Nonprofit Marketing: What Do You Need?

This is the second article in a five-part series that details exactly what you need to market your nonprofit and make it a success. Nonprofit organizations face a specific issue when it comes to marketing: you don't have a tangible product or service to sell. Though many nonprofits have instituted gift shops to sell T-shirts and other product-oriented fundraisers, these are not the be-all-end-all focus of your organization and so your marketing efforts must extend beyond traditional sales to encompass your ultimate altruistic ambition. The only way to make donors aware of your cause and how you use their donations to benefit others is to actively and aggressively market through a variety of mediums. The following are nonprofit marketing essentials that will help you increase awareness, donations and have a positive effect on the world.

Must-have nonprofit marketing materials

Booklets/guides - Booklets and guides are unique ways to promote your nonprofit and enlist help for the needs of your beneficiaries. Your booklet could be a synopsis of your annual report or a travel guide in an area you're focused on improving. If your guide has value, it will be read and you will have plenty of opportunities to insert references to your cause in the content. Business cards - Business cards are cheap and expendable. Print as many as you can hand out, and make sure everyone you meet has one. As a nonprofit, your business cards should include a call to action, a way for donors to donate and list the ways your organization has helped others. Postcards - Postcards are cost effective and personal; they're delivered directly to the hands of potential donors. Nonprofit direct-mail marketing campaigns can be tailored to resound with a specific target audience to encourage donations and involvement. Posters - Many nonprofits incorporate strategic poster placement as a staple of their marketing plans. Posters can motivate donations and establish credibility for your organization. The best nonprofit posters are think pieces - creative artwork that makes passers-by consider what they could do to help your cause. Flyers - Flyers can likewise be strategically distributed for success, and because they're relatively small in comparison to postcards you can place them anywhere from bulletin boards, inside magazines and newspapers, under windshield wipers, on counter tops, and just about anywhere else. Catalogs - As stated, many nonprofit organizations have started selling apparel, signage, posters, bumper stickers and other merchandise to help promote their causes. You can take a cue from these or invent your own catalog - some have fundraising catalogs where they sell pies, meats, cheeses and other food to earn more money for the cause. Brochures - Your brochure details what your cause is all about, how you're funded, and what you do with those funds. It should also highlight the resulting benefits for those you've helped as well as your goals in the upcoming year, including why you need additional funds. Calendars - Everyone loves (and uses) free calendars. Showcase the needy as well as the positive effect your organization has had each month. If you're more of an activist nonprofit, print calendar images that resonate with your membership. Other materials you should consider producing include a website, door hangers and a nonprofit identity package (complete with letterhead, envelopes, brochure, flyer, business card and pocket folder).