Do More with Less: An Agency’s Guide to Nonprofit Marketing

Nonprofit organizations often find themselves in a tricky marketing situation. How do you raise awareness of your brand and connect emotionally with your target audience to ultimately motivate them to donate— all with little to no budget? On top of that, audiences are constantly evolving with how they want to be engaged. Managing these ever-changing preferences while simultaneously trying to meet fundraising goals and improve the lives of those affected by your cause is no simple task. Here are some budget-friendly ways to put a method to the marketing madness!

Raising brand and cause awareness

First and foremost, individuals can’t help fix the problem if they don’t know it exists. It’s critical to not only raise awareness of the cause, but ensure members of the target audience know how your organization plans to help those affected by it.

  • Brand Development: Oftentimes, there is competition amongst nonprofit organizations in the same cause space. It’s critical to differentiate your nonprofit from those competitors. Does your nonprofit allocate a larger percentage of fundraising directly to programs and services for those in need? Was your organization critical in passing a piece of legislation to help those affected by your cause? Did your nonprofit fund research that made a critical difference in the lives of your constituents? Make sure all your marketing messages portray that message first and foremost. Dramatizing your unique selling proposition will help you create a strong brand and communicate quickly and effectively why people should not only give, but give to you.
  • Google Ad Grants: With limited media hard cost budgets, it’s critical to stretch those dollars. The more frequently your ads appear next to Google search results, the more people will be aware of your cause. That can translate in to more donations and more volunteers— the lifeblood of every nonprofit. Imagine what you could do with $10,000 USD of in-kind advertising every month from Google Ads. See if your organization is eligible by applying here.

Connecting emotionally with members of your target audience

Individuals are way more likely to give to your cause if they feel a personal connection to it. As the old nonprofit adage goes, “People don’t give to causes. People give to people.” It’s critical to create content that emotionally resonates with your target audience.

  • Visual Storytelling: Video dominates in today’s marketing landscape. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be expensive to produce for it to be effective. Tools like Adobe Creative Cloud and Canva make it affordable for nonprofits to edit and create great video content. Social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram allow users to easily livestream content. Recent studies have shown that 57% of people who watch a video for a nonprofit go on to donate. There’s no substitute for a compelling video that demonstrates your work on the ground, tells your organization’s story and touches your supporters in a way that can motivate them to take action. Spotlighting people working on behalf of your constituents or even telling a personal story of someone affected by your cause are great examples of effective video content.  
  • Blogging: An extremely cost effective option, blogging allows you to tell stories that highlight those affected by your cause. Blogs are the gift that keep on giving in that they live on your website and can be pushed out via email marketing and social media. Blogs can even give a “behind-the-scenes” look at the nonprofit itself. Donors can see all the work that went in to planning an annual fundraiser or how a program is being implemented in a local neighborhood.

Bottom line— it is possible to do more with less! Tight marketing constraints don’t have to be a barrier to spreading awareness of your cause and moving that fundraising needle. Sometimes, you just have to get a little creative.

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