Effective Advertising Strategies for Non-profits

5 Advertising Tips to Help Your Non-Profit Succeed

Donate to Charity
Donate to Charity. Getty Images

If you are involved in the marketing and advertising of a non-profit, you will know that money is always a concern. Ideally, you want every donated cent to go to the cause you are assisting, and a great ROI is the only way to ensure that the money is spent wisely. So, how do you get people to donate, and raise money, without blowing the budget? Here are 5 tips to get you started.

1. Ask Ad Experts to Donate Their Services, or Work at Reduced Rates

Almost every ad agency, PR consultant, and freelancer will have a special discounted rate for charity work, and non-profits.

Now, it may still put them way out of your league financially, even if it’s 50 percent off. If you must have that particular expert, whether they’re a copywriter, art director, designer, producer, or any other specialist, sit down with them and have a frank conversation. Tell them what you need, what you can afford (or cannot), and what you can give them instead of money. For instance, some people will donate their services free of charge in exchange for some great work for their portfolio. Others will do it to network, or expand on their skill set. The biggest lesson here is simply this; if you don’t ask, you’ll never know.

2. Take Advantage of the Google Ad Grants program

If you have a worthy enough cause, you can get some serious free money to spend on Google Adwords. Designed to help nonprofits grow, and solicit donations, the Ad Grants program could set your non-profit up with $10,000 in Google AdWords advertising every single month.

That’s $120,000 per year in marketing, at absolutely no cost to you. Of course, it’s not just as simple as filling out a form and receiving the free placements. You have to pass the eligibility checks. See if you can get this incredible benefit by clicking here. But a quick rule of thumb is this; you’ll need to hold a valid charity status, acknowledge and agree to Google Grant’s required certifications, and have a functioning, detailed non-profit site.

3. Create Something that has Great Shareability

The word “viral” is heavily abused in advertising these days. And when someone asks for a viral video, what they are really saying is “get me millions of impressions for the least amount of money possible.” With most industries, that’s tough. But when it comes to non-profits, there is a natural tendency for people to want to share what they see. They know they will be helping a good cause. But, they are not going to share something boring or inappropriate. So, think about stories you can tell that connect with people on an emotional level. Something genuine, possibly based on a true story, and with a great moral to it. Here’s a prime example.

4. Get a “Donate Now” Button Added to Your Facebook Page

Any time you can get something to legitimize your non-profit, and solicit revenue, you have to jump on it. The “Donate Now” button on Facebook is a perfect way to do both, and it takes very little effort on your part. Your Facebook page category must be set to “Non-Profit Organization” in order for this benefit to work. You also need to do a few other things to make it appear, which is all outlined here on the Facebook Business page.

5. Spread the Word Through Events and Engagements

You may not have the money for a fully-integrated campaign, or even a campaign that lives solely in the digital space.

But, you can utilize your cause to create some events and speaking engagements that are very economical, and do a great job of spreading the word for you. Can you speak at a school or business about the work that you do, and how important it is? If so, get someone to film it and put it online. You could apply to talk at a local TedX event. They have many around the country, but you need to have a good story to tell. You could also host a charity event that has something newsworthy going on, and invite local news stations to come down and interview you. Maybe it’s a record-breaking attempt to raise money for your non-profit. Or it could be something educational that news stations would love to tell their audiences about.

Get smart about the way you promote yourself, and you can see small financial investments bring about huge returns.