Nonprofit Marketing is difficult. If you are a Marketer for a Non-Profit, you likely know that your NPO has limited Marketing resources, such as time, knowledge, money and equipment. How to Market effectively with these limited resources?
Last Tuesday, Christina Garnett organized a Nonprofit Marketing hackathon. Marketers joined Twitter Spaces to share Marketing tips for Nonprofit Organizations. I took notes during this sessions and I’m happy to share you the most important takeaways!
Finding alternatives for paid marketing
Nonprofits have a smaller budget. You can use Paid Online Advertising tools, but you need to spend your money carefully. So here are some effective free Marketing alternatives:
User Generated Content
Word-Of-Mouth is a powerful tool. And User-Generated Content
brings you the most engagement. People love seeing the faces behind NPOs. So encourage your volunteers and donors to share your mission.
- Write up a document/guide and show them the many different ways through which they can spread your message
- When you see someone post online, like and engage with that post to thank them for their efforts and to keep them motivated
Content Marketing: Blogs, Pages and Posts
Learn the basics of Content Marketing and Search Engine Optimization. The lifespan of blog content and website pages is longer than the lifespan of paid marketing content like advertisements.
Make sure that your content is relevant to your cause and your stakeholders: Write blogs about what your mission, goals, needs, accomplishments and struggles.
Here are some content ideas:
- Do research on the problem you’re trying to solve. Publish your findings in an article.
- Interview one of your voluntary workers and ask them what they do
- Show visible examples of you accomplishing your goal
- Make use of numbers and examples to make the problem you’re trying to solve tangible for and relevant to others. For instance: X amount of people are living in poverty. This means that they cannot do Y and Z. This is problematic because it leads to A, B and C. Our NPO tries to solve that Problem, So that they will be able to do Y and Z, and that they will feel better. We need X amount of money to do activity 1, 2 and 3. It costs us Y dollars to buy resources for activity 1 (etc,)
Social Media and E-mail Marketing
Keep the donor acquisition costs low. Social Media Marketing and E-mail Marketing
are cost-efficient tools to attract and engage donors and voluntary workers.
Cheap Marketing Tools
Search for Cheap Marketing tools: Many Marketing Services (Hootsuite, HubSpot etc.) offer their tools for a reduced price
Cross-Promotional content: Create reciprocity and partner with other companies, NPOs, influencers and individuals. Set up collaborative social media campaigns
Don’t lose sight of your mission:
Brianne Fleming used to be a Marketer for a Nonprofit Organization. She noticed that the stress of fundraising is so great, that Nonprofits often lose sight of their own mission. While it is important to be grateful for your donors and give them exposure on your Marketing channels, showing the things you’re doing and showing the reason why you’re doing things
is far more important.
So: Don’t just talk about money, but give context to why you need donor money and how your NPO is using that money to solve a problem.
How are you spending your money? Who are you serving and how are you changing the world and helping people? Donors are far more interested in knowing how their money is spent.
Example: Jarige Job Foundation:
I once worked for the Jarige Job Foundation. They are serving Dutch families who cannot afford to celebrate their children’s birthday because they live in poverty. Jarige Job’s mission is to solve that problem. To solve that problem, they are packing birthday boxes.
Packing and delivering one birthday box to one Dutch family costs €35,-. And that’s what they communicate as well: If you donate €35,- to Jarige Job, you’re helping one Dutch family celebrate their child’s birthday.
See how it’s not about the money? As a matter of fact, Jarige Job doesn’t communicate how much money is being donated. Instead, they tell us how many birthday boxes they’ve packed over a certain period of time, thanks to all donations and thanks to all voluntary workers. And that’s what matters.
Storytelling tips for your NPO
- Be brief with your storytelling, get your point across quickly and tell what impact others make when they donate. (e.g. €35,- = one birthday or €1,- = one tree planted).
- Show the success stories
- Be transparent in your communication
- Don’t use euphemisms. Nonprofits often are scared to tell other people the harsh facts. But you need to be transparent and direct as possible, or else people won’t understand your exact purpose.
Reducing the attitude-behaviour gap
NPOs often struggle to convert passive followers into active contributors. But every Nonprofit worker knows that recruiting donors and volunteers is necessary in order to pursue the NPO’s mission. So what to do?
NPOs should make the process of becoming a donor or volunteer as clear, easy and straightforward as possible. Your potential donors shouldn’t have to put a lot of effort into finding out how they can help you. So this means:
- Clearly show volunteers how they can help
- Tell your donors what you will do with their money
- Make the process of becoming a donor as easy as possible.
- Give your donors multiple options to donate: monthly donations, yearly donations, one-off donations, fixed amount of money, or let the donor decide how much they want to donate
- Tell the volunteers all the different ways how they can contribute. They could become ambassadors, they could support your social media strategy, they can give financial advice, they could spend 1 or 2 hours a month educating other people, and so forth.
If you don’t tell your donors and volunteers all the different ways in which they can support you, they will not know how they can help you.
As result, they will not help you.
Networking beyond Social Media
Small NPOs often start as a passion project. People start their NPOs to follow their dreams, and sometimes their passion becomes their full-time job. But then they have an issue: They lack the skills, knowledge and network to raise funds and to accomplish their mission. So what to do then?
- Tell your friends and family and ask them for help. And ask them to tell other people about your Non-Profit Organization, your goals and your needs.
- Search for local Non-Profit Associations nearby. These Associations exist to help non-profits get on their feet and moving
- Go to networking events. Meet other non-profits and companies. Maybe you can help each other out. Know this too: Companies don’t necessarily have to donate money, they can help you out with their knowledge and expertise as well. For instance, a Marketing Agency can host a free brainstorm/advice session, or they can help you create some Social Media psots
- Look at local community foundations.
Just connect with other NPOs, Associations, individuals and companies for the sake of connection. Don’t say ‘Hey please donate’ right in their face. Just network, and tell them what your mission is, what your goals are, why, what you’re doing, how you’re helping others, and what you’ve accomplished so far.
To have your Nonprofit Marketing on point, you have must a clear purpose and a clear story that explains your purpose. Tell your audience who you are, what you do, what you’ve accomplished. And be authentic.
If you’re out of Marketing inspiration, go follow other Nonprofits on Social Media. Reach out to them and ask them what they are doing. Analyze why they are successful online. The more NPOs you follow online, the more ideas for your Marketing Strategy you’ll gather.