Marketing for Nonprofits: What You Need to Know

Nonprofit organizations are lovely for this world. Not only do they help people in need, but they inspire us to get involved in the things that matter most. But, at the same time, bringing awareness to a mission and nonprofit brand is no easy feat.

Nonprofit marketing presents its own unique challenges. But you can overcome them with an outstanding team, a tailored strategy, a whole lot of creativity, and a commitment to being incredibly open and honest in all you do.

Here are six things to know about marketing for nonprofits.

A Dedicated Marketing Team is Crucial

A one-person marketing team just won’t cut it for nonprofits. Instead, you need a dedicated marketing team. A content marketer, social media manager, email marketer, website designer, and SEO specialist are great additions to any marketing team.

That said, a marketing manager is probably one of the most, if not the most crucial, member of your marketing team. A marketing manager “is in charge of the strategy and execution around efforts aimed at generating interest in a company’s products or services.”

A marketing manager can help you:

●  Plan and launch various marketing campaigns

●  Diversify your strategy appropriately

●  Stay up-to-date on nonprofit and marketing trends

●  Create a detailed buyer’s journey that includes digital and physical marketing touchpoints

●  Optimize your nonprofit website with SEO techniques

●  Oversee your marketing team’s productivity

Also crucial to your marketing efforts is the ability to establish clear marketing goals.

Clear Marketing Goals are a Must

Your nonprofit marketing goals are going to be different from those of a for-profit business. For example, a for-profit business marketing goal may be to drive traffic to a product page to increase sales for a new release. A nonprofit organization’s marketing goal may be to raise awareness for a new mission.

Establishing clear marketing goals is a vital step in deploying a successful marketing strategy and individual marketing campaigns. Without clear goals, your strategies lack direction, and you’ll have nothing to measure to see what strategies are successful and which need to be adjusted.

So, sit down with your marketing team and establish realistic marketing goals that can be measured over time. Then, visualize your ideal marketing results and brainstorm how you plan to get there.  

Next, it’s important to note how vital creativity is to your marketing strategy.

Creativity is the Core of Your Marketing 

You’ll have a better chance at capturing your ideal donors and target audience when you’re exceptionally creative. Creativity helps your brand stand out and levels up your marketing. 

Don’t be afraid to step out of your marketing comfort zone and explore:

●  Putting on a hybrid event

●  Live streaming interviews, Q&As, and other content

●  Partnering with other nonprofits and sharing the journey on your website

●  Growing brand recognition and awareness on social media

●  Sending video emails instead of written ones

●  Exploring new social media platforms

●  Implementing a cross-promotion strategy

●  Creating bold, out-of-the-box written and visual content

Additionally, you can forget about marketing success if you neglect to implement data analytics.

Your Marketing Efforts Mean Nothing Without Measurement

You’ll never know if your marketing strategy is working if you don’t monitor its performance. Insert data analytics tools here. Data analytics tools can help you collect, process, and analyze your overall marketing strategy, individual campaigns, and target audience or ideal donors. 

First, do your research on the data analytics tools out there. Then, ensure you’re taking that research a step further by looking at tools tailored to nonprofit marketing.

Once you choose and get your data analytics tools set up, revisit your marketing goals. Based on those goals, determine which key performance indicators, or KPIs, measure your marketing goals the best. Then, monitor the performance of your strategies over time and adjust them as insights come in.

Another thing you should know about marketing for nonprofits is how critical maintaining donor relationships is in your strategy.

Maintaining Donor Relationships is a Key Priority

There are many nonprofits out there who don’t appreciate and nurture existing donor relationships like they should. For example, there isn’t much communication between the thank you note for one donation and the next ask.

As a result of this inability to grow current donor relationships, these nonprofits are losing donors. They’re also generating little to no interest in potential donors because of how they treat their current ones.

Instead, maintain your existing relationships by tracking customer data to keep in touch with them. You can then personalize your messaging and explore various communication channels that are most likely to resonate with your donors.

Furthermore, you can deepen your donor relationships by asking for feedback on your marketing tactics, last event, how to interact with them better on social media, and so forth.   

Lastly, transparency is everything when it comes to marketing for nonprofits.

Transparency is Everything

Simply put, transparency builds trust. Trust is everything in your donor relationships and the relationships you build with the rest of your target audience. These trust-filled relationships make marketing your non-profit that much easier because people are more likely to listen and absorb your message.

Make it a regular practice to show people where their donations are going. Display the results of your fundraiser. Share how things are going behind the scenes. Make it easy for people to contact you about your mission and ensure the team members they talk to are well-versed in all things about your nonprofit. 

Ultimately, you’ll get better results from your marketing efforts when you’re transparent and honest in your communication and when ethics remain at the forefront of your strategy.


Developing a marketing strategy for your nonprofit organization is quite the challenge, but knowledge is power. Learn more about the topics above and continue educating yourself on how to market your nonprofit successfully. 

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Amanda Winstead

Amanda Winstead is a writer from the Portland area with a background in communications and a passion for telling stories. Along with writing she enjoys traveling, reading, working out, and going to concerts. If you want to follow her writing journey, or even just say hi you can find her on Twitter.

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