To some extent, marketing is marketing, no matter the business or organization, or product or service. But what makes an exceptional marketing partner is someone who understands not only the (fairly universal) principles of marketing, but also the unique needs and tactics of specific industries. In nonprofit marketing, this is particularly critical, especially as the margin for error is much smaller—with dollars, stakeholders, supporters, the public, and even the government. The financial, emotional, and manpower investments people make in nonprofits can make the work more challenging, but also incredibly rewarding. To make the most of your marketing efforts and inspire action from your prospective donors and volunteers, check out these 8 tips.

Know your donors

While there might be some guesswork early on in the life of a nonprofit, you’ll never reach your impact potential without understanding who your donors are and what makes their heart beat for your mission. Using real data and information from your donors, website and social visitors, and those who interact with your organization, develop a “persona”—a representation of your ideal donor—and craft your communication to that representation.

Show and tell your story

Numbers don’t drive emotional response like story does. And as important as words are, photos and videos stir and motivate exponentially more. Use high-quality images and videos of your organization’s activities and donor/recipient testimonials, display data in infographics to communicate statistics visually, and stay connected and in front of your audience with social formats like Instagram (photos and videos) and Facebook—including live videos.

Understand the motivation of giving

If you comprehend why—and when—people are more likely to give, based on the psychology of giving, you’ll be more effective not only in crafting your message, but timing its delivery.

Maximize the value of email

Email marketing remains one of the most effective methods for nurturing and expanding your audience. Your list is an incredibly valuable asset, so it’s important to make good use of available email marketing resources. First, always make sure to reach out to new subscribers right away to show your appreciation for the connection and permission to interact with them. It’s also a great opportunity to craft a short series of messages to onboard them with your organization, including more information about what you do, and how they can give financially or volunteer their time. You can also get better results from your list by segmenting by interest and behaviors so that messages are much more specific and therefore effective.

Optimize for mobile

Your website should be mobile responsive so that it offers a great user experience on any device. But don’t forget about your emails. Design emails for excellent readability on a mobile device; it’s even more important that they are mobile-readable than that they look pretty on a desktop or laptop because 2/3 of all emails are opened on mobile!

Treat each social media platform uniquely

Be selective about the social media platforms you use and remember that each may have a unique audience. You don’t have to be on every platform, but you should be everywhere that is important to your ideal audience. Make use of data and reporting features on each platform and aim to understand the unique characteristics and needs of each audience as well as the communication formats that are most effective for each platform.

Embrace “old school” correspondence

All the automation and personalization technologies in the world can’t make up for the emotional payoff of receiving a handwritten note of thanks. Take the time with personal touches like pen-on-paper to nurture and retain your donors. It’s a simple gesture, but very meaningful. Your mission is likely very personal, and your interaction with donors can be enhanced with an equally personal interaction.

The stakes are high for nonprofit marketing, as the ROI can literally change the world. You need a marketing partner on your side that is experienced with nonprofits and understands the value of giving back to transform our world. Ready to get started? Give us a call or contact us!