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The Fundamentals of Non-Profit Marketing - Part 1

12 February 2021 | 0 comments | Posted by Zanthé Agrela in Industry Experts

Marketing tips for NGOs

Note: #NGOMarketingSeries is a three-part series on how NPOs and NGOs can start leveraging modern marketing techniques to improve the efficacy of their social projects


When it comes to marketing, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and non-profits (NPOs) don’t have it easy. Since they’re relying on donors financially to catapult their organisation, they need to communicate and show full value to these donors. Without adequate financial backing, it can feel like you’re running a losing battle to get your message across - especially when aiming at the most vulnerable audiences when they need it most.

With so much at stake, a solid strategy and some marketing finesse is necessary to make the most of your marketing budget.

I’ve rounded up some of my best practices to help amplify your marketing efforts and ensure the success of your NPO remains intact. Here are some fundamentals that’ll help you create a digital brand that does make a difference in the communities which it serves.

Understand your donors’ needs

Resonating with donors through digital channels requires you to have a deep understanding of them as an audience. What makes them tick, how they measure success and what inspires them to give, are key focus points to look into when trying to convince possible donors.

Consider what makes donors invest in your NPO and what key metrics of success they’re looking out for, to ensure you meet and exceed their expectations.

Know what success looks like for your business

One of the biggest challenges for digital marketers is working with a business (non-profit or not) that doesn’t have a clear image of what their purpose is. More importantly, what success looks like in achieving that purpose. Fleshing these points out is crucial to ensure that your marketing is effective.

Have a clear idea and establish who your brand is, what it sounds like, its tone, what it stands for, etc. Consider the purpose of your brand and how to achieve the success points you’ve outlined. This can start off as a rough idea, but it should all be ironed out in a comprehensive brand strategy.

Measurable marketing efforts

Showing value is important, and what better way to do this than with measurable marketing efforts? Investing in digital marketing as your primary means leaves you with a multitude of digital channels that suit your objectives and are measurable. The result? Benchmarks of success that inform how best to allocate your marketing spend.

Hiring a digital marketing agency that specialises in cause marketing, and showing the value thereof will help you establish key performance indicators. These will ensure you know ahead of time what your budget affords you, what to expect and lastly, measure results that you can track month on month, year on year.

Funding aid

If you’re an NGO or NPO, we know that every cent counts. A good marketing agency with a vested interest in your brand will find innovative ways to find added value avenues. A few examples of this could be applying for grants through digital channels, running trial campaigns, liaising favourable rates from suppliers and influencers and building business cases to present to your donors.

Research and understand your audience’s psychology

A key component of a great marketing campaign is to have a complete understanding of your audience. Who they are on a fundamental level, demographics, life-stages, hobbies, interests, shopping and research behaviour.

Additionally, their basic needs wants and drives will give you an understanding of how and why your audience behaves the way they do. This type of in-depth research will be conducted by your marketing agency through a deep dive into a branding and marketing strategy.

A strategy is a key part of creating content that your audience identifies with and, most importantly, responds to with the desired action.

There’s a psychology in giving and investing, which needs to be fully understood. Some key findings to consider include:

  1. Why do people donate when a campaign is closer to reaching its goal?
  2. Why are people more inclined to help one specific individual rather than a larger group?
  3. Why does giving back feel so good?

The answers and insights to these, and other compelling questions, provide you with valuable insight that you can then use to best promote your cause.

Helping NGO Marketing

Do you need help launching or improving your NGO or NPO in the digital space? Keep a lookout for the full #NGOMarketingSeries on www.arcinteractive.co. You can also follow Arc Interactive on Facebook, Twitter or on Instagram.

We’ve been in the business of making a difference and #MakingBrandsMeaningful for years. To take advantage of our expertise in this field, get in touch with us on hello@arcinteractive.co.

About the author

Zanthe is a former designer and HTML web developer turned digital marketer based in Johannesburg with an acute eye for detail and a creative spark, she decided to pursue a career in graphic design. After qualifying, she worked as a designer and developer for a few years and then began studying marketing whereafter she found her niche in digital marketing.

Zanthe has since been doing digital marketing work on some big brands such as ABSA, Russell Hobbs, Danone Brands, as well as non-profit organizations and now works as the New Business Manager at Arc Interactive based in Johannesburg.

When she isn't glued to her computer screen - blogging or making the digital connection between her clients and their customers, she spends time playing with her two cats, stays active, keeps her finger on the pulse regarding the latest trends in fashion and food, and tries hard not to be the worlds worst tennis player.

If you need any digital marketing tips or help marketing your specific business to ensure brand awareness, engage with your audience or boost new sales or signups during this critical time, reach out to us on www.arcinteractive.co.

Tell us your story

Would you like to write for nichemarket just like Zanthé has? Find out how to submit a guest post and when you're ready, you can contact us.

Are you looking to promote your NGO or project?

South African NGO's can create your free business listing on nichemarket. The more information you provide about your business, the easier it will be for your customers to find you online. Registering with nichemarket is easy; all you will need to do is head over to our sign up form and follow the instructions.

If you require a more detailed guide on how to create your profile or your listing, then we highly recommend you check out the following articles. 

Recommended reading

If you enjoyed this post and have a little extra time to dive deeper down the rabbit hole, why not check out the following posts about NPO's and good causes.

Tags: NGO, NPO, Marketing, Guest Post

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