Marketing goes beyond updating your website and posting event information. In definition, marketing is the activities of a brand, business, or organization in which they engage with their audience through a variety of platforms. According to AMA’s (2017) approved definition, Marketing is the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large.
What is marketing for non-profits?
Non-profit marketing refers to the use of marketing activities, tactics, and strategies to elevate an organization’s cause and mission. The goal is to grow reach, solicit donations, and attract volunteers and supporters.
Marketing is as important for non-profit organizations as it is for businesses and uses most of the similar marketing tactics to connect with donors and volunteers. It is also often difficult, as non-profits must convince their audience to give money without getting anything concrete in return.
What is the purpose of marketing for non-profits?
Non-profit marketing has multiple functions in keeping charitable organizations functioning.
Like any organizational entity or business, a non-profit must create awareness in its audience of its Organization and the cause(s) it supports.
2. Promote your cause and services.
The audience of a non-profit goes beyond donors and volunteers. The groups, or communities, that non-profits work with also need to know about the work the organization is doing so they can put those services to use.
Non-profits depend on donations to pursue their charitable initiatives. Fundraising is an important function of non-profit marketing, and it can take the form of encouraging general donations or promoting specific fundraising events.
4. Encourage memberships and recurring donations.
In addition to specific fundraising goals, non-profit marketing should be used to encourage long-term membership. This increases the relationships that the non-profit can draw on for events and initiatives, as well as providing recurring donations that serve as a reliable and predictable budget.
5. Engage volunteers.
Most non-profits need people to act or participate in initiatives, as well as donate. Non-profit marketing encourages volunteers to get involved, both in specific events and in long-term roles.
6. Advocate for social change.
Skillful non-profit marketing can bring causes and problems to cultural prominence. This puts pressure on opinion leaders, politicians, and ordinary people to create social and political changes that address the non-profit’s causes.
Types of marketing for non-profits
Non-profit marketing usually falls into these four categories, despite the objective’s awareness is specifically raised through these.
- Traditional fundraising investigates within the consumers to make a monetary donation to a cause or charitable campaign. It requires teaching consumers to care about the problem that the organization is seeking to address. Fundraising initiatives can be directed at individuals or organizations. Some businesses partner with non-profits to create long-term fundraising around causes that their employees care about.
- Consumer charity is a partnership with a for-profit business that encourages consumers to use their purchasing power to assist charitable organizations. This usually takes the form of cause marketing, in which consumers buy products because part of the purchase price will be donated to a specific cause or non-profit. This type of partnership with for-profit businesses makes it easy and appealing for consumers to donate by attaching that donation to a product they would be buying anyway.
- Message-focused campaigns attempt to build awareness, encourage political change, or affect consumer behavior. These campaigns may be focused on individual groups or more broadly at the public, and they may be tied to high-profile current events. They are generally paired with or followed by specific fundraising or volunteer sign-up campaigns to take advantage of increased public concern.
- Event marketing is focused around a single charitable drive or promotional event, usually, one at which donations will be collected or the cost of admission will go directly to the non-profit. These marketing initiatives often combine the message of the non-profit with the prestige of a special guest or celebrity partner whose public image and professional connections are used to drive attendance.
Tips for Marketing
Despite the challenges, non-profits can use and adapt many of the tactics that traditional marketers use. A solid understanding of traditional marketing techniques is as essential for marketing a non-profit as it is for marketing a business.
- Understand your audience. Every non-profit marketing campaign should have a target audience in mind. Knowing what demographic, you are trying to reach will inform every aspect of your campaign, including the platforms, messages, and language you use to communicate.
- Have a goal. Are you trying to raise money or awareness? Encourage volunteering? Promote a political cause? Every non-profit marketing campaign needs a concrete goal to be successful.
- Make it personal. Consumers are more likely to respond to the stories of individuals than broad groups. Make your campaign feel personal to appeal to your audience’s emotions and drive them into action.
- Segment your list. Like any business, you will be better able to communicate with your audience if you segment your list into groups based on demographic information and other traits. Consider having separate segments based on age, political leaning, donation history, geographic location, income, interest in volunteering, and more. Use these segments to tailor your messaging and calls to action.
- Use current events. Is there a story related to your cause in the news? Take advantage of that public awareness to create a timely marketing campaign. You won’t need to do as much work to educate your audience about the importance of your work and can focus on fundraising or encouraging action.
- Follow up with donors and volunteers. Just as businesses shouldn’t neglect current customers and market only to new customers, non-profits need systems in place to keep up with people who are already involved. Use a variety of email, direct mail, phone calls, and other marketing tools to encourage past donors and volunteers to stay active.
Where to Market a Non-profit
Non-profits have the advantage of many platforms for marketing that for-profit businesses use. The biggest issue is often that non-profits have a smaller budget and must be strategic about how they contact donors and spread the word about their work.
However, there are many free and inexpensive marketing platforms out there, and non-profits should use a variety of them to create an effective marketing mix.
- Social media. Spaces like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram can be used to share vital information, keep in touch with your audience, and comment on current events.
- Online ads. Take advantage of programs like Google’s ad grants to run targeted campaigns at no expense.
- Search engine optimization. Use SEO techniques to drive visitors to your website, where you can encourage them to volunteer, donate, or sign up to receive news via your email list.
- Partnerships. Corporate and celebrity partnerships allow your non-profit to take advantage of another organization’s brand or connections to drive publicity and build public involvement in specific events or campaigns.
- Email marketing. Use an email service provider to fundraise, welcome new subscribers, spread the word about initiatives, encourage involvement, and share success stories with your members.
- Events. Organizing high-profile events to raise money or awareness for your cause can create a surge of donations, along with generating press coverage and increasing public interest.
- Public relations. Non-profits can use public relations campaigns to spread the word about their work, as well as establish their authority and trustworthiness.
- Infographics. Use design tools like Canva to create informative graphics that can easily share important information with the public through websites, social media, and blog posts.
- Webinars. Use free webinars to educate volunteers, roll out fundraising campaigns, and answer questions about your work and cause.
Strategy is key to any type of marketing activity. Not all tactics will work for your non-profit, so understanding key contributors will help you market with ease. At WeSupportMinistries we provide you a great team to help you extensively grow your reach.
We Support Ministries is a leading Texas-based insourcing company that provides virtual assistants and administrative support for Churches and Non-profit organizations. Moreover, we provide both short and long-term virtual outsourcing services customized to suit your business process needs. We provide trained and qualified personnel to help you scale your Non-profit organization.