A Beginner's Guide to Non-Profit Marketing: Learn the Tips, Best practices and 7 best Marketing Strategies for your NPO

Blocksurvey blog author
Jan 22, 2022 · 6 mins read
A Beginner's Guide to Non-Profit Marketing: Learn the Tips, Best practices and 7 best Marketing Strategies for your NPO

When you are running a non-profit organization with a noble purpose, the one thing you repeatedly hear from people is that you're doing something altruistic, beautiful, and purposeful to make a difference in the lives of others. Still, they fail to understand the effort involved in making non-profit organizations successful. It is not easy to organize, make people volunteer, and advocate for what you are fighting for.

In any organization, the marketing team is responsible for establishing the organization's goals and vision to reach its target, which in turn exponentially reflects in its revenue. 

A marketing team is a marketing team irrespective of the type of organization. The team members analyze the market, strategize plans, choose the best communication channels, reach the target, and repeat. As a marketing team of a non-profit organization, you need to achieve more with less (sometimes nothing).

Here we are to help you with how to strategize a marketing plan for your non-profit organization (NPO), increase your volunteers, raise funds, spread the message, and create awareness about the sole purpose of your organization. You might wonder, how can I do all these with a small team and limited resources? but that is completely possible with the best strategies applied to your process, so read on for our tips.

What is a Nonprofit Marketing Campaign?

Non-profit marketing uses tactics and strategies to increase the awareness of the purpose and the mission of a not-for-profit organization to encourage memberships, raise funds through donations, and solicit social change.

You may wonder why a non-profit organization should have a marketing team, as they are not like other business organizations. But in reality, the purpose of a marketing team is to make the organization's goal reach the target customers. In the case of non-profit organizations, it should create awareness of the organization's purpose to the people from whom they are soliciting the change. In other words, what's your mission, and what do you stand for?

3 Main Reasons Why Nonprofits Struggle with Marketing

Non-profits have a natural opportunity to be effective at marketing since they have a compelling story to tell people and a noble cause to work for compared to for-profit entities. But still, there are 3 main reasons why most NPOs struggle with marketing.

1. They underestimate the power of marketing:

About 50% of the NPOs  said that they lack the knowledge of marketing in the initial stages of developing the organization. Most of them think the sole purpose of the NPO is enough to make it reach people, but that's not the case without a marketing plan or a team to execute your marketing plan. If no one knows about your mission, you cannot reach people, tell your story, and inspire them to take action.

2. They fail to develop a marketing strategy:

A strategic approach towards your marketing efforts is the key to success whether you are a profit or non-profit organization. But most of the NPOs fail miserably to develop a marketing strategy, so what happens is eventually its marketing efforts lose the direction to reach its goal.

3. They do not know or measure Key Performance Indicators

When you are not sure how to measure your success, you are probably lost in your way to success. When you fail to strategize your marketing effort, you fail to determine the KPIs of your success.

Read also: How to start a Non-Profit Organization in the United States

How to Create a Nonprofit Marketing Plan

1. Define Goals

A marketing plan starts by carefully curating the organization's objectives and mission. You have a good purpose for starting the organization, but now you have to brainstorm and create 3 to 4 objectives to transform your mission into actionable goals. 

Most NPOs have two types of marketing objectives related to fundraising and spreading the message. These actionable goals then form the starting point for your marketing strategy.

2. Understand your Audience

An NPO is different from other business organizations in the way of knowing your target audience. Unlike other businesses, they are not people with almost the same personas. They belong to different groups and will be targeted for different purposes, such as volunteering, joining as a member, donating, and other administrative tasks. 

You need to segregate the target audience accordingly, and it helps to personalize the marketing message you want to convey to that particular group. This can be achieved bydetailed research of your NPO's target audience.

3. Define the Key Messages to be Delivered

A crisp and clear message delivered to the target audience finishes 80% of your marketing job. The key message includes the information that people want to hear about your organization, which motivates them to take action and share your NPO with their network.

You are aware of your goal, so study your audience and keep that in mind to curate a marketing message that can't be ignored by your target. If you nail it properly, it doesn't matter who delivers it, rest assured the job is done.

4. Create Your Strategy and Tactics

Having the goal, target, and message in hand, now we are moving towards our marketing strategy.  Here, you will establish an overarching strategy of what you are trying to accomplish and why, and then you will break that strategy into actionable tactics, such as choosing the channel for your marketing efforts, leveraging email, social media platforms, events, and more. Kindly keep in mind that not one channel works for all groups. Thus, similar to the format of the message, channels should also be personalized according to your target audience.

A good marketing strategy chooses a combination of channels to reach the target, with a clear message and call to action.

5. Analyze your KPI's

The important part of strategic planning is that it usually determines a set of attributes to measure the efficiency of the marketing strategy followed. As a final step, find the Key Performance Indicators of your plan and measure the performance of your marketing efforts in regular intervals. Revisit, rinse, repeat and optimize if need be. Learn from trial and error and refine your tactics from your ongoing evaluation of your KPIs.

The Best Marketing Strategies for a Nonprofit Organization

1. Video Marketing

Evoking people's emotions towards the cause you are fighting for is the best-proven strategy of any successful NPO. When Greta Thunberg questioned, “How dare you?” at the 2019 UN Climate Action Summit, it trembled the whole world and caused us to evaluate what we are doing to mitigate climate change. When someone provokes your emotions, you feel like taking action. 

Produce high-quality videos of the key message you want to convey to your target audiences, host it on your official channel, and promote sharing it through your network.

2. Social Media Marketing

Social media visibility of your content plays a significant role in reaching more and more people daily. But you can do more than just share the content across the platforms. You can allocate a little paid media budget to promote your content on Facebook and Twitter. Even a small budget allocation is a big task in an NPO compared to profit businesses, but it is a risk worth taking to make a huge difference in your social media space.  

3. "Donate Now" on Facebook

You have a lot of supporters on your social media pages, and your content is getting engagement. But when you don't mention the call to action for your supporters, your fundraising process is a big failure. Facebook in 2015 introduced the "Donate Now" button to official NPO pages to encourage the users to support the right cause at the right time. Be sure to use it as people love to give.

4. Website

A well-framed website is a digital handout for your organization with all the important information that your visitors need to know about you.It should host your blog, social media handles, event marketing information, videos, and of course, the call to action: how your visitors can support the cause your organization is working for.

Read also: Top 15 Non-Profit organization in the United States

5. Email Marketing

Email marketing proved itself as one of the best marketing channels, especially for budget-limited non-profits. Email marketing results in an average of $40 of revenue for every $1 spent, which is a huge win for an NPO. The 3 important things to keep in mind while drafting your email messages are:

  • Craft a catchy and compelling subject line for your email. By doing so, you are convincing people to open your email. You can do a split testing method to study which subject line works best with your audience.
  • Keep your content simple and easy to understand, and get straight to the point.
  • Include supporting visual content like images, videos, or stats that helps people to connect with your story.

6. Event Marketing

Event marketing is one of the most effective marketing channels for a non-profit organization. You can meet people, create awareness about your organization, explain your purpose, get support, and raise funds.

There are various Successful NPO marketing campaigns like these that worked as a medium to reach a wide range of audiences. 

7. Influential Partnerships

You may not need a Hollywood celebrity or a famous football player to support your organization. You can start with an Instagram influencer or a YouTube personality to craft a post about your NPO, spread the message to their followers, and share a simple call-to-action to support your organization.Finding the right person to campaign for you can result in substantial donations with little to no money spent.

Final thoughts

As a non-profit, your budget is limited, but that shouldn’t limit your strategic marketing efforts. This guide should help you get started with everything you need to know as a beginner to NPO marketing. You might not be working for profit to run behind the marketing lessons, but the traffic value it brings in helps you to create awareness, raise funds, and a huge supporter base for your organization.

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