Current nonprofit sector research and recommendations for effective day-to-day practice from ASU faculty, staff, students, and the nonprofit and philanthropic community.
Many nonprofits are amazing at building a compelling message and having an impact on their community. However, many nonprofit organizations are not familiar with how marketing works, so their ability to reach their community is often undermined and their potential is not fully realized.
Nonprofit marketing is more than just making a sale or securing a donation. Marketing focuses more on satisfying the needs of the consumer and prospective donors, and as a result, a strong nonprofit marketing strategy can help you achieve your organizational goals.
That said, here is a foolproof guide on how to make a successful nonprofit marketing plan.
1. Start by Setting a Goal for Your Organization
As we talk about nonprofit marketing, setting a goal is probably the most crucial step you should not ignore.
- What do you want to accomplish?
- Whom do you want to reach?
- When do you want to accomplish those goals?
These are all vital to understand how you will develop a marketing strategy for your nonprofit.
More importantly, you have to focus on one primary goal, instead of having multiple targets all at once. This holds true, especially for those who are just starting up with only a small team. It is almost impossible to work on several tasks with limited time or resources.
On the other hand, by focusing on one primary goal, success will follow. Here is an idea of what your primary goal can be:
- Community engagement by increasing website visits by 25 percent within the next 6 months.
- New donor acquisition with a 15 percent increase of donations by next quarter.
- Raise awareness by reaching an additional 6,000 people in the community by next year.
- Build credibility by collaborating with four local organizations to put on a large event by the end of the year.
As you establish your marketing goals, make sure that it is something that you can directly connect to your organizational growth objectives. For example, we all want to raise awareness for our organization, however, what would be the outcome once that happens? What do we want to accomplish at the end of the day?
For small nonprofit organizations, selecting one primary goal would allow them to see the best results in just a short amount of time. For more extensive organizations that already have a marketing department, it can be possible to focus on two goals instead of one.
You also have to consider that your nonprofit organizational priorities are dynamic. That is why it is highly recommended to review your marketing plan every couple of months.
2. How Responsive Is Your Website?
The online world is a significant element of success for nonprofit organizations, as it is one of the most effective ways to reach a target audience. Aside from having an optimized nonprofit website, you have to ensure that all your online marketing channels point back to it.
It should represent your organization’s brand, mission, and purpose accurately. These elements must be represented in the design, copy, and overall messaging that your website highlights to ensure your audience trusts you and your mission.
Additionally, since 70 percent of internet searches happen on a smartphone, make sure that your website is as responsive as it should be so that you would not be losing any potential volunteers, donors, and supporters.
Ideally, your website should also contain a fundraising event calendar, and users can quickly register or purchase tickets, make donations, and other ways on how they can get involved with your organization. Do not forget the CTA button-- as it is another way to reach your marketing goals.
3. Utilize Social Media to Reach Your Audience
You are probably aware by now that social media is a compelling marketing platform that should be utilized. Not only is it cost effective, but it is also something you can use on a daily basis to share content with people and engage them on a more personal level.
Another benefit that you can enjoy with social media is that you can easily post creative and informational messages that could influence and attract your target market.
You can leverage your audience to help create content for social media by hosting various competitions and campaigns for User Generated Content. Not only does this approach fill your social media content calendar, it also reduces the investment of time and resources that your marketing team needs to invest.
4. Craft Compelling Messages for Engagement
Of course, you have to catch your audience’s attention, and the best way to do that is by creating engaging content. Your message should convey your organization's vision and mission with effective website content across your online presence. It should state why they should trust and consider being a part of your organization.
Furthermore, the message should also relate to the things that your audience is interested in. Keep everything engaging, and easy to understand. It should also have a clear call to action, and most importantly, it should be consistent.
Build your messages around who your nonprofit organization benefits, and the positive impacts you are making on your community.
Position your donors and audience to be the heroes in your story, and position your nonprofit organization as the conduit to the change that is happening. Some nonprofit marketing strategies revolve around the nonprofits, but in reality, the purpose, mission, and vision of your organization are the reason people want to get involved and donate.
5. Review Metrics to Optimize & Improve
You have to be able to track and monitor your reach and response accordingly to it. This would determine the success of your campaign, and could be a deciding factor if you are ready to move forward or not. This is where the short-term goals are also helpful.
Ideally, review the results of your organization every few months and try to determine if you were able to meet your goals or not. Likewise, by being able to come up with a sound strategy, you will be able to achieve your long-term goals as well.
Use These Communication Tips To Grow Your Nonprofit!
As a nonprofit organization, do your best to always be on the lookout to collaborate with those who can help your organization, or those who have the same mission-- be it people in commerce, government bodies, or other nonprofit groups.
It does not matter if it is large or small, what is important is that it could help the organization in many ways.
You can use these five proven strategies to create a powerful nonprofit marketing strategy to help you achieve your goals and reach your mission!
Chris is a Digital Media Strategy Consultant in Orlando, FL. He helps nonprofits grow their online presence as a freelance copywriter and SEO marketer.