Nonprofits have the ability to make a real difference in local communities and raise awareness for worthy causes. The key to capitalizing on this ability is planning an effective marketing campaign, which can kindle relationships with people and organizations and ultimately lead to more funding.

With this in mind, it’s essential to know which marketing techniques will work best when connecting with your local community. Below, 13 members of Forbes Nonprofit Council shared some effective marketing techniques nonprofit leaders should consider leveraging in the current market.

1. Focus On The Outcomes

Focus on the outcomes and value of your work. Don’t just tell people what you did and how many, as those important details are outputs; tell them how the community supports each other and improves people’s lives. Telling people you helped a child with homework becomes much more impactful through the lens of improved family time when the homework struggle is removed. – Bev Wenzel, The ROCK Center for Youth Development and Discover You

2. Ask Yourself How Your Campaign Will Help Donors

I always tell the nonprofits that we work with to ask themselves this question about their campaign: How will this help my donors? Consider more than just how the campaign will explain your organization better. People gravitate to those who help them. – Bill High, The Signatry


Forbes Nonprofit Council is an invitation-only organization for chief executives in successful nonprofit organizations. Do I qualify?


3. Develop A Strong Brand Identity

Make sure that you have a brand and brand identity that is shared consistently and broadly. The public needs to see and hear your brand repeatedly to keep it front of mind. Messaging needs to be clear and concise, and maintain consistent imagery and branding for your nonprofit to be memorable and spark interest. This will lead to further public engagement in your organization. – Jaime Boldt, Globe Theatre & From Nuts To Boldts Consulting

4. Display Testimonial Videos

Testimonial videos address two significant marketing objectives: They enable donors to hear directly from those who are benefitting from their support and donors can see through the video the impact of the work of the nonprofit. It’s a win-win. – Victoria Burkhart, The More Than Giving Company

5. Share Quote Testimonies

Place a quote on your website or on your social media from a community partner on why they’ve chosen to partner with you. It is a testimony of their trust in your organization that also touts their commitment to the community through the collaboration. – Kimberly Lewis, Goodwill Industries of East Texas, Inc.

6. Leverage Channel Marketing

Nonprofit leaders should get comfortable with channel marketing, through both for-profit organizations that may have reached into target markets and also other nonprofit organizations whose membership can either amplify your message or who themselves may be customers. This is especially essential when organizations try to enter new markets. – Devin Jopp, Association for Professionals in Infection Control & Epidemiology

7. Embrace Demographic Data

Embrace your demographic data and hire folks that know the platforms that demographic uses. As a 43-year-old leader, I have little experience with TikTok, so our organization works with youth ages 13 to 23 that are highly active on the platform. We hired an amazing recent college graduate who is an expert in TikTok engagement that has boosted our platform engagement. – Jono Anzalone, The Climate Initiative

8. Highlight The Mission And Core Values

Highly effective marketing advances the brand, yet authentic engagement of key stakeholders on customer appreciation builds enthusiasm for the enterprise. The CEO is the chief marketing officer whether they know it or not. The CEO must assure telemetry of marketing strategy and customer appreciation with the mission and core values of the enterprise thereby creating authenticity of presence. – Jesse Bethke Gomez, Metropolitan Center for Independent Living

9. Use Imagery

Nonprofit leaders should consider better use of imagery. How do you make your cause, your impact and the end results of your effort real? How do you lift the words off the page and make them applicable? It can be done through better use of imagery on your website, in your collateral and/or in your social media messages. – Errika Moore, National STEM Funders Network

10. Promote Alongside A Business Sponsor Or Donor

One effective marketing technique nonprofit leaders should consider is leveraging cross-channel promotion with a business sponsor or donor. It is an effective way to boost your nonprofit’s exposure by accessing the community of your business sponsor or donor and a great way to showcase who supports your organization on your platform among your community. It’s a win-win for all parties involved. – Dr. Lilian Ajayi-Ore, Global Connections for Women Foundation

11. Find Partnerships

We all want a marketing effort that will go viral and bring the attention we deserve, but if we truly want to leverage our marketing, we need to focus on partnerships. In the long term, working with other organizations and businesses that supplement our reach, our voice and our impact will yield the most results. It isn’t as sexy as a TikTok, but it gets results. – Patrick Riccards, Driving Force Institute

12. Tweak Your Message

Find a messenger who can connect with the audience. Too many times, we talk “inside baseball” and are talking to ourselves. Nonprofits need to find marketing strategies for audiences that are not already connected to our cause. Having an independent voice in helping connect to new audiences can be an effective tool in cultivation and engagement. – Aaron Alejandro, Texas FFA Foundation

13. Share Your Work

Show, don’t tell. Too often, nonprofit leaders talk about what we do instead of sharing what we do through pictures, outcome metrics and quotes from those impacted by our programs. Our work can and should speak for itself. – Joy Burkhard, 2020 Mom

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