Nonprofit Marketing: Distribution

This is the fourth article in a five-part series that details exactly what you need to market your nonprofit and make it a success. Telling the world about your nonprofit's cause and how groups and individuals can help you help others takes time, dedication and strategic nonprofit distribution. Here are some tips for nonprofit marketing distribution:

Direct mail

Direct mail is the best way to put your message in the hands of potential donors and volunteers. The key to direct-mail success is the quality of your mailing list, and the inherent beauty of a great mailing list is that you can target the specific qualities of your audience that relate to your cause and thus earn a greater return on your investment. Repetition is crucial to direct-mail success. Instead of a one-postcard campaign, develop a strategy that incorporates multiple direct mailers during a six-month period. This contributes to your nonprofit branding efforts and allows you to develop long-term relationships with your donors and volunteers. It also establishes long-term trust and credibility.

Here's a sample direct-mail marketing campaign for your nonprofit organization:

Week One: : Send a brochure that is a summary of your annual report, detailing your mission, your fundraising efforts, and how you've made a positive effect by channeling these funds to your cause. Week Six: Send a flyer that requests donations, volunteers or attendance at a fundraising performance or sale. Week 12: Send a compelling postcard with a very specific message to a highly targeted audience, detailing how your cause relates to them and how easy it is to help. Week 18: Send a calendar that includes images of those you're helping, before and after, and showcases other donors and volunteers and how they feel about their contributions to your organization. Week 24: Send another postcard targeting your audience. Week 30: Send a greeting card thanking donors and volunteers for their contributions, and another greeting card thanking those who have not contributed for their support. This helps build trust and credibility because you're acknowledging that there are ways to promote your cause without spending time or money - word of mouth advertising is invaluable.


Advertise with flyers and posters on bulletin boards, billboards, walls, under windshield wipers, and as inserts in newspapers, magazines and other publications. Take out ads in radio, television, print and online programs. Deploy a street team to hand out flyers, stickers and to spread word of mouth. Host/sponsor an event or publicity stunt to get free PR.

Following up

Test, track and tweak - these three Ts will help you develop winning nonprofit print marketing campaigns. Always test different variations of your marketing materials on small portions of your mailing list before launching the full campaign. Sometimes a single word change can make a big difference in your return on investment. Keep a database of donors and volunteers, and evaluate recognizable trends so you can customize your pitch and allow you to make intelligent marketing decisions based on honest, proven statistics.