September 13th, 2022

What are some marketing tactics you can employ as a non-profit organization to make an impact?

In 2022, there are so many marketing tactics available: too many for any one brand or organization. With limited budgets, tight turnaround times, and competing priorities, it’s becoming more and more evident that the key to a strong marketing technique is choosing what you can do and then doing it well. More importantly, it’s picking the areas where your target audience is most likely to be. And finally, selecting how those techniques will matter to others. So, what are the 9 non-profit marketing techniques that still matter and help our clients cut through the noise? Let’s dive in and find out!


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Audience Journeys

The traditional Audience Profile is becoming outdated. As life and identities are more complex, it’s becoming more important to focus on the journey of those you are reaching out to. If you want an example of the public backlash that comes from oversimplifying your audiences, look no further than the Warner Brothers / Discovery presentation where they tried to talk about how they’re merging their streaming services, but ended up becoming the focus of gender insensitivity.

While you do have to set some parameters based on age, income, gender, and region for digital and social media ads, Audience Journeys give you a better picture of how to effectively reach your target audiences. This is because when you understand what they are wanting, and how they can discover your brand, then you can identify what platforms to use, and how you make them realize they care about what you are offering.

Audience Journeys are a more inclusive and understanding method to develop an audience and resonate with what’s important to them, not who they are specifically.

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Social Media Short-Term Campaigns

Non-Profit Organizations need to think about the short-term effects of a promotional campaign and how they capitalize on these effects. This is where you normally focus on social media and digital content advertising, not necessarily organic growth, but paid. When you have a large fundraising effort or need to sell tickets to a large event, short-term social media campaigns can be the way to gain new impressions and larger visibility than what you see during normal social media posting on your preferred platforms.

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Long-Term Social Media Strategy

Speaking of platforms, this is where the long game comes into play. Short-term campaigns can be a promotional effort for concentrated periods of time or for focusing on key KPIs. However, you also need to grow your platforms to validate your brand and that you are an expert in your field. This is where a defined long-term strategy for social media is vital.

With a long-term strategy, you can test your organic posts, and see what resonates with people more. Then, that can help you make informed decisions regarding any advertising you did. If you use organic social media posts over time to understand what is, or isn’t, working, it’s a chance to gain a better idea around messaging and content to use for the short-term campaigns as well, while building the outreach for your brand without any need to pay directly for the promotion.

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Amazon Smile

Amazon Smile is an opportunity for people to select their favorite charity to contribute to while shopping. As stated on their website, “AmazonSmile will donate 0.5% of your eligible purchases to the charitable organization of your choice. You can choose from over one million organizations to support.”

The great thing is you can apply to become an Amazon Smile organization as long as you are an eligible 501 (c)(3). In addition, charities or non-profits needing specific items can also create shopping lists, allowing Amazon shoppers to purchase items directly to send to the non-profit.

It’s a way to capitalize on a massive platform where the majority of online shopping is done, and have people who love your charity help you both directly and consistently as they use Amazon.

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Mobile Targeting

Online revenue in fundraising increased by 23% over the past year from 2021 to 2022. In a report this year from Double the Donation, “Half of all nonprofit website traffic last year came from mobile and tablet users.” Meanwhile, desktop-based traffic continues its decrease in use by 9% over the previous year.

As a result, mobile advertising is going to be crucial for non-profit organizations. Because if everyone is using their phones to browse the web now, delivering ads on mobile devices will meet them where they are.

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Traditional Ads and Tactics

While the world is caught up in social media and mobile phone usage, there is still a place for traditional or non-digital advertising. Having compelling event marketing and experiences at events where you can interact with the community can go a long way. It separates you from countless vendors at a large event or convention.

In addition, giving people physical objects and takeaways can also be a way for people to feel connected to your non-profit. The Jane Goodall institute often sends their regular donors postcards with images of the chimpanzees you’re helping or even paintings made by the primates being helped. Bumper stickers for your cars, flags to display your pride, depending on your non-profit organization, there’s always a way to give something to your potential donors and those involved. If you can find creative ways to engage them they’ll feel that connection and want to become more involved with your organization.

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Compelling Website

A strong website may not be the exact definition of a marketing tactic. However, you need a foundation to stand upon and build your marketing effort from, it can be an ideal starting point. After all, if you make a remarkable social media campaign or run digital advertising, you have to point them somewhere. Most times, that will be a landing page for a fundraising effort, a signup to receive emails, or a donation page. If the donation process is confusing or looks outdated, it can give a visitor the perception that your non-profit may not be up to date and abandon the process.

If the rules of signing up for a newsletter aren’t crystal clear and up to the latest regulations, they may stop before hitting the submit button. Think about the last time you saw an outdated website. Did you keep going? Or did you abandon the website? A strong, mobile responsive website with intelligent design amplifies any marketing efforts you make.

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Google Grants

Like Amazon Smile, Google Grants are a chance for non-profit organizations to utilize the massive platform that is google. As a 501 (c)(3), you can apply to receive up to $10,000 per month in search ads that are shown on Google.com. These ads can be used for any effort you have in place. Drive up subscriptions and donations, grow website traffic, raise applications, whatever you may need.

The application is a three-step process, and those efforts will let you get started in growing your non-profit in whatever way you need.

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Annual Strategy and KPI Setting

Most of the items we have mentioned so far are singular efforts. However, they need a central drive and focus. This is why the best marketing tactic any non-profit organization can begin with is a centralized marketing strategy. When you define your Key Performance Indicators (KPIs), you can then decide which tactics will be best to reach those tangible goals.

In addition, the strategy can be built around whether you need to boost annual donations, find corporate sponsors, or drive website traffic to increase awareness. Identify the three to five things you need most for your organization to thrive in the here and now. When you do that, you can build up your tactics and platforms where you are most likely to succeed.


There’s never one miraculous solution!

While we’d all love a formula or platform proven to work for every non-profit out there, it doesn’t exist. You have to determine your strategy and your approach, and understand why that will work for you and you alone. Once you build the foundation, the rest of the work comes together much easier.

Whatever your goals might be, take the time to understand why they are important, know what your top priorities are, and develop everything from those insights. That way you can test, adapt, see what works, and build up your next goals.

This might sound daunting but the A-Train Marketing team helps non-profits through this goal setting and strategy development every day. If your fellow nonprofits can do it then so can you!

A-Train Marketing is an award-winning, full-service agency with experts in digital, design, branding, and strategy. We focus on non-profit organizations as one of our key areas of work so our marketing expertise can help those who help others.