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••• The International Writers Magazine - 21 Years on-line - Making Marketing Work

Nonprofit Management & Social Media Marketing Tips
• Indiana Lee
There are plenty of ways to go about nonprofit marketing in an effective, above-board manner.

Indiana Lee

The collective spotlight often obsesses over the incredible rigmarole (and associated success or failure) of launching a startup in the private sector. The truth is, though, more attention should be given to the nonprofit side of the leger. Starting and maintaining a startup is a lot of work, and it doesn’t even bring the promise of great financial rewards that so often accompany success in the business sector.

Of course, that’s because nonprofits aren’t backed by money — they’re backed by passion. Nonprofits revolve around causes that are worth fighting for. They thrive on helping others and bringing attention to the hurt and broken things in the world. While this is an essential factor, though, it can make it difficult to do one business activity in particular: marketing.

If you find it’s hard to take the time to “peddle your nonprofit to the masses” when you’d rather spend your time helping those that you’re in business to protect, you’re not alone. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to go about nonprofit marketing in an effective, above-board manner.

Nonprofit Marketing Tips

If you’re familiar with the struggle of nonprofit marketing, here are a few marketing management tips and suggestions to help you gain a healthy nonprofit marketing focus and establish an effective marketing plan, to boot.

Strategic Options

Often the first question that arises is how to market your nonprofit in the first place. There are several marketing channels that are easily accessible to a nonprofit, even if you’re not flush with cash. Some of these include:

Word of mouth marketing: There’s nothing quite as powerful as a word-of-mouth endorsement. Many nonprofits thrive on word of mouth as the news of their good work spreads in this organic, guerilla marketing format — and the best part is, it requires little to no work from you other than to keep doing a good job with your nonprofit.
Maintaining a website: A website is easy to build and maintain these days, and it can serve as a critical hub for your online efforts. A good website can help you show up in search results, boost your online presence, explain your mission and goals, and even accept donations. In addition, it can be a central point to which you can direct people you reach via emails or social media content.

Email marketing: An email marketing list can be an incredibly powerful (and very affordable) alternative to traditional snail mail. Emails can garner donations, spread awareness, and encourage engagement, all without the need for buying stamps or picking up the phone.

While there are many other nonprofit marketing channels, these three (and the social media channel discussed in the next section) are amongst the cheapest and most effective ways to get your message out to the world.

The Social Media Lifeline … and How to Use It

Along with a website, email list, and word of mouth marketing, it’s important that nonprofits establish their presence on social media. This allows your organization to engage and interact with your existing supporters and find new faces that are willing to get behind your mission. It also provides a free way to spread your message and encourage others to help solicit support and donations as well.

When it comes to using social media, you want to focus on platforms where your followers tend to congregate. For instance, if you’re dealing with politics or current events, Twitter may be your best option. If you’re running a nonprofit to help single mothers, Instagram would provide a better reach to your demographic.

As you go about setting up your social profiles and creating content for your pages, keep your audience in mind. Think of messages they want to hear. When possible, use images and videos to visually demonstrate these messages. These videos from Compassion International, for instance, are excellent examples of how you can use the video format to impact your audience.

In addition, look for influencers who are willing to partner up with your brand and spread awareness for your organization. Influencers are an extremely effective way to reach others through social media, and they often require little more than an email reaching out to initiate a relationship.

Your Content and Issues of Note

When it comes to your content, it’s important to remember that, as a nonprofit, you can go places that a for-profit company may need to avoid. In other words, nonprofit “marketing” often boils down to advocating for your constituents.

If you’re championing underpaid workers, for instance, or you have concerns for immigrant labor and foreign workers, you can highlight these issues in your marketing content.

In the same vein, highlighting humanitarian disasters or unfolding events, like the Arab Spring or the #BlackLivesMatter movements of several years ago, can be great ways to help promote your organization’s efforts in helping to solve the problem.

Even if you do something that is less time-sensitive or trendy, such as building houses with Habitat for Humanity or combatting the myths of Communism, it’s still important to incorporate the issues and passions that drive your nonprofit into all of your promotional material.

Go in With a Plan

As a final encouragement, if you want to be productive with your marketing efforts, it’s important that you go about the work with a plan in place. Begin by creating a nonprofit plan that:

Identifies your audience: Remember, your audience is often not the same as the people you’re helping. For instance, if you’re digging wells for underprivileged communities in Africa by soliciting donations from first world patrons, your audience consists of your donors, not those you’re helping with their donations.

Understands your audience: While you may take copious amounts of time to understand those that you’re helping (and rightly so), you also want to take the time to understand the audience that you’re marketing to.

Creates a compelling message: Again, as a nonprofit, you likely already have a compelling message embedded right in your organization’s goals and vision. Make sure to capitalize on this by communicating it in your marketing. In other words, ensure that everyone knows what you do and why you do it.

Tracks your effectiveness: Finally, track the effectiveness of your marketing. Try to establish key performance indicators (KPIs) — that is, statistics that genuinely reflect the success of your efforts — and then set up benchmarks to make sure your efforts are worth the results. For example, if you’re spending hours on social media setting up campaigns and directing traffic to your website, you’re going to want to have an analytics tool like Google Analytics set up on your site to make sure that you’re getting good traffic and even donations from your social media efforts.

If you establish a plan before you begin, you’ll be efficient, effective, and productive as you go along.

Nonprofit Marketing is Tough

Let’s be real. Nonprofit marketing is not easy. Making an effort to invest in marketing can feel like you’re taking time and resources away from what really matters. But that simply isn’t the case. If you spend time investing in crafting powerful messages that you can communicate through effective marketing channels, you’ll ultimately be helping your organization by boosting its brand awareness, increasing donations, and building your base of support.

© Indiana Lee - March 3rd 2020

Freelance Writer and Journalist

A writer with a wealth of experience in blogging, content marketing, and journalism.

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