Non-profit organizations rarely have money to spend on advertising, since most funds are allocated to mission-critical programs and activities. These days, there are numerous ways to promote your non-profit with little to no cost beyond staff or volunteer time. Let’s look at some of the best ways to effectively promote your non-profit utilizing these budget-friendly marketing tools.
Website. Every non-profit organization should have a great website that clearly states your mission, programs and goals. There are tools available to you for developing a free website. Using community connections, you may even be able to find a designer willing to contribute some or all of their services to support your cause. It’s important to work with a design professional to create a professional presence and begin to develop your organization’s brand. Be sure to choose a web platform that incorporates a user-friendly content management system, which will allow you to update the content on your site quickly and easily.
Blog. Create a blog and make sure to include photos of your accomplishments and events throughout the year. Blogging should be done regularly so that people can see that you are actively moving the organization toward accomplishing its mission. Allow your blog to be shared through other social mediums by including a “share this” button that will let readers post your articles to Facebook, Twitter, and many other social networking sites. WordPress is a great tool for blogging purpose and can also manage static pages of your website.
YouTube. This site has a non-profit program with many amenities for your organization, such as the ability to have a donate button on your videos. Your organization will need to be structured as a 501(c)(3) to get these free benefits:
- Premium branding capabilities and increased uploading capacity;
- The option to drive fundraising through a Google Checkout “Donate” button;
- Listing on the non-profit videos page; and
- Ability to place a Call to Action overlay on your videos to raise money or find volunteers.
Facebook. Make sure to create a Facebook page so you can be followed and liked by your supporters, which will give them the ability to share your mission and messages with other friends. Your posts will become part of your supporters’ Facebook news feeds, which will keep you top-of-mind as soon as you post to the organization’s wall. The Ads you run with Facebook can be very affordable and targeted as well. You can also very easily set up Facebook events to spread the word and keep track of guests.
Twitter. You can get people actively involved in hashtag conversations on Twitter. People in your area looking to connect around topics related to your mission will be able to find you by using the advanced search options to find local tweets.
Press Coverage. Make sure that anything your organization does, such as special events or anything newsworthy gets noticed by writing a press release and submitting it to your local newspapers and blogs. Get to know your local media that would most likely cover your stories. Learn the names of reporters and get to know them, send complimentary copies of your publications to them and make sure that you have all the pertinent information easily accessible on your website such as mission, directors, statistics, etc.
Word of Mouth. This is the most important element of free marketing. You will need to make sure some good buzz is created about your organization. You can do this by getting out of the office and networking. Don’t rely solely on technology and social media; put a great face on the organization in your community. People will talk about the things that interest them, the people they meet, and the places they go. When meeting new people you can convey your message, energy and excitement for your cause and ultimately gain avid community support.
What tools have you used for marketing your non-profit on a small budget?
This article also appears in The Business Monthly: April 2012 issue.