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Complete guide to marketing for non-profit organisations

Every marketing team for every single business is challenged to do more with less than what they have. This is never truer than for non-profit organisations.

The resources are often tight enough as it is for a profitable organisation, never mind the non-profit that focuses on giving back rather than taking it. The resources are tight, the teams are small, and if this sounds like your organisation, then you are going to want to re-think. Your organisation may not operate for profit, but it still values from the funds and awareness that marketing can bring in. This means that you need to concentrate on how you can ensure that your marketing is watertight in your non-profit organisation.

The chances are that you spent a lot of time building your business into what it is today. You had to find the right team, perfect your website and you had to make sure that your passion for your cause shines through all of that. Finding the right marketing team members with the same ideals that you have is not always easy, it can be very disappointing when it feels like that nobody understands or pays attention to what you do for your business. You need people to sit up and take notice of you, especially when you are running a non-profit organisation.

The good news and the thing to remember the most is that the lack of response from the public does not mean that the work you are doing in your marketing is failing. It does mean, however, that you are not using your marketing effectively for your non-profit organisation. It is so important to market your organisation as much as it is doing the work of the organisation. Once you can understand how to market effectively, you can improve your relationships with your donors and increase your funding. You could even attract new supporters.

Marketing for non-profit organisations does not have to be difficult and throughout this article we are going to give you a complete rundown of what you need for your marketing venture.

The Benefits of Non-profit Marketing

It is highly likely that your non-profit organisation is taking up a lot of your time. It may seem like too much to also have to build a marketing plan to go with your non-profit, however this is necessary work to be done. You don’t necessarily have to do it yourself – you could always outsource your marketing.

But understanding marketing for non-profit organisations is important if you want to know how you are extending your reach in capturing your supporters. This is a responsibility that is worth it, and marketing is all about creating valuable experiences and these experiences have to have a positive impact on your business and the people within it.

You want your non-profit organisation to be inspirational within your community and you need to be able to push organisations awareness and compel action from others. Here are some of the other ways that non-profit marketing for your organisation can help.

Raising awareness

Though you are a non-profit organisation, you are still a brand. This means that you need to raise awareness of your brand to evoke emotion and response just like any other business. Marketing works to raise awareness of your non-profit organisation to others. It helps you to spread the word about your organisation and your cause. This is the kind of attention your business needs.

Raising money

If you want to be able to fundraise for your non-profit organisation, you need to be able to indulge in non-profit marketing.

The more people that know about your business and the cause that you have, the more funding you could potentially bring in. Raising money is imperative to the stability and future of your organisation especially as you work on a non-profit basis.

Driving donor memberships

With the right marketing for non-profit organisations, you can drive donor memberships and encourage more donors to sign up. Marketing your non-profit organisation brings your cause in front of new people and informs your donors about how they can contribute and make a difference. There are some non-profit organisations that offer donation memberships and monthly giving programs.

Recruiting new volunteers

One of the biggest benefits of marketing for non-profit organisations is in the number of volunteers it can encourage to sign up. It’s not just about funding. It drives the labour and encourages more people to volunteer at a time you need them most. Volunteers are also twice as likely to donate than the non-volunteers, whether that be in time or in money. The right marketing for non-profit organisations will help you to bring on the volunteers to your business.

Service promotion

With the right non-profit marketing strategy, you can promote your services, raise awareness, encourage funding and volunteers to sign up. All of these things are integral to your non-profit, and marketing will help you to talk about the purpose of your organisation and how you help the cause. The more people who know about your non-profit organisation the more people you can help.

These are just some of many reasons that you need a decent marketing strategy for your non-profit organisation. Let’s dive in a little deeper.

The basics to marketing for non-profit organisations

No business leader will ever regret the time that they take to market their business effectively. Adding non-profit marketing to your toolbelt is important if you want to be able to reach your goals. The correct marketing strategy can help you to do just that and ensure that you are reaching the right supporters.

Non-profit marketing is when non-profit businesses use the correct marketing tactics and strategies to make sure that their organisation’s mission is out there in the world. They use it to solicit new donations and attract new supporters while encouraging existing volunteers and donations to step up.

Every business needs marketing, and the rise of the Internet has made marketing an even more important function of your business. There are always new avenues for marketing and every single day you will be exposing your organisation’s brand to new audiences.

Of course, not all marketing strategies are right for your non-profit organisation. There are plenty of organisations that never have a true strategy, they just do what they can when they can. Having a marketing plan in place is going to be an effective and targeted way for you to reach your brand goals. It is good to experiment with various kinds of marketing out there, but it is important to find the one that can help you to put a strong plan in place in the first instance.

Non-profit Marketing Strategies

Learning the benefits of marketing and how it will help your organisation is just the first thing to know, and now you do it is time to get started on some of the non-profit marketing strategies from which you could benefit. Below, we have put a list together of the most important considerations that you could make for creating a successful marketing campaign for your non-profit organisation.

Create your plan

The first thing that you can do for maximum success, is to create a solid marketing plan. Moving forward with intention is vital to your success. You must sit down with this list of steps to plan your next campaign in the best detail possible and the first time you do it will take you the longest. Here are some of the steps that are involved in your marketing plan:

Start with getting to know your target audience

You have to ask yourself what the problem is in your brand and how that can be solved. No matter what your mission is, if you can figure out your target audience, you are better placed to market your calls toward them. Knowing your target market will help you to work out which type of marketing you should use to capture their attention.

Audit your current marketing plan

What marketing materials do you already have out in the world? Once you know what you have out there, you will be able to understand better on which you should work. You can also get an outside set of eyes to look at your marketing plan from a better perspective, this will help you to understand what people see in a way that is not biassed. Be honest here, you are not going to get everything right the first time and it is okay to have to work on your marketing plan a few times to tune it up.

Make a mission statement

As a non-profit organisation, you should already have a mission statement to identify what it is that you do, and which causes you support. It’s a common misstep to skip your mission statement, and one of the things that you might notice is that your mission statement is not exactly clear. Spend time making it clear that you can integrate your mission statement into your marketing planning.

Start defining your goals

Once you have these steps in place you can then work on your goals and your objectives. If you are clear about what you want to achieve, you can start working on those things and make those your new goals going forward. This will allow you to move forward, crafting your marketing plan to suit your needs. The plus side is that when you define your goals aloud, you’re going to get everybody else in your team on board with them. Once you know what you are trying to do, you will be able to achieve it.

Get to know your budget

A big part of your marketing campaign is going to be in how much you can afford within it. You might want to go full metal jacket and have every single marketing outlet at your disposal. However, unless you have unlimited funds, this is not going to be a possibility. Having a budget in place is going to help you to drive your marketing plan the right way. It is so important that you are able to make the most of your resources, as these are going to be a driving force behind you being able to meet your marketing goals for your non-profit organisation.

Watch it and track it

Once you cross your marketing plan, you need to keep an eye on it. To be able to achieve your goals, you need to watch how you are doing and watch the numbers on your reports. Analytics and SEO are important here. It is vital that you keep track of how everything is performing so that you can continue to make the right improvements. The very first marketing overhaul that you make may not be life changing, and you will make mistakes along the way. Over time, however, you will hold your message, create more effective marketing campaigns, and learn more about what your target audience needs the most.

Every single marketing campaign that you make is going to look different. These are, however, the general steps that you must take to build your marketing plan for it to be effective.

Marketing Channels for Your Non-profit

You may already know that there are so many ways that you could market your non-profit organisation. Of course, not all of these will be relevant to your audience but once you work out which ones are relevant, you can know what your options are.

You do not have to invest in every single option that is suitable for your marketing plan and that is something that is important to know. In fact, it is a bad idea to ever invest in every single marketing thread you can find. Instead, you need to find the right ones that are right for your business. It is always better to focus on a few channels and concentrate your efforts there, and to focus on the broader market and try and haphazardly attempt to market on every single available platform to you. This will end up being dead money. This is why analytics are so important. Without analytics, you cannot tell where your budget is going and whether that is going to be placed in the wrong area.

Here are some of the marketing options that you have to look forward to when you want to market your non-profit organisation.


Almost everybody who you are trying to target will have a smartphone or some kind of mobile phone device. This means that outbound text messaging becomes very lucrative with marketing to your audience. Whether you are looking to create marketing plans for your supporters, or you are looking to gain even more support as part of your business, text messages can have a massive impact on everybody especially if it’s a well-crafted text campaign. You do not want to spam your supporters or individuals; you want them to pay attention.

Email marketing

Unbelievably, email marketing is not dead! Yes, we are driven towards social media more than ever, but email is still there, it is still kicking, and it is still a perfect way to market your audience. Whether you are doing it through school, work or personal use, everybody has an email account. When you need new donation forms to go out you can Leverage your donation form data to figure out the best address to reach out to those donors and send your emails with the right email tools. There are lots of tools to help achieve email campaign success, some of the top players are Zoho Campaigns (we use this one), Mailchimp, CampaignMonitor, MailerLite, SendGrid, ActiveCampaign and depending on budgets Hubspot. Once you do this you can start sending these letters and info information – always with the support and permission of course.

Video marketing

TikTok has been an up-and-coming app in the past few years and one of the things that you should notice about TikTok is that everything is done in bite sized video form. People sit up and pay attention to video, which is why video marketing is such a wonderful way to market your non-profit organisation. We are in a fast moving, digitally driven world right now, which means that eye-catching video can be more effective than written word in most cases. Whether you do thirty sound bites or three-minute explainer videos, your audience will sit up and pay tension to the information that you have to offer. As long as you are offering the correct information you will have people that are willing to listen.

Use social media

If you are not on social media already, it is time to get involved. Social media marketing is some of the biggest marketing types out there right now, because of the range of social media platforms available to you. Social media is the perfect place to create conversation, to show your information, and to promote what you have to offer. The best part about social media marketing is that for the most part, it is free. You can invest in social media advertising, but it’s not always necessary.

Content marketing

As well as your website, your social media platforms, and your email marketing, you need to consider your content. Content can mean many things, from blog posts, e-books, listicles – no matter what if it has content as a written article or video, you can get it out to your audience. Content marketing uses content that is created for another purpose – such as education – to show the value of your product. For your non-profit organisation, for example, you can talk about your cause, and you can even promote your cause with videos like a day in the life of a volunteer. Your content marketing needs to be snappy, informative, and reach the audience and their feelings in the right way.

7 Best Practices for Non-profit Marketing

There are plenty of various kinds of marketing out there, but there are seven particular best practices that you can use for your non-profit marketing for your organisation. Here are seven of the best practices to think about when creating campaigns and materials for marketing your non-profit organisation:

1. Consider segmentation

When you segment your audience, you can create targeted and personalised communications for different members of your organisation. For example, if you know that you have a cause that appeals to the senior population as well as the teenage population you can segment your audience and craft content that appeals to both of those audiences. Not every piece of content you create will be appealing to everybody, so if you segment your audience, you can ensure that you target specific audiences based on the criteria from the campaign as well as the donor data.

2. Keep all of your goals SMART

When you are creating a marketing plan for a non-profit organisation campaign, your goals need to be specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and timely. This will help you to give your audience the best possible message.

3. Keep it personal

People want to relate to your business on a personal level. It is nice to be professional, and you can still be professional and personal at the same time. Segmentation can help with this, but other smaller things such as using the name of the donor when you email them or saying ‘you’ instead of ‘I’ will make a significant difference to the way your message feels.

4. Keep an eye on what is happening in the world

Current events can help you to appeal to others with your cause. If you are trying to support hunger in third-world countries, for example, use current events on the news to populate your message.

5. Always follow up

From your supporters to your donors, you need to stay connected with people! Do not let people donate to your cause only to ignore them. Make sure that you are asking how your audience is and you are related to them on a personal level. Stay connected to keep people interested and essentially more loyal donors.

6. Track your data

We talked about analytics earlier on in the article, and it is because it’s one of the most important things that you can do. You do not just want to create a marketing campaign; do you want to know that your marketing campaign is working.

7. Tell stories

One of the best ways to practice with your marketing campaign is in storytelling. As a non-profit organisation you want to invoke emotions with your audience and encourage them to feel that it is important for them to donate to your cause. Studies have shown that people remember information better when they are told in story format rather than being bombarded with facts and information.

A well-planned marketing strategy will help marketing your non-profit organisation. Now you know how to do it, let us help you get started.

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