8 smart ways to market your nonprofit on a budget

Fundraising in fun ways such as car decorating or Greek Life partnerships can help your nonprofit succeed.
Date Published

Social media, Web banners and public radio ads? Check, check and check. You’ve become a master of marketing your own organization in the digital age, but sometimes money gets tight. During these financial hardships, how can you successfully manage your nonprofit’s marketing? This list of eight budget-friendly ways to market your nonprofit, make a positive effect on brand image and increase brand awareness will prove useful for your organization:

1. Donate old magazines
Does your office have a box of old magazines hanging around? If so, put your company sticker or logo on the cover of each old magazine and give them out to doctors, dentists, hair salons, and nail spas. This is not only helpful for your space, but other offices in need of reading material.

2. Find out where your primary donors hang out and go there
Are most of your donors country club members? Offer to co-sponsor a country club dinner with paper napkin holders featuring your logo. Suggest a donation as an entry fee and welcome your newest supporters. Or do most of your donations come from church organizations? Go to church potluck dinners and sit down with the congregation for a chat. You’ll be surprised at the many things you’ll learn from them.

3. Give away balloons at kid-friendly events
Packs of balloons are very cheap and provide a fun way for your donors to remember who you are. If a carnival, petting zoo or pumpkin patch is pops up in town, be sure to set your balloon station there. When kids come to you for a balloon, you can ask the parents for a donation for specially colored ones.

4. Offer free classes and awareness workshops
If you have an organization that focuses on issues such as sexual assault, domestic violence or poverty prevention, offer workshops that can help your donors understand your organization’s mission more deeply. These could include self-defense classes, CPR workshops, or comprehensive recycling seminars. Post flyers for the workshops at local universities or churches and help raise awareness for your organization and cause.

5. Pay it forward
Happen to be at the coffee shop? Go ahead and offer to pay for the person behind you. Then, give them your business card. It’s a painless and charitable to pay it forward. Other restaurants that do this include Rosa’s Fresh Pizza in New York, which invites its patrons to pay it forward with a pizza slice for the homeless.

6. Send ‘We Miss You’ notes
Has it been a while since your donors gave money? Check through your records of recent transactions and see who hasn’t contributed in the past three months. Send them personalized cards or emails letting them know you’d love their patronage. Offer a small prize such as a button or sticker in the mail for their donations.

7. University resources
Universities often have booths or tables set up in dining halls or common areas that showcase local organizations. Offer to set up a table or have campus representatives showcase your organization. If possible, team up with a sorority or fraternity that will raise money for your organization. Some fraternities have even raised upward of  $1 million dollars for organizations such as the Huntsman Cancer Institute. These partnerships are a simple way to both promote your cause and raise money in the process.

8. Paint the company car together
While this might be expensive, decorating the company car with your charity’s logo and mission is an amazing way to take your mission on the road. An even cheaper option is to get your entire company to paint the car together, making a beautiful mural of your brand.

Marketing your nonprofit doesn’t have to be difficult. With fun and budget-friendly options, your nonprofit will receive all the attention it deserves in no time.

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