Nonprofit Marketing: The Complete Guide for 2022

Nonprofit marketing can make a huge difference in the support your organization gets. Learn the best strategies for your nonprofit with this guide.
Nonprofit_Marketing_The Complete_Guide_for_2022

You need supporters to reach your goals, and an effective marketing strategy can ensure you’re reaching those supporters. You’ve spent countless hours working to build your organization. From finding the right team to perfecting your website, all the work you put in is fueled by your passion for your cause. We know that feeling. We also know how disappointing it is when it feels like no one is paying attention to what you care about so deeply and put so much work into. 

If you’ve felt like this, we have some good news and some bad news. The good news is that the lack of response does not mean that the work you’ve done is not good enough or that you’re failing. However, it does mean that you haven’t been marketing your nonprofit effectively. 

Marketing your organization is often just as important as actually doing the work of your organization. When you learn to market effectively, you can increase funding, improve relationships with donors, and attract new supporters far more easily. This can make a substantial difference for your organization. You need supporters to reach your goals, and an effective marketing strategy can ensure you’re reaching those supporters. 

Whether you’ve attempted marketing and gotten limited results or have yet to make any attempts, we can help. In this comprehensive nonprofit marketing guide, we’re going to cover: 

Trust us — you won’t regret taking the time to improve your marketing skills. Ready to add nonprofit marketing to your toolbelt? Let’s get started. 

You need supporters to reach your goals, and an effective marketing strategy can ensure you’re reaching those supporters.

Nonprofit Marketing Basics

Nonprofit marketing is when nonprofits use marketing tactics and strategies to amplify their organization’s mission, solicit donations, and attract supporters. Marketing is an essential activity for any and all organizations that want to be seen. On top of that, the rise of the internet has made marketing even more important, with new avenues developing every day to help expose your brand to a wider audience.

However, not all marketing methods are created equal. Many organizations don’t have a true strategy and are using more of a throwing-spaghetti-at-the-wall kind of approach — just trying different things to see what sticks. While experimenting can be helpful, you need to invest the right amount of time to build a strong marketing strategy. Having a clear mission for your marketing, consistent messaging, and targeted ways to reach different audiences on different platforms is essential. A good marketing strategy can help your organization by:

  • Streamlining your internal workflow as team members work toward clear goals.
  • Outlining clear, actionable next steps for current and future campaigns.
  • Presenting a more consistent and professional message to your audience.

No matter how much you believe in what you do, if no one ever hears about it, you won’t gain supporters. With good marketing, there are endless opportunities to get eyes on your message and win over supporters to your cause.

Take a Personalized Tour

Schedule a demo with one of our fundraising consultants. We’ll show you show the Snowball platform has benefited other nonprofit organizations, and how it can help you.

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The Benefits of Nonprofit Marketing

Wouldn’t it be nice if people just flocked to your website as soon as it was live? We all wish this was the case. In reality, you have to take responsibility for making other people aware of your organization and getting them to your site. 

Marketing can be a lot of work, but it’s worth it. If you’re tempted to just cross your fingers and hope for the best, take a look at all of the benefits of good nonprofit marketing: 

  • Raise mission awareness. Your mission is the reason that you do what you do. You believe in it, and you want others to believe in it too. Marketing can make that happen.
  • Increase funds. More eyes on your content, communications, and website ultimately mean more supporters and more donations. The more people that you can get invested in your mission through marketing, the more support you’ll get. 
  • Gain long-term donor support. Effective marketing can help you drive home your mission so much that those one-time donors become life-long supporters. Once you’ve gained a donor, the marketing doesn’t end there!
  • Attract all types of support. When you market on the internet, you will inevitably market for different audiences on different platforms. With intentionally targeted marketing, you’ll be reaching a large intersection of potential supporters and, quite possibly, audiences you didn’t know you had. 
  • Promote services. Even people who have heard of your organization may not be entirely clear on what you do. Crafting clear and consistent messaging through marketing can help promote the work that you do and build a stronger brand image. 
  • Recruit volunteers. Good marketing will not only increase awareness of your cause but also your specific organization. This is a perfect opportunity to highlight the impact that volunteers can make with your organization and the experience that volunteers have. 
  • Drive donor membership. Statistically, the more eyes that are on your organization, the higher the chance of not only receiving one-time donations but attracting long-term support. This is, of course, still contingent on the quality of your marketing but with this guide, you’ll be equipped to create more compelling marketing campaigns. 

These benefits make a strong marketing strategy inarguably worth the investment.

These benefits make a strong marketing strategy inarguably worth the investment. You might still be intimidated by it, but don’t worry. If you’re intentional and diligent, you can absolutely master nonprofit marketing and see some of these benefits at your organization. 

Nonprofit Marketing Strategies

Now that you understand the benefits of marketing and how it can help your organization, it’s time to get started. We’ve compiled the most important considerations and steps for creating successful marketing campaigns for your nonprofit.

These benefits make a strong marketing strategy inarguably worth the investment.Creating a Nonprofit Marketing Plan

For maximum success, it’s always best to have a plan and move forward with intention. Take some time to sit down with this list of steps to plan your next campaign in detail. The first time will take you the longest, but if you keep following these steps, it will become second nature in no time. 

Here are the basic steps of a nonprofit marketing plan:

  • Figure out your target audience. You should ask yourself, “who would care about the problem that we’re trying to solve?” For example, if your organization’s mission is related to ending child hunger, one of your target audiences will likely be parents. Other groups or organizations in the food industry may also be interested. Likewise, the type of work you aim to do will determine the types of donors and volunteers you’re looking for. 
  • Perform a marketing audit. Take a look at what marketing materials you already have out there. It might also be a good idea to look at some of your competitors’ marketing efforts. Be honest with yourself and identify what is and is not working.
  • Craft your mission. One of the things you may have noticed while performing your audit is that your mission statement is not clear. This common misstep is important to fix. Spend some time making it crystal clear so that you can integrate it into your marketing plan. 
  • Define goals and objectives. Get clear about what you want to achieve. Now that you’ve identified what isn’t working, you can move forward and work toward your goal. 
  • Figure out budgeting. While you may want to launch a massive marketing campaign, you might not necessarily have the means. Be realistic about what you can afford to do and how you can make the most of your resources. 
  • Analyze performance. Whatever marketing initiatives you choose to move forward with, it’s important to keep track of how they are performing so that you can continue to improve. Your first marketing overhaul may not be life-changing, but over time you will hone your message and create more effective marketing campaigns. 

While all of your marketing campaigns will look different, generally following these steps when planning will help you remain consistent and focused, even when you’re marketing a wide range of content.

Nonprofit Marketing Channels

Nonprofit Marketing Channels

There are tons of ways to market your nonprofit. These may not all be relevant to your audience or work for you, but it’s important to know what all of the options are. Remember — you don’t have to use every available option in order to be effective. It’s better to focus on just a few channels and craft very strong marketing materials with a rock-solid plan than to haphazardly attempt to market on every platform. Here are some of the many options you have:


  • Outbound text message. Because everyone is on their phones, this is a fast way to reach people directly. You want to be careful not to be spammy, but a well-crafted text campaign can be very effective in reminding supporters of your initiatives and engaging them. Snowball’s outbound text messaging tool is designed to help you engage your supporters quickly and effectively. 
  • Email marketing: Whether it’s through work, school, or personal use, everyone has an email account these days. Leverage your donation form data to figure out the best address to reach out to donors and send your email blasts with Snowball’s email tools. Then you can start taking advantage of this versatile medium to send photos, video links, interactive newsletters, and much more!
  • Direct mail. Unless you’re a very new organization, you’ve probably done this before. Despite what some people say, direct mail marketing is not dead and can still be very effective. If your current direct mail strategy isn’t performing well, consider revamping your marketing materials — that means both making your messages more engaging and using compelling visuals. 
  • Event marketing. Events aren’t just for fundraising! They help build community. And if you put together a unique, fun, or exclusive event, you can likely get some buzz going on about it with some good event marketing. With Snowball’s software, you can easily host fantastic in-person and virtual events, like charity auctions. Having shareable materials and a reason for people to talk about your event is a great way to get your name out there. 
  • Video marketing. In our fast-moving world, an eye-catching video can often be much more effective than written material in getting a message across. Instead of writing out impact stories or volunteer experiences, record them and turn them into video material that you can use on your website or social media. 
  • Social media. If you’re not already on social media, you need to develop a social media strategy ASAP. Don’t just use it as a space to dump ads; make it fun and personal, and use it to interact with your followers. It’s just like building community and interacting with supporters in person — the format is just a little different. 
  • Website. Your website serves as one of your most important and most permanent forms of marketing. It should have a consistent brand identity and message so as to clearly communicate the essence of your organization. Even if you don’t have a website yet, the Snowball fundraising platform provides a free campaign landing page to every organization — complete with customized branding, messaging, and a unique URL.
  • Content marketing: “Content” can mean lots of things but it often takes the form of blog posts, ebooks, or other similar materials. Content marketing uses content created for another purpose, like education content, to also show the value of your product or service for people interested in that topic. To effectively market with content you want to make sure that your content is SEO optimized and offers value. If you’re not familiar with Search Engine Optimization (SEO), it’s best to work with a professional to learn how to target keywords and get your content to rank well in search results. 
  • Online ads: If you have a larger marketing budget, this may be a choice for you. Just like with your other options, you want to create the best marketing material for your ideal audience. Just because it’s paid does not mean it will automatically do better than a free form of marketing — it still has to be good quality content!

Remember to consider your ideal audience and your goals when selecting which channels will be most effective for your marketing efforts. Even if something works really well for a different organization, it might not be the best option for your audience. Before selecting which channels to use, you need to be crystal clear on your mission and audience. 

While there are a lot of types of marketing you can do, applying the same best practices across all of them will help ensure that your efforts are as effective as possible.

Nonprofit Marketing: 7 Best Practices

While there are a lot of types of marketing you can do, applying the same best practices across all of them will help ensure that your efforts are as effective as possible. These are our top seven best practices to take into consideration when creating marketing campaigns and materials:

  • Segment your audience: This will allow you to create more targeted and personalized communications for different members of your audience that may be interested in different things. With Snowball’s supporter management tools, you can target specific audiences based on criteria from their campaign and donor data.
  • Create a SMART goal: SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound. Using these criteria to set goals will help you better achieve those goals. 
  • Make your messaging personal. Segmentation can help with this, but other small practices like using an individual’s name and using “you” more than “I” or “we” can also make a big difference in how your audience feels when seeing your messaging. Create custom fields on your donation page to collect even more donor data and further personalize your communications. Snowball allows you to add custom fields to both donation pages and ticketed event forms.
  • Use current events. Keep an eye on what’s going on in the world and what may be a good opportunity for you to speak up about. If there’s news that’s relevant to your cause, that can be a great way to create attention-grabbing content.
  • Follow up with supporters. Don’t ghost your supporters after one interaction! Build a stronger relationship by keeping communications consistent. Be sure to follow up with specific supporters about a previous conversation or action when relevant. Be sure to thank donors promptly and personally to highlight your appreciation for their support. 
  • Track your data and compile reports. If you aren’t able to track how well something is working, you’ll never be able to effectively improve. Finding an automated way to collect data is best and will allow you to simply analyze the reports and identify potential areas for growth or increased focus. Snowball’s reporting tools keep organizations up to date on every transaction detail, including recurring gifts and auction item payment status.
  • Use impact stories and nonprofit storytelling. Storytelling is a wonderful tool to evoke emotion and help potential supporters better understand the impact of your organization. Studies have also shown that people tend to remember information better when told in story format versus simply stating facts — use that to your advantage!

These best practices will help you plan better marketing campaigns, craft better marketing copy, and build stronger relationships with your audience. Just don’t forget to track your success to keep improving! 

Now that you’re equipped to step up your nonprofit marketing  strategy, here are a few additional resources to help you get started: 

Take a Personalized Tour

Schedule a demo with one of our fundraising consultants. We’ll show you show the Snowball platform has benefited other nonprofit organizations, and how it can help you.

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Get Started Today

Get in touch with us to take a tour of the Snowball platform and find the right fundraising solutions for your nonprofit.

Get in touch with us to take a tour of the Snowball platform and find the right fundraising solutions for your nonprofit.