Non-profit organizations tend to have a lot of advantages in their local community, but one of them isn’t a large marketing budget. Instead of spending a lot of money on administrative costs, your budget is funneled toward programs and services that help others. There’s a lot of good work that occurs every day thanks to the millions of non-profits that are in business right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use marketing to get noticed. You can and you can do it on a budget as well.
It all begins with knowing what the purpose of your marketing effort will be. You’ve got to be smart about your costs and market specifically for a purpose, not just for brand recognition like many other organizations. What is it that you need your community to know about? How will it benefit them in some way? That’s the message that needs to be sent and these proven marketing ideas for non-profits will help you achieve your goals.
Marketing Ideas for NonProfits
1. Blog With a Purpose
Non-profits succeed or fail based on how effectively they communicate the progress their programs and services are making. People want to see success stories and want to get to know the people behind them. Blogging these stories is a low-cost [and often no-cost] way to send out these necessary communications to your local community. It’s also a way to encourage your donors to stay connected and offer a few extra dollars throughout the year.
2. Make Fundraising Easy
The biggest obstacle to a healthier budget is the difficulty that donors have in getting it to you. Any barrier that is in their way is an opportunity for them to change their mind! Let people drop off donations, mail them to you, but also make sure that you have an online giving platform as well. There are many digital processors that won’t charge a non-profit for money that is donated to them.
3. Be Authentic
You can say whatever you want about your organization, but the best marketing efforts of all will always be fulfilled promises. You will always lose donors and program participants if you don’t walk the talk. Make sure that you’re authentic and that your word remains your bond to keep all of your marketing campaigns firing on all cylinders.
Knowing what your plans are for the future are good, but people want to know about the past more. Reflect on your past successes as an organization and track the things that are good. Make sure you’ve got sustainable metrics in place that will help everyone be able to see the statistics behind all of your claims. The more proof that you can provide beyond an entertaining story, the more likely you will be to create a better marketing impact.
5. Look For Local Media
Most local media organizations offer non-profits a steep discount on all their advertising needs. Be smart about using these ads and promote only the programs or services that bring in a healthy profit margin for you. The type of advertising doesn’t always matter, but the timing of the advertising does. If you’re targeting middle class households with kids, for example, the best time to advertise would be during the morning news or right after school. Late at night after 10 pm? They’re already in bed.
6. How Does Your Brand Smell?
In most instances, your non-profit will be judged within the first 30 seconds of exposure to it. If you lose someone because of a bad first impression, you’ve likely lost them for good. Sometimes this bad taste occurs within 5 seconds or less! Appeal to all of the senses when you market to create a broader impact and a broader appeal.
7. Be Easy to Read
If people are able to quickly skim through most of your content, they’ll be able to find what is most valuable to them and want to interact more with you. Although Twitter seems like the natural winner for this marketing idea, it actually applies to all marketing platforms. Use bold titles that are catchy and graphics that are attractive for easier recognition.
8. Tell Your Story
If you want people to share your story, you’ve got to tell it in an engaging way. Not only must it be informative and entertaining, but it must also relate to a person on a core level to have them want to post it to their timeline. If you aren’t telling a story at all and are just focused on the sale, you’re going to turn off a majority of your market.
9. What’s Your Mission?
Every non-profit has a mission statement that is reflective of who they are and what they want to do. Can you say what your non-profit’s mission statement is right now? This statement can also be an effective marketing tool because it reflects in one short sentence [hopefully] what you plan to accomplish every day. In many ways, it’s your tagline.
10. Ditch the Christmas Cards
Many non-profits bank their budgets on an annual appeal to the community. Get rid of that one-shot make it or break it type of circumstance and spread out your marketing throughout the year instead. Look for key opportunities where community members can get involved in some way so that they’ll feel like they have some skin in the game. When that happens, you’re more likely to find better marketing success.
11. Content Is Critical
For most people, the content you create is the one connection they have to your organization. If you have issues with your content, whether it is industry jargon, poor grammar and spelling, or just awkward stories that only a small sub-niche will understand, then you won’t create any connection. Marketing content might be basic, but it is also the most important cog in your marketing machine.
12. Use Infographics
With visual graphics that are attractive and just enough information to be informative, infographics about what you do and who you are can engage people like never before.