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Top Marketing Tips and Tricks to Grow your Nonprofit in 2022

In 2022, the key themes for nonprofits are building momentum, building community, and building excitement. The ways to get there rely on data, technology, personalization, and a deep understanding of audiences. Here are a few predictions to help guide and grow non-profits this year.

Florida Artist Blacksmith Association is a 501c3 nonprofit with the goal of keeping the art of blacksmithing alive, teaching a whole new generation.

1. Know Your Audience

Thanks to a myriad of organizational surveys, data tracking, and analytics, 2021 proved once again that identifying your audience is key for organizations, especially nonprofits (another big concern that was observed through these studies: people are very concerned about their privacy – I wonder why?). Furthermore, personalizing campaigns to the specific demographic of the audience is ideal for optimizing all campaigns. Here is a quick glance at the numbers by age demographic.

  • Poor social media presence is the #1 reason why Millennials and Gen Z may not donate

  • 1 in 4 donors in the 18-29 age range prefers social media communication from nonprofits

  • Millennials prefer texting, app, or website-based donations, whereas Gen Z prefers to donate via Facebook, social media, texting, or mobile apps.

  • Younger donors prefer recurring donations — almost half (48%) of 18-29 year old donors and more than one third of 30-44 year old donors give monthly

  • Millennials are the most likely to research nonprofits before making a donation.

  • Gen Z and millennials prefer to receive updates from nonprofits at least monthly.

Gen X (41-57 years old)

  • Outdated websites are the #1 reason why Gen X might choose not to donate to an organization

  • Gen X prefers to donate via social media, and text messages or apps.

  • For Gen X, tax-deductibility is a major factor in the decision to donate.

Baby Boomers (58-75 years old)

  • Baby Boomers are the most likely to donate to religious organizations.

  • Baby Boomers far prefer to donate by mail than other channels.

  • Baby Boomers want to hear from nonprofits quarterly or yearly, rather than monthly or weekly.

  • Boomers want to know where their money is being used — more than 40% of Boomers stopped donating to a nonprofit because they didn’t feel their money was being used strategically

What you can do: Across the board, social media presence, an up-to-date website, and monthly/quarterly updates are key factors in growing your nonprofit and achieving your mission. One of the best ways to tailor these to your audience is to start by segmenting them by age demographic. Usually nonprofits, especially smaller ones have issues segmenting their audience, and age is an easy way to get around this issue. To target the younger generation, ensure your mobile sites are fully functional, and offer ways to make donations through social media, texting and cash apps. Also offer a reoccurring or subscription based option to make it more convenient for them to donate. For your middle to older generations ensure they get an annual report with detailed information on how the donations have been used and highlight the direct impact you are having on their local community. You might also want to consider mailing them the report, since that is the preferred form of communication for 60+.

2. Befriend Your Users

According to a survey done in late 2021, 9 in 10 people value user-generated content (UGC) over branded promo emails or other content. UGC is simply content created by the customers of the brand instead of the brand itself. Why? Simple, people will trust other users of the product before they’ll trust the creator of it. Organizations, including nonprofits, lack authenticity in the eyes of consumers. “You’re trying to sell me this product, service etc.; why should I trust what you say?”

UGC is a great way for nonprofits to show the direct impact they have on an individual’s life. Habitat for Humanity decided to incorporate the drawings of kids who had received a home in their annual report, and social medias (with permission – never steal from your customers). This was well-received because it showed what the nonprofit is all about: making sure people have a home. It is important that all UGC that a nonprofit shares fits its original message.

What you can do: Remind yourself what your nonprofit’s mission is. Are you properly communicating that? Use everything from quotes, videos, images etc from people who benefit from the great work your organization is doing! Always ask the original creator for permission to use the work, and give credit. The point is to show real life applications of how you help people, and stealing someone’s work isn’t a great look.

3. Find Partners Wherever You Are!

Not all partnerships have to be with major international companies, but can also be with local businesses or even other nonprofits. End It campaign is a coalition of multiple organizations whose goal is to end human trafficking. By working together, these organizations have been able to pool resources enabling them to reach people all over the world! They can share translators, law enforcement /government contacts, lawyers, and even aftercare safe houses, all of which focus on the same goal: ending human trafficking.

When you’re partnering with another group, the goal is to ensure you still reach your audience. Therefore, it is important to look for a partner that shares similar values and would reach your desired group. Another example of this is Emerald Coast Basin alliance running a campaign with tourist councils and beach shops to run a campaign on simplified beach cleanup. It was entirely locally organized and worked with small enterprises, resulting in the lowest amount of litter found on the beach in the past eight years.

What you can do: Try finding small local businesses you can work with to start. It is important to partner with the right businesses. How will this benefit your organization and the group you are partnering with? You don’t want to take advantage of small businesses, nor do you want to waste resources on an event that doesn’t help you. Do some research on the business you’re considering working with and ensure you have similar audiences, they have good social media interaction/presence, and that you’ll keep cross promoting each other in the future.

End it Coalition connects multiple anti-human trafficking agencies increasing, awareness, community, resources, and people.

4. Be a Part of a Community

Adding on to the partnership concept, communities are where nonprofits will see the most interaction, growth, volunteers, and donations from. It is because you have included people and made them a part of something bigger than themselves. It is a consistent trend among Millennials, Gen Z, and the youngest generation that they desire to know they are doing good and supporting organizations that make positive changes in the world.

Community building is always an important priority for nonprofits, and now brands. International companies are now attempting to build their own communities. All the noise from these MNC distracts from the storytelling that nonprofits have relied on for so long, resulting in nonprofits getting lost in the shuffle. This requires nonprofits to start looking for community partnerships instead. Brands are itching to make themselves look good while having a positive impact on the community/world. Nonprofits and brands both have their own communities, with nonprofits usually being a bit more established. This is an asset for your organization because a brand will need your community in order to look better or authentic.

What you can do: The power of community is undeniable; engaging your existing one is required prior to growing it. You need the individuals who already support you to feel that they have the authority to discuss your cause and teach others about it. They are your biggest advocates. A great way to encourage this is to ensure they have all the necessary information to properly discuss your organization. Take A21 for example, they have free course for individuals to know the key components in share human trafficking prevention. They also have materials for schools, local governments, and police stations. Moreover, be sure to include your community in updates, how money is being used, and get their feedback on potential changes for your non-profit. In short, give them the materials so they can move mountains, and then thank them sincerely.

5. Social Media Challenges Are Growth Opportunities

Anyone remember the ASL Ice bucket challenge? Probably because it was so popular in 2014! It was one of the best examples of a social media marketing challenge. The original concept was for people to donate money to ASL or get a bucket of ice dumped on them then challenge five people to do the same. What it turned into was donate the money, still get ice dumped on you, and challenge five other people to do the same. In short, the campaign went viral with everyone form your neighbor to celebrities, and politicians doing the challenge. In a span of one month, ASL was able to raise over $100 million, and other organizations around the world that are working for the same cause saw massive jumps in donations as well.

To summarize, social media is for more than just brand recognition- it creates personal connections with individuals. Challenges, when done correctly, encourage commodity, and allow people to get involved with your non-profit in a fun manner, without too much commitment, yet still feel like they are helping. They do require the individual to take up your cause and become a word-of-mouth marketer. They become a visual element of people laughing, having fun, and supporting a worthy cause. Note: making it viral isn’t a requirement, but having it be popular in just the local area will make a difference.

What you can do: Social media platforms are tools that need to be better utilized by nonprofits. Starting a challenge on social media can be tricky, but offers extensive visibility. Plan a challenge that illustrates the direct benefits your nonprofit offers the community. In the case of local history museums, art contests prove to work quite well for fundraising, and can be transferred to social media (See Google Doodle). Look at what could be a visual concept that is popular in your local area – it does not necessarily need to be “viral worthy”.

Considering all the rapid changes in marketing over the past two years, it is important for nonprofits to stay on top on these things. These five tips are meant to act as a guide for your individual nonprofit, and applied in the best way possible. There are multiple subsections of nonprofits, and of course marketing tactics will vary among them. Have you tried any of these in your nonprofit? Let us know how it went down below!



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