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    6 min read

    Learn Top Nonprofit Marketing Strategies From the Best

    By Ellaine Parsons

    Marketing nonprofit organizations involves relying on different methods for communicating their messages effectively, encouraging people to donate, and inspiring them to volunteer. When done right, marketing raises awareness about a nonprofit and helps draw the right type of attention. If you’re wondering how to market nonprofits, taking a look at what the leading organizations are doing can steer you in the right direction.


    Without wasting time, check what you can learn about marketing for nonprofit organizations by looking at these top examples.


    marketing non profit organizations


    The United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) has a worldwide presence and this organization has used the internet to good effect in creating awareness about its programs. For example, it takes to social media platforms like Instagram to highlight the local and personal impact it creates through its initiatives by sharing images and details of the people it has helped along with its workers and volunteers.


    UNICEF also harnesses the power of digital marketing to share stories about children, offering insight into the problems and challenges they face. By raising awareness and invoking empathy, these personal stories encourage people to help. Storytelling, without a doubt, is a great marketing strategy for nonprofits, and one that UNICEF has mastered.



    Make-A-Wish is another nonprofit organization that has done exceedingly well with its storytelling campaigns. One that has stood the test of time is where they continue to share stories of children whose wishes they grant. This campaign still drives interest among its audience and has helped garner significant support.


    The organization’s largest chapter, Make-a-Wish Ohio, Kentucky, & Indiana, set new records by relying on branded journalism and public relations to pursue its storytelling campaign. By capturing individual testimonials and stories for more than four years, it built a campaign that helped extend its reach across geographical boundaries, to people and media outlets alike.


    Just one story about a 9-year-old boy whom a professional football team was to sign on for a day resulted in 185 media placements across the U.S., including in USA Today and The Today Show. Besides, Make-A-Wish regularly shares stories of children on its YouTube channel and every granted wish finds a mention on its website.


    If you look at other similar nonprofit organization marketing examples, you will notice they work because donors like seeing where their money goes. Besides, personal stories give great insight into just how donors are contributing to a cause. If you can get media outlets to draw attention to your campaign, you may expect a significant improvement in your reach.

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    Breast Cancer Now, CoppaFeel!, and Asda

    Breast Cancer Now and CoppaFeel! – two UK-based charities that create awareness about breast cancer – have used different marketing ideas for nonprofits to successfully educate and empower their audiences. One campaign that found particular success involved partnering with Asda, a popular British supermarket chain.


    Receipts that people got from Asda encouraged them to inspect their bodies for bumps and lumps. Products from the supermarket carried stickers that provided information about breast abnormalities and breast cancer. Banners in car parks and in-store displays as well as social media, film, radio, and print ads drew more attention to the campaign.


    By utilizing Asda’s large customer base, this campaign was successful in reaching out to a sizable audience and raising awareness about an important cause. Its tagline, “Self Checkouts Could Save You More than Time” was simple yet powerful.


    This marketing plan for nonprofits works well because of its accessibility and simplicity. Given that people could partake in increasing awareness about a cause without spending any money or putting in too much effort, they did so easily. Besides, partnering with a popular name like Asda lent credibility to the campaign. Last but not least, the campaign also integrated its donation option into people’s shopping routines seamlessly, encouraging ongoing support.


    Humane Society International

    Humane Society International (HSI) is active on various social media platforms, sharing updates of its work, promoting petitions, and fostering a community of animal lovers. This allows the organization to connect with a wide audience and spread its message organically.


    HSI has done well in providing compelling video content, a great example of which is its award-winning “Save Ralph” campaign that utilized a stop-motion animation depicting the horrific reality of animal testing in cosmetics. This video went viral, garnering over 100 million views and significant media attention.


    Another nonprofit marketing strategy that HSI has used well is targeted online ads. It uses these ads to reach out to specific segments that it feels are receptive to its messaging. These include ads on popular social media platforms as well as search engines.


    Humane Society also makes the case for the power that YouTube holds, with the Humane Society of the United States channel having over 750,000 subscribers.


    marketing a nonprofit

    Charity: Water

    When it comes to marketing ideas for nonprofits, you can take a leaf out of Charity: Water’s Birthday campaigns. The organization’s CEO, Scott Harrison, was the brainchild behind this campaign, which got underway on his 31st birthday (the first campaign raised around $15,000). Since then, scores of people from the world over including celebrities have helped raise funds for this charity using their birthdays as mediums.


    Sarah Peck, founder of Startup Pregnant, pledged her 29th birthday to this cause with the aim of getting 1,000 people to donate $29 each to this cause. To make matters interesting, she said she would swim from Alcatraz to San Francisco (a distance of 1.5 miles) in nothing but a swimming cap if she raised the intended amount of $29,000. She ended up collecting over $32,000, and yes, she did complete the swim.


    What this long-standing campaign goes to show is that when you make the fundraising process personal, you increase the likelihood of getting potential donors to support your cause. Besides, while marketing a nonprofit in this way helps raise funds, it also has a positive effect on increasing awareness because supporters work in reaching out to their own networks as well.


    Preemptive Love

    When it comes to simple yet effective not-for-profit marketing examples, it’s hard to ignore the sticker packs that Preemptive Love offers with the aim of working toward peace in different war-torn regions. It also sells other products like clothing, accessories, jewelry, and wall art.


    The sticker packs stand out in particular because they find favor with millennials who use them on laptops, water bottles, skateboards, mobile phones, guitar cases, car bumpers, bike frames, and more.


    Stickers can work well in raising funds for your organization and they also serve as an effective medium to draw attention to your cause. Besides, supporters need to spend considerably less money on buying stickers when compared with more expensive products like t-shirts, caps, bags, and mugs.

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    Marketing Techniques for Nonprofit Organizations

    If you’re wondering how to market a nonprofit organization, know that the process involves spreading awareness about its mission, attracting supporters, and making a positive impact. Unlike for-profit businesses, your goal isn’t to sell a product but to inspire action and build a community around your cause.


    Following these marketing strategies for nonprofits can help you make the most of your time, money, and resources.


    Define Your Goals

    Before you start work on any marketing campaign, take time to clearly define your goals. Common marketing goals for nonprofits include:

    • Increasing brand awareness by getting your name out there as prominently as possible
    • Raising donations by running fundraising campaigns
    • Driving advocacy by encouraging people to speak up for your cause
    • Recruiting volunteers to expand your workforce and build expertise


    Understand Your Audience

    An important element of nonprofit marketing revolves around getting insight into the audience you wish to target. Then, you need to tailor your message so it resonates with specific demographics and interests. Audiences for nonprofits may come in the form of:

    • Potential donors
    • Volunteers
    • Brand ambassadors/advocates
    • Policymakers


    Craft Your Message

    Getting your message right is crucial when it comes to marketing a nonprofit successfully. This requires telling a compelling story about what makes your cause unique and the impact you create. Make sure you use clear and concise language to define the issue you address and explain how your organization makes a difference by showcasing the positive outcomes you produce. Focus on building an emotional connection as it drives people to care about your cause.


    non profit marketing strategies

    Choose Suitable Marketing Channels

    Given the different channels from which you get to choose, marketing for charities requires identifying the ones that work best for you. Often, opting for a multi-pronged digital marketing approach is the best way forward.

    • Content marketing. This involves sharing informative and engaging content that your audience finds relevant and beneficial. It can come in the form of blog posts, infographics, videos, podcasts, and more.
    • Website. If you have a website, you need to ensure that it delivers a great user experience and gives its visitors all the information they need. If you don’t have one yet, consider partnering with a professional web design agency for optimal results because having a modern website is the order of the day.
    • Social media marketing. With people spending an increasing amount of time on social media, it is imperative that you reach out to your target audience by connecting with it on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even LinkedIn.
    • Email marketing. Email marketing gives you the ability to forge relationships with potential donors and volunteers through tailor-made campaigns. To do this, you need to build an email list and send regular updates about your work.
    • Fundraising tools. Several online fundraising tools simplify how you can go about raising funds for your cause. These include online fundraising campaigns, donation forms, text-to-give campaigns, crowdfunding campaigns, and auctions.
    • Events. Not-for-profit marketing often involves organizing events and raising funds through ticket sales, auctions, donations, or sales of food and merchandise. They serve as an effective medium to spread the word about an organization’s mission and the cause it supports. You may also think of conducting workshops and awareness campaigns.


    Leverage the Power of Content

    Content plays a crucial role in just about every marketing strategy and the world of nonprofits is no different. Compelling content educates potential supporters about your cause and mission and helps increase your organization’s visibility. This, in turn, builds trust and positions your organization as a credible authority.


    If your content resonates with your audience, you get to connect with them on a deeper level. For example, sharing stories about the impact of your work and the people you help fosters a sense of community and encourages involvement, be it in the form of making donations or volunteering. In addition, content marketing is typically more cost effective than traditional forms of advertising, giving nonprofits the means to stretch their budgets further.

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    Measure and Adapt

    A nonprofit marketing plan is incomplete without monitoring results. This involves tracking and analyzing website traffic, social media engagement, and donation trends. Once you have adequate data at hand, you need to refine your strategy based on what’s working well for you and the areas that need improvement. Given that this realm continues to evolve continually, you also need to stay on top of the latest digital marketing tools, trends, and technologies.


    Other Marketing Ideas for Nonprofit Organizations

    Here are a few more ideas from the top nonprofit marketing strategies.

    • Create a blog to share stories about your beneficiaries, the impact of your work, and industry trends.
    • Expand your reach and resources by partnering with other like-minded organizations.
    • Build trust in your audience by being completely transparent about how you use your funds.
    • Simplify how supporters can make recurring donations.
    • Reach out to community groups and offer to speak about your cause.
    • Turn to surveys to get feedback from your audience.
    • Make sure your marketing efforts comply with all applicable rules and regulations.



    Marketing for nonprofit organizations involves paying attention to aspects such as having clear goals, understanding your audience, crafting the message you want to convey, using different mediums, and tracking the results of your efforts. While the market leaders show you how to do things right, finding success is not as easy as “copy and paste”. As a result, if you’re unsure of how to put your best foot forward, partnering with a nonprofit digital marketing agency might be in your best interest.

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