10 Ways to Boost your Nonprofit Marketing Strategy

Avatar photo By: Kelly Cromwell  /  General

…and the digital marketing tools to get you there

If you have ever worked or volunteered for a nonprofit you know that the culture is different.  Although many of the challenges faced by a nonprofit are similar to a for-profit organization, anyone creating a nonprofit marketing strategy knows the expectation is to work harder and do more with less. 

This leads me to the first barrier that most nonprofits must clear, resource scarcity. Technical expertise often comes with a price tag that most nonprofits don’t have the budget to entertain. Some organizations are lucky enough to have a volunteer offer to manage the website, or set up an email newsletter, but what happens when they are no longer available to maintain it? The second obstacle happens, volunteer turnover.

Whether it’s a board member opting not to renew their term or just well-meaning volunteers that realize they have taken on too much, anticipating turnover can mitigate the risk your organization faces further down the road.

I’ve worked with dozens of nonprofit organizations, consulting on marketing and communications, fundraising and even operations.  These are some of the best practices that I use, and hopefully, your organization will consider a useful nonprofit marketing guide to help you do more with less.

Get Validated with TechSoup Canada

TechSoup Canada is a nonprofit organization that facilitates a technology donation program to help empower other nonprofits. By validating the nonprofit status of applications, they act as the gateway to digital products from hundreds of vendors. Validated nonprofit organizations can access many free or heavily discounted software licenses and subscriptions. Nonprofits can even purchase hardware at steep discounts.

Imagine FREE access to platforms like Google Workspaces, in addition to steep discounts on software like the Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office, QuickBooks, or even hosting services…

techsoup canada logo

TechSoup Canada’s eligibility requirements state you must be a registered Canadian charity with the Canada Revenue Agency, or a provincially incorporated Nonprofit organization. The requirements will vary depending on which province you’re in.

Imagine FREE access to platforms like Google Workspaces, in addition to steep discounts on software like the Adobe Creative Suite, Microsoft Office, QuickBooks, or even hosting services from Amazon Web Services, and so much more, all conveniently listed in the TechSoup Technology Catalogue.

If there is one thing your nonprofit organization should prioritize, this would be it.  It’s a critical step for a couple of the items below, so if you are still confused you can refer to their frequently asked questions page.

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Centralize Operations with Google Workspaces for Nonprofits

Google Workspaces for Nonprofits is exactly like Google Workspaces for business, with one big exception, it’s FREE. If you are validated with Techsoup Canada you can get a validation token and apply for Google Workspaces for Nonprofits. Your organization will have access to the same cloud-based productivity platform that some companies pay thousands of dollars a month for, only it will be yours for $0 dollars a month, no matter how many users you have.

This alone is worth the extra steps overhead of incorporating your nonprofit provincially.

Assign your custom domain to the platform and centralize your organization’s email activities using branded emails with the power of GMail’s industry-leading email platform. Centralize your organization’s critical information by using cloud-based shared drives, collaborate with Google Docs and Google Sheets, have virtual teleconferencing with Google Meet and real-time, and secure internal conversations with Google Chat.  Standardizing your nonprofit’s marketing strategy on a digital ecosystem at zero cost is a no-brainer.

From Google: Top 10 tips for nonprofits – Google Workspace Learning Center

Standardizing your nonprofit’s marketing strategy on a digital ecosystem at zero cost is a no-brainer.

Host your Nonprofit’s Website with Google Sites

At the heart of a nonprofit marketing strategy is the website, however finding a capable webmaster to perform updates, or keep WordPress and its plugins up-to-date can be a challenge. Simply remembering passwords to accounts used to register domains, or where to login and update server configurations can be a pain. Even in its simplest form, keeping content up-to-date on your website can feel like an insurmountable, never-ending challenge.

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Google Sites is as simple as editing a Google Doc.  Multiple users can collaborate, editing a page at the same time.

Do yourself a favour, and move your organization’s website to Google Sites (another feature within Google Workspaces for Nonprofits).  

The largest benefit to a nonprofit organization of migrating to a Google site is the elimination of hosting fees. Hosting your website becomes as simple as putting a google doc in a folder and making it publicly accessible. Editing that site is just as easy.

The added benefit of website edits being as simple as editing a Google Doc.  In fact, multiple users can collaborate, editing a page at the same time. Once you edit your copy, set your images, just hit the publish button and your changes are live. You can set permissions on site edits the same way you set sharing permissions through Google Docs.

If your organization is lucky enough to have a Teacher enlisted as an operational volunteer, there is a really good chance they have plenty of experience working with Google Workspaces/Classroom and Google Sites.

Although the editor is pretty basic, all the major building blocks are there. It doesn’t take long to set a colour theme, and learn how to string together various block layouts. When you find you need something a little more advanced, you can add more advanced functionality by using widgets with the ability to embed code and iframes. Capturing information through a Google Form that links responses to a Google sheet is as simple as embedding a website widget.

If having accurate and up-to-date information on your website is more important than a design that wows your visitors, this is also an easy migration to supercharge your nonprofit marketing strategy.

Some businesses pay tens of thousands of dollars a year to manage that kind of centralized file security, with Google Workspaces for Nonprofits, it’s free.

Streamline Volunteers Collaboration with Google Drive

To some, Google Drive is just that annoying cloud-based storage that comes with your free Gmail account, but to others, it can virtualize your organization’s ability to collaborate while keeping critical information accessible and safe.

Illustration of people collaborating
Create and manage Shared Drives to store crucial documents for your organization.

Google Workspaces for Nonprofits comes with the ability to create and manage Shared Drives. Create Shared drives to store crucial documents for your organization and they should never get lost in someone’s email again.

Users have ample file storage via the “My Drive” feature, however, Shared Drives can be used to centralize file access for all users in the organization. Administrators can grant or restrict access to authorized users on a folder-by-folder basis. Shared Drives can also be configured to share content with external collaborators. Ultimately the organization retains the ownership of all information stored by user accounts on Shared Drives. 

Some businesses pay tens of thousands of dollars a year to manage that kind of centralized file security, with Google Workspaces for Nonprofits, it’s free.

Enough with Operations, Show Me More Tools!

Okay, so once I got on a roll, I had a lot more to say about these tactics than I thought.  Now that we are done talking about things that can modernize your nonprofit’s operations, let’s talk about tools and tactics to help spread the word and mission.

On to Part 2 of 10 Ways to Boost your Nonprofit Marketing Strategy!