Some nonprofits get a little shy — even cringe — at the idea of in-your-face marketing. What works for typical, for-profit brands is probably not going to work for you. It’s important that nonprofits adopt a specific strategy.
Leveraging things like storytelling and missional marketing are priority number one. You are appealing to people’s better selves: calling out shared humanity and convincing someone to join a cause. Done right, nonprofit marketing is a highly strategic way to amplify your impact.
If you believe in what you’re doing, why wouldn’t you shout it from the rooftops? Of course, it isn’t as easy as actually climbing onto a soapbox with a bullhorn. There are best practices and tried and true methods that can get your message out there, especially in the digital world.
So let’s talk through the three essential strategies your nonprofit can use to reach more people.
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1. You’re Invited to… Events
Nonprofits have long-relied on events to drive sponsorships and donations. Think anything -athon. COVID-19 threw a major damper on fundraising dinners and field days. Even with restrictions lifting, it should be apparent that you need more than this one trick to secure annual funding.
Savvy nonprofits have learned how to create online communities that will participate in virtual events. Now, before you tune out and think, “I cannot connect emotionally with people over Zoom,” know that you have a lot of options to make this personal.
Here are some activities that are already built-in to online platforms that you can use in strategic ways:
- Form online groups that discuss important issues related to your nonprofit. Engage with people, get to know them; don’t just ask, but also offer.
- Go live. Recorded webinars and events are great, but live events get way more visibility. You can use something called a social wall, which accompanies a live-streaming tool, where participants can chat on the side. This builds buzz and invites connection.
- Combine physical and virtual by sending gifts and handwritten notes, including all of the SWAG you’d usually distribute at an event like a fair or fundraiser.
- Use virtual platforms to create real-time, shared experiences. For instance, if a 10k is a big fundraising event you would do every year, use a running or exercise app and have a set time for everyone to participate. Send t-shirts or water bottles and follow up with thank-you notes. Make sure they can raise money and deliver it just as easily as they would have in-person.
Doing online events doesn’t have to be a bummer and you don’t have to be a tech genius. Dive in and get to know all of the ways you can reach people. Then, do so with creativity and enthusiasm.
2. Speak Up: Loud and Clear Messaging
While the internet, and using it for your nonprofit marketing, is not a bummer, it is a densely populated space. Many nonprofits took an opportunity this year to refine their messaging, and rightly so. Hopefully, you’ve already taken care of a rundown website or missing social profiles. Once your presence is firmly established (and easy to get to on mobile), you need to be sure that what you’re saying is crystal clear.
Messaging that works for nonprofits is clear, personal, warm and invitational.
- Are you still telling stories about your impact?
- Are you still illustrating the need for your work?
- Are you connecting emotionally and personally with your audience?
- Is there enough repetition to breed remembrance?
This may be the time to pull out your mission and vision statement, to revisit your core values, and to be sure that what you say is recognizable. People get exposed to hundreds of brands and thousands of messages online every day. Be sure that yours stands out by being succinct and consistent.
3. Reach Out and Touch Somebody: Maximize Every Touchpoint
This past year, your nonprofit may have pivoted away from community breakfasts or even an eat-in soup kitchen. That could threaten how often you interact with both the people you serve and your contributors. Rather than chalking that up to a COVID-inevitability, replace those touchpoints with new ones, and be sure every single time you touch someone, it counts.
Here are some practical ideas:
- Blog every week: consistently delivering fresh insights, fresh news and fresh content will condition the people you touch to look for what’s new from you.
- Send regular emails: create an email newsletter that includes relevant, meaningful content.
- Activate SMS texting campaigns: these are easy to do and there are a lot of platforms that can set it up for you. This may be as simple as sending inspirational quotes or kind reminders.
- Get on the phone: don’t be afraid of touching people with a good old-fashioned phone call. Use FaceTime if you want, but reach out and speak to somebody.
- Send voice or video messages on social: especially on Instagram, this can be an easy way to make a personal connection.
In addition to your own audience, consider your opportunities to touch related audiences. Seek partnerships and guest podcasts or webinars. These affiliations can expand your reach exponentially.
Every season of change is an opportunity, and this could be your nonprofit’s moment to enact real change that results in long-term growth.
Find a Nonprofit Marketing Agency in Ohio
Our digital marketing agency is located in Hudson, OH, but we work with clients throughout the metro area. We also provide consultations and services over video calls. Whether in a remote or in-person capacity, we can elevate the online presence and bring a tactical approach to your online marketing efforts. You help the community: let us help you. Reach out to get started.