Marketing is often the one place that a nonprofit organization isn’t willing to put money into a budget to spend. You’ve often got to a lot of work for very little, which means the development of your marketing strategies is integral to the success of your efforts. You do have one specific advantage, however, that most other businesses do not have: access to a volunteer network of sweat equity.
That means your nonprofit organization must be able to be creative with every piece of marketing material that is submitted. Your strategy must include the entire community, yet be readily accessible to segments of your community so they can identify with your business on a 1:1 basis. Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box, but don’t go so far outside the box that your marketing work doesn’t make any sense.
Great Nonprofit Organization Marketing Strategies to Increase Contributions
1. Let People See What You Do
Testimonials are always a great way to market any business. As a nonprofit, you are giving back to your community every single day, but often in a way that isn’t seen or noticed because you’re just background noise. Let your marketing strategy testify to the good work that you do and show people why what you do is so invaluable. That will stimulate interest and hopefully more revenues.
2. Go Beyond the Fundraiser
Every nonprofit organization should have a signature fundraiser that they do every year to bring in money. If you don’t have one, then get on this right now and create a signature event you can begin marketing! You’ve got to go beyond the fundraiser, however, in order to truly survive the post-2008 recession market. When people get involved with charitable work, they feel a need to put some skin into your game. Encourage this by offering opportunities for people to do some good work through your company.
3. Take Advantage of Your Status
Most media outlets offer reduced cost or free advertising for nonprofit agencies. If you haven’t begun building relationships with your local press representatives, then start doing so now. These relationships will help you in future marketing efforts because you’ll have a natural influence for a story to be composed about the organization. Many outlets also offer a 50% or more discount on costs if you do have a little bit of a budget to spend.
4. Show What Sets You Apart
A nonprofit organization is the epitome of the classic underdog story that the general public loves so much. That’s not the only thing that sets you apart, however, because you’ve likely got innovators in your company that are doing a lot of good work with very few tools. Feature these people, let the community see their hard work, and you’ll end up with a lot of brand ambassadors in the process of this strategy.
5. Focus On the Internet
Because you have a lot of sweat equity to use, there is a good chance that you can focus on the internet to find a lot of success. Optimize all of your content so that it is reader friendly. Let the search engines do the work of letting you get discovered by developing meaningful relationships within your sector through engagement. Use your website to show through video tours what it is you do every day. All of this will lead to a greater amount of success.
6. Partner Up
There is a 100% guarantee that there is an organization in your community or region that is looking for a nonprofit partner to enhance their marketing. Partner up with a business that has a proven record of success and they’ll give you a lot of brand exposure through their efforts to show their demographics that they care enough to support you. In return, you begin building a relationship that can pay dividends year after year.
7. Know the Outcome
Most marketing strategies for nonprofit organizations involve solicitation. What is the outcome of your marketing strategy? To finish raising money to supplement a budget shortfall? To plan for the next 3 years of services? To expand services because you’ve got such a great idea going on? If you don’t plan step-by-step in your marketing to achieve your outcome, then you might as well just toss whatever money you do have off a highway overpass because you’d have more impact doing so.
8. What Do Others Do Right?
It’s not about your weaknesses, but it is about their strengths. Look at other organizations and what they do. What policies, procedures, or activities give them a strong presence in their community? How could you adapt those ideas so they can work for your targeted demographics? By knowing what others are doing right, you’ll be able to replicate success within your own organization.
9. Mine Your Database
Most nonprofits are mired in a world of paperwork that seems absolutely worthless. It’s not. It’s actually gold mine of profitability that’s just waiting for you to begin the mining process! Take the data from your paperwork, identify places you can target for fundraising, and then implement a strategy based on this information. Don’t have time at this second? Look for volunteers who can do it for you.
10. Government Alliances Are Effective
Government alliances are necessary for nonprofits, but not because they help with funding or survival revenue. Government alliances can provide your nonprofit with access to diverse set of revenues, including vocational contracts for your nonprofit to fulfill, that could give you the money you need to get through a fundraising shortfall.
11. Advertise Your Results
Most businesses would be discouraged from making any marketing campaign be about them and their successes. Nonprofits are the exception to this rule because your achievements are one way to show how you can effectively meet projections. That way you’ll be able to prove throughout all of these marketing strategies that you can deliver the goods time and time again for partnerships, alliances, and your segmented markets.