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How to Get Creative with Your Small Nonprofit Marketing Budget

June 12, 2024

Last month we talked about the challenges a lot of nonprofits are currently facing due to budget constraints. This month, our team of Cause Agents want to share some ideas of how you can get creative with your small (or smaller than you wish) marketing budget. Let’s explore the possibilities of expanding your presence online and reaching new audiences in less obvious ways.

 

9 Nonprofit Marketing Ideas for Small Budgets and Big Impacts

Before we start down the list of suggestions, let’s cover one overarching, important idea: efficiency is key. Whether you’re working with a limited team, limited funds, or limited volunteers, you’ve likely already learned that being efficient in your work will stretch your resources even further. These nine ideas will help you be more efficient with the funds you have available for marketing and communications.

 

  1. Get precise about your targeting and messaging.
    In order to make a bigger impact with your marketing, you need to have a crystal clear understanding of the audience(s) you are trying to reach with your messaging and what specifically you want to say to them. Are you trying to talk to more people who would benefit from your services? Are you wanting to raise more funds and therefore connect with untapped supporters? Understanding exactly what you want to accomplish in the next six or 12 months will allow you to focus on targeting the right audience with pinpoint precision. The Cause Agency can help you with this work — read more of our thoughts here.

 

One of the best ways to stretch your nonprofit budget is by knowing exactly who you want to reach with your marketing.


  1. Explore
    Google Ad Grants

Speaking of target messaging, Google has an ad grant program for nonprofits. You can go here to learn more about it, but essentially, qualifying nonprofits can access up to $10,000 per month in search ads shown on Google.com. This is an excellent way to reach a greater audience beyond your own budget capacities. Google has a number of success stories that you can learn more from—here’s one to get you started.

 

  1. Use social media to share your story for free or minimal costs.

Starting a Facebook page, Instagram account or YouTube page for your nonprofit is free, for example. Once you have the platform, you can share stories of impact as well as looks behind the scenes at your everyday work. Posting regularly will allow people to get to know your nonprofit. If you’d like to run a paid ad campaign, they’re relatively reasonable in cost. Plus, nonprofits can have free access to products like Canva. See a fuller list of free programs here.

 

 

Social media is an inexpensive, expansive tool for sharing your nonprofit and its mission.

 

  1. Find ambassadors for your work.

A great (and free) way to share your nonprofit is through ambassadors. These people can be board members, community leaders or current volunteers. Ambassadors can also be people who have been served by your nonprofit in the past. Through their unique experiences, ambassadors can tell especially powerful stories about the nonprofit’s work and impact.

 

  1. Find ways to personalize a supporter’s experience.

While you may not have the budget to host a gala or create a large advertising campaign, there are a lot of ways to add an extra special touch to your communications. Handwritten notes and phone calls, for example, can be a more memorable, personal approach to thanking people for their involvement.

  1. Create a blog or newsletter

Creating a blog or newsletter is an excellent way to stay connected to your community. You can share stories of impact, the latest news, new focuses and campaigns, highlight volunteers and upcoming events—the list goes on and on. There are a number of platforms to choose from with both free and affordable options. For a blog, you can even add it to your current website, like we do.

 

Bonus: You can also repurpose these stories on your social media platforms. Whether you create fully separate posts or share a link to the story to your website, this is the kind of content that deserves extra airtime.

 

  1. Host virtual events

Virtual events are an affordable way to gather your supporters. Whether it’s a webinar to learn more about the nonprofit, an hour-long Q&A for new services, or a full-blown conference, virtual events can gather people at a much more affordable rate.

 

 

Virtual events are an affordable way for a nonprofit to gather supporters together.

 

  1. Invite your volunteers to help

Your volunteers are one of your greatest assets! Tap into their interests and abilities and see how they can help you. From photography and social media to writing, web design and party planning, you likely have a lot of talent within your circle of supporters. There’s a great chance they would be more than happy to use their skills on behalf of your organization.

 

 

Your volunteers may have skills that can assist in your nonprofit marketing — photography, social media, writing, etc.

 

  1. Find partner organizations.

Some nonprofits have luck in finding organizations to partner with them. From helping host events to providing ongoing financial support, there may be a local church, a large corporation or a research institution looking to give resources away to a good cause. Take a look around your city for potential partners or search online for organizations that would have a natural interest due to overlapping areas of work.

 

 

| For more on nonprofit marketing on a small budget, read Dr. Lydia Hughes-Evans                                  great suggestions.

 

 

Let’s Figure Out How to Work Around Your Financial Challenges

The Cause Agency is a nonprofit serving other nonprofits. We understand the challenges you face on a daily basis—from small budgets to world-changing goals. We’re here to offer our strategic creative services to you (see some of our past work here) and do some real good together. Contact us at info@thecauseagency.org or 817-335-0101 to start talking about how we can champion your cause and deliver your marketing needs.