Marketing a non-profit organization is a completely different animal than marketing a for profit business. For profit businesses typically use marketing tactics that appeal to a need or want of their target audience, whereas non-profit organizations must appeal to their audience on a more emotional level in exchange for donations. Non-profit organizations need to use creative forms of marketing and advertising, especially in times of economic turmoil, if they want people to open their wallets. A few cost effective ideas for non-profit marketing success have been listed below.
1. Think like a business and use holidays to an advantage. When sending out marketing materials be sure point out exactly what the donations are used for and what each donation amount could provide for the organization. During the holiday season, using the term “gift” as opposed to “donation” can be extremely effective.
2. Retention is key. Keep open lines of communication with existing donors. Send them newsletters and updates on a regular basis. Don’t be afraid to keep asking them for money. Maintaining a good relationship with repeat donors is much more cost effective than marketing to potential new donors.
3.Use social media. Facebook and Twitter aren’t just good tools for businesses. They are equally as effective at creating a voice for non-profit organizations. More importantly, when someone makes an online donation, be sure to include a social sharing button so they can post about their donation on the social networking sites. In effect, the donor is marketing for you when they press the share button. In some cases, this can have a viral effect.
4. Say thank you for any donations you receive. This should be a no brainer. Good customer service isn’t just for money making businesses. People like to feel appreciated. This really should be number one on the list.
5. Plan events and sell sponsorships. Fundraising events are a great way to create awareness for a charitable cause and oftentimes the cost of these events can be offset by selling sponsorships to local businesses. The local businesses pay to have their business advertised at the event, and the non-profit organization uses the money from the sponsorships to pay for the fundraising event with the left over proceeds being donated to their organization.
6. Network, network, network. Just like any other business, success depends largely on who you know. The more people who know about your non-profit organization, the more donations you will receive. Take advantage of community events and other charity events to network with people who could be potential donors.
Marketing a non-profit organization is not a simple task. Implementing these ideas are merely a starting point for increasing awareness about a charitable cause. Similar to for profit businesses, there are marketing companies that specialize in marketing for non-profit organizations.