Nonprofit Marketing

The use of marketing tactics and strategies to amplify an organization’s cause and mission, encourage donations, and attract volunteers and supporters.

A nonprofit is a brand, just like any other business. Marketing a nonprofit organization needs to be nurtured with the same intention and attention.

Six Steps To Start Marketing

1. Audience

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” – Proverbs 17:17 GNT

Also known as “Target Market” – A target market refers to a group of customers to whom a company wants to sell its products and services, and to whom it directs its marketing efforts. Consumers who make up a target market share similar characteristics. A deep understanding of your audience is critical to driving anything related to customer acquisition and retention.

An organization may have multiple target audiences. It’s best to create buyer persona(s) for each audience. A buyer persona is a semi-fictional representation of your ideal customer based on data and research. Personas help organizations to focus their time on qualified prospects, guide product development to suit the needs of their target audience, and align all work across their organization.

When the time comes to share your message, you will know who you’re speaking to, how to speak to them, where to reach them, when to reach them, and how to reach them. As a result, you’ll be able to attract high-value visitors, leads, and customers to your organization who you’ll be more likely to retain over time.

Think About It – Jesus knew who He was trying to reach. Take a moment to brainstorm who your audiences are. What do they look like? Where do they live? Do they have relatives? What does their resume look like? How do they communicate? What are they losing sleep over? What does a typical day look like for them? How do they handle their finances? What excites them? How do they spend their free time?

2. Identity

“So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone.” – Ephesians 2:19-20 GNT

An identity is more than a logo. It’s the way people, internally and externally, perceive and experience your organization. Every interaction, online and offline, with your donors, Board, volunteers, partners, and staff is an opportunity to build relationships and strengthen your brand. For that to happen, all of your communication efforts should be cohesive.

Internally, the brand embodies the identity of the organization, encapsulating its mission, values, and distinctive activities. It connects the mission to the identity of the organization, giving everyone a common sense of why the organization does what it does and why it matters in the world. Externally, the brand reflects the image held in the minds of the organization’s multiple stakeholders, not just its donors and supporters but also those it seeks to influence, assist, or reach. It captures the mission in its public image and deploys that image in service of its mission at every step of a clearly articulated strategy.

Think About It – For the body to fully function, each part has to function according to its purpose. Take a moment to write out what you know about your organization. What are the core values? What is the mission and vision of the company? What are the logo colors? What role does the person sitting next to me fill? Who are the people we are helping? How do I ask for donations? Where do the donations go? What services do we provide?

3. Story

“But have reverence for Christ in your hearts, and honor him as Lord. Be ready at all times to answer anyone who asks you to explain the hope you have in you.” – 1 Peter 3:15 GNT

Successful storytelling convinces the mind and touches the heart.

Storytelling is a valuable tool that can help your audience understand the context in which you operate by unveiling the challenges your beneficiaries (or your nonprofit) are facing. It can help you build meaningful relationships with your audience, creates trust and credibility, and helps your nonprofit stand out.

To convince the mind, transparency is key. Sharing about your impact, answering supporters’ questions, and demonstrating how donation money is spent shows why your organization is doing good work and how you’re making an impact.

Storytelling is an effective tool to capture emotion. If you’re able to have your audience relate to your cause and get passionate about it, it’s likely that they’ll become loyal supporters, donors, and evangelists.

Think About It – God instructs us over and over again in the Bible to share our testimony. Take a moment to write out what you know about your why. What was going on in your life at the time you joined this organization? How did you feel you could make an impact? What have you experienced during your time serving? What stories have you heard from people about your organization that really stuck with you?

    4. Strategize

    “So then, have your minds ready for action. Keep alert and set your hope completely on the blessing which will be given you when Jesus Christ is revealed.” – 1 Peter 1:13 GNT

    Now that you have acquired the necessary tools to move forward, you need to develop a plan. Strategy ensures that the way you promote your nonprofit aligns with your overall goals and enables you to achieve the greatest value from your marketing. This can also help you prepare for challenges that may occur.

    Because there may be multiple audiences, there may be multiple marketing strategies to reach them. To make sure your goals are clear and reachable, each one should be: Specific (simple, significant), Measurable (meaningful, motivating), Achievable (agreed, attainable), Relevant (realistic, results-based), Timely (time sensitive, time-bound).

    Think About It – God equips us with the tools we need to accomplish the mission. We don’t get a lot of chances to get it right. Take a moment to write out the goals for your organization using the SMART formula.

    Specific: What do I want to accomplish? Why is this goal important? Who is involved? Where is it located? Which resources or limits are involved?

    Measurable: How much? How many? How will I know when it is accomplished?

    Achievable: How can I accomplish this goal? How realistic is the goal, based on other constraints, such as financial factors?

    Relevant: Does this seem worthwhile? Is this the right time? Does this match our other efforts/needs? Am I the right person to reach this goal? Is it applicable in the current socio-economic environment?

    Timely: When? What can I do six months from now? What can I do six weeks from now? What can I do today?

      5. Monitor

      “Moses wrote down their starting places, stage by stage, by command of the Lord, and these are their stages according to their starting places.” – Numbers 33:2 GNT

      What doesn’t get monitored, doesn’t get measured. It’s crucial to have metrics in place in order to measure the progress toward the goal. These metrics were established in Step 04, Strategize.

      Measuring impact helps create systemic, sustainable change and also drives value for an organization. Monitoring consistently the performance of the strategy is a tool to accelerate progress and can be used as a preventative tool for future challenges. Impact measurement enables organizations to account for their social performance, value their contribution to society and generate greater credibility with stakeholders such as customers and suppliers.

      Think About It – Jesus equipped His disciples to teach. A good teacher monitors the progress of their students. Take a moment to consider answering the following questions. How does your organization measure success? How often do you receive feedback from your peers or others in leadership positions? How often does your leadership team meet to discuss ways to improve the organization? What have been some results from previous marketing campaigns? What tools are you using to measure campaign performance?

      6. Launch

      “And He said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.’” – Mark 16:15 GNT

      The road to launch took time, planning and commitment. You’ve put in the work, and now it is time to trust that all things will work together for good.

      Follow the plan and remember to monitor your progress. It’s important to take time to collect data, analyze it, and make improvements that align with your goals. This will help keep your organization on track to accomplishing your goals and sustaining the business.

      Think About It – Jesus sent The Twelve out in pairs. Why do you think he did that? Take a moment to share what success looks like to you. What does failure look like? How can the two work together so you can reach your end result?

      You Can Do This!

      So we are to use our different gifts in accordance with the grace that God has given us. If our gift is to speak God’s message, we should do it according to the faith that we have; if it is to serve, we should serve; if it is to teach, we should teach; if it is to encourage others, we should do so. Whoever shares with others should do it generously; whoever has authority should work hard; whoever shows kindness to others should do it cheerfully.” – Romans 12:6-8

      God has blessed each one of us with unique talents. Marketing, in general, requires a variety of skillsets from research and development, design, communication, media planning and buying, and so much more. This guide is not meant to be used as the end all be all to your marketing strategy but rather as an introductory guide to getting started on your marketing journey.

      Send us a message if you are interested in learning how we can help market your nonprofit organization.


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