When nonprofits make budget cuts (as they often do) to account for the various aspects of their strategies, those cuts frequently come out of the marketing budget.
However, effective marketing is essential to your nonprofit’s growth strategy. When you’re able to market your organization effectively, you can build up relationships with your current supporters as well as grow your donor base to encompass a larger community.
Nonprofit marketing strategy
Big picture marketing isn’t easy. It requires research, hard work, and consistent effort. But, instead of a complete marketing overhaul, there are little tweaks and minor adjustments you can make to your current strategy to make it go further. When your nonprofit is putting together a marketing strategy, we suggest incorporating these tips:
5 nonprofit marketing tips
Personalize marketing collateral for the recipient
Consider the marketing funnel when you create new content
Maximize the use of your nonprofit’s software toolbox
Look at examples of other effective marketing materials
Keep an eye on trends in the nonprofit world
Cutting the budget for your nonprofit’s marketing strategy is frequently a mistake. After all, when you’re not getting the word out about your nonprofit, how are you supposed to grow? Ready to learn more about enhancing your nonprofit’s marketing strategy? Let’s get started.
1. Personalize marketing collateral for the recipient
When was the last time you thoroughly read through a letter that was addressed, “To whom it may concern”? It’s probably been a while. We’re very used to receiving letters, emails, and messages that are addressed to our individual names.
We’ve gotten used to it because organizations and companies have discovered that personalized content is more effective. We pay better attention when marketing materials are addressed to our preferred names and written specifically to address our needs or wants. Therefore, make sure you do this for your donors.
Information that you can use to personalize the content includes:
The supporter’s preferred name
The supporter’s most recently attended event or activity
General interests of the supporter
Recent gifts or contributions to be acknowledged
Having access to proper software solutions can help ease the process of personalizing marketing collateral. For instance, make sure you leverage your CRM and marketing tools to their fullest extent.
This is where you store information about your supporters and where you’ll pull data in order to personalize that content. Make sure it’s organized in the best way possible. For instance, if your organization already uses Salesforce, the Salesforce Nonprofit Success Packhelps organize data using the objects most relevant to nonprofits.
Marketing automation tools integrated with the CRM
Use marketing automation systems to automatically populate the relevant information from your CRM into emails to personalize your communications. Marketing automation tools also allow you to send targeted information to specific groups of supporters when integrated with your CRM system.
Make sure to both personalize content for the recipient and include your branding on the materials. Put your logo and links to your website or landing page on every communication and document — and use your brand’s colors and images to build brand recognition.
2. Consider the marketing funnel when you create new content
Generally, when your nonprofit is sending marketing materials to your supporters, you’re trying to guide them to some sort of action. It’s a gentle push towards an action that supports your nonprofit, such as submitting an online donation, attending your upcoming event, or volunteering.
The process of leading your supporters towards this action is sometimes referred to as a funnel. For instance, consider the following example of a funnel leading to a donation:
At the very top of the funnel might be visitors reading an introductory paragraph on your website explaining what your organization’s mission is.
Of those who visit your site, some go further down the funnel and sign up to receive emails. They may then receive an email from your organization further explaining the impact of a donation.
Of those who receive an email, some will click through to the donation page of your website.
And of those who click through, some will donate, reaching the end of the funnel. (Though, at this point they should be put into a group that receives regular "nurture" emails from you designed to keep them engaged and donating).
As you can see, it’s called a funnel because some supporters drop out of the process at each step, so only a percentage of those who started at the top of the funnel will make it all the way to the bottom. Therefore, take care to ensure each step of the process will guide as many supporters as possible to the next stage of the funnel and improve conversion rates.
In order to improve these rates, be sure to optimize and personalize each email, carefully consider each element on your website home page and donation page, and use careful language to make the supporter feel welcomed by your nonprofit.
Acknowledging that not everyone at the top of your funnel will make it to the bottom should also motivate you to make the most of each donation your nonprofit lands.
For instance, suggested giving amounts on your donation page can increase the overall donation revenue you bring in. Or look into corporate giving, such as matched gifts, as a way to maximize the gifts you receive.
3. Maximize the use of your nonprofit’s software toolbox
When it comes to nonprofit marketing, your nonprofit has various tools at your disposal. One way to help your marketing go further is to make sure you’re maximizing the use of each and every one of these tools.
First, think about the ways your supporters hear about your fundraising campaigns. You’re probably thinking about different communication platforms such as email, social media, and direct mail. Now, how can you use software to get the most from these communication platforms?
Here are a couple of ideas:
Segment supporter lists. The first step to make sure you’re using your software to its full potential is to communicate relevant information. Segmenting your supporters into groups helps your nonprofit ensure all marketing content is pertinent to recipients’ interests.
Set up automated email series. Email series are a great way to guide supporters down the marketing funnel. You can set up a trigger that automates the first message to be sent (for instance, signing up for a newsletter). After that, multiple emails are sent over time until the desired goal is reached (for instance, donating to your nonprofit).
Automate social media posts. Make sure your supporters can keep up with the goings-on at your nonprofit on any social media platform. Create and schedule a series of social media posts to publish at the same time as your emails. Publish posts to Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Tumblr, and other platforms.
Provide digital resources. Make sure you use your technology to provide resources to your supporters that will help them engage with your organization. For instance, provide a digital calendar with the details about your upcoming events on your nonprofit’s website.
If you’re looking for more ways to use digital resources for your nonprofit’s marketing campaign, learn about nonprofit marketing strategies that really work. When you create an effective marketing plan, you’ll be able to both improve your relations with supporters and expand your online presence.
4. Look at examples of other effective marketing materials
It’s important that you are confident in the nonprofit marketing materials you send to supporters. All of these materials should accurately represent your organization’s brand and desired message. However, this doesn’t mean you have to attempt your marketing strategy all on your own. You can analyze examples from other nonprofit organizations as well.
This analysis can have several key benefits for your nonprofit:
You can get an idea as to what strategies others have found successful. Then, you can potentially test these marketing strategies in the future.
You can make sure you’re not missing key information in your own marketing materials when you compare the two.
You may find a nonprofit with a similar mission or upcoming event with which your nonprofit can partner.
When you analyze other nonprofits’ marketing materials, take everything with a grain of salt. Just because someone else strategizes in a particular way, that doesn’t mean it’s automatically the best choice for your nonprofit too.
Ultimately, you make the final decision about what your nonprofit puts out there. Examples are a great way to generate ideas, but no two nonprofits are the same. If you’re looking for examples for comparison, learn about different types of nonprofit advocacy campaigns and the marketing associated. It’s a great place to start.
5. Keep an eye on trends in the nonprofit world
The nonprofit world is ever changing. Keeping an eye on these changes can help your nonprofit adjust your marketing strategy to keep up with the times.
Make sure to watch:
Nonprofit informative blogs. Organizations like NonProfit PRO, GuideStar, NTEN, AFP, and Nonprofit Quarterly have very active blogs. By keeping an eye on these resources, your nonprofit will be in-the-know about emerging nonprofit and fundraising trends to address in your marketing campaigns.
National and international news. When something in the news is relevant to your nonprofit’s mission, it’s worth mentioning in your own communications with supporters. For instance, if a new law is passed regarding animal protection, an animal shelter should be sure to address it.
Announcements from other organizations. It’s hard to be the first to know about everything in the news. Keep an eye on other organizations, their focus, and their announcements to see if they acknowledge anything that is also pertinent to your nonprofit.
This is especially important as we enter a new year. There are tons of “upcoming trends for 2020” articles that your nonprofit can lean on to ensure your marketing strategy is in the right place.
Donor advised funds are a great example of a nonprofit trend emerging nowadays. With new tax cuts and incentives, donor advised funds have become a great way for individuals to contribute to organizations. Considering these trends can help you target the most impactful fundraising strategies.
Effective nonprofit marketing is vital to the success of your organization. After all, how are you supposed to grow if you’re not spreading the word about new opportunities to get involved? Make sure you maximize your strategy with these five tips.
Looking for help with managing your newfound nonprofit marketing strategy? Discover nonprofit software solutions for your business.
Gerard Tonti is the Senior Creative Developer at Salsa Labs, a fundraising software company for growth-focused nonprofits. Gerard's marketing focus on content creation, conversion optimization, and modern marketing technology helps him coach nonprofit development teams on digital fundraising best practices.