Non-profits need exposure for lots of reasons… not the least of which is to increase fundraising. Marketing your non-profit effectively will not only lead to additional revenue, but will also help you attract high-profile board members, find new volunteers, and gain extra press coverage for your efforts.
When marketing your organization, you want to start with the basics… setting up an effective website, using PR strategies, and finding your way on social media. But, once you have those covered, there are lots of different ways to garner additional attention (and dollars) for your organization.
Today, I want to go over three unusual but effective ways to market your non-profit. Actually, “unusual” might not be the right word because it suggests that these tactics are weird or out of the mainstream. They are not. Instead, they are “underutilized,” but should definitely be implemented by more non-profits:
#1: Start a Podcast
I can count on my hands the number of non-profits I have come across over the past decade that are producing a regular podcast for their organization. Yet, podcasts are an extremely effective medium for reaching prospects, donors, and the general public. (Here at The Fundraising Authority, we’ve been producing a podcast for the past three years… you can check it out on iTunes or Stitcher Radio).
If you are running a civic non-profit promoting tourism… why not produce a podcast that highlights new and unusual tourist attractions in your town?
If you are running a private school… why not produce a podcast that pits your students against each other in a weekly trivia contest?
If you are running the largest homeless shelter in your state, why not produce a podcast that brings in nationally-recognized experts to talk about the plight of the homeless?
Producing a podcast shows that your organization is at the top of its field, proves that your staff are experts in your mission field, and gives you massive exposure to potential supporters who are interested in your work. Best of all, it’s fairly easy to start a podcast. Check out this tutorial from Pat Flynn on how to do it – it’s geared towards small businesses, but works equally well for non-profit organizations.
#2: Use Cause Marketing
Cause marketing is a cooperative agreement between a for-profit business and a non-profit organization for mutual benefit. For example, think of those coin donation boxes you see at the checkout of your local convenience market, where the non-profit gains cash donations and the business gains customers’ goodwill by supporting local non-profits.
There are lots of different types of cause marketing, from a potato chip company offering 10 cents to a national non-profit for every bag sold (and gaining the right to put the non-profit’s logo on their marketing materials in return) to the NFL selling pink, game-worn gloves and shoes and giving the proceeds to breast cancer research.
Here’s the thing: cause marketing can provide massive revenue to non-profit organizations, but it can also supply something else that is equally as valuable: exposure and marketing. Just think about all of the people in the world who know about the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation because of the pink ribbons they see on products ranging from food to clothing and everything in between.
Has your non-profit tapped into cause marketing to raise money and increase exposure for your organization? If not, check out Joe Waters’ Selfish Giving Blog to learn how.
#3: Pay for Advertising
Here’s a doozy you may not have thought of, or perhaps you’ve dreamed of it, but believed it wasn’t possible for your organization… what about paying to advertise your non-profit?
It doesn’t make sense for every organization, but for some non-profits, it can pay off handsomely.
Remember, when we talk about advertising, we’re not just talking about television. There are lots of opportunities to advertise your non-profit in far more cost-effective ways, from radio to newspaper to billboards, to Facebook and Twitter and everything else in between.
Do you have anyone on your board (or on your donor list) who works for a business that buys a lot of advertising each year? If so, see if that person can arrange a sit-down between you and their company’s advertising team for some free advice on which paid advertising options might meet your organization’s goals and budget for the coming year.