Four colleagues working on a nonprofit marketing strategy with post-its on a board

In an ever-changing and increasingly competitive nonprofit sector, organizations have to find creative, strategic ways to reach and attract supporters and prospective donors.

This means that more organizations must prioritize their marketing efforts and ensure they have a solid nonprofit marketing plan in place to achieve their goals

This comprehensive guide will highlight the importance of nonprofit marketing and detail best practices that you can consider as you work to attract more donors.

What is Nonprofit Marketing?

Nonprofit marketing is the process of creating and running campaigns that amplify a nonprofit’s brand and mission, attract supporters, and engage prospective donors. It requires strategies that can raise awareness about the organization’s cause and encourage more people to support that cause. 

Over the years, traditional for-profit marketing techniques have been incorporated into nonprofit operations. But, instead of promoting a product or service, nonprofit marketing centers on amplifying a message, cause, or need. 

As such, if your nonprofit is going to reach more people, it would need to implement specific marketing strategies that will meet your would-be supporters and donors exactly where they are. 

Monitor Your Nonprofit Performance with this FREE Dashboard

Use this template to record your fundraising and marketing metrics so you can better communicate your team’s progress.

4 Best Practices for Crafting a Nonprofit Marketing Plan

1. Identify your target audience

Who are your potential donors? What is their demography and psychography? What are their interests? Why would they be interested in your organization’s mission and cause? 

These are some of the details you need to know about your target audience. You should create donor personas to help you brainstorm and visualize essential information about them, such as: 

  • Demographics (age, gender, location, etc.)
  • Giving behavior (giving frequency, gift amount, method of donation, communication preferences)
  • Psychographics (opinions, motivations, lifestyle)

2. Decide how you will reach your target audience 

Once you know who your target audience is, the next step is to figure out how to get your message across to them. To do this, you’ll first need to craft your organization’s message in a way that resonates with your audience and then decide on the marketing channels that you will use to share that message. 

Here are some of the common marketing channels used by nonprofits: 

  • Paid advertising: Nonprofit spending on paid advertising has increased over the years, and for good reason. Paid ads are an opportunity for you to reach new potential donors who are searching for nonprofits like yours. You can also apply for Google Ads Grant to help subsidize your investment in this channel. 
  • Content marketing: Becoming a thought leader in your field is a great way to raise awareness about your cause and build trust with donors. One area of content marketing that we are excited about is video marketing. Short, bite-size video content is trendy right now. In fact, by including a video in your email marketing, you can reduce your unsubscribe rate by 25%. Think about ways to create and market your nonprofit’s content so that more potential donors can find you. 
  • Email marketing: This is a tried and true nonprofit marketing channel. The most important tip to implement would be to segment your email list, personalize your emails and use a nonprofit-specific CRM to send them. 
  • Social media marketing: This is a cost-effective marketing channel that can help you build your brand and increase your reach. Different demographics use social media differently, though, so make sure you are using the method that works well for your target audience. 
  • Strategic partnerships: Developing strategic partnerships with nonprofits in your cause area can help you to reach new audiences. Even more, you can consider reaching out to for-profit organizations that may be interested in cause-related marketing strategies

3. Set goals and track progress

It is essential to set clear marketing goals. Not only does this give you something to work towards but also allows you to track your progress and pivot when needed. 

If you aren’t reaching your marketing goals right away, that’s okay! Make changes to your marketing strategy and see how it affects your results. 88% of nonprofit marketers have made changes in their content strategy recently due to changes in the way people interact with different marketing channels.  

You should be tracking your nonprofit marketing metrics, iterating and tweaking your goals to stay ahead of the curve at all times. 

Below are some examples of marketing goals you could set: 

  • Content strategy goals: how much content will you produce? At what rate? We will put out one blog post per week and one podcast every other week for 6 months.  
  • Email strategy: How much do you want to grow your subscriber list? Improve your open rate? Your click-through rate? We will grow our email subscriber list by 5% by the end of the year. We will improve our open rate to 45% and our click-through rate to 21% by the end of Q2.

4. Choose the right nonprofit marketing tools 

Nonprofit marketing takes a lot of work, but you don’t have to do it all alone. There are tools that you can use to stay on top of your marketing strategy, even on a small team.

a. Google Analytics 

Your digital presence is always backed by your website, as it is where most of your donors will land to make a donation.

Google Analytics allows you to track website interactions, including where donors are coming from, so you can understand what is working in your marketing strategy and where you need to improve. Even better? This tool is free! 

b. Keela

Keela is a donor communications tool used by nonprofit marketers to engage supporters, steward donor relationships, and gather insights about their contacts.

This email communication tool is perfect for nonprofit marketers looking to send targeted, personalized emails, monitor the impact of their communications, and strategically move their target audience along the donor journey. It’s the must-have nonprofit marketing tool. 

c. Fundraising KIT

Fundraising KIT is an analytics tool that helps you unlock your donor database’s full potential. It plugs into your existing nonprofit CRM to assess how effective your donor communications are and recommend areas that need improvements.

You can also use Fundraising KIT to segment your contact lists based on giving histories and gather insights that’ll inform how you interact with each contact going forward.

What is Fundraising KIT?

Nonprofit marketing is all about clearly communicating your mission with your supporters and potential donors.

To be a successful nonprofit marketer, you need a solid understanding of your target audience so that you can use the right tools to reach them. Most importantly, you must be able to track your progress and make iterations as you go. 

As an organization, you mustn’t take nonprofit marketing for granted. Invest in the right tools and personnel and make sure your nonprofit is doing what it takes to reach your ideal donors.

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