Nonprofit Marketing: Marketing Strategies for Nonprofit Organizations
Marketing for not-for-profit involves the careful development of a plan to increase awareness and donations. For-profit companies often use marketing to sell their products, but nonprofits use marketing to generate support for their efforts. Nonprofits can use traditional marketing methods along with modern Internet-based approaches to create an effective marketing campaign.
What is nonprofit marketing?
Simply put, it's the process by which nonprofits acquire, retain and grow their base of supporters.
It might sound like a simple task, but it can be pretty complicated. Nonprofit organizations are complex, and as such, a nonprofit marketing plan needs to be detailed, data-driven, multifaceted, and goal-oriented.
Nonprofit marketing examples
Many successful nonprofits have made great strides by crafting a solid plan that identifies their target audience and targets them with a message that resonates with them. Here are some examples of nonprofit organizations that have crafted powerful messages and gained massive support for their causes:
- Feeding America: Ibotta Stock Up for the Big Game
- Big Brothers Big Sisters of America: Bigger Together campaign
- The Humane Society of the United States: Fur-free Campaign
- Unicef USA: Mission Unstoppable campaign
Marketing Strategies for Nonprofit Organizations
Like any other business, nonprofits need a marketing strategy to get their message out. The difference is that nonprofit marketing doesn't have a product or service to sell; instead, it focuses on an idea or mission. Because of marketing with a nonprofit, there is an additional layer of considerations when building a strategy. Here are several nonprofit marketing ideas that work:
1. Start with the mission
The best marketing strategy for nonprofit organizations involves telling your organization's story and getting people engaged in your mission. This means that you have to build your strategy from the ground up, starting with why you exist and what you have to say. Every aspect of your marketing should support this central message.
Even if you are promoting an event or asking people to donate, it all has to tie back into your mission to understand how they are a part of something bigger than themselves.
2. Create objectives and goals
The next step in building a solid nonprofit marketing strategy is identifying specific objectives and goals that can be easily measured. This will help define what needs to be accomplished and also set a standard by which success can be determined. For example, if one of your objectives is to increase donations, you could set a goal to raise $10,000 per month in donations within six months.
3. Know your audience
Every successful marketing strategy begins with a deep understanding of your audience. This is especially important for nonprofits because you need to know who your supporters are to reach out to them directly. Who will be most interested in your cause? Are they male or female? How old are they? Where do they live? What do they care about? Once you understand who these people are and how to reach them, the rest of your strategy will fall into place.
4. Develop a strong brand
Your brand is not just something you have — it's something you do. A strong brand will help you stay focused and make better decisions about what you put out there and how you represent yourself. Plus, donors like brands because they give them confidence in their investment, so take time to develop yours.
5. Create content that resonates
Your donors and other supporters want to know what makes your organization special. Content marketing is the perfect way to tell your story and highlight how you're different from other charities. It's essential to focus on how you're making a difference in your community or around the world — not just on the work that still needs to be done.
6. Engage your community
A strong presence is a must for success in nonprofit online marketing. Your website is the central hub for all your digital efforts — it's where people find out about you and get involved in your mission. Make sure it's updated regularly with news about what you're doing and how others can participate.
Facebook Pages and Twitter accounts are also great ways to reach out to new prospects, keep existing supporters informed about what's going on, and engage in conversations about your work.
7. Nurture leads effectively
One of the biggest mistakes nonprofits make is assuming that people will immediately donate the first time they hear about your organization. But that's rarely the case. It takes an average of nine touches before someone donates. This means, as a nonprofit, you need to be prepared to reach out multiple times before you get a lead to convert.
An essential step in online marketing for nonprofits is to create an email list with everyone who has expressed interest in your mission. Then, create a series of emails to keep these potential donors engaged over time.
8. Measure success
If you can't measure it, you can't improve it: That's one of the most important digital marketing for nonprofits strategies to keep in mind.
For example, if you're trying to raise awareness about an issue and your organization, try setting up a Google Alert for specific terms related to your cause. See how many times media outlets or other organizations mention your organization.
If you've launched a new website or social media campaign, track the number of unique visitors and conversions. Tools like Google Analytics help with this.
As a bonus, here are some useful nonprofit marketing facts from a survey conducted by Campaign Monitor.
In a nutshell
Marketing strategies for nonprofits are different from those used by for-profit businesses. Your goal isn't to sell a product or service but to promote your mission and get people excited about how you can make a difference in the world.
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