For nonprofit organizations (NPOs), establishing a well-recognized brand is a challenging endeavor in itself— throw in the need to constantly raise more funding and operate everything on a shoestring budget and the challenge can seem almost insurmountable. Fortunately, there are a few proven and cost effective strategies that can help nonprofit organizations develop brand recognition, increase their marketing reach, and manage their brands more effectively.
The goal of many NPOs is to inspire people and to create change in the world. Unfortunately, those goals won’t be accomplished by simply telling people about your organization, no matter how wholesome your cause. Instead, this can be better achieved by creating an emotional connection with your audience through content marketing.
NPOs should focus on maximizing content efforts by making branded storytelling a central part of their marketing strategy. Storytelling can be an effective tactic because it can often be accomplished on a budget and appeals to the interests of a donor audience. People are more likely to donate to or volunteer for a cause that resonates with them at a deeper emotional level.
Start by writing educational articles and include real testimonials from those affected by your cause. Consider developing content that offers background into your organization, such as your founders’ stories and the details about the people who make up your organization, doing the work behind the scenes. Incorporate high quality photo and video content whenever possible.
Promotional products can extend your story offline, building awareness of your organization in the form of giveaways or gifts for donors. Try to incorporate the themes of your story, rather than simply including a logo and name. For example, if you run an environmental non-profit, use eco-friendly customizable products to promote your NPO in a way that matches your goals. The story will foster the emotional connection to your organization’s cause, so the promotional products should speak to that connection, too. Tying all of your marketing efforts together will make them cohesive and more effective. For an example of how your product can help tell your brand’s story see how Frank Hoetker promotes Darby’s Story.
Another common challenge for NPO marketers is earning executive buy in for the latest marketing tactics or trends that they need to be successful with their branding objectives. While the use of social media isn’t necessarily a new strategy, some NPOs are still executing social strategies at a very primitive level because they haven’t gained the support of higher-ups.
To resolve this, NPOs should be fully dedicated to a social media strategy. Branding on social media should be driven by purpose—being active on social channels for the sake of simply “being there” is not enough. For nonprofits, not only can social media help your brand be easier to find, but it can also help identify any outspoken and involved members of your community—these people are your brand ambassadors.
You should develop engaging and shareable content to distribute through your organization’s social channels to better influence your ambassadors to share your branded messages. Encouraging your fans to market for your NPO can be much more affordable than shelling out a large budget for outbound marketing and advertising.
By developing content focused around your NPO’s story, future vision, and the people behind the scenes and also distributing that content using social media, your nonprofit marketing will begin to build a stronger brand on a tight budget.