As the Marketing Director for an arts nonprofit, I see first-hand the challenges that nonprofits face. Combine tight budgets with skills gaps and time constraints, and the marketing function often falls into the ‘too hard’ category.
Nonprofits always mean well. I wrote about this in a previous article, but they’re often not marketing-driven, nor marketing savvy.
These 7 tips for nonprofits can help turn the passion that fuels the mission into actionable marketing steps:
Show your website some love — This is your public face and must pass muster with all of your stakeholders. If your social media or newsletter drives traffic to your site, it must hold up on the back end. Do all the links work? Have you tested the forms on your site to confirm submissions are received? Is the copyright date this year? (Don’t laugh. I recently visited an art site and the copyright date was 2013.)
Communication — How and how well do you tell your story? Is it compelling? Do you capture and use emails? Are you using video? The consulting firm Non-Profit Source says that 57% of people who watch a nonprofit’s video go on to donate. It doesn’t have to be a Hollywood production, just dig in and do it. In fact, I react better to something that comes across as genuine rather than packaged and polished. It feels more authentic to me.
Public Relations — It’s easy to build your own press list of journalists and freelance writers who write about the issues your nonprofit is involved in. The Public Relations Society of America has templates and lots of best practices if you’re new to creating a press release. The world needs lots of good news now and with just a little effort, press coverage can make a big difference in reach and credibility, leading to more support.
Centers of Influence — When like-minded organizations join forces, they can accomplish so much more. We’ve just partnered with a community organization in our area because we saw the potential for both of us. Also, think about joining forces with Amazon smile to raise donations. And organizations such as TisBest.com and GreaterGood.org have wide reach that can help as well.
Google — The behemoth of marketing, tap into all that Google offers. It’s free and it’s easy to set up a Google My Business account. Complete your profile, and once your account is verified, you’ll have a Google listing. Then, use that link to solicit testimonials.
Donation-enhancing efforts — I’ve been reading that changing the button verbiage from ‘donate’ to ‘support’ can positively impact online donations. Also, be sure that the button’s color is in contrast to the rest of your site, so it stands out, and of course, it should be right at the top, above the fold. PayPal’s ‘share’ button after payments is a great new feature that helps supporters spread the word of their good deeds after donating. And putting your Charity Navigator and GuideStar live link near the support button helps establish your organization’s credibility and increases trust.
Social Media — Without a dedicated marketing and/or a social media board member or volunteer, I advise that you choose two — maybe, three — platforms to start with rather than trying to conquer them all. Posting frequency is key so get this task on the to-do list every day. Make the best of #GivingTuesday’s global social reach and always reply and say thanks to those who engage with you.
While this isn’t everything, of course, doing these seven things will get you well on your way to successful nonprofit marketing. And, of course, if you need help with your nonprofit’s marketing efforts, please reach out.