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5 marketing strategies to help your nonprofit stand out

January 19, 2022
This team of nonprofit professionals is leaning over papers on a table and working on a marketing strategy together.

Effective marketing is one of the cornerstones of a successful nonprofit organization. Whether you run a local charity or an international nonprofit enterprise, you likely rely on marketing strategies to help reach, inspire, and engage your constituents. 

In this guide, we’ll dive deeper into five nonprofit marketing strategies that can help you stand out from the competition and pursue your purpose.

1. Gather and audit your marketing data.

Before diving headfirst into your next marketing campaign, take stock of the current state of your nonprofit’s marketing. In particular, assess past marketing campaigns to find out what’s working and what could be improved. For instance, you might ask yourself:

  • What marketing channels have the highest and lowest return on investment?
  • Which kinds of content and channels are your supporters engaging with the most?
  • What were your previous campaign goals? Did you achieve those goals?
  • What challenges came up during previous campaigns, and what lessons did you learn from those challenges that you can apply in the future?

When you have a clear picture of the strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities for improvement in your historical marketing strategies, you can move forward to craft a more successful campaign. 

2. Set your marketing campaign goals.

When it comes to putting a marketing strategy into action, it’s best to solidify your campaign goals before you start creating content. Are you trying to acquire new donors? Do you want your organization to become a go-to thought-leader on a particular issue?

Think of your campaign’s specific purpose and create a list of measurable goals. Try to condense your list to just a few items; maybe three or four things that, if accomplished, would signal your campaign was a success. 

Once you understand where your main priorities lie, you can build your marketing techniques around those objectives. 

3. Evaluate your target audience. 

While your ultimate goal may be to inspire the whole world, it’s best to focus your marketing strategies on specific audiences who will likely be receptive to your campaign messaging. 

By keeping your CRM up to date, your marketing efforts will be relevant to each recipient. Begin by segmenting supporters according to similarities such as giving history, demographics, location, and common interests. For example, if you’re running a capital campaign, you might create a segment of major donors. Then, you can reach out to them with a targeted email appeal that mentions their past level of giving and solicits their support for your newest initiative. 

4. Craft your branding and messaging strategy.

One of the trickiest parts of your nonprofit marketing strategy is clearly articulating who you are, what you do, and why people should care. The world is full of nonprofit organizations vying for people’s attention, so how do you stand out? 

To create a compelling message, take the time to organize:

  • Key messaging for what you want supporters to know and feel about your cause
  • Storytelling techniques that engage supporters and bring your purpose to life
  • Consistent branding to your organization
  • Compelling calls-to-action
  • Content that adheres to the best practices of each platform
  • Information that shows the impact your organization has on the people it serves

Create a brand guide so that your marketing materials remain consistent across channels. When recipients can easily recognize your brand, they’ll be more likely to trust and invest in your organization. 

5. Allocate resources and determine logistics.

Now it’s time to get into the nitty-gritty of your nonprofit marketing strategies, including the finances, time, labor, and other practical resources that will bring your campaign to fruition. 

One of the most important things to consider is your budget. Ensure that money is being spent effectively by setting a clear, realistic budget based on past expectations and performance. Additionally, be sure to:

  • Create a campaign calendar
  • Organize your marketing team
  • Delegate responsibilities for campaign planning and management
  • Choose your marketing software solutions and tools

As you execute these important tasks, be specific and transparent with your team to ensure that everyone is on the same page about campaign logistics and the budget required to implement your marketing plan effectively.

Implement your nonprofit marketing strategy

Your nonprofit marketing strategy can lay the groundwork to connect your fundraising, stewardship, budgeting, and communications. It's intimately connected to your overall growth as an organization, so get to planning!

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