How Nonprofit Marketing Can Enhance Your Organization
Nonprofits have wonderful stories to tell about their organizations. In fact, many nonprofits have wonderful branding opportunities. That said, the sad fact is nonprofits generally do not have the funds and knowledge to market themselves well or at all. In my long career as a practitioner and consultant, I have seen few organizations have a viable nonprofit marketing plan. Many nonprofits market themselves for a special event or project, but do not consistently promote themselves in their external communities effectively.
It’s no wonder you receive a limited response when you ask individuals to describe what their organization does. In many cases, nonprofits may realize they have a weakness in marketing, but have not thought about ways to address this issue. Think about what you want to be known for as an organization.
As a marketing major as an undergraduate student at West Virginia University, I remember the marketing professor’s definition of marketing as utilization of product, price, promotion and place—called the four P’s.
The Balance denotes that nonprofit marketing is a way to satisfy consumer and donor needs, spread your message points, share your mission statement, alert the public to events and share breaking news relevant to your cause among other things.
It also states that the following eight steps should be employed to market your nonprofit to your target audience:
- Determine Your Target Audience—research other similar organizations.
- Set Measurable Goals—determine desired outcomes.
- Create Marketing Materials—create materials that describe your organization.
- Set a Social Media Strategy—determine social media platforms that can relate to your organization.
- Modernize Your Website—Develop a robust professional website.
- Do Some Research—research your current and prospective customer database.
- Showcase Your Results—showcase the objectives and demonstrable organizational results;
- Form Partnerships—Seek organizations that can partner with you to enhance both organizational missions.
According to The Huffington Post, the author suggests affordable ways a nonprofit can better market themselves in the digital world to spread the word about their cause. These are creating a Facebook Ad Event Promotion, use snapchat and other real-time apps for live updates on projects and events, sign up for Google for Nonprofits, target influencers on social media and tell others your story via blogging, twitter and other social media outlets.
Forbes notes that donors are a critical component for nonprofit long-term success. Nonprofits are tasked with the challenge of presenting their organization and cause in such a way that will compel donors to act. The challenge is for nonprofits to market their organization in a manner that will appease donors.
Five marketing tips to reach more donors are:
- Use social media, such as Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, and provide ads on these vehicles.
- Make your message clear by being very transparent about your goals and objectives.
- Use content that your donors can read and learn from with respect to your brand.
- Take SEO seriously so people can find you online.
- Create a blog, so donors can learn about your brand and become inspired. You must provide information and rationale in order to convince of your cause and purpose.
Forbes also notes that funders are willing to support many functions of a nonprofit, but marketing usually isn’t one of them. So, how do you build your brand with little or no money? You really need to understand who your audience is and develop a marketing strategy based upon your key audiences. Forbes suggests mixing up ways to attract potential supporters of your cause by using a variety of tools to promote effective frequency of contact.
Seek to allocate resources designed to getting the word out about your organization to your key audiences via press releases, in-kind support of ad space, etc. Find free or low-cost resources for getting your word out through email platforms, digital advertising, social media management tools, analytic resources and SEO apps, which can be used for little or no money.
Organizations need to enhance their nonprofit marketing efforts. There are a variety of reasons why they do not achieve this objective. Greater attention for nonprofit marketing must begin today. Look internally within your organization to see who has marketing expertise that can be tapped. If a marketing budget does not exist, seek donors who can support a marketing budget. Add volunteer marketing expertise to your existing board or create a new volunteer marketing committee.
Seek marketing volunteer expertise in radio, television, print, social media plus others that provide different types of marketing. As a group, these individuals can create a marketing plan and provide solutions that will help your organization promote itself to the various constituencies you serve.
With the right mix of volunteers who can review your current marketing efforts and provide solutions to your needs, greater awareness of your nonprofit will be forthcoming. This activity will lead to greater knowledge of your organization, both internally and externally, that will provide greater exposure leading to enhanced resources!
Duke has extensive experience as a nonprofit practitioner, author, lecturer and consultant. He has been a contributing author to NonProfit PRO for the last 11 years. He has been a long-standing member of the Association of Fundraising Professionals where he was previously named the AFP Indiana Chapter Fundraising Executive of the Year and has held the CFRE designation for many years.
He received his doctorate degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in education administration, master's degree from Marshall University with an emphasis in public administration and a bachelor's degree from West Virginia University with an emphasis in marketing/management. He has also completed post graduate work at the University of Louisville.
He is currently executive director of development for The Salvation Army Indiana Division in Indianapolis, Indiana. Contact Duke at firstname.lastname@example.org or 317-224-1029.