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12 Guerrilla Marketing Strategies for Nonprofits

When there isn’t a lot of money to spend, the ability to gain someone’s attention with a unique marketing campaign is the best way to go. That’s the premise behind guerrilla marketing. For a minimal monetary cost, but with some extra sweat equity, you can make a dramatic first impression that people will remember. When you’re remembered, then people will use your services or donate to your organization.

A good guerrilla marketing campaign starts with a concept. What is the point that you want to get across to people? Is there a service that you want to have featured with your business? Do you want to promote a fundraising effort? The better your idea can stand out, then the more likely you are to succeed with your upcoming marketing campaign. It’s all about innovation.

Effective Guerrilla Marketing Strategies for Nonprofits

1. Go Old School
There’s nothing more effective than to provide your community with a lot of public relations material that can be printed by your local media. You’ve just got to know what your local media wants to print and then provide them with that content. It’s got to be interesting, have a human interest component to it, and not be overly promotional in nature.

2. Get Some Art Going
There are a number of abandoned buildings or even neighborhoods that are in many communities. Recruit some artistic talent from amongst your employee ranks and let them get to work doing some urban art. You can even do this on your own building if you own it or the owner will allow it. This can even be reverse graffiti or just street advertising on the sidewalks in front of your nonprofit if you prefer. Chalk just washes away, so there’s often no complaints there.

3. Use Your Resources
The building you have is a billboard that can be used in a versatile way. If you don’t have artistic talent on staff and you don’t want to create a permanent display, try setting up a projector that can display your branding on the wall. People will see it at night, it’ll look great, and you can change it up quickly if it isn’t working as well as first thought.

4. Get Tattooed
You don’t have to get a permanent tattoo to get your nonprofit noticed. Temporary tattoos with your branding, logos, or other artwork can help you promote yourself in a very cost effective way. Add another level of guerrilla marketing to this effort by including a QR code within the temporary tattoo so people can scan you to get more information.

5. Get Hacked
Bring in a group of random people that are willing to work for free to see if they can discover new ways to utilize your goods or services. You’ll get fresh eyes looking at the projects that aren’t bothered by performance reviews or budgetary constraints. In return, you might get a fresh idea that can help you use what you’ve got more wisely. Find a way to reward the best ideas in some way so you’ll get more participation from the group.

6. Go Door to Door
Modern marketing is extremely effective when its on a 1:1 basis. That’s why door-to-door marketing will always be effective on some level. You’ll encounter a few people who will start doing business with you, a few slammed doors in your face, and invariably there’s one or two elderly guys who will shake their canes at you and threaten to call the cops because you’re trespassing.

7. Create Your Own Video
Whether you’re on a Mac or a PC, there’s a good chance that you’ve got access to video editing software. Film your employees doing something fun at your nonprofit to generate more awareness of what you do. You can make it a parody of a hit song or you can write your own script. Either way, the fun you have in making it will come through with every view on YouTube.

8. Get Out and Play a Game
There are a number of fun icebreaking games that double as good guerrilla marketing efforts. Select people at random off the street and have them do a series of events or activities that are all related to your nonprofit. Give them a prize for their efforts, have everyone applaud the work, and then find another victim… er, participant.

9. Set Up a Bartering System
If you can’t promote yourself by purchasing advertising space, maybe you can barter for that space in some other way. There is something that your nonprofit does right now that has some level of value. Maybe someone else needs that value and will trade you the access to more traditional marketing methods that you may need.

10. Find a Way To Pay It Forward
It doesn’t take a lot to give a lot. Invariably the people who pay it forward end up helping the one person who needs some help at that very moment. Even just a couple quarters in a parking meter with a business card is enough for someone to take notice of your good deeds and start their own chain reaction of being nice.

11. Create Your Own Festival
If you provide your community with a specific service, then why not create a festival around it? This will introduce your entire community to what you do and you’ll get the chance to invite other vendors to participate in the event as well. It doesn’t have to be big, but it does need to be fun and informative for people to want to come.

12. Content Is King
You cannot underestimate the power of content marketing today. People are accessing content like never before and original content ranks highly because it has tremendous value. You can help others out by giving them unique content for their website or blog and in return, you’ll get a lot of extra attention to your nonprofit from a demographic that might not normally pay you any attention at all.

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