7 Innovative Ideas to Build Buzz for Your Nonprofit
A nonprofit has the same needs as any other business. If you want to attract donors and patrons, then you need to constantly build buzz and awareness about what you do. The interest you build moves people into the top of your sales funnel, so they can become donors by the time they reach the bottom. If no one knows about the amazing work that you are doing, then you’re going to have a hard time achieving your mission.
If you have been marketing your brand for some time, you may need to breathe fresh life into your promotional efforts. Check out a few unique ways to build buzz around your organization to get people excited about your work.
Tell Stories Through Podcasting
Podcasting is an incredibly popular form of storytelling, with various podcasts covering topics ranging from the latest Bachelorette gossip to in-depth explorations about nature and science. Roughly 22% of the U.S. population listens to podcasts weekly, and roughly 32% of people say they listen to podcasts at least once per month.
The great news is that you don’t have to create your own podcast in order to build buzz around your nonprofit. Many podcasts bring in guest hosts or will feature an organization that is relevant to their topic, which means you can reach thousands of people who might not have heard of your brand before.
For example, Becoming Great is a podcast that we started at Great.com to help build brand recognition and tell our story. Co-hosts Erik Bergman and Emil Ekvardt discuss all of the things that make us “great,” from positive work environments to personal health habits.
If you want to build buzz around your nonprofit, consider starting a podcast — or find podcasts that you can be a guest on!
Apply for Awards
Winning an award is a fun way to increase exposure for your nonprofit, while boosting the morale of your volunteers and internal teams. Whether you are winning awards for local superlatives (like best local charity) or nominating your team for nationally-recognized contests.
Plus, you can use the awards you win as a tool to attract donors by highlighting your recognition by other parties.
Partner With Local Businesses
If you want to generate buzz around nonprofit, then go where the buzz is. Meet with the owners of local breweries, restaurants and hot spots around town to see if they would be willing to host an event or offer a discount to support your organization. They might be willing to host a fundraising night or create a menu item based off of your nonprofit. This introduces your brand to their customers, while boosting your fundraising efforts.
Promote Birthday Fundraisers on Facebook
Fundraisers have become a popular way to celebrate birthdays on Facebook. The social network lets users fundraise for more than 750,000 nonprofits, while setting their own timeline and fundraising goals that they want.
Let your Facebook fans know that they can fundraise for you, and thank fans who set up birthday fundraisers in your charity’s name. This peer-to-peer fundraising lets your fans and followers use their influence to promote your brand and support your good cause.
Tap Into User-Generated Content
Facebook birthday campaigns are just one form of user-generated content that you can use – and there are so many more opportunities available to you. Ask fans to submit photos about why they love your nonprofit or highlight stories about people or animals that you have helped. The more user-generated content you have, the less social media content (and even blog and newsletter content) you will have to create.
Develop Unique Gifts and Fundraising Products
People love tote bags, mugs and other interesting items. Work with a local graphic designer to create some interesting and unique items that your fans might want to buy. You can either give these away as thank-you gifts for donors or sell them on your website.
You can even move beyond the mold and create unique items that are relevant to your nonprofit – like an animal shelter selling pet portraits or an ocean-focused charity selling surfboards. This opens up your organization to sales from your business, not just donations.
Plan Ahead for Giving Tuesday and Other Holidays
Giving Tuesday is the holiday following Cyber Monday and Black Friday. It is a day for donating to nonprofits instead of buying gifts for the holiday season – giving back instead of consuming. Too often, nonprofits start planning for Giving Tuesday too late and can’t get a campaign ready that excites donors. The same can be said for other holidays where people might otherwise donate.
Every year, donations for Giving Tuesday grow. In 2018, people gave more than $380 million online. Don’t leave money on the table for this holiday, start planning now for November.
These are just a few ways you can break out of a marketing slump and generate excitement about your nonprofit. Try a few of these suggestions and see which ones increase your engagement rates and boost your overall donations.
Derek Miller, MBA, is a digital marketing expert with a background in content, SEO, PPC, email marketing and social media. He handles content marketing for Great.com and is the director of digital for Smack Sports Apparel.