Marketing a nonprofit can be an intimidating operation to jump into when you’re first getting started. But marketing channels for new nonprofits don’t have to be complicated, and they don’t have to be all-consuming for those of you who have a few other hats to wear.
Starting with a simple foundation can set your organization up for success and be built upon over time as your nonprofit and its audience grow. Using a few high-leverage marketing channels guided by a strategic marketing plan is how you’ll spread awareness for your organization and engage with an increasing number of supporters in the long run.
Best Marketing Channels for New Nonprofits
I’d recommend starting with the following three marketing channels for new nonprofits. This solid foundation allows for your organization to add new channels as you have the capacity and your audience has the need or interest.
As a marketing channel, think of your website as an information and action hub. Almost all forms of digital marketing rely on a website as the place to direct potential and current supporters to learn more about your work and get involved with your cause.
And, for all you folks in the back, a Facebook page does not replace a website. It’s a common marketing mistake for new nonprofits. Without a website, you’ll appear less credible, have a harder time capturing new supporters, and explaining your work and impact in a clear or cohesive way will be much more challenging than it needs to be.
Where to Start
Start by outlining what you’ll need in a website, including what you’ll need to say, what you’ll need visitors to be able to do on your site, and any tools that you’ll need to connect. Then, research the potential partners that can help you make your vision a reality without draining your budget.
The website can be simple to start, even just a handful of pages and a donate form, but should work properly, be branded to your organization, and easy to make changes to should you need to make updates, like adding new pages or actions to your site.
Use your new site to answer one straightforward question for potential supporters: Why should I care? Explain who you are, the problem you’re working to solve, what you’re doing to help, and your vision of success in a way that resonates with your target audience.
Resources for Building a Website
Building your first website is by far the most difficult piece of a new nonprofit’s marketing strategy, but these resources should set you on the right path to finding the best website partner and creating a site that moves the needle for your nonprofit’s goals.
- Nonprofit Websites: The Ultimate Guide to Building Your Dream Site
- Paid Website Platforms vs. Free Website Builders for Nonprofits [FAQs]
- Nonprofit Website Matchmaker
And when it comes time to start building out the pages on your website, be sure to check these out.
- Common Website Structures for Nonprofits
- The Beginner’s Guide to Nonprofit Website Content
- Website Formatting: The Anatomy of a Well-Designed Nonprofit Web Page
New nonprofits rarely have the time and resources to pull off a successful strategy across multiple social media channels, like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube. And when it comes to social media channels, Facebook is still the king. However, if you know for a fact that your target audience is hanging out on another social platform, build your presence there instead.
Us marketers go where the people are, and with 2.89 billion active Facebook users, there’s a good chance that your target audience is there, too, even if you’re still learning and honing in on who that audience is.
You’ll want to use your Facebook page and posts to engage with supporters about current events related to your cause, share ongoing updates about your organization, and drive visitors to your website for more details.
Resources for Getting Started on Facebook
- Facebook’s Create a Facebook Page for Your Nonprofit
- Wild Apricot’s How to Make Your Nonprofit Facebook Page Great in Under Five Hours
- Facebook for Nonprofits: 4 Tips to Get You Started
- How to Adapt to the Facebook News Feed Algorithm Using Your Data
Year after year, email continues to be one of the most effective methods of communication for nonprofit marketers. And your organization doesn’t need to have a huge list or send out a regular newsletter to use this marketing channel. Start simple with an easy way to collect email addresses on your website, like through an online form, and periodically send out updates, stories or appeals to those folks.
To get started, you’ll need to sign up for an email marketing service (we recommend MailChimp). Ideally, an email sign-up form on your website will feed people directly into your service’s list. But if that’s not possible with your current set-up, you can typically import contacts manually.
Use email as a way to touch base with those supporters who’ve indicated an interest in your mission or programs, keep them updated on your impact, and engage them with ways that they can help.
Resources for Nonprofit Email Marketing
- How to Build an Email List for Your Nonprofit
- 7 Things to Check Before You Send an Email Newsletter
- Creative Content That Works for Email Fundraising
- [FAQs] How to Use Online Surveys to Send Better Nonprofit Emails
- How to Fix Common Nonprofit Email Marketing Mistakes [INFOGRAPHIC]
Building a Plan Where Channels Work Together
No marketing channel should ever exist in a vacuum. Once each channel is in place, create a cohesive marketing plan to tie everything together. For standard updates and special campaigns that you run, consider how each marketing channel can be used in relation to the other channels.
For example, your year-end fundraising campaign will likely use a series of emails and Facebook posts to send visitors to the Donate page on your website to make a gift.
To simplify this process of creating a cohesive plan using all of these marketing channels, check out our Awareness Accelerator Nonprofit Marketing Plan. It includes a customizable template with proven digital strategies for nonprofits.
Or, if you’re not quite ready to create a comprehensive strategy, a content calendar could help to keep you organized on each channel in the short term. This resource on editorial calendars can help you organize your content schedule by channel until you’re ready for a more strategic plan.
What marketing channels for new nonprofits do you use or recommend? How have you created a strategy around those channels? Let’s circle up in the comments below to discuss.