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How to Market Your Non-Profit

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An earlier version of this article originally appeared on the WideNet Blog. Click here for the original post.

Recently,famed entrepreneur and snapchatter, Gary Vaynerchuk, wrote a great article about non-profit marketing in which he gives some valuable insights on content creation and audience communication (if you run or work with a non-profit, we highly suggest you check it out).

This article struck a chord with us at WideNet. There are over 600 non-profits within a 40 mile radius of our office; so, as you can imagine, we do a lot of work these types of organizations. And like so many businesses in the for-profit world, a lot of non-profits are behind the curve when it comes to modern marketing and advertising.

While Gary's piece provides some good information and advice, he doesn't get too specific on what exactly a non-profit can do to better market themselves. So we put together a list of four (affordable) ways non-profits can utilize the digital world to spread the word about their cause.

Facebook Ad Event Promotion
When it comes to your fundraising events, Facebook is a great way to raise awareness and invite people to attend. But did you know there is an ad option for promoting an event?

Most Facebook event pages are limited by the number of people you invite and the amount of engagement they get. And unless you're having a private fundraiser with a specifically selected list of attendees, advertising your event is a great way to reach people who aren't connected to your Facebook page.

The process is relatively simple, even for those new to Facebook advertising. It's also pretty affordable! You can get a full rundown on how to set up Event Promotions here.

And speaking of fundraisers...

Use Snapchat and Other Real-Time Apps for Live Updates on Projects and Events
Earlier this year, we wrote about why businesses should pay more attention to Snapchat, and the same can be said about non-profits.

People who give to non-profits want to know their money is being put to good use. So besides educating people about your cause, your marketing should aim to show donors and contributors the work that's being done--and you can do that through Snapchat.

When you're working on a project--whether it's building a home, providing a service to children, rescuing animals, or whatever--snap the progress to your followers. Let them see the action in real time.

And don't think you have to limit yourself JUST to Snapchat. If you don't have a huge Snapchat audience, then you can utilize Instagram and Facebook live streaming for the same thing.

Sign Up for Google for Nonprofits
Google, in their eternal quest for total omnipotence over the Internet, has an entire program dedicated to nonprofits. It's called Google for Nonprofits.

By signing up, you gain access to all sorts of online resources to help promote and grow your organization. Even better, many of these resources are aimed at helping you cut costs and save money. For example, Google Apps provides you with free access to the productivity suite, which includes Gmail, Docs, Calendar, and more.

You can also sign up for Google Ad Grants, which gives you free AdWords advertising, and you get access to YouTube Nonprofit Program, which helps you maximize your organization's impact on YouTube.

There are a few exclusions, however. You must be a registered 501(c)(3), and certain types of organizations are not allowed to join. These include: government entities and organizations, hospitals and healthcare organizations, schools, child care centers, academic institutions, and universities (philanthropic arms of educational organizations are eligible however).

To learn more about Google for Nonprofits, their products, and how to apply here.

Target Influencers on Social Media
Influencer Marketing through social media is huge right now--and it just keeps growing.

In case you're unaware, a social media influencer is simply someone with a large, dedicated following on a particular social media platform. Influencers have a TON of value with their followers, which is why many businesses have started marketing to them instead of focusing solely on a targeted audience.

Part of the reason influencers are so effective is because people are tired of advertisements. Banner ads, billboards, commercials, radio ads, etc. aren't as effective as they once were. However, when a trusted influencer endorses a product or advocates a cause, their followers are more likely to get on board.

Keep in mind that an effective influencer doesn't necessarily mean someone with a billion Instagram followers. For small or local non-profits, focus on targeting community leaders, local business owners, council members, county commissioners, or board executives. Pay attention to which local leaders have a large, engaging social media following, and then reach out to them about promoting your nonprofit. (Once again, Gary V has some good advice about targeting social media influencers ,which you can check out here.)

Targeting influencers might take a little time, but the payoff is more than worth it.

Tell Me Your Story
Contrary to popular belief, business bloggers like myself don't just sit around throwing out marketing ideas. Our advice is built on two things: experience and feedback. If you work with a non-profit that's found success from any of these methods, or perhaps some that aren't listed here, I'd love to hear your input. Share your story in the comments or connect with me on Twitter.

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