A Fundraiser’s Guide to Marketing Campaigns for Small Nonprofits & Charities
As a small or medium-sized nonprofit that engages in fundraising, developing an effective marketing campaign is the best way to reach your fundraising goals and expand your impact on the community. Marketing is the process of communicating key messages to get people interested in your service, mission or cause, yet – marketing is one of the top struggles for small businesses as budgets and resources continue to be limited.
This guide walks you through the steps of creating a successful marketing campaign as a fundraising professional, from planning to execution and beyond. We’ll cover things like developing a marketing strategy, promoting content across the right marketing channels, and how a fundraising platform like Givergy can boost your fundraising efficiency. Keep reading to learn more!
Defining Your Campaign Goals
step in any marketing campaign. You need to understand who your target audience is by knowing things like why they care about your organization, how much money they can realistically donate, and what they like to do in their spare time.
A good way of sourcing this information is by conducting market research. This is the process of receiving feedback directly from your target audience, which can be done through surveys, polls, focus groups and Q&A sessions. This will help inform the rest of your marketing strategy.
Once you’ve got a good idea about who your audience is and what they like to do, it’s time to set some goals for your organization: How much do you want to raise and why? What is the deadline to raise these funds? Who is impacted by these donations? These are all important questions that will help determine how much time and effort is needed at each stage of your marketing campaign.
Developing Your Campaign Strategies
Once you’ve nailed down your audience and goals, it’s time to develop your marketing strategies. To do this effectively, there are several things to keep in mind:
- Choose the right marketing channels. While there are various ways to raise money, not all marketing channels will be right for your organization. For example, if the donors in your target audience are older in age who don’t typically use social media as much as a younger age group, then cultivating a deep social media presence on Instagram and Twitter may not be a good fit for your campaign–even though this might work well for other organizations with different demographics! So when deciding on which channels will help amplify your message effectively, think about how each one aligns with both your target audience and the mission for your organization.
- Use storytelling techniques. Humans love a good story because it helps us build emotional connections with people and businesses. Your organization can do the same by telling a story of why it was created, who your organization supports, and the impact of donations. Remember to be specific and give as much detail as possible, with permission of course. For example, your marketing campaign could feature a story about how donations helped a child to receive a quality education and what they went on to achieve in life. This is how you can create effective messaging that speaks directly to your target audience and potential donors.
- Be flexible and open to change. If the pandemic taught us anything, it was that circumstances can change at any moment. Nonprofits were some of the hardest hit businesses, and when lockdowns were in place the world became more reliant on digital communication. So what does this mean? Find more than one way to reach your fundraising goals and try not to be over-reliant on one marketing channel. Organizations that learn to adapt and embrace innovation usually stand the test of time.
Popular Marketing Channels & Campaign Materials
One of the common misconceptions about marketing is that it requires a lot of money to get started. While it’s true that the more you invest in marketing, the more value is typically received, there are still some marketing channels and materials that are quick and easy to use if your organization is on a tight budget.
If expertise is more of a concern, you can easily hire a marketing freelancer if you’re not ready to hire a full-time marketing professional. This is a great way to have a knowledgeable marketing person on your team with less commitment. Thanks to the opportunities that remote working has presented in recent years, the number of freelancers has risen to an all-time high. In fact, there are 1.57 billion freelancers globally.
If you only end up using one recommendation in this guide, let it be developing a quality website. If you don’t already have one, create an attractive website that highlights the mission and vision of your organization along with any special events or projects currently underway.
Your website should also be used as a way for people to contact your organization or donate money. Have contact details easily accessible on your website or use a short form to source requests.
If you need an easy way to sell tickets for a fundraising event, your website should also have instructions on how to purchase tickets. Alternatively, consider using a fundraising platform like Givergy to sell tickets and streamline the event process. You’ll have your Givergy website to customize and all payment processing is handled securely. Learn more about Givergy’s guest management and ticketing services here.
A third of all consumers head to social media to find out about a brand. Depending on your target audience, this can also be relevant to donors looking to find worthy causes to invest in or to keep up to date with organizations they support.
Social media platforms are free to use and let an organization get creative by telling a compelling story, sharing updates and promoting upcoming events. As a small nonprofit or charity, you can create free business accounts and start posting relatively quickly without the need for paid promotion. Some of the most popular social media platforms fundraisers use are Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Youtube.
Social media platforms are always evolving, so in addition to posting text and photos, you can also run polls, stream your events live, and even host events directly on the platform. To make the posting process more efficient, ask your marketing professional about using social media scheduling tools. This allows you to draft and upload your content to automatically post at the time of your choosing. Don’t forget to dedicate some time to answering questions you might receive on the platform and engaging with your followers’ posts.
As previously mentioned, everyone loves a good story, but how you present that story can make a difference. Try using a mix of text-based, video, and audio testimonials to show the value of your organization. Ask regular donors or event attendees about their experience to encourage future giving and participation.
Sharing case studies from the people your organization supports is another brilliant way of using a testimonial. This can give more detail to donors about how their donations are being used and the impact it’s creating. Share these out individually or use them as content to promote through other platforms.
81% of companies believe that a newsletter is the most influential marketing tool. As a small nonprofit or charity, this offers the opportunity to share a wide variety of content about your organization in one place to the people who need it.
We recommend creating at least two types of databases to send your newsletters to. The first are people who are familiar with your organization like staff, volunteers, and existing donors. The second are people who are unfamiliar like potential donors and sponsors. If it makes sense for you, organize your databases into more categories to better track the success of your campaigns (e.g. an email database for each region your organization operates in).
Once you have a database, commit to sending your newsletters on a consistent basis. This could be once a month, biweekly, or even weekly. Start by first including time-sensitive or critical information, like event updates and company news. You can then branch out to include things like donor testimonials, case studies, event videos and more. Organizing your newsletter this way will help you determine how often to send it and if you need to send different types of newsletters.
We love automation, so just like social media scheduling tools, there are tools to draft newsletter content ahead of time and send out on the date and time of your choosing. Make sure your newsletters look professional by including your organization’s logo and colors if you have them. Following these steps will show your audience that even if you are small, you mean big business.
A Short Word on Branding
As you dig deeper into the marketing world, you’ll likely come across the term ‘branding’ which means how people identify your organization and often, this is what sets you apart from others doing the same work as you. Branding includes things like your logo, colors, font, tone of voice and imagery style.
Impactful organizations with successful campaigns spend a lot of time developing their brand. As a small non-profit or charity, you can make more of an impact by investing in your brand and being consistent. The way you choose to speak about your efforts and the type of visuals you choose to include will build a strong connection and set you apart in the long run.
Launching Your Campaign
Now that you know what to include in your campaign, it’s important to have a plan in place prior to launching it. Your marketing professional should have a schedule or content calendar of all the things they need to do in order for the campaign to be successful and hit its goals. This includes when each piece of marketing content will be published across your chosen platforms. It also includes any offline events related to the campaign. This could include press conferences or speaking engagements at industry conferences where someone from your organization will talk about what makes you unique–and why people should donate money!
Managing Your Campaign
You’ll want to keep an eye on how your campaign is performing and how much money it has raised. This can be done through a number of different methods:
- The most obvious way is by looking at the total amount donated in real time or over time. This can be done by viewing your fundraising page or platform where you’ve set up your campaign. If you fundraise through Givergy, you have access to create extensive campaign reports. Your donation progress is also measured in real-time using one of our many totaliser options.
- Another way is by analyzing the engagement your marketing content is getting. This could be the number of people who have shared your posts on social media or the number of email opens and clicks your newsletters are getting. This will give you some idea about how many people have seen it so far, which is important because if no one sees it then no one will donate!
Optimizing Your Campaign
Once you’ve launched your campaign, it’s time to optimize. Based on the results you’re seeing from your campaign, you’ll want to test new strategies and analyze the data further to see how they affect your results. This is also a good time for refining your approach: if something isn’t working, consider changing it up or removing it altogether in favor of something else. Be sure to give your campaigns enough time for your results to generate to avoid making any premature decisions.
How Can Givergy Assist?
There you have it, a fundraiser’s guide to marketing campaigns for small nonprofits and charities! As pioneers of event management and fundraising technology, Givergy is passionate about supporting charitable organizations all over the world.
When you work with us, not only will you have access to our award-winning fundraising platform but you’ll receive coaching on how to better market your campaigns.
Contact us today to get started.
Campaign Success Team Manager – North America
Emily is an experienced and passionate fundraising and events consultant, working with and supporting clients on their special events and fundraising campaigns all over the world.
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