How to be a nonprofit marketing rock star

Marketing your nonprofit isn’t always an easy feat. You have a cause that you want to share with the world and it’s a struggle trying to stand out from everyone else who is trying to get noticed at the same time. Here’s what to do to market your nonprofit and generate more donations.

Have a strategy.

Three words for you: just do it. It may sound tedious, but you’ll thank yourself later if you just sit down and start planning out your marketing strategy for next year. If you create a content calendar and include everything that you want to send out over the course of the year, that will help you to figure out where the money needs to go for the following year and will help align everyone on your team. Set out your goals and objectives so everyone knows exactly what they’re working towards.

It helps to review your strategy at least quarterly to see what’s working and if anything needs to change to help you continuously improve. It doesn’t have to be set in stone, but it should at least provide some guidance on where time and energy will be spent.

Determine your call to action.

When you’re forming your strategy, determine what you want your main call to action with each project to be. You’ll want something that you’re able to track so you know just how many people responded and how they respond. Using personalized offer codes and personalized URLs are both great for helping to measure this.

When it comes to writing your call to action, keep it short and sweet. You’ll also want to avoid using any technical jargon. Check out these finding from Hubspot on which words are least viewed.



Instead of using jargon, stick to words that will appeal to peoples’ emotions. It will help them feel more attached to what your message is.

Set the budget early on.

Oh no, that terrible b-word: the budget. Know that this isn’t set in stone but it will help to determine what areas of your marketing plan you really want to splurge on and what you want to save on. As the year goes on, things will pop up that you weren’t expected so know that you’ll be adapting to different things but the budget will be able to help guide the focus of your marketing team.

Don’t forget the importance of print.

Email marketing may be cheap and easy, but direct mail will help you to achieve a higher return on your investment into your marketing. 78% of donations for nonprofits come from direct mail. You want your marketing dollars to go a long way because at the end of the day, getting your cause out there matters, but so does the amount of donations that you’re pulling in.

Direct mail is important for getting your message out these because something that is sent in the mail is more likely to be seen than an email. Sure, you may think that you need to focus on all things digital to reach the younger demographic, but it turns out that even millennials like and trust print as well. To make the biggest impact, think in terms of both digital and print. If you have a strategy that includes both, you’re more likely to get your message in front of the people that you want to reach.

Tell a story.

Every nonprofit has a story to share. Actually, we’re fairly certain that it’s safe to say that you have many, many stories to share. Ask around, talk to employees and donors for their stories as well and find out what makes your nonprofit so near and dear to their hearts. A good story can come from everywhere. Your inspiring stories are great to share to help draw people towards your mission. Appeal to emotion and intellect and that will help people to find your stories compelling and care about your cause.

Embrace social media.

Chance are that you already have social media set up for your nonprofit. If you haven’t, you may want to consider getting on board. Social media is the top way that people discover new causes and charities these days.


Be sure to not put all of your eggs in one basket because you can’t depend solely on social media to share your message and have the donations come pouring in from that alone. In order to reach as many people as possible, try mixing it up. Review what works and what doesn’t so you can find the balance that fits your nonprofit. From there you can refine until you find the perfect mix of social media, email, and print marketing.

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