Notice to my readers: My friend and colleague, Ayda Sanver is an expert in marketing non-profits. So it seemed sensible that I should ask her to write this blog post for me. Her information is provided at the end of the article. Enjoy! Mary
I’ve noticed more often than not that staff and volunteers at smaller nonprofits are stretched too thin to put any real effort into proper promotion of their good work. Who can blame them? Their minds and hearts are focused on the day-to-day operations of their programs and making a difference in their communities. Sadly, what ends up happening is the nonprofit and its work becomes “the best kept secret in town,” and finding donors becomes a real challenge.
Here’s 5 simple things you can do today to better market your nonprofit-
- Review and add to your website content. Check for any glaring spelling or grammatical errors, especially on your home page. Nothing turns away a visitor more than a home page that isn’t compelling and has errors. When was the last time you added a short blog post that told a neat story and posted a link to “read more” on your home page? Is there a video on your home page? When was the last time you tested your “Donate Now” button?
- Add videos EVERYWHERE. Video content catches the eye of the visitor, whether on your web site or on your social media pages. The average smart phone today can take amazing, sharp videos of your programs in action. They don’t have to be very long, either. A short yet moving video will capture your audience’s heart, encourage them to share the video, and it may even open up the wallet of viewers eager to support your cause. Did you know that the most used search engine is YouTube? Start a YouTube channel and put your videos there, too!
- Collect testimonials from your beneficiaries. For example, if your nonprofit focuses on feeding low-income families, getting permission for a photo with a testimonial saying something to the effect of, “I don’t know what I would do without my weekly groceries delivered by XYZ nonprofit” will go a long way to show people how their donations are put to work. Share this on your web site and on your social media pages.
- Grow Your Email List: E-mail marketing is not dead. In fact, if you do a regular snail-mailed annual appeal, there’s a lot of evidence out there that an e-mail appeal reinforces a mailed appeal, and vice versa. Someone who is comfortable donating online might respond to your email appeal and click through and make a donation after receiving your mailed appeal as a reminder or a “message-reinforcer.” Therefore, collect as many email addresses as you can and build your email list – there are free e-mail programs, like MailChimp, which is free to use up to 2,000 email addresses.
- Participate in Forums Like Quora or Reddit: Your nonprofit could answer questions in public forums or other blogs to appear as an expert in your field. Why not search forums for questions and answer them, and if allowed in the forum, include a link back to your web site for more information?
You may find a volunteer or college student who is tech-savvy who would be willing to manage these five items for you to help build their resumes if you are stretched too thin. There are people out there who want to help! LinkedIn for Volunteers and Volunteer Match are great places to start! You’ll see engagement with your nonprofit grow rapidly once you start sharing your good work with the world.
Ayda Sanver is a Certified Fundraising Executive (CFRE) and a licensed fund raising counsel in the State of Maryland. Ayda works with nonprofits around the country in the areas of fundraising, nonprofit marketing, and board and staff member training. She also teaches for The Nonprofit Leadership Institute at Montgomery College in Rockville, Maryland and is the author of “Tag, You’re IT- Now Raise Some Money” available on Amazon. You can read more of her blog posts at AydaSanver.com and follow her on Twitter at @AydaSC.