Nonprofits are ever-present in communities yet many fail to effectively share their vision and mission as broadly as they could. The impact you could make is likely limited by poor marketing and, as a result, you're falling short of activating your potential support base.
While competition - and competing interests - has grown, local nonprofits and volunteer organizations are in a great position to add value to their local communities.
This simple marketing and content plan is based on our Marketing 3-4-5™ approach and shows how every local nonprofit and volunteer organization can clearly and effectively market themselves online even without a paid advertising budget.
Below are simple ways for you to rapidly create content that is relevant, compelling, yet requires zero creativity for your nonprofit.
The people who choose to participate alongside you to help you fulfill your mission are special and worthy of your recognition. More than that, highlighting these people is a great way to tap into their network and increase your odds of attracting other like-minded individuals to your cause.
Recognizing people in a blog post is an easy way to reward them for a job well done while helping others get to know your organization.
Content about people featuring smiling faces is more engaging than most other types of content - it gets more engagement on social media when shared and attracts more attention when people see it on your website or email newsletter.
You have a few options to recognize employees. You can recognize employees regularly as an employee of the month, when they reach some meaningful goal, you can recognize them in an ad-hoc way when customers report a great experience to you or even celebrate new hires and work anniversaries.
This is also an opportunity to identify any unique skills or experience they bring to the team and, if relevant, ways you are using their know-how to train up other members of your team.
If you're hiring or recruiting for volunteers, including a note at the end of each Volunteer or Employee Recognition post alerting and linking readers to your job openings is a great way to use marketing to build your team - there are, after all, 3 reasons to do marketing.
Whenever possible, give your content a human-interest angle
Include your employees to share their favorites. Do they have a memory or event favorite? Perhaps they have a seasonal favorite or product that reminds them of a favorite experience?
This is a great, fun, easy way to help people connect with your staff and see menu items that you feature all at once.
What better way to attract more participants or clients than to celebrate how you helped deliver value?
This is similar conceptually to recognizing an employee or volunteer but more outward-focused to demonstrate your impact.
Can you think of a time someone was wowed by your service, heart, or your mere presence? These are stories worth sharing.
Ask your client if they'd mind if you tell their mini-story. If they agree, take a picture with them and ask them a few questions (download our free recognition prompts here):
This can be short, sweet, and to the point, as it reinforces what makes you unique and valuable.
This can be as simple as showing a real-world example that reinforces your mission.
Local supporters - both individuals and businesses, or business owners - make your organization possible. In this case, if you are a resource for sponsors then why not recognize them?
In doing so, you can recognize their contribution You make them look good and demonstrate your value to the community in their words.
A simple post explaining the nature of your relationship and a simple Q&A with your partner is fast and easy. A few questions we recommend include:
Are there businesses that regularly send you referrals or to whom you regularly refer people? Those should be featured on a Support Local directory on your website and they can reciprocate to promote you right back.
When you do this, you're showing you're a team player when it comes to the community, you get to share why other businesses think you're great, and you tap into your partner's audience all without breaking a sweat.
Is your nonprofit's mission affected throughout the year with a change of the seasons?
Do your client's needs vary throughout the year or does your ability to serve them change with the seasons?
Reminding people of new opportunities, upcoming fundraisers and the impact of prior fundraisers, or things people can do to help themselves throughout the year is an easy way to have content year-round. More than that, combine this reminder post with a recently completed project to have a fresh version every year.
Your fundraisers, meet-and-greets, classes and other activities are more than just a day on the calendar, they're stories that need telling!
In all cases, these events should be listed on your website.
In fact, you should have a page on your website about events, you should have a calendar on your website featuring upcoming events (it should be sortable to show past classes too).
You can even then do articles after events highlighting an attendee or two - what they learned, the benefits they got out of it, what they did, what they thought of the experience etc. This follow-up article can include pictures, embedded YouTube videos, and a simple recap. Including funny or unexpected happenings and quotes from attendees and volunteers help further drive home the connection to your community.
These event recap posts commemorate a recent event and remind people of the great time they had, or that they missed out on a fun or impactful experience...
Wherever possible, an event Preview article ca introduce this year’s sponsor, beneficiary or prominent speaker, a volunteer who is in a leadership position, or other human-interest topics related to the event. This preview article enables you to add more context and connect with people and places in your community.
You should reference any and all local businesses and nonprofits and—when shared to social media—tag those organizations to take advantage of “ego-bait.”
This approach goes beyond a singular event and creates story arcs that can span weeks—if not months—to deliver ongoing promotional value.
Best of all, if this event recurs annually, then when you write next year’s preview article you can refer to last year’s recap article to relive the fun. Not only is this sort of compelling content quick and easy to use, but when you link within your own website, you’re showing Google that you are a force in your community.
Let's face it, where you live matters to you - and it should. Why not highlight another local cause you support, a recent project that highlights your community, or a business that has impacted you?
This makes you look good - it's ok to make yourself look good - and it shines a light on a local organization you care about in real life.
Go further by highlighting Local Connections™ and feature local events in a community calendar, we have an app for that ;)