Whether you’re looking to increase awareness, raise funds, recruit volunteers or promote your services, marketing is essential to spreading the word about your nonprofit and connecting with an enthusiastic audience.
But if you’re like many nonprofits, having limited time and a limited budget means that certain marketing strategies — say, overhauling your website or conducting a resource-intensive ad campaign — are out of reach.
Fortunately, there are many inexpensive yet effective ways to market your nonprofit, regardless of your marketing experience.
Create audience personas
First, take a step back and think about who you are looking to connect with. Are they potential donors, volunteers, employees or other community members? What do these people care about? What are they trying to achieve and what role does your nonprofit play in their lives?
A common strategy in marketing is to develop “audience personas” or “snapshots” that answer these types of questions. Personas typically include demographic information, like age, ethnicity, gender, marital status, income, education and employment. But even more importantly, they highlight psychographic information, like a specific audience’s needs, motivations and pain points as it relates to your nonprofit’s work.
Documented audience personas act as a great foundation for other marketing efforts. Once you’re clear on who you’re speaking to and what they want, you’ll have an easier time creating emotional messaging that compels them to action.
Stay active on social, and put a little money behind your posts
You might have already discovered the power of social media in connecting with your various audiences. Social media provides a platform to:
- Boost general awareness of your mission
- Share news and updates from your nonprofit
- Fundraise on an ongoing basis or for a specific event
- Recruit volunteers or employees
To gain more post visibility, consider allocating a small budget to social media. You can see success spending as little as $5 on “boosting” a post to a target audience that cares about your cause.
Remember to follow social media safety best practices when you connect with your community online. These include making sure your system is secure and the images and videos you post are free to use (i.e. not protected by copyright). Also, check if your insurance covers risks resulting from an increased online presence. (CM Select includes Cyber Liability coverage with every policy — at no extra cost!)
Leverage user-generated content on social media
People love to share what’s going on in their lives: what they care about and what they’ve been up to. User-generated content taps into this human need to be seen and feel a connection.
There are many strategies to leverage user-generated content. An easy way is to simply ask your followers on social media to share their experience with your nonprofit, making sure to tag you. Then, you can re-share their posts on your nonprofit’s profile.
When you incorporate user-generated content into your social media, you expand your reach by showing up in the feeds of your followers’ followers. By reposting your followers’ photos and videos, you also demonstrate your appreciation while strengthening their emotional connection to your nonprofit. Finally, you save time and effort involved in creating original content. While user-generated content might require a bit of consideration and planning, re-sharing a post is ultimately less time-consuming than creating one from scratch.
Create and optimize your Google My Business listing
A Google My Business profile is a free and easy way to reach prospective donors, volunteers, employees, and other advocates in your local community. By creating and optimizing your profile, you increase your chances of showing up near the top of Google Maps when someone searches keywords related to your nonprofit.
After you create your account, make sure to add helpful information like hours of operation, location, phone number, and even images of your nonprofit. Also get in the habit of asking your community for Google reviews, which are displayed on your Google My Business profile.
Explore email marketing (it’s not as intimidating as you might think!)
Email marketing isn’t as complex as it seems. Most email marketing providers make their platforms fast and easy to use, offering pre-made templates and email automation options (no design or development experience necessary). The cost for most platforms is reasonable (you typically pay by number of email recipients), and some providers even give discounts to nonprofits.
Interested in marketing your nonprofit via email, but not sure what types of emails you should send? Here are a few ideas:
- A weekly newsletter with updates about your nonprofit, stories from your latest event, industry data, and recognition of certain donors
- Invites for upcoming events
- Donation needs and volunteer opportunities
- A thank-you to new email subscribers and new donors
As a nonprofit, you have an important story to tell, and limited resources shouldn’t get in the way of sharing your mission and spreading good. Stay tuned for more tips for nonprofits and, in the meantime, check out existing Risk Resources and The Greater Good Blog for advice and insights that will help in your mission to help others.
The information contained in these materials is intended solely to provide general guidance on topics that may be of interest to you. While we have made reasonable efforts to present accurate and reliable information, Church Mutual Insurance Company, S.I. disclaims all liability for any errors or omissions, or for any actions you take or fail to take based on these materials. The information provided may not apply to your particular facts or circumstances; therefore, you should seek professional advice prior to relying on any information that may be found in these materials.