meaningful of an impact in your community.

Let's wrap up this nonprofit marketing guide with some additional resources.

Additional Resources

Marketing your mission plays a key role in your organization’s success. From choosing the right channels to keeping up with the latest trends, crafting a strong nonprofit marketing strategy takes quite a bit of forethought.

However, the advice we shared in this nonprofit marketing guide will help you address everything you need to make your outreach successful. In no time, you’ll create compelling outreach that inspires your supporters to stick around for the long haul.

Whether you choose paid outlets like search ads or organic outlets like email, there’s a lot you can do to stand out. As you start crafting your strategies, check out these resources to keep learning:

Work with Getting Attention to amplify your nonprofit marketing with the Google Ad Grant.