3 Marketing Ideas That Your Nonprofit Hasn’t Thought Of

Marketing is a vital part of running a successful nonprofit—after all, through marketing, you’re able to spread the word about your mission, get donors excited about your fundraisers, and inspire action for your cause.

But from time to time, you may notice your strategy getting a bit stale, whether it’s fewer people signing up for your events or you’re seeing a dip in online donations.

This is why it’s essential to continually refresh your marketing strategy by leaning into new trends and channels. Doing so helps you strengthen connections with your audience, enhance your organization’s visibility, and drive a greater positive impact on your community.

In this short guide, we’ll help you get started by walking you through three marketing ideas you probably haven’t thought of as viable options for your organization. We’ll give you all the basic information you need to get started with them, too.

1. Google Ads

Google Ads are advertisements organizations run on Google’s search engine results pages to promote their products, services, and missions. They look like this and usually display at the top of a results page:

This is an example of a Google ad. 

Typically, organizations have to pay for each click their ads receive, but there’s a way that nonprofits can tap into the power of Google Ads for free—through the Google Ad Grant!

The Google Ad Grant is a Google-run program that offers $10,000 in Google Ad credits each month to qualifying organizations.

According to Getting Attention, there are four steps to follow if you want to apply for the Google Ad Grant:

  1. Ensure your nonprofit is eligible to receive the Ad Grant. To be eligible for the Ad Grant program, your nonprofit must hold a current and valid charitable status, have a functional website with useful content, agree to follow the Ad Grant program policies, and have an SSL certificate for your website. Note that government organizations, hospitals and healthcare organizations, and schools are not eligible.
  2. Create a Google for Nonprofits account. All that is required during this step is to sign up on the Google for Nonprofits registration page. Registering with Google not only sets you up to apply for the Ad Grant but also allows your nonprofit to use other Google tools for free, like the YouTube for Nonprofits Program and Google Workspace.
  3. Optimize your website for your Ad Grant application. Specifically, your website must have a clear mission statement, be secure, allow for easy navigation, and offer useful information and resources.
  4. Submit your application. Finally, you’ll visit the Google for Nonprofits website to fill out an eligibility form for the Ad Grant. Once you’ve been approved, you’ll receive an email from the Google Ad Grants team. From there, you can start setting up your Ads account and creating campaigns.

The great thing about the Google Ad Grant is that, as long as you maintain compliance with the program’s guidelines, you can continuously receive the Grant and keep running ads for free.

Many nonprofits find that while Google Ads provide a significant ROI, their team is stretched thin when it comes to managing them. Consider working with an experienced Google Ad Grant agency to ensure that your account is managed in the best way possible and driving results for your cause.

2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)

Search engine optimization (SEO) is another effective way to get Google (and other search engines!) working for your nonprofit.

When you engage in SEO marketing, you optimize your website’s content for specific keywords based on what your organization’s audience is likely searching to find information about or opportunities related to your organization or cause. When search engines crawl well-optimized content, it gets ranked higher in the search engine results pages for its relevant keywords, boosting your organization’s visibility.

There’s a lot to SEO, but you can easily get started by using these basic tips:

  • Include specific, relevant keywords in your web content. As mentioned above, SEO is all about building useful content around keywords that are specific and relevant to your organization and the work it does. Say, for example, that you want to educate people about the importance of adopting animals versus shopping for animals to encourage support for your animal shelter. You could then optimize a blog post for the keyword “adopting pets vs. buying pets” by including the term in natural, useful, and reader-friendly ways throughout the article. This helps signal to Google that your article is centered on this topic and should rank highly for it.
  • Pay attention to user experience. You won’t get very far with SEO marketing if your website isn’t in good working condition. Ensure that it’s prepared to welcome visitors who click on your content. You can do this by streamlining navigation, optimizing the site for mobile users, and prioritizing web accessibility best practices.
  • Create a blog and publish content on it regularly. While you can definitely optimize your web pages such as your homepage or donation page for performance on search engines, long-form written content pieces like blog posts provide natural opportunities for you to write useful educational content for your audience and target keywords. Create a blog and a regular posting schedule to signal to search engines (and human users) that you’re consistently providing useful content.
  • Build links to your optimized content. Another way to signal to search engines like Google that your content is worthy of being ranked is to build links back to it from trustworthy sources. Build internal links across your website back to your most important pages and blog posts, and also find places to secure links from other websites. Avoid schemes like paying for links and instead seek out guest blogging opportunities or ask a partner organization to link to your content.

When it comes to SEO, your nonprofit needs to be prepared to play the long game. On average, it can take anywhere from 4-12 months to see results from SEO. This means that it’s best to weave SEO into your marketing plans for things like large, recurring events (e.g., your annual gala) or general awareness for your cause.

3. Influencer Partnerships

Imagine you’re scrolling through Instagram on your phone, looking at pictures from your family and friends. You notice a video from a celebrity you admire and click on it. They’re promoting a kitchen appliance that you’ve been thinking about buying, and the celebrity’s endorsement of the product is what finally makes you pull the trigger and order it yourself.

This is the power of influencer marketing!

Through influencer marketing, organizations partner with individuals who have significant online followings to promote their products, services, or missions. Because of the trust they’ve established with their audiences, influencers can create content that encourages the people who follow them to take certain actions, including showing support for your nonprofit.

Here are three tips you can use to tap influencers to serve as ambassadors for your organization:

  • Find influencers whose values align with your values. Work with influencers who are genuinely interested in your mission and what your organization stands for. This will set them up to help you connect with people who are also interested in what your organization does and who want to get involved.
  • Provide clear guidelines and goals. Before you begin an engagement with an influencer, set clear guidelines and goals for the partnership, including what both parties want to achieve and the metrics you’ll use to measure success. Also, identify the benefits the influencer will get from the partnership. While influencers will typically get a paycheck from the for-profit organizations they work with, your nonprofit can compensate them in different ways, such as providing free tickets to your next big event or sending them branded merchandise.
  • Encourage authenticity. Social media users are savvy—they know when content comes across as fake or staged. Encourage the influencers you partner with to create authentic, meaningful content. For example, say you invite an influencer to participate in your upcoming walk-a-thon. They might make a vlog showing how they’re training for the walk-a-thon or livestream from the starting line on the day of the event to give their followers candid, realistic views of what it’s like to be involved in your work.

If you’re interested in trying out influencer marketing, remember that you don’t have to wait until your nonprofit is a global enterprise and able to form connections with A-list celebrities to see success from this marketing method. Smaller influencers living in your local area can have a serious, positive impact on your efforts to get the word out about your cause and secure support.

Sometimes the best thing you can do to give your nonprofit marketing strategy a shine-up is to try a marketing method you haven’t thought of before.

Wrapping Up

In this quick guide, we’ve introduced you to the Google Ad Grant, SEO, and influencer marketing. Give one of these ideas a try based on what you think your audience would respond to best, and continue to optimize your marketing strategy to drive results for your mission. You’ve got this!

Interested in learning more? Check out these resources: