8 Easy Steps to Marketing Your Nonprofit Organization

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Marketing may be an unfamiliar concept for many nonprofit organizations but it's important that nonprofits realize that marketing is more than the old-fashioned notion of making a sale or securing a donation. In the end, marketing is a way to not only satisfy consumer and donor needs but to spread your message points, share your mission statement, alert the public to events, and share breaking news that's relevant to your cause.

If you're running your non-profit simply by periodically updating your website and holding an annual benefit gala, you're missing the boat. There are hundreds (or at least eight) things you can do to market yourself to your target audience, and educate the public so you can get even more people to support your cause.

Below are eight steps that will get you on the path to marketing ideas and approaches that could make a significant difference in reaching the goals of your organization.

  1. Define your target market and research similar organizations and associations to see how they market themselves.
  2. Strategize with your team and come up with a plan to determine the desired outcome (i.e., the various goals) of your marketing efforts.
  3. 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.
  1. Develop a social media marketing strategy. Social media such as Twitter and Facebook (not to mention Pinterest and Instagram) can provide an avenue for reaching a large number of people interested in your organization—and do it in a cost-effective way. The best part is, social media transverses boundaries so you can reach people in your own backyard or those halfway around the globe.
  2. Develop and maintain a professional internet marketing presence by creating a robust website—that means no 1990's static-looking sites. If you have a website but it hasn't been updated in the past five years, update it now. If you don't have one, get on-board with the 21st century and hire a graphic designer—even a local college art student might suffice. You can use your website as a portal for sharing important information such as the history of your organization, breaking news items, monthly newsletters, upcoming events and as a way to create a sense of community. You can also share creative ways to donate money and showcase the benefits of your organization.
  1. Research and maintain your current and prospective customer database. Databases are an important resource, so don't waste them. Use your databases for special mailings, follow-up phone calls, event invitations, to develop alliances, for research profiling, and market segmentation.
  2. 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.
  1. Always be on the lookout to partner up with those that can benefit your organization. Or, those that are in sync with your mission whether it's 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