Non Profit Marketing
4 minutes read

Let’s admit it. Your non-profit organization is doing some amazing things. You know it, we know it and they, the people/cause you fight for, definitely know it and appreciate it. But how do you get the word out? How do you create an effective non-profit marketing plan?

Social media is becoming an increasingly popular and effective method for spreading the word about non-profits and promoting charitable causes.
In conjunction with traditional media and other amazing marketing tactics, Social media can be an extremely efficient tool for creating buzz and should definitely be on your NGOs marketing strategy.

For a non-profit organization, one of the best ways for engaging your online audience is offering a charitable contribution for likes. Or, eventually, to create a contest. For example, offer to donate 1 dollar to a charitable cause for every new like on your fan page.Not only you will enable your fans to get to contribute to a worthy cause, they are also able to publically show their support for your organization. You can also consider a Pinterest or a Youtube campaign as well. Film some of your organization’s latest projects. Put together an about us video to explain your non-profit’s mission and goals, and never underestimate the power of visual appeal. People love to see the results of their contribution and efforts.

Now, regarding advertising through display ads, and including display ads in your non-profit marketing plan, there are a few big organizations out there that created some pretty cool ad campaigns and I think we can learn some things from them.

I think non-profit organizations advertising strategies can be separated into three major categories.

Empowering, Empathy, Controversial


As a non-profit organization if you want to run an advertising campaign, you have an ultimate goal. Raise resources. The best way to do that is by grabbing attention and intrinsically, by building awareness regarding a cause. Most of the time, you won’t have things to sale so you have nothing to give back in exchange for the donations. This is when the empowering factor kicks in. Altruism aside, your donors want to see how their resources are being used and the way THEY help through your organization.

American Red Cross is a perfect example of a non-profit that empowers its donors. They have nothing to give you back except for the sheer pleasure of knowing that you helped someone with your donation.



Empathy is most often defined by the metaphors of ‘standing in someone else’s shoes’ or ‘seeing through someone else’s eyes’. Empathy is the art of seeing the world as someone else sees. Tapping into your donors empathy, and using it as leverage to get donations can be a successful tactic but it works best with people who have already donated but you want to convert them as recurring donors. It’s crucial to center your marketing efforts around the interests and concerns of your donors, and not your organization. Educating and persuading your prospects is by far a better strategy than involved than telling them what you do. Those deep relations with your audience relies on you understanding them, and placing their concerns at the center of your message. Don’t miss any opportunity to share what you fight for and don’t be afraid to connect emotionally with your audience; when you reach them on an emotional level, leveraging empathy and compassion in your interactions, you’ll inspire the types of engagement that truly matter: shares, word-of-mouth recommendations, and repeat donations.



While writing this article, I procrastinated for a while on Facebook and I saw a remarkable campaign run by the Romanian Government.

There’s nothing more annoying than that dreaded loud warning when you aren’t wearing your seatbelt. Some people, get really creative and find new ways of plugging the seat belt on without actually wearing it. Often enough, those people are the victims of tragic accidents, and not wearing their seat belt costed their life.

If you go on their website, you can read the passenger’s story about the car crash and the dramatic story behind each chair. Later on, the chairs were displayed in major Romanian cities alongside with the story of the chair. This is a great example of how to use real time marketing and how using controversia can create a truly remarkable marketing campaign.

Unhate masters the art of controversia. Their latest marketing campaign has seen a tremendous success and chances are, you already saw some of this truly controversial images.

Controversy commercial

Controversy Commercial

The purpose of this marketing campaign explained by it’s creator, Alessandro Benetton was “to give widespread visibility to an ideal notion of tolerance and invite the citizens of every country to reflect on how hatred arises particularly from fear of ‘the other’ and of what is unfamiliar to us.” or simply put, get people to stop hating.

The result is simply mind boggling.

You can see the full gallery here:


Every organization is different and some marketing strategies might not work as well for you. The point is, keep doing your best, and show the world what you do by giving them something to fight for, something to stand for.

I know there are great marketers reading this blog so if you have any advice for Non-Profit organizations, feel free to let us know in the comment section below.




  1. Stands back from the keyboard in ameenmazt! Thanks!

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