You started your nonprofit because you’re passionate about a cause and want to help. You’re inspired to share your passion with the world and bring people on board to help you fulfill your mission. But inspiration only takes you so far.

With solid marketing objectives and a clear strategy, your chances for attracting donations and onboarding volunteers will go way up. These winning nonprofit marketing ideas will help you reach more potential donors and volunteers to help with your mission.

In this article, we’ll cover: 

  • ‌What is a nonprofit marketing strategy
  • ‌‌Different types of nonprofit marketing ideas
  • ‌‌How to build your strategy
  • ‌‌How to get started

Keep your organization growing with expert advice and all the tools you need, all in one place.

What is a nonprofit marketing strategy?

Before you started your organization, you likely wrote a nonprofit business plan to inform your mission and outline your benefit to the public. A nonprofit marketing strategy builds on this plan, defining strategies you can use to improve your visibility and encourage people to volunteer and donate. 

Marketing for nonprofits can be tricky because your business might not have the same budget as a large, for-profit company. Digital marketing strategies are often more cost-effective, so include them in your marketing plan. 

Your nonprofit marketing strategy should balance return on investment with other goals like communicating your unique value and demonstrating how you’re working to solve problems in your niche. 

Different types of nonprofit marketing

Digital marketing is a crucial part of every nonprofit marketing strategy. Most of your potential supporters are online, and 40% of them will likely donate to you through social media. Reach out to these supporters where they are. 

Facebook and Instagram

Facebook and Instagram are two of the most widely used social media platforms by people across demographics. Use these tools to spread information about your nonprofit and its mission.

Before setting up your business page, determine your goals for each platform. Your goals will help you determine the type of content to post. If you want to build awareness about your cause, use Facebook and Instagram posts to tell stories of the people or areas your organization helps. If you’re going to use your page primarily for fundraising, create shoppable posts showcasing ecommerce items from your shop. 

The Little Market, a nonprofit that supports artisans in underserved communities, uses its Facebook page to sell items from its network of retailers. Create similar posts and use Facebook’s donate button to fundraise with the platform.

Pay Per Click (PPC) ads

Nonprofit marketing ideas aren’t limited to direct engagement with your supporters. Before donating, people will seek you out online. Pay-per-click ads help you get your organization featured at the top of each search page without having to rely on search engine optimization (SEO).

Pricing is based on how many people click your ad, and you can set your budget, making it affordable for any nonprofit. Use this strategy for building brand awareness. Write a headline and meta description that tells people what you do. 

Searching for “clean water nonprofit” brings up two organizations using PPC ads to appear at the top of the page. Use actionable language followed by a description of what your organization does to encourage people to click on your website.

SEO

Even if you have the marketing budget to pay for Google ads, you should still use SEO to help people find you organically on the internet. Conduct some keyword research by searching for different phrases users could search to find you. Look at your top competitors and make note of how they word headers throughout their website. 

Incorporate chosen keywords into your website headers and descriptions, your “about” page, and your social media channels. All of these tools will make your company more visible in internet searches. 

Content marketing

Posting content, including social media posts and stories, videos, and blogs, helps you build a relationship with your online followers. As a nonprofit, you can use this tool to create impactful and inspiring posts that get people on board with your mission. 

A successful nonprofit marketing strategy is all about appealing to your unique niche. Content allows you to do just that, creating an emotional appeal to donors by showing them how your efforts are changing lives and directly impacting the community.

Email marketing

Build a community through email marketing. Use your website to collect email addresses and engage members of your list. People sign up for email lists for valuable content. Use your list to inform them of upcoming events and fundraisers and share information about your cause and some of the people you’ve helped. 

Events

One of the more successful nonprofit marketing ideas for fundraising is to host events. This can include anything from a silent auction to a fun run. Events boost your visibility because they garner a lot of participation from community members. Other businesses like to sponsor these events because it boosts their brand, and the donation is often tax-deductible. Choose the right sponsors for your events to improve participation. 

How to build your strategy

Before creating a nonprofit marketing strategy, start by identifying your overarching goal. Do you want to improve awareness about your organization? Do you want to get more donors? Determining these goals upfront will help you decide how best to spend your marketing dollars. 

Measure your past successes

If your company has been around for a while, look at old marketing campaigns and decide which were the most successful. If you had a stand-out fundraising season, figure out what you did differently that year so you can use it as the starting point for your marketing strategy. 

Develop SMART goals

Your marketing objectives should be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-oriented (SMART). Setting a generic goal like “raising more money” won’t help you create specific strategies to achieve it. Changing this goal to “improve fundraising by 25%” offers a measurable objective. You can create marketing campaigns that drive donations, and when fundraising season is over, you can measure how well you met your goal. 

Create an impactful message

Other nonprofits are competing for donors, so make sure your nonprofit marketing strategy has an impactful message. Include parts of your mission and how you set about achieving it. Once you’ve chosen your message, be consistent. Use all of your marketing channels to deliver it. Make sure your digital tools, from your website to online content, are cohesive. 

Choose the best marketing channels

Lastly, determine which marketing channels you will use to implement your strategy. You might not have the budget to use every digital and offline marketing tool at your disposal. You can do some marketing in-house, like optimizing your website for SEO and creating content for social media. 

While this often saves money, it comes at the expense of your time. Having a clear strategy helps you justify spending time on marketing or outsourcing tasks. Using your overarching goals, determine which marketing channels are the best for achieving them. 

How to get started

To get started, look through your nonprofit business plan. If you haven’t written one, do this first. Next, meet with your operating board to create your overarching marketing goal. At this meeting, you can look through your books to determine your marketing budget, which will inform how you spend it. 

Creating your marketing plan doesn’t have to be daunting. It’s simply a way to define your organizational goals and promote yourself so you can reach them, making you more successful in the long run. Now that you have some concrete nonprofit marketing strategy ideas, start putting your plan together and level up your organization.