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How to Start Marketing Campaign for Non-profit Organization

You might think that marketing a non-profit is very similar to marketing for a profit. And to an extent you’d be right. After all, both types of companies are trying to attract attention and market their product. If you didn’t look beyond that, however, you’d be missing out on one of the most valuable assets you’ve got as a non-profit.

What’s that, I hear you ask? It’s that you’re motivated by a far more likable quality. All for profits, at their core, are about making money. Sure, they might go about it differently, but at the end of the day their investors expect to get returns.

A non-profit isn’t like that. There the quality is far more other-serving. And this should be a vital element in your marketing campaign. You’ve got a story. You should use that.

1

Develop your story

The first thing you need to do is take that story and find out how you can make it inspirational, interesting or moving. You can do this internally, but make sure that you find some people outside of your non-profit to bounce the idea off of. Otherwise there’s a good chance that you might get pulled into an episode of group think.

Sure, you and your people might think it’s great, but that doesn’t mean the average Joe or Jacky on the street does.

Once you’ve chanced upon the right idea, you’ve got to distil it down to its bare bones. This is the element that should be included in all of your marketing.

2

Have your goal outline

The next part is to know what you’re trying to do. Are you just trying to make people more aware of what you’re doing? Are you trying to bring in donations? Is it volunteers that you’re after? This matters as each requires a different strategy.

Now, some of you might answer ‘all of them’. That’s fair enough. Still, you should choose one to focus on, so that it is easier to stay on message and create a cohesive, focused campaign.

3

Outline the first campaign

Now marketing is not a one-off thing. It keeps going, evolving, changing and growing. But you’ve got to start somewhere. So start here and now. Start by building a plan that is at least a month in length (preferably longer).

You’ll also want to decide on your channels. Are you going to use social media? Is flyering the way to go? Do you want to have a series of events? Or is it all of the above with one leading to another?

Who is your target audience? Sure, you might be tempted to say ‘everybody’ but the problem with targeting everybody is that you’ll generally end up hitting nobody. Instead, create a profile of who you’d like to affect. That way, you’ll have a good chance of really engaging some group. And that will make them far more likely to spread the word, volunteer and donate.

While you’re at it, set a benchmark. What will qualify as a success and what won’t? Sure, you might not yet have a lot of experience with this and not yet know what’s feasible, but you’ll get better at it over time.

Also, make sure you set up a budget. Do this early, so that all parties know how much is available and came make adjustments as to what they can and cannot do.

4

Consider content marketing

And while you’re doing all of this, take some time to think about content marketing. Content marketing is basically a websites where you showcase your story and the stories of the people that work for you, which you then use to advertise what you’re doing.

Not a great writer? Then see if one of your volunteers has a natural gift with the written word. If that doesn’t work, there are plenty of online services that can help. I’ve heard that essayrepublic is good for the price they charge.

Now, content marketing takes a while. It takes time to build up a reputation and for your stories to make the rounds and get out there. This is why this shouldn’t be the only thing you pursue. The great thing about it, though, is that your stories stay out there and can continue to attract new people and spread across the internet.

What’s more, content marketing is a fantastic way to tell your story and get it in front of people. So this is definitely a strategy that every non-profit should pursue. In some ways, you could say content marketing was made for non-profits as they often have the best stories to tell.

5

Start small and build

Then it’s time to start it off. Now, you might want to start with a bang. That’s understandable. The only thing is, you are probably going to make mistakes. That’s only natural. It might be better to start off slowly and build you way up towards something really big as you find your feet, find the right people to use and generally come to grips with what you’re doing.

And remember, marketing is a constant process. Even as you’re building towards some big event to bring in lots of donors, you should be considering what is next and what will happen after that.

6

Track and analyze

The most important thing to do is to track and analyze. The best way to know how and when you need to make tweaks is if you know how effective your campaign is and why it is working.

The best way to lose a lot of money is to not know what’s going on and as a result miss-invest and spend money on things that you really shouldn’t. For that reason, find some way to track what’s going on. For example, track how many people are calling up and asking questions. Has it risen substantially since the beginning of the campaign? Similarly, how many people are volunteering? Has that number changed? And what about donations?

If you do this, then you can divide the amount of money you spent on marketing on the bump in volunteers and donations you’re getting, which will give you an idea of how much you’re spending to get those things.

From there you’re then in a position to work away at honing your campaign so that it becomes more effective and the outreach becomes greater. In this way you’ll hopefully be able to draw in more resources and more attention per dollar spent.

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Page last edited May 24, 2017 History

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