If your nonprofit’s marketing consists of periodically updating your website and holding an annual benefit gala, then you’re missing important opportunities. Consistent marketing is as essential for growing and maintaining a nonprofit as it is for businesses.
Learning how to market your nonprofit doesn’t have to be complicated. There are many easy actions you can take to reach your target audience, educate the public, and increase support for your mission. These eight steps will jumpstart your marketing efforts and set you on the path to reaching your organization’s goals.
Why Your Nonprofit Needs Marketing
Even the most altruistic organization can’t do much good unless people know about it. Your nonprofit needs strong relationships with donors, volunteers, the media, and even government organizations in order to pursue its mission effectively.
Marketing helps your nonprofit:
- Spread your message and mission statement
- Bring in new donors and new revenue
- Satisfy current donors by showcasing your success
- Create strong relationships with other organizations and government agencies
- Gain exposure in the media
- Alert the public to important events and news
- Reach more people with the work you do
How to Market Your Nonprofit
Your organization’s marketing efforts should be ongoing in order to maintain your relationships, bring in consistent donations, and keep your work in the public eye. Even if your nonprofit doesn’t have the budget for a dedicated marketing team, there are still steps that every staff member can help out with to create a marketing plan.
1. Determine Your Target Market
Before you can take action to market your organization, you need to know who you are trying to reach and what you want them to do.
- What is their age or gender?
- What is their income level?
- Do they trust certain news sources?
- What social media platforms do they use?
- What’s the best way to contact them?
- What issues are most likely to stir their interest?
- Do you want them to donate, volunteer, join your organization, or spread the word?
Once you know who your audience is and where they can be found, you can tailor your marketing efforts to reach them and prompt them to take action. You may find it helpful to research organizations similar to yours to see how they market themselves to the same audience.
2. Set Measurable Goals
You won’t know whether your nonprofit marketing is effective unless you know what you’re trying to achieve. Having measurable goals gives you a way to evaluate what is working and what needs to change.
The goals you set should make sense for your organization and mission and may include:
- Donations or revenue
- Email list sign-ups
- Donor/member retention
- New donors/members
- Yearly initiatives you want to achieve
- The number of people you can help, events you can hold, or any other service your nonprofit provides
Once you set your goals, strategize with your team to determine how you’ll measure progress toward reaching them.
3. Create Marketing Materials
Do you mail brochures or postcards? Send thank-you notes to donors? Are you likely to make appearances or have an information table at events? Do your staff members use business cards?
Any time you interact with the public, your nonprofit needs marketing materials. These materials should be branded for your organization and include information that showcases the accomplishments, services, and values of your organization, along with information about how to get involved or where to donate.
Larger nonprofits may have an in-house art department to put these marketing materials together. If your organization is smaller, look for a local graphic design shop. For nonprofits on a tight budget, you may get a better price from a freelancer who doesn’t have the same overhead and staffing costs of a design firm.
4. Set a Social Media Strategy
A social media marketing strategy is a cost-effective way to reach new donors and gain popular exposure. Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram can provide an avenue for reaching a large number of people interested in your organization.
Rather than trying to be active on every social media platform out there, identify the two or three platforms where your target market is most likely to be found. Then, focus your energy and marketing efforts there.
The best part of this type of marketing is that social media has no physical boundaries. You can connect with people in your own backyard or those halfway around the globe, allowing you to expand the reach of your nonprofit.