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How Is Marketing Different For Nonprofits Than Normal Businesses?
Marketing via social media, email, targeted ads, etc., is an essential tool that big companies and budding entrepreneurs alike implement on a daily basis. It helps these for-profit businesses to achieve their goals, which are typically to bring in new customers and increase their revenue. This way stakeholders in the company, from executives to employees to investors, get paid at the end of the day.
It’s important to have these specific strategies in place if you want to grow your brand’s influence and encourage more people to buy from you; especially in the expanding digital economy, where much of our global commerce and customer interaction occurs online.
With that said, nonprofits share many of the same goals that for-profit companies set up for their marketing campaigns. They need to get the word out about their organization to increase their number of donors. More donors mean more donations, and more donations means they are now closer to their ultimate goal, whether it’s to feed 500 impoverished families or get 1000 stray cats adopted in the next year.
The main difference between marketing for normal businesses and marketing for nonprofits is that nonprofit organizations need it more. They typically possess less resources – money as well as personnel – which means they must become creative if they want to meet their goals.
Marketing is a versatile resource that doesn’t have to cost a lot of money, nor does it always require lots of people to make it work.
Why Do Nonprofits Need Marketing?
Nonprofits need marketing to increase donations, but the need goes deeper than that. Marketing for nonprofits always ties back into the organization’s goals, which can’t be easily achieved without those strategies.
It Gets The Nonprofit’s Mission Statement Out Into The World
The most important goal for a nonprofit is getting their mission statement out into the world. Marketing is the easiest way to accomplish this goal. It uses social media, billboards, cards, emails, events, video ads, and other media to reach as many people as possible and turn an unknown nonprofit into an easily recognizable entity with a focused message.
It Makes The Nonprofit More Accessible To A Wider Range Of People
Marketing is such a versatile topic with broad applications, that it allows nonprofits to become more accessible to a wider range of people.
For example, you can leave brochures at a church or a library to reach out to folks who are older or may not have an internet connection or who are more charity-focused. At the same time, you can create a hashtag on Twitter and Instagram and partner with influencers to net donors from younger demographics, such as millennials and Gen Z.
It Creates A Human Connection
The best way to get people to donate money to a nonprofit cause is to tug on their heartstrings. An effective marketing campaign creates a human connection, whether that’s through posting a video that shows potential donors who their money will benefit; a website that introduces the members of the organization with pictures and personable anecdotes; or a speaking event where the leaders of the nonprofit can take questions and communicate directly with their audience.
It Defines The Nonprofit’s Specific Goals For Potential Donors
Donors, especially high dollar ones, want to know where their money is going. More importantly, they want to know where the nonprofit is headed. What are the organization’s goals, and are those goals worth investing in?
Marketing is a wonderful opportunity to share those goals. With a simple brochure, video, or email campaign (those are just a few examples of strategies that one can use), a nonprofit can outline their goals for the future, how much money they need to make them a reality, how and where that money will be used, and how their goals will fulfill their mission statement. Potential donors will feel more confident giving funds to such a focused, transparent organization.
It Creates Opportunities For Donors To Act
Many donors are people with a lot of money or people who simply want to do good in their community, for religious or moral reasons. They are looking for opportunities to act in service of people who need help. They may prefer to donate money, or volunteer their time.
It is incumbent on the nonprofit to provide quick and easy methods for donors to perform these acts of charity. Otherwise when they see how difficult or complicated it is to offer their help, they may lose interest and move on to another organization.
Marketing helps nonprofits create opportunities for donors to act. They can include a link to the organization’s PayPal in their weekly email, place an envelope addressed to themselves in mailboxes to allow donors to send them checks, or share a contact phone number where people who want to volunteer can call and schedule an appointment.
5 Simple Marketing Strategies For Nonprofits
For nonprofits that can’t afford a marketing team or are looking for fresh ideas, below are 5 simple marketing strategies that they can use to reach more donors and ramp up their fundraising.
1. Create Social Media Accounts And Post Regularly
Social media is not just the province of for-profit brands and influencers. With an estimated nearly 4 billion social media users worldwide, the platforms we scroll through every day for photos, videos, and updates from our friends, families, and favorite brands have become oceans of opportunity for nonprofit organizations.
It’s easy (and free) to create a business account on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. The key to making a success of any social media presence is to post consistently as well as intentionally.
By consistently, we mean once a day or at least 2-3 times a week. Don’t let your audience forget about you, but don’t post so often that they get tired of you, either.
By intentionally, we mean that you should publish content that will appeal to your target audience. Show them how you put donations to good use, how you’re upholding your mission statement, who the personalities behind the faces are in your group, what sets you apart from other nonprofits, and the emotions you experience daily as you help those in need. Be emotional, honest, and direct. Remember that you have to catch the attention of someone scrolling through their feed. Publish eye-catching content that makes them stop and listen to your message.
2. Start A Blog
In 2018-2019, blogs and articles were the second most popular form of content marketing used by B2C (business-to-consumer) marketers. Blogs and articles allow you to take advantage of one of the most important forms of marketing on the internet today: search engine optimization, or SEO.
SEO is a strategy whereby a website optimizes their written content for search engines, specifically Google. Google uses specific algorithmic factors to determine how high a website or web content ranks in search results. This means that when it comes to internet searches, content quality is king.
SEO is also free: it costs nothing to implement strategies like targeted keywords, backlinks, and high-quality spelling and grammar. Furthermore, 70 percent of marketers view SEO as more effective than PPC, so it’s well worth your time and focus as a nonprofit.
The best way to start reaping the benefits of good SEO is to create a blog on your website. Hire a writer or ask your team members to contribute articles where they talk about the nonprofit and what they do as members of the organization. Write blog posts about the problems that led you to start your nonprofit, what problems still remain, what the solutions are, and how those solutions can come about.
Refer to our SEO guide to master this all-important marketing strategy.
3. Start An Email Campaign
Ask your donors to sign up on an email list, and start an email campaign where you send out messages once or twice a week to everyone on that list. The emails you send can update donors on the latest accomplishments made and goals met at the nonprofit. You can share graphs visualizing the progress you’ve made towards your goals and how much money you need to complete the journey. You can also share important upcoming dates, such as fundraisers, speeches, groundbreaking ceremonies, and other events where the public or donors are invited to participate.
4. Film A Short Video (Or A Series Of Short Videos)
Earlier in this guide, we talked about how important marketing is for helping nonprofits make a human connection with the public. One marketing strategy you can use to tug on people’s heartstrings is to film a short video, or a series of videos.
Our suggestion to make and upload videos onto the internet isn’t just a random marketing tip. According to Cisco, by 2022, videos will make up 82 percent of consumer traffic on the internet. It’s a huge, lucrative medium ripe for anyone to take a bite out of, even nonprofits.
Below are some tips for what kind of videos to make that will attract your target audience.
- Film the work you and your organization do firsthand, whether it’s providing human services or resources, delivering goodies to kids with terminal illnesses, or rescuing animals. Show what you’re doing, how you do it, and why.
- Make sure that your viewers can see the good you’re doing and the wonderful effect you’re having on the lives around you.
- Show the passion and good intentions that you and your team members have by telling the camera why you started (or joined) the organization.
- Regardless of what footage you decide to use, always remember to focus on the mission statement and your goals for the future, immediate and long-term. Never let your viewers doubt what you’re all about.
5. Set Out Brochures And Posters In Libraries And Community Centers
Check with your local library and community centers, and see if they allow nonprofits to hang posters or put out free brochures. This is an effective form of marketing that helps your organization reach real people – for free, minus the paper, ink, and staples you used. It’s also a great way to reach people who either don’t have access to the internet or struggle with technology (i.e., seniors, disabled, and homeless people). They can read about your nonprofit through the brochure or poster, and make use of your services, become donors, and share your information with their families and friends who may wish to give their time or money to the organization.
Conclusion: Market Your Nonprofit Like A Business
You can market your nonprofit like a for-profit company without spending a ton of money. All it takes is some ingenuity and creativity, and maybe a little bit of help from marketing experts like us.
The five simple marketing strategies we demonstrated above will get you far. To grow your outreach efforts even more, hit us up at Hive Art Media, where we provide a full range of creative services, including social media, content, video, and email marketing campaigns.