Traditionally, the marketing strategies employed by nonprofits have been dictated by funding demands. It’s high time that changed. Amidst significant losses in charity income, especially by small nonprofits (philanthropy dot com) due to COVID-19, this is understandably counterintuitive.
However, many examples point out that nonprofit organizations need to be more strategic about marketing. It’s time to redefine nonprofit marketing strategies along the three main lines of content, advocacy, and community.
- Content: providing information to people who are interested in your cause
- Advocacy: encouraging people to take specific actions, like volunteering for or donating to your organization
- Community: building a network of supporters that you can communicate with regularly to spread awareness about what you do.
This piece focuses on five marketing strategies, how they cut across content, advocacy, and community, and how your organization can channel them effectively in 2022. The future success of nonprofits depends on their ability to create a unique, authentic brand identity and a compelling narrative that inspires people to act.
When you’re trying to build a following for your nonprofit, you’ll want to focus on demonstrating your impact, activities, and how the organization is making a difference in the world.
Visuals, including images, videos, infographics, GIFs, and memes, can help you convey this message to your audience, with ways to show the behind-the-scenes work that goes into the nonprofit and images of people who the organization has impacted.
This type of imagery is more potent than simple words because it tangibly shows your audience what you’re doing.
The American Red Cross Uses TikTok
For instance, the American Red Cross uses TikTok videos to connect with its audience in refreshing ways by triggering their empathy to request donations and offering helpful advice to cope during moments of trouble.
Events present you with a chance to build credibility and authority. So the first tip to ensure the success of your nonprofit’s next event is to emphasize causes, not the ‘event’ itself.
Use the event as a platform to illustrate how your cause is linked to an important issue and how you aim to address that problem.
The following events organized by No Kid Hungry — On Instagram — do well to emphasize the nonprofit’s cause by highlighting volunteers’ experiences.
Secondly, always portray authenticity and transparency. If people feel like they know you and trust you on a personal level, they’ll be more likely to support your cause. This WE Charity www.charitynavigator.org; listing, for example, includes details of its impacts by numbers.
You don’t always have to host your own events. Instead, get involved with local events that are relevant to your cause. It is a great way to raise the credibility of a small organization. And large organizations must recognize that regardless of their international profile, the most impact they can deliver would be community-based.
Nonprofit organizations must focus on building relationships with their supporters. This means that they need to develop donor acquisition strategies that create awareness, offer relevant information, and build trust. Therefore, your newsletter can do more than just share news and updates, even though such information is vital.
For instance, Malala Fund, an organization that champions girl education, runs a newsletter Assembly through which girls worldwide share stories about issues that affect them. The Assembly is not a direct marketing strategy – readers don’t feel pressured to do anything – yet, reading the stories of the girls draws the typical reader closer to the causes that the Fund represents.
Posting newsletters regularly will ensure that your nonprofit stays at the top of the minds of current and potential supporters, partners, and donors.
Managing a nonprofit is more reason to be strategic about marketing approaches; you want to reach donors at crucial moments in their decision-making process. However, your marketing budget is likely limited if you’re a nonprofit organization.
And it may be tough to embrace paying for advertising on social media sites and other platforms when you’re competing with for-profits to get attention.
If you don’t have a budget for paid advertising, you can take advantage of Google’s Ad Grants program, which offers nonprofits up to $10,000 in search ads monthly to spread their message to Google Search users.
In almost 20 years, over 100,000 nonprofits have benefitted from Google’s free advertising to the tune of $10 billion. However, your organization must be qualified for a Google for Nonprofits account to enjoy this feature.
On their part, social media platforms such as Facebook (and Instagram), Twitter, LinkedIn, etc., offer various nonprofit-specific resources to help organizations like yours boost their visibility through paid advertising.
Word of Mouth Marketing
Marketing is the process of building awareness and trust for your nonprofit to attract and retain partnerships. Part of this process is involving your supporters in your marketing strategy. The easiest way to do this is by having them share information about your nonprofit with their social networks.
However, this begins by ensuring that your supporters, volunteers, and donors are involved in your projects. The key to successful word-of-mouth marketing is to take the time to form a meaningful relationship with your partners.
If you’ve kept them in the loop throughout the year, they’ll share information about your nonprofit more readily with their social networks to bring more attention to what you do.
But you also have to encourage them to get the word out actively. A good talking point can be a simple and effective way to help your supporters promote your nonprofit’s programs, upcoming events, and advocacy efforts.
Nonprofit organizations must come to terms with the new realities of this increasingly complex, dynamic, and rapidly changing world.
With shrinking budgets and fewer resources, nonprofits need to be more agile, strategic, and imaginative about engaging volunteers, donors, and partners.
As you develop your marketing strategy for your nonprofit in 2022, focus on sharing informative content, promoting authentic advocacy, and building a community based on trust.
Image Credit: Sora Shimazaki; Pexels; Thank you!