9 Valuable Lessons for Marketing Nonprofit Organizations

Knowing how to market a nonprofit organization can be quite a challenge. It takes a different approach and many such organizations find it difficult to generate the support they need and to maintain an interest in the work that they are doing.  A large part of this comes down to the way they market themselves and what they do to stay engaged with their supporters.

  1. Make sure you know who your audience is and who exactly you are trying to target for help and support. Many nonprofits think the entire local or global community is a key audience for their organization. This might be true in some regards, but you need to focus on a small group so you can hone your message and understand what your needs are. It is better to target 25% of the population and get good support than to target 100% and get little support.

  2. Ask questions about your audience so you can get to know them better. Are you targeting older or younger people, singles or families, business owners or common employees? Do you need to target men or women more? Define this profile so you know how to tailor your message to convey the need and appeal to your audience. It might seem wrong to overlook certain groups within the community, but as previously mentioned, having targeted groups will save you time and money and will help generate more support now so you can branch into other areas later.

  3. Make sure you know what your audiences needs from you and what it is that makes you unique and sets you apart from all of the other nonprofits out there. When you know this, you can ensure your marketing strategy is focused on the right groups and the right aspects of your organization’s work

  4. Optimize your message to make it unique to each platform that you use in your marketing strategy. Do not use the same copy and paste message on Facebook and Twitter and Instagram. Each community targets slightly different groups, and information is seen, shared, and assimilated differently on each platform. So for every social media site you use, create a custom message to share. It will bring your cause front and center for more people and will help those you reach take a genuine interest in what it is you are trying to accomplish.

  5. Evoke an emotion with your media messages to help you stand out from the crowd in the sea of causes that are shared and talked about online. Whatever platform you use, be sure you generate some sort of emotion so you can motive and inspire people – and hopefully get a response. Whether it is to inspire, encourage, or bring attention to a need, emotions drive people. When done the right way and with the right balance, emotions can be a huge part of your marketing campaign for your nonprofit organization.

  6. Tell a personal story to inspire and motivate. Whether it is the story of the selfish businessman who realized there was something more to life or the story of the family in a third world country in need of clean drinking water, if there is a story to tell then tell it. People connect to a name and a face, and it often works much better than simply marketing your business. Tell a story and put a human face on the need and the work that your organization is doing.

  7. Embrace new technology. Online sales are easier than ever and many nonprofit organizations now find that the bulk of their support comes from online donations. Make sure your organization’s website is set up to accept this aid and make sure you are up to date with the newest trends in mobile access, payment options, file sharing, and networking.

  8. Partner with well-known names to promote your organization. Marketing for a nonprofit can be a little easier if you can partner with a well-known community leader or brand that is willing to work with you. Nike uses athletes and many businesses use name brands to promote their business. See what partnership you can form to help your marketing campaign. Look for big names and ask them to become a sponsor.

  9. Remind people that you are there and that you are doing a good work. Having an online presence is wonderful, but you must remain current and keep everyone in the loop. You need to do frequent updates on all your social media outlets as well as your website. People will not be as involved and supportive if they do not know what is going on and what work you are doing. Constant updates and reminders from your organization will keep you top-of-mind.

Knowing how to market a nonprofit organization can be quite a challenge, but it can be a lot easier if you can follow these simple tips. Get in touch with us if you’d like to dicuss marketing your nonprofit.

Andy Maciejewski is a B2B marketing professional and Partner at Revel. He is passionate about making a positive impact in the lives of our customers, people, and the community. Connect with Andy on LinkedIn.

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