8 Easy Steps to Marketing Your Nonprofit Organization

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If you're approaching your nonprofit's marketing simply by periodically updating your website and holding an annual benefit gala, then you're missing out on important opportunities. Marketing is a way to satisfy consumer and donor needs, spread your message points, share your mission statement, alert the public to events, and share breaking news that's relevant to your cause, among other things.

There are many relatively easy actions you can take to market your nonprofit to your target audience and educate the public so you can get even more people to support your cause. These eight steps will get you on the path to marketing ideas and approaches that could make a significant difference in reaching your organization's goals.

1. Determine Your Target Market

Define your target market and research similar organizations and associations to see how they market themselves to the same target market.

2. Set Measurable Goals

Strategize with your team to determine the desired outcome of your marketing efforts, as well as how you plan to measure your progress toward reaching those goals.

3. Create Marketing Materials

Once you've completed the first two steps, develop brochures and other marketing materials that describe the benefits, services, donation opportunities, and values that represent your organization. If you don't have an in-house art department, look around for a graphic design shop—or freelancer who will likely be less expensive than a firm who has to pay overhead.

4. Set a Social Media Strategy

Develop a social media marketing strategy. Social media platforms such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram can provide an avenue for reaching a large number of people interested in your organization—and a cost-effective way to do it. The best part of this type of marketing is that social media transverses physical boundaries so you can reach people in your own backyard or those halfway around the globe.

5. Modernize Your Website

Develop and maintain a professional internet marketing presence by creating a robust website. If you have a website but it hasn't been updated in the past five years, then update it now, and hire a freelance web designer if you need to. You can use your website as a portal for sharing important information such as the history of your organization, breaking news items, upcoming events. You can also share creative ways to donate money and showcase the benefits of your organization, as well as create a sense of community.

6. Do Some Research

Research and maintain your current and prospective customer database—it's an important resource, so don't waste it. Use your database for special mailings, follow-up phone calls, event invitations, a way to develop alliances, research customers, and market segmentation.

7. Showcase Your Results

Showcase the objectives of your organization, as well as the demonstrable results you've achieved. You'll also want to showcase the people and organizations that have benefited from your nonprofit's work, activities, and projects. You can do this online or offline at local and national events you hold.

8. Form Partnerships

Always be on the lookout to partner up with those that can benefit your organization or those that are in sync with your mission. These could be other nonprofits, people in commerce, the government, advertising and media companies, or local and national and businesses—large and small. This step alone often brings substantial enrichment to nonprofit organizations.