3 Rules for Smart Nonprofit Advertising

  • by Christine Batta
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Does your nonprofit organization advertise? Sometimes, it can be the fastest way to get the word out on special events, to raise money, or just to increase your public profile.

But to advertise effectively (and not waste a lot of money in the process), you have to follow three simple rules:

1. Find the right medium

Cost-effectiveness has to be taken into consideration, of course, but more than anything you want to attract supporters who are passionate and not just lukewarm. As we wrote recently, you have to know your supporters in a thorough way before you can appeal to them. That’s especially true when it comes to advertising, since you need to choose advertising pathways that appeal to your biggest fans and others like them.

2. Be very careful with your messaging

Unlike businesses, you don’t have a product or service to sell. That means your message has to strike an emotional chord, be memorable, and convince viewers or listeners to take the next step. Ideally, your message would be short, strike a strong emotional chord, and leave the viewer or reader with a strong call to action. Make them feel something, and then give them a next step they can take right away.

3. Test and adjust

Few (if any) nonprofit organizations have money to waste on advertising campaigns that don’t show any net return. Don’t be afraid to start small and then test your messaging and results. There can be a big temptation to launch an “advertising blitz,” especially when you want to get the word out on a big promotion. As often as not, however, such plans yield lackluster results. The better approach is to test a few markets carefully, see what kind of response you get, and then build your campaigns from there.

Advertising is a staple for businesses, but something a lot of nonprofits are afraid to devote resources toward. Follow our three rules for smart advertising, however, and you’ll find you can make an impact in the minds of new supporters without spending a fortune.

Do you need help crafting your next nonprofit advertising campaign? Contact SW Creatives to see how they can help you get the most out of your budget.