A marketing strategy for a nonprofit might sound a bit counterintuitive initially. It’s not a product or a revenue-producing service you’re providing, but people still need to be able to find the services you do provide. Altruism is about ensuring the needs of others are met, and as we all know, that requires its fair share of funding. Your audiences don’t have a product with a label to show off or something as tangible to do the marketing for you. Bearing that in mind, perhaps nonprofits need the best marketing strategies.
With Giving Tuesday just around the corner, we know plenty of conversations are happening about how to show your organization in its best light and spread the word further about your mission. Digital marketing tools are an essential part of those efforts, and that’s why we want to provide a list of some of the materials you could create to show off your team’s hard work, demonstrate where the biggest needs are, and reach your goals during this critical time of the year. Read more about nonprofit marketing and discover some of the best types of marketing materials to help your organization thrive.
Why is Nonprofit Marketing Important?
Nonprofit marketing is the strategy used to promote an organization’s message, fundraise, attract volunteers, and raise awareness within the community it serves. The most important consideration is who comprises it. There are three main targets in that scope:
Community: Community should be the heartbeat of every nonprofit. However, the community your organization is helping might not always be aware of who you are and what your team does. You work hard to ensure the programs and services you provide can change lives, so you want to get the word out to as many people as possible, especially the donees who’d be best served by your efforts.
Donors: Donors are probably the first audience that comes to mind when you think of nonprofit marketing. Organizations rely on the benevolence of others, and that means there’s always a need for donations. Whether that’s a physical item like clothing and toiletries or a financial gift, your marketing strategy should always find the best way to speak to those who want to donate to your cause.
Volunteers: Another invaluable group of people is those who want to donate their time. It is hard to overstate the value of good volunteers and the impact they have. They’re vital to your organization's operations, even if your nonprofit has paid staff. Dedicated volunteers help further key efforts, so you want to target reliable people who care deeply about the mission.
As you can see, a successful nonprofit marketing strategy casts a wide net. Before putting together your marketing materials, look at how your messaging for those three audiences sounds and how those messages work together. Naturally, the three will overlap, as we all come from different backgrounds and experiences. One year, a person might donate physical items, and another, they might choose to volunteer their time. In another case, a person who relies on the services of a nonprofit might come back years later and make a financial donation to it. We’re all connected, and that interconnectivity is the true cornerstone of your nonprofit marketing efforts. Now, take a look at what kinds of marketing materials your nonprofit should consider creating to expand your reach.
1. Digital Brochures
Digital brochures can help save time and money. As you already know, printing is expensive and can be quite time-consuming. The number of hours required to have physical copies of something printed, picked up, organized, and distributed can keep your staff and volunteers busy for much longer than if you craft engaging content online and share it instantly. Digital marketing materials for nonprofits can help speed everything along, including the time it takes to plan all the details of what’s being shared and when. Instantly convert essential brochures into digital flipbooks and start sharing them almost immediately after the final content is approved.
2. Email Marketing
Email is a fundamental communication tool for any nonprofit marketing strategy. With your digital brochure or another content format, you can easily share a link to the latest publication, which cuts down on the time needed to create emails. Your team can summarize everything you might have manually added to your newsletter nicely in the email. You can easily direct your readers to your customized flipbook, where they can skim the information or do a deep dive at their own leisure – all from their own devices.
Additionally, if you’re an organization that has new things added to your schedule regularly, you can update your materials frequently and share tailored information more often, rather than batching it all together for the sake of printing schedules. For example, suppose your organization provides meals and has a changing menu or hosts special events. In that case, your team can quickly publish a dedicated one-page flyer or a short booklet to be shared in an email digest each week for interested parties.
3. Video Marketing
If you’ve been in the community-building space, you know effective storytelling is one of your most potent tools. While thoughtful writing can capture the hearts and minds of an invested audience, sometimes it’s best to show details instead of simply telling them. Videos allow you to tell your story in a visually-engaging format that can be enhanced with details like music and voiceovers or additional people. But you don’t have to choose between video marketing and written content. At Issuu, we prefer the option to do both! Your brochures and other traditionally printed materials no longer need to fill in as much information on their own. With embedded video capabilities, those details can go much further by offering more information, in more formats, with fewer pages.
4. Social Media Assets
Social media marketing is all about having shareworthy assets, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. You can share videos to keep people engaged and interested in what your organization is getting up to. Record exciting things happening during events, interview guests related to your cause, or engage your followers with behind-the-scenes looks at what it’s like to volunteer with your team. These videos don’t need high production value either; your audience will be just as happy with a video update shot on an iPhone as they are with a glossy production.
Even though video is arguably the leading marketing tool for social media right now, graphics are just as catchy. We know that it’s not always in the budget to bring in a graphic designer who can design every piece of content you plan to put out, so that’s why we make it easy to prepare shareworthy assets of your own. With Social Posts, you can create beautiful graphics from templates designed perfectly for Instagram grids and stories, Twitter, and Facebook. You can also pull existing visuals from your published digital brochures and flipbooks to build new social content ready to promote everywhere your audience is.
Another critical asset for your social media marketing is a dedicated space where your audience can find all your resources. Linktree is an excellent choice as it provides a built-in webpage you can add to your organization’s social media bio. You can update those links regularly to share the latest pieces of content. This is a great place to share essential information like the donation page on your website, a link to the year’s annual report, individual articles from your monthly newsletter, and more.
The best social media marketing strategy combines mediums. An excellent example of a social media profile is the LA Mission’s Instagram. Their Instagram has a steady mix of videos and graphics to keep their audience’s attention.
5. Digital Newsletter
Digital newsletters have been a staple for nonprofits for decades. If you’ve been at this long enough, you might remember the chime and a chorus of “you’ve got mail” greeting you as you sent out the monthly update to complement the printed version mailed out to your organization’s eager audience. We’ve come a long way since then, but the principles are the same. A digital newsletter can be shared quickly, seamlessly, and in beautiful fullscreen mode. You can even set up the background, so it corresponds with the colors used in your materials’ designs. Having a monthly digital version of your content is a simple way to keep all the information up-to-date, and setting it up online enables you to save on printing costs so your funds can go back into other things.
Examples of Nonprofit Marketing
Now that you have some ideas about the types of materials you can create, here are a few examples of how to promote your nonprofit effectively with digital marketing materials.
1. Annual Reports
Annual reports are a must-have for any organization. This is one of the essential materials produced and distributed all year. Some important things to include in your annual report are beneficiary stories, financial reporting in an easily digested format, quotes from recipients, a list of donors, and anything else you’d like your audience to know. Distribution is just as important as the content, so having a digital space to host the report and an option to embed it on your website is one of the best things you can do to ensure everyone can see it. Here are some excellent examples of how your team could write your next report:
Sky High for Kids
Orange County United Way
A one-pager is a common term to describe a piece of content (usually one page) that quickly summarizes important information. Sometimes it’s a primer on what your company does, for whom, and why. Other times, it’s an infographic about something important to your company or audience. One-pagers don’t always have to be one page, but the idea is to keep the content as brief as possible while still being direct and informative. One-pagers are usually shared on company websites or as part of larger press packages.
Nonprofits can use these to quickly summarize what the organization does. For example, if you do a lot of your marketing on Instagram or another social media site, you could include a link to this within your bio page. They make a great addition to your stack of essential links that could be added to a list in your Linktree.
Greater New Orleans Foundation
Greater New Orleans Foundation uses the classic one-pager format to share their State of Nonprofits in Southeast Louisiana 2021 findings. After surveying 330+ organizations in the area, they shared the findings publicly. This is an effective way to provide a quick snapshot of research your organization has conducted to serve your community better and help inform potential donors.
Foundations can also benefit from hosting their materials online. As their goal is to help fund other organizations or even individuals directly, part of their greater effort is to get the word out about the grants they distribute and connect with the audience who can most benefit from their contributions.
Arizona Community Foundation
The Vermont Community Foundation
Content marketing for nonprofits doesn’t have to be hard. Diversifying materials will help you continue to increase your reach. Reach your goals for 2023 and beyond with Issuu.