How to Build Actionable Awareness for Your Nonprofit Part 1

I think most of you will agree with me when I say:

Marketing is a huge undertaking with a ton of challenges.

Getting people to not only notice your nonprofit, but to take the action that you want them to is really hard.


You can do it in a way that brings actual awareness to your nonprofit. I’m talking about more than just Facebook likes.

This post is part 1 of a compilation of content and resources to help you better understand what you need to do to get people to notice your organization and then take action. Think of it as a marketing guide for nonprofits. It will take work and creativity, but it’s nothing you can’t handle ;)

Next week I will post Part 2 so check in to read about Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Ads, Reviews, Mail, and Events. (So make sure you subscribe to our blog so you don’t miss it.)

Give your Marketing a Strong Foundation with These 3 Tactics:

1. Get Specific

Target Your Audience - Marketing for Nonprofits

Tweet Button

The very first thing you do in marketing is to define your target audience. Who are you talking to?

Knowing your audience will allow you to connect with them on a deeper level leading to more desirable action on their part.

I cannot stress this enough. Every part of your marketing strategy hinges on this step. If you don't do this then you may pick uo support here and there, but you won't connect with people deep enough to evoke any real response.

For example:

Let’s say you are a nonprofit adoption agency in Colorado. You might want to reach out to adults who have been married for 5 years or more and already have children because that means that they are less likely to return the child (I’m making this up). You might also want them to be homeowners who bring in $50,000 a year. You only want parents who don’t spank their children and are gluten-free. And maybe you won’t work with them unless they are huge Duke University basketball fans (2015 national champs! Woot!).

But what if I want to reach everyone?

In that case, I recommend picking a group of people and focusing on them first. Then, after you have captured their attention and added them to your community of supporters, move on the next group (but don’t abandon the first group).

Here’s the deal:

Once you’ve set your sights you should look for the influencers in that circle. Find out whom your target audience listens to and market to them. Take advantage of the people who your audience already listens to and trusts!

I mean, think about it. You can spend hours doing research to reach a bunch of people individually or you can research a handful of people, get them on board, and let them take the time to reach out to their audience.

There is no need to reinvent the wheel here, people.

2. Eliminate Confusion with These 2 Tips:

Tweet Button

Awareness and action require brand recognition. To achieve that you need:

  1. Logo consistency
  2. Consistency of voice

If your organization has different versions of its logo or has different images representing itself, pick one and stick to it. People will get confused about whether you are the same organization or not and will be less likely to take action in the end.

Consistency of voice is important because it, again, confirms to your audience that you are the same nonprofit as the one on that site over there. It’s also a great way to stand out! (More on this later.)

3. Build Your Audience in Bulk

Tweet Button

Strategic Partnerships - Marketing for NonprofitsI’m going to let you in on a little secret:

It starts with “Strategic” and ends with “Partnerships”. Ok, so they aren’t really a secret, but they are a good idea. Similar to reaching key influencers, strategic partnerships allow you to ride on the back of someone else’s reputation and reach.

The trick here is to partner with organizations that are strategic. Don’t just pick a random business and start kissing. You want to find an organization that has an audience that would support you.

So how to pick a strategic partner:

You’ve already drawn a picture of your target audience. Now all you have to do is see who they follow. Who do they already listen to?

Side note:

You should probably pick a strategic partner whose services/products/cause compliments yours.

Back to our adoption agency example, you might try to reach out to big churches, fertilization clinics, and/or Duke University.

Additional Resources:

Josh Turner –
         How to grow your network using LinkedIn.

Make A Deeper Impact Through The Most Engaging Type of Content 

Video Marketing - Marketing for Nonprofits

Tweet Button

I want to jump in to our favorite topic:

Videos can be used in multiple marketing categories (one of the reasons why we love it so much). You can also use the same video in more than one category. Actually, that’s just smart.

So why are videos such a powerful tool in marketing?

I’m so glad you asked.

Videos engage more senses than regular text or even images so people tend to remember the content in videos better than the content in other mediums.

Yes, it tends to cost more, but that’s because so much more goes into making a video and you get so much more out of it. A video done well and based on the research of your target audience can be extremely effective. Click HERE for a recent report on just how effective video is nowadays.

The key to success with video is to tell stories. Tell stories that will resonate with your target audience. Again, know your audience.

Tell your story as a nonprofit. Tell the stories of those whose lives you have touched as a nonprofit. Tell funny stories. Tell serious stories. Tell weird stories.

But don’t forget!

Make sure that in your storytelling, your nonprofit’s personality shines through. Show people who you are individually and as a nonprofit through the stories you tell.

You can use these stories to ask for donations, to tell people what you do, to simply have fun, to train your staff/volunteers, to give updates, to talk about different topics (for your blog), etc.

Want to know the best part?

One of the reasons why video is such a fantastic marketing tool is because it’s sharable. People can easily post a video to Facebook or Pintrest or email it to a friend, therefore spreading awareness and endorsement.

Additional Resources:

For every $1 spent, $44.25 is the average return on email marketing investment.

Tweet Button

Email may seem ol’ school or unimportant to some of you. And while ignorance may be bliss, success is way better.

Email marketing is too valuable for you to pass up. There are so many opportunities to be had through sending emails regularly. If you need extra convincing, click HERE.

For those of you who are on board with the idea, let me give you some pointers:

  1. Email Marketing - Marketing for NonprofitsFind a way to capture the email addresses of your website visitors. This can be done using different email services including AWeber and others.
  2. Don’t always ask for stuff. Email marketing should be a 2-way relationship between you and your readers. I know you don’t like it when your “friends” try to take take take from you without ever helping you out. So don’t do it to your readers. They won’t like it and won’t respond as well to what you have to say. You have to be helpful and educate your readers if you want them to stick around. They will be much more willing to do what you want after you have provided them with some really valuable content (keep reading to learn about valuable content).
  3. Use autoresponders! Autoresponders are awesome because you can set them up (it’s really easy with AWeber) and then they send out emails automatically! They save you time and can warm up your readers to what you want them to do without you constantly checking in. If you think that you have no use for autoresponders, think again. Everyone can use them effectively no matter what your nonprofit is.

Additional Resources:

Establish Yourself As A Thought Leader With This Strategy:

Content Marketing - Marketing for Nonprofits

Tweet Button

The number one take away from this section is the importance of continuously providing helpful and educational content. If you want your audience to come back to you again and again then you need to give them a reason to come back.

You might be wondering how to do that:

This goes back to defining your target audience. If you know who they are then you will know what they need help with. Figure out their problems as they relate to your nonprofit and solve them in your own way.

This is much easier said than done, but this is where some of that work and creativity comes in that I mentioned earlier. This can be done through surveys (Survey Monkey or Google Forms through your Google account – all free).

Ask them what you need to know and then use your research to nail down some broad topics of interest to your audience and start generating content!

This next tip, for unknown reasons, gets overlooked by most people:

Earlier I mentioned your tone of voice. This is a great way to stand out in your content marketing. Develop your own voice if you don’t have one yet. If you need help thinking about how you want to sound, think about how your audience talks and copy that style of speech.

Ignore what has been done in the past and start thinking about what your audience will respond to.

In today’s society, transparency and a desire to help people are crucial. Most of the time people can tell when you are being fake so I would avoid it if I were you. Transparency helps to develop know, like, and trust.

Did you get that?

When your audience knows, likes, and trusts you, they will listen to you and do what you ask of them.

Write A Blog

Tweet Button

Blogs are extremely popular right now. If you’ve spent any time on the Internet in the last few years I’m sure you have seen one hundred blogs at least.

Blogging Fact  - Marketing for Nonprofits

Want to know the best part about a blog?

You can write about whatever you want!

You can talk about current events and how they relate to your nonprofit, you can write original content about your favorite topic, you can review different things, or whatever else.

But here’s the kicker:

If you want to be a leader in your area of interest then you have to give people content that they can use. Give them actionable content. Teach them something. Help them to solve a problem. If you can do these things then people will engage you by leaving comments, sharing your content, emailing you, and more.

That is what you want. You want to compel people to engage with you and your content. Getting people talking about your content is the best thing you can do to build awareness for your nonprofit.

Need a great way to establish yourself as a thought leader?

Guest blogging. Write a post for another blogger to put on their blog. That way their readers get exposed to what you have to say and can then explore your own blog, therefore building your readership.

Share or Create Infographics

Tweet Button

Infographics  - Marketing for Nonprofits

Infographics are images that explain specific topics or statistics. These are also very popular at the moment because you can condense an immense amount of information into a single image. They give people lots of information in bite-size pieces they can understand. There isn’t much to say about them so for some examples of infographics click HERE. 

Take a Breath


Now go and start building your marketing plan for your nonprofit!

Don’t forget to check in next week to read about Search Engine Optimization, Social Media, Ads, Reviews, Mail, and Events.

Subscribe to our blog on the side to keep updated.

Please leave a comment below and tell us how you are implementing these tips and whatever else you are doing well or not so well!

2015-04-07 22:05:50