Nonprofit organizations play a key role in our societies. They are doing this in many ways: volunteering, raising funds, or raising awareness about certain topics. Think about WWF, Black Lives Matter or Doctors Without Borders. The end goal is always to improve the world we live in and make it a better place for future generations.
They often cover areas that governments and other institutions can’t reach. For that they must get hold of resources on their own. So how can marketers contribute to the cause?
Nonprofit marketing might seem easy at first — it can be. But you must do your research. Choose the right tools, get support from the right people and don’t forget about context. Nonprofit marketing is as real as any other kind of marketing, so if you want to make a difference, you must bear this in mind.
Thorough research can make all the difference when planning your strategy.
Know your target audience: What do they actively search for? What are their interests? Where can you find them?
Understanding this is essential for capturing your audience’s attention and generating a long-lasting impact. Good intentions are not enough if the message is not seen.
Don’t stop at demographics; dive into psychographics and learn how to speak their language. Meet them where they are. If your goal is to help stray animals, distributing flyers at a pet shop will always be more efficient than distributing them at a furniture store.
Analyze if there are other similar nonprofit organizations. Determine whether something about their take on your objective inspires you, or if you’d have better ideas to compete with them. Maybe you could join forces for the greater good.
Now, all you need is a good nonprofit marketing strategy, followed by execution, testing and optimizing.
A nonprofit organization can have more than one purpose. Do you want to:
Raise a certain amount of money?
Increase awareness of a cause?
Grow the audience or number of volunteers?
Don’t forget, a goal should be SMART: specific, measurable, achievable, relevant and time-bound. Address yourself specific questions related to these characteristics and try to formulate your goal by answering them.
Once you’ve set your goals, you can focus on choosing the right digital tools to meet them.
The next step is planning and implementing the right marketing tactics and key messages.
Have in mind that the local, national or international context might interfere with your strategy. You can’t just ignore these external factors. Always pay attention to what happens locally or globally and adjust your marketing tactics accordingly.
The most recent example is the COVID-19 pandemic. Because of it, many businesses have had to adapt their entire strategy — many going digital from scratch. Nonprofit organizations are in the same situation.
Although it’s cliché, it’s true: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Good research should help you know exactly where your audience is, and what they want to see there. Try splitting your efforts into both online and offline mediums.
- Create educational blog posts.
- Create guest posts on other blogs.
- Use social media.
- Promote your offline events.
- Send newsletters.
- Work with influencers to promote your cause on their channels.
- Speak at events.
- Organize your own event.
- Use CSR marketing.
If you need help on social platforms, you can check out Google Grants for NGOs or Facebook Small Business Grants Program.
Create content that makes your audience resonate with what you want to achieve and enables them to connect with each other. Your role is to inspire people to have that uncomfortable conversation that has the power to make a change. Start by talking about how the situation affects us. Show people small steps they can take to help, some that don’t interfere with their habits. If they’re willing, show them they can get involved even further. Lastly, show people the effect of their help: use photos, videos or other immediate rewards.
Always measure and analyze the results of your marketing strategy. Compare them to your initial expectations. At this point, you can understand how the audience responded, which elements of the campaign worked, and what needs to be changed. Constantly adapt to achieve the goals you’ve set.
Your research and marketing strategy will help project the organization’s voice, enabling it to connect to its audience. Not everyone will support the same cause, and that’s fine. What matters is allowing the ones who are interested in yours to join the conversation and contribute as they see fit. Provide the right tools to people with the right intentions, and you’ll see a positive change.