Nonprofits are busy these days as the world reaches new levels of generosity. Americans alone, for instance, gave over $400 billion to charity in 2017. In addition, communication tools like social media along with technology, in general, have tremendously increased awareness of nonprofit organizations, how they work, and what causes they espouse.
When it comes to the nonprofits themselves, though, it can be a bit challenging to be heard through all of the white noise. With so many other organizations crowding the stage, it’s often difficult for nonprofits to stand out, especially if they’re smaller organizations doing work in geographically restricted areas like inner cities or suburbs.
If your nonprofit is struggling to get the message out, here are a few tips to consider in order to cut through the noise and get your message out to the world around you.
While it’s easy to jump to technological solutions like social media (and we’ll cover that further down the list) nothing beats the age-old power of networking. If you’re a nonprofit running a homeless shelter, helping support and equip inner-city teachers, or any other good works, you should be out pounding the pavement looking for local businesses that are willing to support your cause.
This doesn’t just help provide a stream of donations and support. It also helps you gain a larger voice in your community, increases local awareness, and gives you an outlet to help promote fundraisers and other initiatives.
If you’re a local nonprofit, one of the most affordable yet powerful ways to increase awareness of your organization is to simply fill out your Google My Business Listing.
This is the formal listing that Google displays to those who might find you online. It provides information about your address, contact info, website, hours of operation, etc. It also has reviews that can be responded to. It’s important to make sure that all of this information is correct and kept up to date, as a fully filled out Google My Business Listing is an excellent way to help increase awareness with zero costs.
Your website is your online hub. Anything you do on social media, events and fundraisers, email signups, etc. should all be funneled through your website. This gives you an easy to access location where you can keep updated information for anyone interested in your cause. It also provides an excellent spot to host promotions and create funnels of information that encourage visitors to donate to your cause.
While an organized, updated website is important as your online hub, your social media outlets are a critical part of getting your message out to the world around you and helping to build that all-important brand awareness.
Facebook is an excellent way to communicate with others. Instagram and Pinterest are visually powerful. Twitter works as a great tool to provide up to date information as events unfold.
Whatever social media tools you decide to use, make sure to maximize their effectiveness. Use images, infographics, and educational videos to help promote your cause. Some platforms like Facebook even allow you to accept donations right on their site. If you have the budget for it, consider creating paid ads, as well.
In addition to using your own accounts, look for influencers that would be a good fit for your cause. Try to contact local musicians, celebrities, respected business owners, and so on in an attempt to network with them and potentially gain their support.
Another excellent way to market your nonprofit is by riding the wave of current events. While this may seem sleazy for a for-profit organization to do just to “make a buck,” a nonprofit with charitable intent is particularly suited for this kind of marketing.
For instance, if you’re an inner-city shelter during a time of extreme heat or cold, use the current weather to help promote your cause and gain donations. If you collect funds to help provide water and food to underprivileged nations in Africa, use currently unfolding droughts, famines, or other natural disasters to help get people’s attention and enhance the effectiveness of your nonprofit’s efforts. In other words, don’t be afraid to connect your organization to current events.
With so many nonprofits out there, potential supporters often struggle with figuring out which organization is worthy of their hard-earned cash. That’s why it’s important to focus your marketing message on the success of your nonprofit’s efforts. Boldly explain what you’ve accomplished and highlight statistics that prove your effectiveness.
While the majority of modern marketing efforts take place online, it’s always worth considering some old-school marketing efforts, especially when your nonprofit is focused on a geographically specific area like an urban center or a suburb.
If you’re doing something like hosting a 5k race or running a food drive, consider promoting the event with physical posters posted in local businesses or taking out an ad in a local newspaper. Reach out to your network of businesses and fellow nonprofits, as well, to help spread the word.
When it comes to the event itself, consider creating custom pens, t-shirts, or stickers to give away in order to help bolster your brand awareness.
Finally, consider applying for Google Ad Grants. If approved, you can be eligible for $10,000 of Google search ads per month to bolster your marketing efforts. In addition, there are many other Google services that can help you organize and promote your nonprofit’s message, such as G Suite for Nonprofits and the YouTube Nonprofit Program.
The truth is, there are many different ways to promote a nonprofit these days. While any one of the above suggestions can make a difference, cobbling together several (or even all) of them into a coherent marketing strategy can produce a synergistic effect to your organization’s marketing efforts. All of these tips can make a huge difference in effectively marketing your nonprofit to the world around you and give you the ability to do even more good work in your community.