Here at Darby Comm, we’re all about giving back to the Earth. That’s why in 2016 we launched our pro bono Stand Up Initiative, providing environmental nonprofits with PR, digital marketing, and branding services to assist with fundraising efforts, social strategy, and brand awareness. Along the way, we discovered that marketing for nonprofits is a lot different than marketing for brands. So in honor of National Nonprofit Day, we thought we’d divulge our top nonprofit marketing tips.
Nonprofit Marketing Takeaway #1: Prioritize
Brands have limited time and resources. Nonprofits often have extremely limited time and resources, especially when it comes to marketing. That’s why it’s a marketer’s job to make sure their organization is making the most of the time and resources available. Don’t spread yourself too thin. Instead, focus on the marketing channels that will have the greatest impact. Ask yourself three questions. 1. What content does your brand have access to and excel at? 2. Where is your audience (and more importantly, your donors) getting their info? 3. Where are similar organizations disseminating their info?
How Prioritization Helped Friends of the Smokies: In 2018, we partnered up with Friends of the Smokies, which raises funds and public awareness for Great Smoky Mountains National Park, to help them optimize their license plate campaign. With many marketing channels at their disposal—from billboards to blog to newsletter—we helped them narrow their focus to their social channels, putting together a comprehensive organic and paid social media strategy.
Nonprofit Marketing Takeaway #2: Go Local
Thinking local doesn’t mean thinking small. In fact, according to a 2019 survey, 73% of Americans follow local news at least somewhat closely, 89% get at least some local news digitally, and 41% get at least some local news digitally often. Unless you work for a large national nonprofit, chances are your most likely donors and volunteers are right in your own backyard. Take advantage of your local media—from print to online to TV to radio—to reach them where they are. Local media relations should be a key part of any nonprofit marketer’s public relations strategy.
How Going Local Helped the Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Partnership: In 2019 and 2020, we partnered up with the Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Partnership, a voice for innovative management and public investment in the North Carolina’s public forests, to help them raise public awareness and support. By focusing on local media, we helped them earn a dozen meaningful press hits and over 3 million impressions in just a week.
Nonprofit Marketing Takeaway #3: Find Connections
Marketers, especially nonprofit marketers, often wear many hats. While that usually means a lot of work, it also means easy connectivity. Don’t think of your PR and digital marketing efforts as separate; think of them as complementary, with one informing the other. That awesome PR hit would be great to share on your social, blog, or newsletter. An optimized press release or quality backlink can be great for improving site SEO. Thinking this way can not only save you time, but also increase the impact of your individual marketing efforts.
How Finding Connections Helped the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation: In 2020, we partnered up with the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation, which raises funds and public awareness for the Blue Ridge Parkway, to support their Trails & Views Forever program. To support our efforts, we teamed up with Asheville-based digital branding agency, Status Forward. By partnering together, we were able to maximize our services by combining their graphic design skills with our social media marketing work and working together to maximize PR and SEO strategies.
Think your nonprofit would be a good candidate for Darby’s Stand Up Initiative? We typically open up applications in late fall. In the meantime, if you have any questions about the Stand Up Initiative and how Darby can help your nonprofit have a more impactful marketing strategy, drop us a line HERE. You can also go HERE to learn more about the successes we’ve had for our clients in both public relations and digital marketing.