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What Is Nonprofit Marketing?

Nonprofit marketing is the use of marketing tactics by a nonprofit organization. Marketing goals may include promoting the organization and its message, raising funds, encouraging membership, engaging volunteers, and driving political or social change.

Marketing is as important for nonprofit organizations as it is for businesses and uses many of the same marketing strategies to connect with donors and volunteers.

How Nonprofit Marketing Works?

Nonprofit marketing works by serving multiple functions in keeping charitable organizations running.

  1. Creating awareness. Like any business brand, a nonprofit must make its audience aware of the organization and the causes it supports.
  2. Promoting a cause and services. Donors, volunteers, and groups the nonprofit works with need to know about the work the organization is doing.
  3. Fundraising. Nonprofits rely on donations in order to pursue their charitable initiatives. Fundraising is an essential function of nonprofit marketing, and it can take the form of encouraging general donations or promoting specific fundraising events or campaigns.
  4. Encouraging memberships and recurring donations. Nonprofit marketing should be used to encourage long-term membership. This increases the relationships that the nonprofit can draw on for fundraising initiatives and helps provide recurring donations.
  5. Engaging volunteers. Most nonprofits need people to take action or participate in initiatives, as well as donate.
  6. Driving political and social change. Skillful nonprofit marketing can put pressure on opinion leaders, politicians, and ordinary people to create social and political changes addressing the nonprofit’s causes.

50 Nonprofit Marketing Ideas

A. Purpose & Image

1. Create a clear, powerful tagline that you want others to associate with your organization.
2. Establish clear protocols for your leadership regarding design, personality, and attitude.
3. Consider a new brand identity.
4. Share your organization’s results and objectives.
5. Share a list of your organization’s strengths.
6. Make storytelling an essential part of your marketing.
7. Set up a stable marketing plan.

B. Media & Technology

1. Create a website for your organization, and update it often.
2. Stay up-to-date with social media.
3. Create a blog.
4. Connect your blog, website, and social media into a network.
5. Showcase your social presence.
6. Make your copy stand out.
7. Use multi-channel marketing.
8. Go an extra step when you send messages.
9. Use video to appeal to emotion.

C. Costs & Budgeting

1. Unbrand.
2. Combine printing.
3. See if your organization qualifies for a “Donate Now” button on your Facebook page.4.
4. Establish an annual marketing budget and stick to it.
5. Make use of cause marketing.
6. Create a budget specifically for promoting content on social media.
7. Amazon Smile.
8. Experiment with premiums.

D. Advertising Strategies Online and Offline

1. Utilize the Google Grant (Pay-per-click).
2. Sell T-shirts and other items with your name and cause on it.
3. Encourage supporters to start a birthday/holiday fundraiser.
4. Personalize strategically.
5. Identify “Brand Evangelists” in your organization.
6. Mine your data.
7. Get offline donors online and online activists offline.
8. Send out specialized appeals.
9. Downscale.

E. Partnerships & Donors

1. Develop a welcome package.
2. Choose the best time to send messages.
3. Seek to form influential partnerships.
4. Take a donor or influencer out to lunch.
5. Re-engage lapsed donors.
6. Offer donors a sustainer program.
7. Practice good stewardship.
8. Remember: The donor is always right.

F. Communication with Supporters and Donors

1. Be timely.
2. Map out communications to track and improve messaging.
3. Survey existing donors and clients.
4. Get supporters involved.
5. Host contests and regular events.
6. Organize speaking engagements.
7. Maintain your prospect and customer databases.
8. Encourage those you interact with to share their personal experiences in working with your organization.
9. Be positive in your outlook.

Example of Success: Online Marketing Campaign Hungarian for the
Herghelia Lifestyle Center

A little over 2 years ago we have started an online marketing campaign in Hungarian on behalf of the Herghelia Lifestyle Center. As a first step we applied for Google Ad Grants for non-profit organizations.

According to Google Ad’s statistics we’ve collected a total of 9.61 million impressions and 695.000 clicks on our lead pages, which means a 7.23% click to rate (CTR) ratio. This resulted in tens of thousands of subscribers to our newsletter.

By using automated email campaigns we make sure that our subscribers benefit from the center’s high quality educational materials on the topic of lifestyle medicine. Herghelia’s brand awareness is continually increasing among the customers.


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