Nonprofit Marketing: The Ultimate Guide


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Nonprofit marketing is one of the key components of getting your organization seen by potential supporters! Your marketing strategies and the marketing channels you use can drastically affect your fundraising success throughout the year. While many may think of marketing as a for-profit pursuit, it’s also the backbone for nonprofits connecting with supporters and spreading awareness about your mission. 

Learn more about how nonprofit marketing can benefit your organization: 

What is nonprofit marketing? 

Nonprofit marketing refers to all of the different strategies your organization uses across the various channels of communication to spread awareness about your cause and gain new supporters for your mission. Nonprofit marketing goals often focus around building recognition, fostering community, and increasing your funds raised.

However, marketing for nonprofits can come with its difficulties. Many organizations have to strategize around limited budgets while trying to reach the largest audience possible to get their mission out there. Nonprofit marketing content also needs to consistently tie back to your cause and the work you do. While this can be a difficult task, marketing has many benefits that make the effort worthwhile.   

Benefits of nonprofit marketing 

Here are some of the key benefits of marketing for nonprofits: 

  • Boosts donor trust with transparent marketing materials. 
  • Increases volunteer engagement through public recognition of their work.  
  • Raises more funds by sharing compelling stories about your mission.  
  • Expands visibility and credibility in the community by showing your impact.  
  • Attracts new supporters and partners with information about how they can help change the world.  

Investing in marketing helps you build a foundation for growth, community engagement, and impactful change. Strategic marketing ensures nonprofits not only survive but thrive, making a positive difference in the world 

What’s the difference between nonprofit and for-profit marketing? 

For-profit marketing is heavily focused on making a profit. Most businesses are trying to sell something with their marketing campaigns and don’t need as much of a personal connection with their audiences as a nonprofit would.

While nonprofits may have raising more funds as part of their marketing goals, it’s usually a part of a larger campaign to build long-lasting relationships within their community, which requires different marketing strategies than for-profit marketing does.  

Nonprofit marketing is deeply intertwined with social impact rather than focusing on financial gain. This approach leads to marketing campaigns that are aimed to educate, enlighten, and inspire your audience to participate in your mission instead of simply buying a product. Your nonprofit marketing approach relies on stories, statistics, and emotional appeals to connect with potential supporters on a more personal level to rally support for your cause. 

What is the difference between inbound and outbound marketing?

There are two main approaches to nonprofit marketing—inbound and outbound. And each approach has different strategies to help you maximize your marketing efforts.

Inbound marketing often help you draw people in through content such as: blogs, videos, social media, SEO, and other organic marketing channels. This approach usually targets people who’re already looking to support a cause like yours.

On the other hand, outbound marketing is usually a nonprofit advertising approach that focuses on communication channels such as: Google Ads, social media ads, commercials, mail campaigns, and other paid marketing.

The benefit of the outbound approach is that you’re able to reach a broader audience through advertising than you’re able to with organic media. This type of nonprofit advertising helps you push your mission to people who may not have thought about your cause before but could be motivated to support you.

group planning their nonprofit marketing plan

Types of nonprofit marketing 

There are many different avenues for promoting your nonprofit to match the various types of nonprofits out there. Each type of marketing holds the potential to help your organization engage with your community and boost the impact you can make.  

Digital marketing 

Nowadays, people are becoming more and more focused on digital media. Digital marketing is more and more common because that’s where the people are. Digital marketing is often a cost-effective option for organizations because there are many free online tools to help you create content and track your campaigns. By leveraging digital marketing, you can reach a wider audience, engage potential donors, and create change without breaking the bank. 

Social media 

While social media is often part of a digital marketing plan, the constantly increasing and changing landscape of social media platforms can make it an entirely separate marketing effort depending on your organization’s presence online. With how many people use social media, it’s a great marketing tool to maximize the amount of people your nonprofit can reach.

Each social media platform has their own distinct features and user base, offering different opportunities for engagement. Together, these platforms form an efficient ecosystem for digital communication and community building by helping you engage with every part of your community. 

Email campaigns 

An oldie but a goodie, email continues to stand out as one of the most effective communication channels for nonprofits. Email campaigns are often a great way to introduce new supporters to your organization and help them get engaged with the work your nonprofit does in a direct and personal manner.

With carefully crafted messages, you can encourage ongoing communication between you and your donors for their continued support. Email also allows you to segment who you’re reaching out to, ensuring that each message is tailored and relevant to increase the likelihood of a positive response. 

SEO content 

Creating compelling content is only half the battle when it comes to online marketing. The other half involves ensuring that your content reaches as many people as possible, which is where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes in.

SEO helps you get your content seen by the different algorithms that run search engine results. SEO marketing can help you increase your visibility to a broader audience of potential donors, volunteers, and advocates. 

Video Marketing 

Video is one of the most shareable types of marketing you can provide to your supporters. A well-made video compels people to act by showing them the type of impact they can make by supporting your mission. Through the combination of visual and auditory elements, video storytelling effectively drives connection between your organization and the audience to inspire them to support your cause. 


Public Relations plays a crucial role in your marketing efforts as a nonprofit. By securing coverage in various traditional media outlets, your organization can boost your marketing presence and increase trust in your nonprofit in the eyes of the public. PR allows you to strategically increase awareness of your mission for both your supporters and potential partners. 

Event and campaign marketing 

Events and fundraising campaigns provide a vital in-person marketing opportunity for your organization. Marketing face-to-face gives you a chance to engage with your community in a personal way and help them feel truly connected with your mission. Events and campaigns can help your supporters feel how important they are to work your organization can do.  


Partnering with other businesses or nonprofits can significantly expand your reach and engagement. With a shared message and combined efforts, collaborations can have a huge effect on your nonprofit’s visibility while also fostering a community of like-minded groups that can continue to work together to help make an impactful change in your community.  

Direct mail 

Despite how slow it may seem compared to digital marketing, direct mail campaigns can still help your organization gain more support. Direct mail often provides a more personal touch that may be missing in online communications.

This marketing approach can really resonate with recipients, making them feel more connected and valued by your nonprofit and lead to higher levels of interaction and response compared to more modern marketing methods. 

Nonprofit advertising

Not every potential supporter is going to see your marketing efforts organically! Nonprofit advertising is an outbound type of nonprofit marketing that can help you widen your audience reach. Nonprofit advertising helps you ensure that people are seeing your marketing materials by paying for your campaigns to be pushed.

Here are some popular types of nonprofit advertising your organization can use:

  • Google Ads
  • Social media ads
  • Newspaper ads
  • Flyers
  • Television commercials
  • Radio commercials
  • Website ads
  • Paid influencers

Nonprofit marketing plan 

A plan is more than a formality—it’s the backbone of your nonprofit’s marketing strategy. Your nonprofit marketing plan provides focus, structure, and measurable objectives to help you see what’s working and what needs to be changed. 

Creating marketing goals 

When creating your marketing goals, they should be SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-bound). This framework ensures that your goals are actionable and contribute to your organization’s overall mission. Your goals can include increasing reach, boosting fundraising, finding new volunteers, and more! 

Identifying your target audience and best marketing channels 

Before you implement your nonprofit marketing plan, it’s best to understand who your target audience is based on your goals. By identifying the right audience, you can choose the most effective channels to market through, which can significantly boost your marketing results. This approach ensures that your message reaches people who are most likely to engage with your mission, increasing the efficiency and impact of your communication strategy. 

Finding software integrations to help your marketing 

With the constant growth in technology, software solutions can become a great ally for your nonprofit organization. By automating the various time-consuming tasks of the marketing process, software integrations can help your organization achieve more with less. This technological support allows you to focus more on your mission and creating engaging content for your supporter, while also expanding your reach and impact through different marketing channels. 

Developing a content calendar 

Consistency in marketing delivery is crucial for enhancing recognition of your nonprofit and boosting engagement with your target audience. By utilizing a content calendar, your outreach efforts are not only strategic but also coordinated across your various marketing channels.

This approach helps you create a harmonized message to make it easier for your audience to recognize and connect with your nonprofit. Plan your marketing efforts ahead of time to avoid last-minute rushes and stay prepared for key dates and events relevant to your organization, 

Choosing your messaging 

How you convey your mission’s message can hold more significance than the content of the message itself. Your messaging needs to be clear and concise to make sure your potential supporters can easily understand it. Additionally, your message needs to be compelling enough to capture and retain people’s interest while maintaining consistency across all your communication channels to reinforce your mission with your audience.  

Determining metrics to track 

Without knowing what metrics to track, it’s hard for you to determine how effective your marketing efforts truly are. The metrics you track are often determined by your SMART goals, so keep those in mind when selecting what data to record. By carefully choosing which metrics to monitor, you can make data-driven decisions about how to change your nonprofit marketing plan to maximize your marketing efforts’ impact. 

Analyzing marketing campaign results 

Once you know what metrics to track, you can analyze your results from different marketing campaigns to find important insights into the best marketing techniques for your organization. These insights help you refine your marketing approach for future campaigns to help you create the best plan for your goals.  

group of people on laptops meeting to discuss nonprofit marketing strategies

Marketing best practices 

Nonprofit marketing is as much an art as it is a science, and these best practices can guide your efforts to help you maximize your potential outcome. 

Consistent branding 

Branding goes far beyond a logo—it includes everything from your organization’s voice and distinctive personality to the core set of values that your mission embodies consistently across all marketing channels. Create a memorable identity that resonates with your audience and makes your brand recognizable and relatable throughout your engagement efforts. 

Storytelling techniques 

Storytelling is one of the most engaging techniques that your nonprofit can take advantage of when planning your marketing strategy. Effective stories help you connect with your audience’s emotions while still presenting the important information they need to know.

Nonprofits often have some of the most compelling stories to tell of the challenges they’ve overcome and the lives they’ve been able to change through their work. By using effective storytelling, your marketing efforts can resonate with a wider audience for more engagement and support. 

Donor segmentation 

Your support base consists of unique individuals with their own set of motivations and capabilities. The most powerful marketing you can do is recognizing that diversity and appealing to it. By segmenting your audience based on their different interests and histories, you can tailor your messaging to more effectively meet their ideals and resonate with them on a personal level.  

Engaging your audience 

Building your community is one of the key components of your nonprofit marketing efforts. To create lasting bonds between you and your community, it’s important to listen to their needs and wants, learn from the feedback and stories they share, and actively respond to any concerns. By fostering a strong sense of community, your organization can create more meaningful connections that drive direct support for your cause. 

Calls to action 

A successful call to action (CTA) goes beyond merely being a button on your webpage or a link in your email–it’s an emotive invitation for your audience to convert their passive support into direct action. Adding a CTA into your marketing efforts helps show supporters how they can best help your mission without them figuring it out themselves, making them more likely to act.  

Keeping up with trends 

Media is constantly evolving, so it’s important for your team to stay up to date on trends across different marketing channels. Keeping knowledgeable of the latest changes and being ready to adopt new techniques can help increase your ability to maintain high levels of engagement across your communication platforms. Monitor the changing landscape and be flexible in your marketing strategies to make sure your content remains relevant and captivating to your audience. 

Final thoughts 

Nonprofit marketing isn’t just about boosting your fundraising efforts–it’s about amplifying the impact of your mission. Marketing is a powerful tool that helps you connect with your community, inspire meaningful change, and ensure the long-term success of your nonprofit. Meet your supporters where they are to keep your cause at the top of their minds! 

Additional resources  

Here are some additional resources to help you with your nonprofit marketing.  

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