Learn more about nonprofit bookkeeping and how it is used to help organizations like yours.

Nonprofit Bookkeeping – Nonprofit Catalog

Your nonprofit works hard to raise money effectively and efficiently, so your fundraising team is often knee-deep in the process of finding new revenue streams. But what happens after those monies are acquired? How do you keep track of it all? Financial management is an essential part of your ability to fund your nonprofit’s mission, and it all starts with bookkeeping.

What Is Nonprofit Accounting?

Nonprofit bookkeeping is the process of inputting and organizing your nonprofit’s financial data. When your nonprofit makes money through fundraising, investing, or other strategies, your bookkeeper is the one to input the information about that money into your accounting system and ensure it’s labeled and allocated correctly. 

When your nonprofit registered to be a 501(c)(3) organization, you received tax-exempt status. But you also agreed as a part of that registration that you would ensure a high level of transparency regarding your finances in order to maintain that status with the IRS. Therefore, it’s critical to ensure your funding is recorded properly—a task that falls directly on your bookkeeper. 

At many smaller organizations, the job of bookkeeping falls largely on executive directors or high-level staff members. This creates another hat for those professionals to wear in their work at the organization. Meanwhile, large organizations with more transactions to keep track of might hire a full-time bookkeeper to manage their day-to-day finances, although hiring can be expensive. The best in-between option for nonprofits is to outsource your bookkeeping and accounting needs to an experienced, nonprofit-specific firm. 

You might be asking, “Bookkeeping and accounting? Why do we need both? Aren’t they basically the same thing?” In short, no. Let’s take a closer look at the differences between these commonly confused roles.

How are Bookkeeping and Accounting Different?

While often lumped together in one category, nonprofit bookkeeping and accounting are two distinct roles. Here are the main differences between the two:

Let’s examine the differences between nonprofit bookkeeping and accounting.

Nonprofit Bookkeeping

Nonprofit bookkeepers manage the day-to-day operational needs of an organization. This includes tasks like data entry, writing checks, and allocating expenses. Because it tends to be fairly administrative in nature, nonprofit bookkeepers don’t usually require specialized degrees or CPA certifications. However, this doesn’t mean the job is easy! Bookkeeping requires strong organizational skills to keep everything straight.

Nonprofit Accounting

Nonprofit accounting is like the big brother to bookkeeping. Accountants analyze your nonprofit’s financial data to determine the next steps that will help your organization reach its goals. This role requires a four-year degree and most people who occupy this position are CPA-certified. Accountants also reconcile your bank accounts, prepare your books for audits, compile and submit tax forms, and create your annual budget. 

Both of these roles are essential for your nonprofit to have effective financial management practices, but they’re often completed by two different people. This way, you’ll create stronger internal controls that help prevent fraud at your nonprofit.

What Does a Nonprofit Bookkeeper Do?

Your nonprofit bookkeeper’s duties are varied, but they may include tasks such as: 

  • Data entry. Basic data entry involves recording all of your nonprofit’s expenses, revenue, transactions, and other financial information in your dedicated accounting software or a spreadsheet. 
  • Writing checks and making bank deposits. When your nonprofit needs someone to go to the bank to deposit cash from in-person donations or to write the check for your water bill this month, you’ll call upon your nonprofit bookkeeper. 
  • Processing payroll. Larger organizations may rely on a separate HR department to process payroll, but small to mid-sized nonprofits often let this responsibility fall onto their nonprofit bookkeeper. 
  • Allocating expenses. Nonprofit bookkeepers are in charge of organizing the allocations for various organizational expenses. For example, they may allocate what expenses are dedicated to different programs, administrative costs, and fundraising campaigns.

As you can see, your nonprofit bookkeeper is primarily responsible for keeping all of your nonprofit’s financial information organized and ready to be acted upon. If your organization’s bookkeeping duties currently fall on your executive members of the team, consider if it’s worth it to designate a dedicated staff member or outsourced bookkeeper to help manage the responsibilities.

Additional Resources

Nonprofit Catalog – Read up on more nonprofit essentials by exploring our Nonprofit Catalog

Bookkeeping and Accounting Services for Nonprofits – Some organizations outsource their bookkeeping and accounting needs to organizations like Jitasa. Learn more about how this works and why it can benefit your nonprofit.

Year-End Giving – Your organization raises a lot of money at the end of the year. This guide will help you prepare to raise that funding and record it properly.

Labor unions are an important part of establishing working conditions in many industries.

What is a Labor Union? – Nonprofit Catalog

A labor union is a nonprofit coalition of workers in the same trade or industry. They are similar to associations, but unions are formed to protect workers’ rights and ensure that favorable conditions are maintained in the workplace. This happens through collective bargaining between the union representative and the employer. Union representatives often negotiate factors such as wages, benefits, schedules, safety, and job security on behalf of the workers. 

Unions are membership-based organizations. Usually, unions charge a small monthly membership fee that gets automatically deducted from their members’ paychecks. Members have a direct say and can vote on the issues that make it to the collective bargaining stage. Thus, workers who are represented by unions aren’t necessarily members of the union. 

Who’s involved with labor unions?

There are three important parties involved in labor unions. They are:

  • The workers. According to the United States Bureau of Labor Statistics, there were 14 million union members in the United States as of 2021. That’s 12% of the full- and part-time workforce. ⅔ of union members are women and people of color, which means they are highly represented by unions relative to their population. 
  • The employers. These players are in managerial positions within companies represented by unions. 
  • The union representatives. Union representatives are often workers who bargain with employers to establish better working conditions. These representatives are elected from the 

These players work together to establish the atmosphere at work and address the concerns of the workers. 

Labor unions are extremely diverse groups of workers.

What industries have labor union representation?

Numerous industries have union representation. Industries with a significant union presence include:

  • Transportation
  • Utilities
  • Public administration
  • Public protective services (police officers and firefighters)
  • Education
  • Television and film production
  • Live entertainment
  • Construction
  • Healthcare

While these industries have more union representation on average, there are many other industries that are represented by unions. 

How are unions structured?

There are numerous sizes and scales of unions. Most national unions are part of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO). The AFL-CIO also represents smaller unions at the state and local levels. That being said, many smaller unions aren’t part of the AFL-CIO.

The AFL-CIO acts as an advocate for unions in the legislative process so unions are allowed to exist and achieve their goals across the country. Also, members of the AFL-CIO meet every four years, introducing them to other union delegates. This allows AFL-CIO members to learn from like-minded union members and adjust their collective bargaining approach.  

Whether they’re part of the AFL-CIO or are independent, nearly every national union has local members on a state- or city-wide scale. These representatives resolve grievances and issues within unionized work environments. 

Is union membership mandatory?

It depends on the state. 28 states are right-to-work states, meaning that union membership isn’t mandatory. The other 22 states do require union membership if the workplace is represented by one. 

Additional resources

Nonprofit Basics – Learn more about nonprofit management essentials by exploring other expert resources. 

Tips for Recruiting the Next Generation of Union Workers – Are you a union manager looking for new, younger members? Learn how to recruit this valuable demographic in this guide. 

6 Tips: How to Manage and Retain Union Membership – Retaining your union’s membership is crucial for achieving your goals. Make your members want to stay by using this guide. 

Why Companies Should have Employee Giving Programs

Employee giving programs are workplace-based initiatives that allow employees to make charitable donations through payroll deductions or other means. These programs are an important tool for companies to support the causes that their employees care about and to foster a culture of philanthropy within the workplace.

In addition to benefiting charitable organizations, employee giving programs can provide numerous benefits for both employees and the companies that implement them. Some of the key advantages of such programs include increased employee engagement and morale, enhanced corporate social responsibility, and tax savings for both the company and its employees.

In this post, we will discuss the benefits of employee giving programs and provide examples of companies that have successfully implemented such programs. By the end of this post, you will have a better understanding of why companies should have employee giving programs and how they can get started.

Employee engagement and morale:

One of the key benefits of employee giving programs is that they can increase employee engagement and morale. Employees who are able to support causes that they care about through their workplace are more likely to be engaged and motivated in their jobs.

Studies have shown that employees who are engaged in their work are more productive, have higher job satisfaction, and are less likely to leave their jobs. In addition, employees who have the opportunity to give back to their communities through their workplace are more likely to have a positive attitude and feel a sense of purpose in their work.

For example, a study by the Charities Aid Foundation found that 78% of employees who participated in workplace giving programs felt more positive about their company as a result, and 75% felt more committed to their job. Another study by the Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy found that companies with strong employee giving programs had higher levels of employee engagement and job satisfaction compared to those without such programs.

In addition to the direct benefits for employees, companies that have employee giving programs are more likely to attract and retain top talent. Many job seekers today are looking for companies that align with their values and support charitable causes, and having an employee giving program can be a key differentiator in the job market.

Corporate social responsibility:

Employee giving programs can also help companies meet their corporate social responsibility (CSR) goals and enhance their reputation. By providing a way for employees to support charitable causes, companies can demonstrate their commitment to making a positive impact in the communities where they operate.

In addition to making financial contributions, employee giving programs can also provide opportunities for employees to volunteer their time and skills to support charitable organizations. This can help companies engage their employees in CSR activities and build stronger relationships with their local communities.

For example, many companies have employee giving programs that include matching donations or volunteer grants, where the company matches the donations or volunteer hours of its employees. This not only increases the impact of the employees’ contributions, but also shows that the company is committed to supporting the causes that its employees care about.

Having an employee giving program can also enhance a company’s reputation and help it stand out in the marketplace. Consumers and investors increasingly value companies that prioritize CSR, and having an employee giving program can demonstrate a company’s commitment to making a positive impact in the world. This can help companies attract and retain customers, investors, and talent.

Top Forms of Corporate Giving Programs:

Matching gift programs: Matching gift programs provide matching donations for eligible charitable contributions made by employees. These programs can help increase the impact of employees’ charitable giving and provide additional benefits for both the company and its employees.

Volunteer grant programs: Volunteer grant programs provide grants to nonprofit organizations for every hour that employees volunteer. These programs can encourage employees to volunteer their time and skills to support charitable causes and provide additional benefits for both the company and its employees.

Corporate foundations: Corporate foundations are charitable organizations that are established and funded by companies. These foundations can support a wide range of causes and provide additional opportunities for companies to engage in philanthropy and CSR activities.

Cause-related marketing: Cause-related marketing is a type of corporate giving program that involves companies promoting charitable causes and donating a portion of the proceeds from sales to those causes. This can help companies raise awareness and support for charitable causes, as well as enhance their reputation as

In-kind donations: In-kind donations involve companies providing goods or services to nonprofit organizations instead of financial contributions. This can include donating products, providing services such as consulting or design, or offering discounts or special deals to nonprofit organizations.

Sponsorships: Sponsorships involve companies providing financial or in-kind support to events, programs, or initiatives organized by nonprofit organizations. This can help companies support charitable causes and enhance their reputation as socially responsible organizations.

Employee engagement programs: Employee engagement programs involve companies providing employees with opportunities to get involved in philanthropy and CSR activities. This can include organizing company-wide giving campaigns, hosting charity events or fundraisers, or offering employees paid time off to volunteer.

Impact investments: Impact investments involve companies investing in for-profit or nonprofit organizations that have a positive social or environmental impact. This can help companies support socially responsible initiatives and generate a financial return at the same time.

Why companies should offer employee matching gift programs as part of their employee giving program:

In addition to providing payroll deductions and other giving options, companies can also consider offering employee matching gift programs as part of their employee giving programs. These programs provide matching donations for eligible charitable contributions made by employees, which can help increase the impact of employees’ contributions and provide additional benefits for both the company and its employees.

Some of the key advantages of employee matching gift programs include:

Increased impact: By providing matching donations for eligible charitable contributions made by employees, companies can help employees increase the impact of their giving. This can make it more rewarding for employees to participate in the employee giving program and encourage them to support more causes.

Enhanced reputation: Employee matching gift programs can also enhance a company’s reputation and demonstrate its commitment to philanthropy and CSR. By matching employees’ charitable contributions, companies can show that they are not only supporting their employees’ charitable causes, but also making a positive impact in the communities where they operate.

Tax savings: Employee matching gift programs can provide tax savings for both the company and its employees. For the company, matching donations can be tax-deductible expenses, which can help reduce its tax liability. For employees, matching donations can increase the amount of their eligible charitable contributions, which can provide additional tax savings on their tax returns.

Examples of companies with matching gift programs:

Microsoft: Microsoft’s employee giving program, known as the Microsoft Employee Giving Program, offers matching donations for eligible charitable contributions made by employees. The program matches employees’ donations dollar-for-dollar up to a certain amount per employee per year.

Salesforce: Salesforce’s employee giving program, known as the 1-1-1 model, offers matching donations for eligible charitable contributions made by employees. The program matches employees’ donations dollar-for-dollar up to a certain amount per employee per year.

Google: Google’s employee giving program, known as Google.org, offers matching donations for eligible charitable contributions made by employees. The program matches employees’ donations dollar-for-dollar up to a certain amount per employee per year.

Overall, employee matching gift programs can provide numerous benefits for companies and their employees. By offering such a program as part of their employee giving programs, companies can increase the impact of their employees’ charitable giving and enhance their reputation as socially responsible organizations.

Tax benefits:

Employee giving programs can provide tax benefits for both the company and its employees. For the company, implementing such a program can be a tax-deductible expense, which can help reduce its tax liability. In addition, many companies offer matching donations or volunteer grants as part of their employee giving programs, and these contributions can also be tax-deductible.

For employees, participating in an employee giving program can provide tax savings as well. Many charitable donations are tax-deductible, and employees who make charitable contributions through payroll deductions can claim these deductions on their tax returns. This can help employees save money on their taxes while also supporting the causes that they care about.

In addition to the direct tax savings, employee giving programs can also provide other financial benefits for employees. For example, some companies offer matching donations or volunteer grants as part of their employee giving programs, which can help employees increase the impact of their charitable contributions. This can make it more rewarding for employees to participate in the program and encourage them to support more causes.

Overall, the tax benefits of employee giving programs can provide significant value for both companies and their employees. Companies can save money on taxes and enhance their reputation, while employees can save money on their taxes and support the causes they care about.

Case studies:

Here are a few examples of companies that have seen positive results from their employee giving programs:

Google: Google’s employee giving program, known as Google.org, allows employees to make charitable donations through payroll deductions and provides matching donations for eligible charities. The program has been successful in engaging Google’s employees in charitable activities and has raised millions of dollars for a wide range of causes.

Microsoft: Microsoft’s employee giving program, known as the Microsoft Employee Giving Program, provides matching donations for eligible charities and offers employees the opportunity to volunteer their time and skills to support nonprofit organizations. The program has been successful in engaging Microsoft’s employees in charitable activities and has raised millions of dollars for a wide range of causes.

Salesforce: Salesforce’s employee giving program, known as the 1-1-1 model, provides matching donations for eligible charities and encourages employees to volunteer their time and skills to support nonprofit organizations. The program has been successful in engaging Salesforce’s employees in charitable activities and has raised millions of dollars for a wide range of causes.

Starbucks: Starbucks’ employee giving program, known as the Starbucks Foundation, provides matching donations for eligible charities and offers employees the opportunity to volunteer their time and skills to support nonprofit organizations. The program has been successful in engaging Starbucks’ employees in charitable activities and has raised millions of dollars for a wide range of causes.

Bank of America: Bank of America’s employee giving program, known as the Bank of America Charitable Foundation, provides matching donations for eligible charities and offers employees the opportunity to volunteer their time and skills to support nonprofit organizations. The program has been successful in engaging Bank of America’s employees in charitable activities and has raised millions of dollars for a wide range of causes.

Goldman Sachs: Goldman Sachs’ employee giving program, known as the Goldman Sachs Gives program, provides matching donations for eligible charities and offers employees the opportunity to volunteer their time and skills to support nonprofit organizations. The program has been successful in engaging Goldman Sachs’ employees in charitable activities and has raised millions of dollars for a wide range of causes.

These examples demonstrate the potential benefits of employee giving programs for companies, including increased employee engagement and morale, enhanced reputation, and tax savings. By implementing such a program, companies can support the causes that their employees care about and make a positive impact in their communities.

How companies can implement such programs:

If you are a company considering implementing an employee giving program, here are some steps you can take to design and implement an effective program:

Identify the causes that are most important to your employees: Before implementing an employee giving program, it can be helpful to conduct a survey or hold focus groups to find out what causes are most important to your employees. This can help you design a program that aligns with your employees’ values and interests, which can increase engagement and participation.

Offer a range of giving options: To make your employee giving program accessible and inclusive, it can be helpful to offer a range of giving options. This can include payroll deductions, matching donations, and volunteer grants, as well as one-time donations and participation in company-sponsored fundraising events.

Provide clear and concise information: To ensure that your employees understand your employee giving program and how to participate, it is important to provide clear and concise information. This can include guidelines on eligible charities, how to make donations, and how to claim tax deductions, as well as resources and tools to help employees learn more about the causes that they can support.

Promote the program to your employees: To increase awareness and participation in your employee giving program, it can be helpful to promote the program to your employees. This can include sending regular updates and reminders, sharing stories and testimonials from employees who have participated in the program, and recognizing employees who have made significant contributions to the program.

By following these steps, you can design and implement an employee giving program that engages your employees and supports the causes that they care about. This can help your company make a positive impact in your community and enhance your reputation as a socially responsible organization.

Conclusion:

Employee giving programs can provide numerous benefits for both employees and the companies that implement them. These programs can increase employee engagement and morale, help companies meet their CSR goals and enhance their reputation, and provide tax savings for both the company and its employees.

If you are a company considering implementing an employee giving program, there are many resources available to help you get started. You can learn more about the benefits of such programs and find out how to design and implement a successful program that meets the needs of your company and its employees.

By implementing an employee giving program, you can support the causes that your employees care about and make a positive impact in your community. This can help your company stand out in the marketplace and attract and retain top talent, customers, and investors.

Additional resources:

Giving USA: Giving USA is an organization that provides research and data on charitable giving in the United States. Their website includes a section on workplace giving, which provides information on the latest trends and statistics in this area.

Charities Aid Foundation: The Charities Aid Foundation is a nonprofit organization that supports charitable giving and philanthropy. Their website includes a section on workplace giving, which provides information and resources on how companies can implement employee giving programs.

Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy: The Committee Encouraging Corporate Philanthropy is a membership organization that brings together CEOs and senior executives to share best practices in corporate philanthropy. Their website includes a section on employee giving, which provides information and resources on how companies can implement successful employee giving programs.

Giving Compass: Giving Compass is a nonprofit organization that provides resources and information on philanthropy and charitable giving. Their website includes a section on employee giving, which provides information on the latest trends and research in this area, as well as resources for companies looking to implement employee giving programs.

This glossary entry will cover the basics of nonprofit donor relations.

An Overview of Donor Relations – Nonprofit Catalog

Donors power your nonprofit’s work. Without them, you could never deliver your mission to your beneficiaries. And yet some nonprofits make the mistake of viewing their donors as blank checks instead of people. This can be detrimental to your nonprofit’s efforts to fundraise and grow its community.

That’s why focusing on donor relations is so critical for nonprofits—strengthened donor relationships empower you to accomplish your goals and connect with other people who are passionate about your cause and can offer sustained support for your work.

What Is Donor Relations?

Donor relations consists of all the efforts that a nonprofit organization puts into building relationships with its donors and making them feel seen and valued as people.

Your efforts to cultivate lasting relationships with your donors should begin when you first connect with them, whether through prospecting or the donors’ own moves to get involved with your organization. Then, you can continue to build those relationships so that they last.

Donor Relations vs. Donor Stewardship

Often when talking about donor relations, you’ll hear the term “donor stewardship” come up. This makes sense since the two go hand in hand. But there are important differences to note:

  • Donor relations: This relates to how you treat donors and how they perceive your organization.
  • Donor stewardship: Donor stewardship is a form of donor relations that is more specifically employed to express gratitude for gifts and maintain and grow relationships with donors with the goal of them continuing to give in the future.

In other words, donor relations focuses on donors themselves, while its subset, donor stewardship, focuses on donors’ gifts. Both are a critical part of a sustainable and successful fundraising strategy.

Why Should Nonprofits Focus on Donor Relations?

Focusing on donor relations requires an investment of your nonprofit’s time and resources. But doing so can pay dividends as you experience the following benefits:

  • Increased giving and involvement: Better donor relations leads to higher donor retention rates, which can result in more donations over time, as well as other forms of involvement like volunteering, event attendance, and board service.
  • More information about your organization’s community and its needs: The better you get to know your donors, the better you’ll understand your organization’s community and what it needs from you to assist you in delivering your mission.
  • Stronger reputation for your organization: When you treat your donors well, word gets around, strengthening your image as an organization that cares about people and making positive change in the world.

In addition to these benefits, focusing on donor relations just makes logical and financial sense. Some nonprofits are misguided in thinking that skipping crucial opportunities to boost donor relations is the easy way out. In reality, constantly having to acquire new donors and supporters can be more costly and difficult than investing in your relationships with those who are already contributing to your cause.

6 Tips for Strengthening Donor Relationships

Now that you know the basics of donor relations, you’re likely ready to start strengthening the relationships you have with your donors. Here are six tips for doing so:

This is a list of tips for strengthening donor relationships.
  1. Lay a solid foundation by conducting thorough prospect research. Prospect research empowers you to learn about your donors before they actually become donors. Through this process, you learn as much as you can about potential donors’ capacity to give and their affinity for your cause, which can guide you in the relationship-building process.
  2. Get to know your donors. Prospect research won’t be able to tell you everything about your donors. You’ll need to regularly meet with your donors, having an open mind and listening ear, to really get to know them as people.
  3. Work with a nonprofit consultant to fine-tune your strategy. Sometimes it can be helpful to work with an outside expert to fine-tune your approach to fundraising and donor relations. Consider working with a nonprofit consultant who can take an objective look at your current approach and help you implement sustainable improvements.
  4. Communicate often. Just like any relationship in life, staying in touch will be a crucial part of remaining connected to your donors. Reach out often, whether you’re making regular phone calls or chatting over coffee.
  5. Invite donors to further their involvement in your cause. Donating isn’t the only value donors can give to your cause. Let them know about opportunities to volunteer, attend events, or even serve on your board. Better yet, keep an eye out for opportunities that align with their values and interests so that they’ll be more inclined to jump in.
  6. Genuinely thank your donors. Any time a donor gives, whether they’re contributing time, money, or feedback, make sure to thank them. A small thank-you can go a long way in helping you maintain and strengthen donor relationships.

Donor relations is a critical focus area for nonprofits who want to pursue sustained success and future growth. Run with these tips to strengthen your relationships with your donors!

Additional Resources

Nonprofit Catalog – Read up on more nonprofit essentials by exploring our Nonprofit Catalog.

Creating a Capital Campaign Plan: Complete Guide & Template – Donor relations gets a little more complicated with large-scale capital campaigns. Learn how to set yourself up for success by exploring this guide.

Peer-to-Peer Fundraising: Your Nonprofit’s Guide — Peer-to-peer fundraising gives donors the unique opportunity to fundraise on your behalf. Check out how it works!

In this catalog entry, you'll learn all about fundraising campaign websites.

Fundraising Campaign Websites – Nonprofit Catalog

Once your nonprofit has put in all the effort to plan a fundraising campaign, you should spread the word to generate support. A fundraising campaign website is one of the most effective tools in your marketing strategy for catching supporters’ interest and empowering them to give. Let’s explore the basics of campaign websites!

What Is A Fundraising Campaign Website?

A fundraising campaign website hosts all the information your supporters need to get involved with your nonprofit’s campaigns. This website will help you promote your campaign, spread awareness about your cause, and get your supporters involved, whether they’re donating, volunteering, or sharing your organization’s message.

Campaign web pages can be created on your main website, or you can create a separate microsite for each large campaign. Microsites are separate from the main website, with a different URL, so they allow you to really feature the campaign and its related details. Depending on the size of your organization and its campaigns, as well as what you know about your supporters and how they engage with your cause online, this could be a great option for you.

What Are The Elements of a Campaign Website?

For your website to be an effective tool, it will need to include certain elements that create a positive user experience for your supporters. Here are some essentials to include:

This image shows all th elements of a campaign website.
  • An Explanation of Your Mission and Campaign: Every fundraising campaign you run should be closely tied to your organization’s larger mission and purpose. Provide a short explanation of what your organization is all about and how your campaign fits into the context of your cause so that supporters know what they’re contributing to.
  • Your Organization’s Branding: Whether you designed it deliberately or not, your nonprofit has its own unique brand that includes everything from your logo and color scheme to your guiding values. Incorporating your brand on your website can make this marketing tool more consistent with the rest of your organization’s operations and help you look more professional and legitimate.
  • A Donation Form: A well-designed donation form is a crucial part of your fundraising campaign website. After all, this is the tool your supporters will use to act on their passion for your cause and donate to your organization. Keep your form short and simple, with only a few questions that capture essential information (payment details, contact information, etc.). To further optimize your form, offer supporters suggested giving amounts, the option to enroll in your recurring giving program, and the chance to check their matching gift eligibility.
  • A Volunteer Sign-Up Form: Similar to a donation form, a volunteer sign-up form empowers supporters to take action in the name of your cause by donating their time and talents. Again, keep the form short but ask for information that will allow you to pair each individual volunteer with a role that suits their age, abilities, and interests as much as possible. If necessary, ensure you include training or waiver information, too.
  • A Fundraising Thermometer: Your supporters will want to know how close your organization is to meeting its campaign goals, so make sure to include a fundraising thermometer on your website. Feature your thermometer in a prominent place on the site, and update it regularly to encourage your supporters to keep giving until it fills up!
  • Social Media Sharing Icons: Your supporters can serve as ambassadors for your cause and your campaigns by sharing your fundraising campaign website with their personal networks. Make it easy for them to do so by including social media sharing icons in the header or footer of your web pages so they can easily click through to their favorite platforms and share about you!

These elements can all work together to make your campaign website a powerful marketing asset. Depending on the nature of your campaign, you may want to include other features like an event registration form, an advocacy campaign explainer, or an online merchandise store.

4 Fundraising Website Design Best Practices

Including the elements discussed above in your fundraising website will allow you to set up a site that pulls your supporters in. Here are some design best practices to implement to take your site to new heights:

  1. Hone the user experience by prioritizing smooth navigation, writing digestible content, and including high-quality images across the site.
  2. Ensure your website is accessible for people of all abilities by following Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
  3. Optimize your site for mobile so that everything resizes properly and no one has to pinch and zoom to understand your content or use your tools.
  4. Work with a nonprofit website design agency to take the look and feel of your site to the next level!

A well-designed fundraising campaign website that contains all the right elements and information can help your nonprofit succeed in its next fundraising endeavor. Use these tips to get started building your fundraising website today!

Additional Resources

Nonprofit Catalog – Read up on more nonprofit essentials by exploring our Nonprofit Catalog.

Nonprofit Website Builders: The 11+ Best Providers – To make an amazing campaign website, you’ll need the help of a robust website builder. Here are some recommendations.

SEO for Nonprofits: A Complete Guide [+ Optimization Tips] – Search engine optimization (SEO) can help people find your website and campaign pages. Learn how to tap into the power of SEO by reading this guide!

5 Association Web Design Tips to Boost Member Acquisition

Did you know that it takes just 50 milliseconds for online users to form an opinion about your website, which ultimately determines whether or not they like it and if they’ll stick around? In half the time it takes most websites to even load, your online visitors have already made snap judgments about the value of your website and – by extension – your association or member organization.

Every one of those curious scrollers who winces and clicks away is a potential new member, you’ve just lost to something as easily-solvable as simple web design changes.

So, how do you start tackling poor association website design and determining which design elements will turn casual visitors into happy new members? If you’re at a loss for where to start, never fear—we’ve prepared these tried-and-true association website best practices to boost your online member acquisition:

With digital engagement on the rise, it’s more important than ever to use your website as an attractive, interactive hub to enhance the member experience and entice visitors to hit the registration button.

Optimize accessibility for any user, on any device.

First things first: your top priority is making sure that your website actually works when users click through it.

This sounds easy enough—if every site visitor were a digital native with a fiber optic internet connection and a desktop computer. Unfortunately, the reality is a lot messier, and many potential and current members aren’t going to fit that mold.

To ensure that every site visitor has the same smooth, seamless online experience no matter when, where, or how in the world they’re navigating your site, take a look at these UX best practices

  • Optimize your website for all devices, especially for mobile users.
  • Cut down on load speeds by compressing images, minimizing redirects, and removing unused code.
  • Use high-contrast colors for text and graphics, allowing visually-impaired site visitors to see your content.
  • Include alt-text with all images, which describes visual content for users who might have a poor internet connection or use screen readers.

There are many small but important steps you can take to open up your website to a vast new audience of online users. However, there’s a limit to how much you’ll be able to tweak your website without some serious technical experience.

For best results, consider investing in a dedicated association website builder. A user-friendly CMS allows even the most technically-challenged association professionals to make effective changes to your website. Use drag-and-drop features, customizable templates, and member-specific design toolkits to make an association website that will blow users away—and encourage them to head straight to your membership registration page.

Use visual storytelling to capture the member experience.

Once users have successfully loaded your site, you’ll want to make the most of that precious half of a second where they’ll be judging whether to explore further or run away screaming.

This is where visual storytelling becomes your best friend. To immediately capture visitors’ attention and draw them into the narrative of your association, incorporate vibrant, professional images across your major web pages.

From Pulitzer-worthy candids of your event guest speakers in action to Instagramable snapshots of members, these snackable images instantly convey what your association stands for (and what you can offer users if they join).

Of course, pictures aren’t the only visual element to pay attention to. Don’t forget to build your membership website with:

  • The tactical use of white space
  • Concise, action-oriented text
  • Complimentary color palettes 
  • Clean, striking typography 

When you bring all of these pleasing elements together, you’ll have created an irresistible feast for the eyes that not only wows new site users but also engages current members.

Tease users with sample content, previews, and perks.

Now that you’ve survived that roller coaster of the first minute visitors spend on your website, you have to continue feeding their interest to successfully attract new members. 

Remember that actions speak louder than words. So, rather than writing some long-winded appeal for users to give your association a chance, give them a taste of what they’re missing out on!

Take a page from the MemberClicks guide to building a membership website and strategically organize your association website for the public (including prospective members) so that they can access and sample enticing content. In particular, you’ll want to allow anyone to view your: 

  • Event calendars and promotional materials
  • Key webpages, such as landing, about, and event pages
  • Surface-level versions of your member directory
  • Engaging resources that are useful to your members, such as informative podcasts

You could even offer tastes of event content, downloadable resources, educational materials and other small samples of everything your association has to offer. If users want more, all they need to do is sign up.

Leverage the promotional power of your member directory.

The online member directory is probably one of the most underrated marketing tools in your association toolkit. 

At first glance, your directory may just seem like a glorified list. But in reality, it can be a critical tool for member networking, digital engagement and (you guessed it!) public promotion.

Think of it as an online pamphlet that prospective members can flip through to see just how many passionate members have taken the dive to join your association. And for a small price, they, too, can access the full high-powered network of fellow professionals.

Be sure to invest in an association management system that can integrate seamlessly with your website. This will allow you to upload your directory directly into your CMS and automatically update member information as new members join and existing members tweak their profiles.

For inspiration on how to create and customize your own online member directory, check out Wild Apricot’s member directory templates.

Test, test, and test again.

When in doubt, test, test, and test again. 

There’s no such thing as a perfect association website, and there will always be room for you to improve, adjust, and revamp elements of your site to maximize engagement and push individuals toward your registration page. 

Use regular A/B testing to see how different versions and elements of your website perform and what steps you can take to constantly improve the online user experience. 

This is especially important as web technologies continue to evolve and user expectations get higher and higher for what they want to see from your association web platform. 


There are many moving parts to consider to build out a truly awe-inspiring, member-acquiring association website. To guarantee that you end up with a beautiful, functional web platform rather than Frankenstein’s monster, use these key tips and tools to guide you through the creative and technical process.

From investing in the right website builder and AMS solution to mindfully organizing your site’s visual elements, these insights should give you the confidence and power to create a membership website for the ages.

Learn more about the Microsoft Ad Grant in this comprehensive guide.

The Microsoft Ad Grant: An Essential Nonprofit Tool

If you’ve been in the fundraising world for a while, you might be familiar with the Google Ad Grant program. Google provides eligible nonprofits with $10,000 per month in ad spending to help boost their organizations’ reach online.

However, you may not know much about Microsoft’s new program, Ads for Social Impact, which functions similarly to the Google Ad Grant program. As of June 2022, Microsoft offers nonprofits $3,000 per month in ad spending for platforms such as Bing, Yahoo, AOL, Outlook, MSN, and Microsoft Edge.

Although the grant amounts differ between the two programs, both can help you spread awareness of your organization’s mission and raise money for your cause.

Our mission at NXUnite is to provide nonprofits with tools and resources that will set them up for success. We believe that the Microsoft Ad Grant is one such tool that will help organizations spread their missions and reach their fundraising goals. We’re happy to offer this guide so nonprofits can learn more about the program and how to enroll. Here are the topics we’ll cover:

We have a lot to review, so let’s get started!

For help managing your Microsoft Ad Grant, reach out to Getting Attention.
First, we'll go over the basics of the Microsoft Ad Grant.

Microsoft Ad Grant Basics

Microsoft’s Ads for Social Impact program serves to help eligible nonprofits drive traffic to their websites and reach their fundraising and marketing goals at no cost to these organizations. The Microsoft Ad Grant covers $3,000 per month in ad spending for ads on multiple Microsoft-owned websites.

Since Microsoft Ad Grants cover so many different platforms, it can be difficult to picture what an ad created by a participating organization would look like. We’ll walk you through an example on Yahoo so you can visualize how a Microsoft Ad for your particular organization might look.

Let’s say that someone in your community is passionate about protecting wildlife. While checking their Yahoo email, this person might do a quick search for “save the turtles.” Yahoo will return a results page with the phrase “Ads related to: save the turtles” at the top. Underneath, there will be links to websites dedicated to protecting wildlife. These organizations are using Microsoft Ads to boost their reach and spread their mission online.

Here is an example of a nonprofit ad being promoted using the Microsoft Ad Grant program.

Nonprofits enrolled in the Microsoft Ad Grant program receive unique benefits that distinguish Microsoft’s program from Google’s. Your organization might already leverage paid search opportunities with Google or Microsoft. For nonprofits that use Google Ads, they must create a separate account for the Google Ad Grant program. In contrast, organizations that already use Microsoft Ads can apply their Microsoft Ad Grant directly to their existing account, allowing them to keep all of their campaigns in the same place.

Another difference between the two programs is the required account restrictions. Since Google Ad Grant accounts are separate from typical Google Ad accounts, there are more restrictions put on Google Ad Grant accounts, including minimum click-through rates, minimum quality scores, and maximum cost-per-click. In Microsoft’s program, all of your Microsoft Ads are under one account with none of these restrictions. That way, you can use the grant just as you would use funds for a regular paid search campaign.

Now that we’ve covered the basics, it’s time to move on to the benefits of enrolling in Microsoft’s Ads for Social Impact program.

Next, we'll go over the benefits of the Ads for Social Impact program.

Benefits of Microsoft Ad Grants

Besides expanding visibility for your website, there are many benefits of leveraging Microsoft Ad Grants. Take a look at some of the main advantages of participating in the program:

Take a look at some of the benefits of participating in the Microsoft Ad Grant program.

More site engagement.

While creating engaging content is a great way to improve your organization’s website, your content won’t fulfill its purpose if people can’t find your website in the first place.

By producing Microsoft Ads that highlight different pages on your site, you’ll encourage people to check out the resources they’re interested in. Someone looking to volunteer for a nonprofit will search differently than someone looking to donate, and by using your Microsoft Ad Grant appropriately, you can make sure both individuals find the information they need on your website.

More conversions.

Once you get more people to engage with your site, you’re likely to see more conversions. Just as businesses and other for-profit organizations track conversions to sales, nonprofits can track different types of conversions to measure the impact of their campaigns. Some online conversions your organization might track include:

  • Donations
  • Email list signups
  • Event registrations
  • Petition signatures
  • Ticket sales
  • Volunteer signups

By using the Microsoft Ad Grant to show prospective supporters the pages they’re interested in, you can increase the likelihood that people will perform the intended actions associated with those pages rather than aimlessly skimming your website.

Additional communication with your supporters.

As a nonprofit, you likely already use a mix of communication tools such as email, direct mail, phone calls, text messages, and social media. Microsoft Ad Grants provide an additional opportunity to reach out to your supporters in a more understated way.

While it’s important to engage with your supporters in a variety of different ways, it’s also important not to overwhelm them with too much information and too frequent communication. With Microsoft Ad Grants, you allow current and prospective supporters to learn about your organization on their own time and at their own discretion.

Better understanding of your supporters.

When a supporter interacts with your website, their actions provide several types of data for your organization. By keeping track of this data, you can figure out how to improve your campaigns and get the most out of your Microsoft Ad Grant.

To help you analyze your website activity, Microsoft provides tools such as event tracking, campaign analytics, and traffic insights. That way, you can leverage this information and use it to your organization’s advantage to make sure your website and content are serving your supporters as they should.

Set amount of funds each month.

Once you’re enrolled in the Microsoft Ad Grant program, you can be sure that you’ll receive $3,000 in your Microsoft Ad account each month. While this may seem like a given, many traditional grant programs allocate limited grant funds to qualifying organizations based on their needs.

Knowing exactly how much money in ad spending you’ll receive from Microsoft each month, you can better plan how your organization will use the grant without wasting time wondering how much money you’ll be allotted.

Here are several different ways your organization can leverage its Microsoft Ad Grant.

Ways to Use Microsoft Ad Grants

Just as it’s important to outline your goals for a fundraiser or social media campaign, it’s good practice to determine what you want to achieve by using your Microsoft Ad Grant. Setting goals for your campaigns will ensure that you’re using your grant money efficiently.

If you’re not sure what goals you’d like to accomplish during your time in the Microsoft Ad Grant program, take a look at some of our suggestions:

There are so many different ways to use Microsoft Ad Grants.
  • Encouraging donations
  • Expanding your donor or subscriber base
  • Advocating about issues important to your organization
  • Recruiting volunteers
  • Spreading the word about upcoming events
  • Encouraging actions like signing petitions
  • Informing your supporters about matching gift opportunities

With your goals in mind, you’ll create campaigns with better focus and get the most out of your Microsoft Ad Grant.

In this section, we'll help you determine whether your organization is eligible for the Ads for Social Impact program.

Eligibility Requirements

If you’re interested in applying for the Ads for Social Impact program, you’ll need to make sure you’re eligible for the program. Microsoft has three main eligibility requirements. The first is status as a legally recognized nonprofit or non-governmental organization in your country. For United States-based organizations, that includes registering with the IRS as a tax-exempt 501(c)(3) organization.

The next requirement is operating on a not-for-profit basis and serving a specific mission. Microsoft gives mission examples such as helping the poor, preserving the environment, and protecting human rights.

Microsoft’s final requirement is that all participating organizations are inclusive of others. They prohibit any organizations with discriminatory policies or missions from joining the program.

In addition the Microsoft’s three eligibility requirements, they also list ineligible organization types, such as:

Determine whether your nonprofit is eligible for the Microsoft Ad Grant.

For a full list of eligibility requirements, check out Microsoft’s program eligibility page here.

Here's how to apply for the Microsoft Ad Grant.

Microsoft Ad Grant Application

After determining your organization is eligible for the program, the next step is to fill out an application. There are two main parts of the application.

First, you’ll apply to Microsoft for Nonprofits, Microsoft’s overarching program dedicated to nonprofit tools and resources. This part of the application has four steps.

  1. Welcome & Policies. When you begin the application, you’ll be asked to fill out information for your organization’s point of contact. You’ll also confirm that you understand the Microsoft for Nonprofits program policies.
  2. Organization Info. In this section, you’ll fill out information about your nonprofit including your organization’s name, address, website, phone number, size, budget, mission statement, and IRS EIN.
  3. Verify Phone. Next, you’ll verify your organization’s phone number so Microsoft can communicate with you.
  4. Create Account. Finally, you’ll be able to set up your login for your Microsoft for Nonprofits account. You should hear back about the status of your application within 24 hours.

The second part of the application process is applying for the Microsoft Ad Grant itself. You’ll provide additional information about your nonprofit and point of contact, and Microsoft will get back to you within 10 business days.

Take a look at these Microsoft Ad Grant best practices.

Microsoft Ad Grant Best Practices

Once Microsoft accepts your Microsoft Ad Grant application, you’ll likely want to jump right in and start setting up campaigns. To enure your campaigns are effective, we recommend following a few best practices that other nonprofits have found helpful in the past. Here are some guidelines for running your Microsoft Ad Grant account effectively:

Following these best practices will allow you to optimize your Microsoft Ad Grant.

Structure your account appropriately.

Organization is key when it comes to Microsoft Ad Grant campaigns because it allows you to ensure that each campaign has its own specific purpose. The goal of each campaign should be the conversion you’re looking to boost.

For example, let’s say your overall goals for your participation in the program are expanding your email subscriber base, recruiting more volunteers, and informing your supporters about matching gifts. Establish your campaigns’ priorities right away by setting up three separate campaigns, one for each goal. That way, you can track the metrics for each goal separately. Additionally, you can create straightforward campaigns that each focus on one aspect of your mission, making it clear to supporters what you’re asking them to do.

Write clear ad copy.

When it comes to Microsoft Ad copy, the simpler, the better. People will only spend a few seconds looking at your ad, so you want to make sure your message is very clear. Short sentences are usually best. It’s also good practice to avoid uncommon acronyms or abbreviations that may confuse people.

Choose keywords carefully.

To make sure you’re choosing effective keywords, you’ll want to think backward. What are your supporters likely searching for? Those are the words and phrases you’ll want to choose as your keywords.

It’s best to choose specific keywords. People searching for “animals” aren’t necessarily looking for an animal shelter, but those searching for “volunteering with animals” or “adopting a pet” might be.

Keep track of your campaign metrics.

Luckily, Microsoft has built-in analytics options that allow you to easily track the success of your campaigns. Analyzing this data and implementing the insights you glean from it will allow you to shape your campaigns and content to your supporters’ needs.

For example, if you see that people are going straight from your volunteer registration page to your contact information page, it might be useful to add a section with contact information on the volunteer registration page itself for easy access.

Use automatic bidding.

In order to show up in searches for certain keywords, you’ll bid for them along with other organizations. You can submit bids manually, but Microsoft has automatic bidding options that will save your team time and energy.

These bidding strategies include ones for enhancing your cost-per-click, maximizing your clicks, maximizing your conversions, and achieving your target cost per acquisition and return on ad spend.

Following these best practices will ensure that you’re managing your campaigns efficiently and effectively.

Learn how your organization can use Microsoft Ad Grants in conjunction with other fundraising tools.

Using Microsoft Ad Grants with Other Fundraising Tools

At NXUnite, we’re passionate about connecting nonprofits with the tools and resources that will launch them toward success. While Microsoft Ad Grants are one such tool, leveraging a variety of tools and strategies will help your organization spread awareness and raise money for its cause. Take a look at how your organization can use Microsoft Ad Grants in conjunction with other valuable fundraising tools:

These fundraising tools pair perfectly with the Microsoft Ad Grant.
  • Google Ad Grants. While we’ve compared the Microsoft Ads for Social Impact program and the Google Ad Grant program, your organization can take advantage of both for maximum impact. You can create similar campaigns on both platforms so that people can find your organization on both Microsoft and Google search engines.
  • Venmo. Many people use personal Venmo accounts, but you can also set up an account for your organization. That way, people can easily donate to your nonprofit. To promote your organization’s Venmo account, create a Microsoft Ad Grant campaign linking to your donation page. Then, include Venmo as a donation option on the page.
  • Panels. Attending panels is a great way to learn more about nonprofit resources from experts and professionals. This wisdom you acquire from these discussions may spark inspiration for a new campaign or approach to your Microsoft Ad Grant account.
  • Email templates. No matter your campaign goals, you’re likely encouraging your supporters to take some sort of action on your website. To show your appreciation, it’s always a good idea to send a thank-you letter. Using a specific nonprofit email template can ensure that you thank your supporters appropriately.
  • Matching gifts. If you’re really looking to maximize your fundraising, you can use your Microsoft Ad Grant campaign to inform your supporters about matching gifts. Matching gifts are corporate philanthropy initiatives where employers double or even triple donations made by their employees. All your supporters have to do is notify their employers of their donation. There are plenty of tools that make that process extremely simple.

Knowing which nonprofit tools are available for you to use is important, but knowing how to use them in conjunction with each other is even more powerful.

Working with a Microsoft Ad Grant agency can help you manage your grant effectively.

Working with a Microsoft Ad Grant Agency

While we hope this guide will help you manage your Microsoft Ad Grant effectively, we also understand that many nonprofits have constrained time and energy to devote to new projects. That’s where digital marketing agencies come in.

There are organizations out there that are specifically dedicated to helping nonprofits manage ad grants. They know the ins and outs of different ad grant programs and how to optimize your account. These types of agencies can help with any stage of the grant management process, such as:

Digital marketing agencies are equipped to help you manage your Microsoft Ad Grant.
  • Determining your Microsoft Ad Grants eligibility
  • Applying for the program
  • Managing your campaigns
  • Optimizing your content

Reaching out to a digital marketing agency can take the burden of managing your ad grant off your team. You can feel at ease knowing that experts are taking care of your account.

Check out these additional resources on fundraising tools other than the Microsoft Ad Grant.

More Fundraising Tools

By now, you should understand what the Microsoft Ad Grant is and how powerful of a fundraising tool it truly is. By enrolling in the Microsoft Ad Grant program, you’ll be able to work toward your organization’s fundraising goals and raise awareness for your cause.

As we mentioned, there are many other great fundraising tools out there. These articles will allow you to learn more about some of the ones we recommend:

  • How Google Ad Grants Can Help Your Fundraising. In this article, you’ll learn more about the Google Ad Grant program, allowing you to compare it to Microsoft’s program. Better yet, you can take advantage of both programs and the benefits they have to offer.
  • How Venmo for Nonprofits Can Help Organizations Raise More. Venmo is not only a personal mobile payment service, but nonprofits can also leverage the platform to collect donations. This article walks through how nonprofits can use this tool to boost their fundraising efforts.
  • Donor Thank-You Letters. Most likely, one of your campaign goals is to increase donations. Thank your donors for contributing to your organization using one of these templates.
Join the NXUnite community for valuable nonprofit resources and tips!

Panelist Tech FAQs

This guide offers plenty of tips and resources for fundraising professional development.

Fundraising Professional Development: Top Tips & Resources

Fundraising professional development starts here. Join the NXUnite community today.

If you work in the fundraising space, you know how fast-paced, challenging, and exciting it can be. On any given day, your to-do list might include reaching out to donors, planning engaging events, and promoting your organization online. Whether you work for a nonprofit, university, or other organization, you’ve likely experienced a few fundraising successes and failures and learned important lessons along the way. 

Now, you might be looking for some structured resources and tips to help you approach fundraising professional development strategically. That’s probably what brought you here today! 

In this guide, we’ll cover a few frequently asked questions about fundraising professional development and provide you with effective formal and informal resources you can use to grow as a fundraiser. We’ll answer the following questions: 

Taking the time to improve your fundraising skills and grow your fundraising network can help you plan better fundraising campaigns and events for your organization, ultimately helping you raise more. It’s a win-win for you and the cause you’re working for!

This section explains why fundraising professional development is important.

Why is nonprofit fundraising professional development important? 

Professional development has benefits both for you as a fundraiser and for your organization as a whole. Here are some specific benefits of fundraising professional development: 

  • Avoid burnout or stagnation. Being proactive and thinking of ways to grow within your role can help reignite your passion for your position and avoid the negative impacts of burnout. 
  • Advance in your career path. Building your professional fundraising skills may help you receive a promotion and grow as a leader within your organization. This is especially true if you take the time to earn fundraising certificates or other continuing education credits. 
  • Learn about the latest fundraising technologies and innovations. As you expand your fundraising skill set and general knowledge, you’ll come across information about the latest fundraising software, strategies, and innovations. You can implement these insights into your organization’s strategies to take advantage of new opportunities and fundraising best practices. 
  • Improve your leadership and mentorship skills. Making the effort to grow as a fundraising professional can also help you grow as a leader and mentor within your organization. You can provide guidance and career advice for other fundraising professionals at your organization, making your team more effective. 

To approach fundraising professional development productively, set personal goals. For example, you might identify a certification you’d like to pursue or plan to set aside a specific amount of time each week to pursue professional development. Having a specific goal in mind will help you measure your progress and make tangible strides toward becoming a better fundraiser. 

This section will cover places to find fundraising development resources.

Where can you find fundraising professional development resources?

It can be challenging to parse through the hundreds of websites and resources online that offer fundraising development support. To help narrow down your search, here are a few common sources of fundraising professional development resources and courses: 

These are a few common places where you can find more fundraising professional development resources.
  • Aggregators like NXUnite. NXUnite helps connect fundraising professionals with resources and educational opportunities such as panels and webinars.
  • Recommendations from your fellow nonprofit professionals. Long-time fundraising professionals at your organization or similar organizations will likely be able to point you toward resources that they’ve found to be the most helpful. Request a quick meeting with a mentor or other leader at your organization to get more information about their professional development path. 
  • Nonprofit associations. Nonprofit associations and organizations provide fundraising courses, blog posts from industry experts, conference reminders, and more. You can even join your local chapter of a larger organization to network with other fundraising professionals in your area. We’ll discuss nonprofit associations in more detail later. 
  • Course catalogs from universities. Higher education institutions will often offer professional development courses and seminars that anyone can attend. For example, the University of Georgia’s Center for Continuing Education offers a nonprofit fundraising essentials course. Indiana University offers fundraising courses through The Fund Raising School with topics such as developing major gifts and managing capital campaigns.

Read on for a more in-depth look at our top options for fundraising professional development resources!

These are the best resources for fundraising professional development.

What are the best fundraising resources for professional development? 

You have a range of options to consider for different ways you can build your fundraising skills. These options include everything from taking an online course to attending conferences. 

Specifically, here’s a closer look at some of our favorite professional development resources for fundraisers: 

Webinars

A webinar is an online discussion or seminar where industry experts share their insights and opinions about specific topics. Nonprofit webinars bring together fundraising experts with individuals looking to expand their fundraising efforts or skill set to provide more value to their organizations. 

Webinars are helpful if you don’t have a lot of free time on your hands to devote to fundraising professional development. Most are an hour or less, so you may even be able to join on your lunch break. 

Take a look at our top two sources for nonprofit webinars: 

NXUnite

NXUnite delivers a wide range of nonprofit webinars and panels with well-known nonprofit experts and influencers. Topics go beyond the fundraising basics to get to the heart of the challenges and opportunities that fundraisers currently face. Plus, these webinars offer insights for the entire mission-driven sector as a whole. That means there’s something for everyone, from nonprofit professionals to professionals working with associations, faith organizations, schools, and more. 

Interested in participating in or presenting at an NXUnite panel? Sign up to join the NXUnite community.

Double the Donation

Double the Donation is the leading industry expert on matching gift fundraising. Their webinars can help you understand how to maximize your fundraising revenue from this important but often overlooked source. But their webinars cover more than matching gifts—topics also include volunteer grants, workplace giving, integration deep dives, and general fundraising best practices. Visit the Double the Donation website for more information on live and on-demand webinars. 

Online courses

Online learning has exploded in popularity in recent years, giving fundraisers a way to continue their education while working full-time jobs. If you’re looking for more in-depth fundraising training, taking an online course can be an effective way to develop your skills while working at your own pace. Plus, many online fundraising courses are completely free. 

Let’s review some of our favorite online fundraising courses: 

Nonprofit.Courses

Nonprofit.Courses offers thousands of online courses for nonprofit staff and board members and volunteers. Course topics include grantwriting, fundraising, start-up for small nonprofits, and more. They also offer courses to help earn a variety of certificates like a nonprofit management certification. You can also check out the free content offered by Nonprofit.Courses, which includes podcasts, videos, and documents. 

NonprofitReady

NonprofitReady provides free online training courses for fundraising professionals. These courses cover common fundraising tasks and challenges, including accounting and finance, marketing and communications, and much more. They also empower fundraisers to earn free certificates in areas such as fundraising essentials and financial management essentials. 

Udemy

Udemy offers a broad range of courses, not only for nonprofit professionals but also for business professionals. Their nonprofit courses run the gamut from graphic design for nonprofits to how to start a nonprofit with limited resources. Udemy also offers a nonprofit plan for 501(c)(3) organizations, granting them special pricing and access to thousands of on-demand courses. 

Associations and accrediting organizations 

As mentioned, associations can be a great resource for getting connected to fundraising professional development opportunities. Associations bring nonprofit professionals together to learn, make connections, and grow in their profession. Joining an association can help you find free resources and new opportunities that you might otherwise not have access to. 

In addition, there are multiple accrediting organizations that set fundraising standards and offer certifications for nonprofit professionals to earn that prove their fundraising capabilities. Earning these certifications shows current and potential employers that you’ve committed to the highest standards of professionalism in the fundraising space. 

Here’s a closer look at a few fundraising associations and accrediting organizations you may be interested in joining: 

AFP

The Association of Fundraising Professionals (AFP) brings together individual fundraisers and nonprofit organizations to promote ethical fundraising and train professionals on fundraising best practices. AFP facilitates both in-person professional development and online learning. Check out the event calendar to learn more about and sign up for in-person engagement opportunities. 

Their online learning opportunities include webinars, e-courses, and intensive workshops. 

Your state’s nonprofit association or membership organization

Joining a local association within your region or state can be highly beneficial for networking with other professionals that understand the unique fundraising environment of your local area. 

You can either find your local chapter of a larger association such as AFP or look for other organizations that specifically focus on your area. For example, you might join the Georgia Center for Nonprofits, the Ohio Association of Nonprofit Organizations, or CalNonprofits. A regional or local organization will host events and webinars that bring together other fundraising professionals in your area who are dealing with similar issues. 

CFRE 

CFRE (Certified Fund Raising Executive) International is an independent nonprofit with a mission to set standards for the philanthropic space and facilitate accreditations for fundraising professionals. To become a CFRE, nonprofit professionals must first earn continuing education points in a variety of topic areas. After reaching the point requirement, professionals can fill out an application and complete a written examination. 

Receiving the CFRE certification shows employers that you have a broad knowledge base of fundraising and nonprofit management topics, that you’re invested in growing and developing as a fundraiser, and that you adhere to the highest standards of ethical fundraising. Learn more about the certification and requirements on the CFRE website

Public speaking and presentation training

Fundraising professionals are often surprised when they realize how much of the success of their role depends on their public speaking skills. As a fundraiser, you probably engage with a variety of internal and external audiences on a regular basis, from your fellow staff members to volunteers, donors, corporate partners, and more. Communicating effectively with these different groups is critical to garnering support for your nonprofit’s fundraising efforts. 

Let’s take a look at our favorite public speaking resource: 

Be Brilliant Presentation Group

Be Brilliant Presentation Group is a public speaking organization that helps working professionals grow in their presentation skills and become more impactful, inspiring speakers. Individuals looking for tailored public speaking coaching can gain access to a tried-and-true presentation framework, one-on-one coaching, and interactive workshops. 

Taking your unique presentation style into account, your speaking coach will work with you to help you develop your skills and create an approach that works best for you. Your coach can also help you specifically with preparations for a conference speech or presentation and even provide day-of assistance. Speak with a coach today to find out more. 

Conferences

Nothing brings nonprofit professionals together quite like a conference. A conference allows fundraising professionals to discuss trends, challenges, and opportunities within the fundraising space. These experiences are invaluable for the connections that they foster and strategic partnerships they can help forge between organizations and individuals. 

If you’re interested in attending a conference to brush up on the latest fundraising trends and best practices, here are a few to consider adding to your calendar: 

Double the Donation’s Matching Gift Summit

Double the Donation’s Matching Gift Summit offers a chance for nonprofit professionals to come together to join in roundtable discussions and hear presentations about matching gifts. This conference will provide you with a more developed strategy for raising more funding for your organization through matching gifts. 

You’ll also hear insight about how to use Double the Donation’s tools to their full potential to streamline the matching gift process as much as possible. The easier you can make the matching gift process for donors, the more funding you can earn from this source. 

The exact date for this year’s matching gift summit hasn’t been announced yet, but you can check NXUnite’s nonprofit conference page for updates!

AFP ICON

Considered the world’s largest fundraising conference, AFP’s International Conference (also known as AFP Icon) is a multi-day conference that brings together nonprofit professionals from a wide array of backgrounds and organizations. The 2022 conference schedule included sessions on leveraging digital ads for fundraising success, inclusion and equity issues in fundraising, and how to advance in your fundraising career. 

AFP ICON 2023 is scheduled for April 16-18 in New Orleans. Keep an eye on the website for updates. 

Cause Camp

Labeled a “must-attend” nonprofit conference by Forbes, Cause Camp brings together leaders, influencers, and other movers and shakers in the fundraising world. Along with presentations and panels, Cause Camp offers breakout sessions that are geared toward facilitating training, not just discussions. Plus, attendees can earn up to five CFRE credits for attending.

Cause Camp 2023 will be held in Greater Sandusky, Ohio on September 14 and 15.    

Nonprofit Technology Conference

The Nonprofit Technology Conference (otherwise known as the NTC) is an annual gathering focused on how technology works within the nonprofit sector. The conference is hosted by NTEN, an organization dedicated to bringing together nonprofit professionals to use technology for good. The NTC offers breakout sessions, networking opportunities, and other educational experiences to advance the field of nonprofit technology and use. 

The next NTC will be held April 12-14, 2023, in Denver, Colorado. 

Check out NXUnite’s roundup of the best nonprofit conferences to explore additional opportunities. 

Here are a few relaxed, informal ways to pursue fundraising professional development.

What are some informal ways to pursue fundraising professional development? 

Attending a conference or earning a certificate aren’t the only ways to grow as a fundraiser. You can pursue fundraising professional development in more casual settings as well. For instance, you can: 

  • Listen to podcasts. Podcasts can be a great way to listen to diverse perspectives and learn from anywhere, whether you’re out on a run, at the grocery store, or driving to work. Seek out nonprofit-specific podcasts—there’s no shortage of them!
  • Find a mentor. Connect with a leader at your organization, a long-time staff member, or a fundraising professional at another organization to ask if they’d be willing to be a professional mentor. Set up a coffee shop meeting or casual lunch to meet with your mentor and ask for career advice. 
  • Attend local networking events. Get involved in networking events hosted by local associations, nonprofits, and even business organizations. Speaking with professionals outside of the nonprofit sector can help you think of creative or outside-the-box strategies to tackle challenges or grow as a working professional. 
  • Reach out to individuals in similar roles at other organizations. Connect with your counterparts at other organizations to ask if you can get their perspective on how they’re tackling common fundraising challenges. Also, ask them whether they’ve pursued any professional development activities and what they found to be the most helpful. 

Any opportunities you have to surround yourself with fundraising knowledge and insight is another step toward developing as a fundraising professional. 

Wrapping Up

Fundraising professional development should be an ongoing goal. The fundraising landscape is constantly changing, with new technologies, strategies, and best practices being introduced. Keeping up with this shifting world will allow you to advance in your career and bring more value to your organization. 

For more information on fundraising professional development, check out these additional resources:

Sign up for NXUnite today to connect with fellow fundraisers and pursue fundraising professional development.
Learn all about nonprofit marketing in this ultimate guide.

The Beginner’s Ultimate Guide to Nonprofit Marketing

As a nonprofit professional, you know that staying within your organization’s budget often requires a little creativity. Especially when it comes to nonprofit marketing, your team might have lavish ideas and big plans without the resources to pursue them.

However, nonprofit marketing is vital to the continued success of your organization. It’s how you spread the word about your nonprofit’s upcoming events and opportunities and get people excited about contributing to your cause. Without a strong nonprofit marketing plan, it’ll be difficult to move forward and pursue your mission effectively.

Additionally, there are a lot of considerations that go into successful nonprofit marketing. That’s why we’ve created this nonprofit marketing guide. We’ll teach you the basics as well as strategies you can use to promote your organization, even on a budget.

Here are the topics we’ll cover in this article:

Here at NXUnite, we connect organizations with various resources to help them in all areas of nonprofit operations. Marketing is crucial for nonprofits because it’s how people find your organization, learn about your cause, and contribute to your organization. We understand how tricky it can be to come up with a marketing strategy on a small budget, so we’re happy to provide this ultimate nonprofit marketing guide to help you out.

Learn more nonprofit marketing tips at an NXUnite panel.

With that, let’s introduce what nonprofit marketing is and what it can do for your organization!

Read on for the basics of nonprofit marketing.

What is Nonprofit Marketing?

Nonprofit marketing is when mission-based organizations use promotional strategies to educate others about their cause and garner support. It’s an essential part of introducing your organization to people who may want to become involved, including prospective donors, volunteers, and board members.

For your current supporters, nonprofit marketing allows you to inform them about upcoming events and opportunities. You’ll want to grab your supporters’ attention and get them excited about what you have in store.

While implementing effective nonprofit marketing takes work, it can offer your organization a variety of benefits. If you stay organized and follow a detailed plan, nonprofit marketing can help you:

Nonprofit marketing can help your organization achieve these objectives.
  • Spread awareness. At the core of your nonprofit is your mission. Investing time in a marketing plan will not only help to promote your organization, but also educate people about your nonprofit’s cause.
  • Raise more. The more people know about your organization, the more fundraising potential your organization has.
  • Encourage recurring support. Of course, your nonprofit should appreciate each and every donation it receives. However, recurring donations provide a steady, consistent funding source. They also present the opportunity to build strong relationships with your long-term donors. Effective marketing can encourage donors to continue their support for your organization.
  • Recruit other stakeholders. While crucial to your organization’s success, donations are not the only form of support people can lend to your nonprofit. Effective marketing will allow you to recruit other supporters for your organization, such as volunteers, members, event attendees, and board members.
  • Promote your services. Potential supporters want to know exactly what steps your organization does to advance your mission. That way, they can decide if they’re interested in joining in. Using a well-developed marketing plan will ensure that your organization’s services are clear to interested parties.

To complete all of the objectives above, it’s not enough to just start posting on social media or adding articles to your website’s blog. You’ll first need to come up with a comprehensive marketing plan that outlines your marketing strategy across multiple channels.

Creating a nonprofit marketing plan will help your organization stay organized.

Developing a Nonprofit Marketing Plan

To effectively promote your organization, you must set clear intentions for your marketing efforts. That’s why you need a nonprofit marketing plan.

Creating a comprehensive marketing plan ensures that you stay organized and focused on your goals throughout your marketing efforts. With all of the details planned ahead of time, you’ll be able to focus on creating well-designed promotional materials and getting people excited about your cause.

If you’ve never come up with a marketing plan before, it can be intimidating. To help you out, we’ve provided you with the major steps you’ll need to follow to create your own:

Follow these steps to develop your nonprofit marketing plan.

Step 1) Review your current marketing efforts.

It’s always good to take inventory of your current nonprofit marketing efforts. That way, you can figure out what successful elements you should continue implementing and what changes you’ll need to make. For a formal marketing audit, you can perform a SWOT analysis. Here’s what it entails:

  • Strengths. Start off strong by describing what your organization does well.
  • Weaknesses. Recognize any areas your nonprofit can improve upon.
  • Opportunities. Identify potential external factors that could help your marketing efforts succeed.
  • Threats. Pinpoint any factors that could potentially harm your marketing efforts.

This in-depth analysis will propel your new marketing efforts forward.

Step 2) Determine your marketing goals.

Just as your mission guides your overall operations, your marketing goals should inform your marketing efforts. Of course, you should keep your mission in mind and make sure your marketing goals serve that mission. It’s best to form SMART goals to make sure your goals are clear and meaningful. SMART stands for:

  • Specific. Create goals with a certain initiative or event in mind.
  • Measurable. Make sure you can track your goals with relevant performance metrics.
  • Attainable. Keep your nonprofit’s resources and capabilities in mind.
  • Relevant. Develop goals that will further your mission.
  • Time-based. Hold your organization accountable by assigning a time frame to your goals.

In addition to following the SMART acronym, you’ll also want to list your goals by priority so you know which ones to divert the most resources to.

Step 3) Understand your audience.

Your audience is likely comprised of different groups such as donors, volunteers, and board members. Make sure you define each audience and their needs. To segment your audience even further, think about the different subcategories of your supporters.

Step 4) Establish your message.

To hone your nonprofit marketing efforts, you’ll want to boil your goals down to a few key messages you’d like to share. These messages should be unique to your organization and able to grab your supporters’ attention. To go along with your message, the language, calls-to-action, and visuals you’ll use should all be outlined as well.

Step 5) Determine your budget.

It’s tricky as a nonprofit to accomplish your marketing goals with few resources. To make use of what you have, you’ll want to determine a budget for your promotional efforts. If you don’t think you’ll have enough to make your goals a reality, try applying for a nonprofit marketing grant. Grantmaking organizations offer free funding for the purpose of promoting your organization and its services, making it a great way to power your marketing efforts.

Step 6) Choose appropriate marketing strategies.

The different marketing strategies or channels you choose to spread your mission should align with your goals and audience. From direct mail to social media, there’s a lot you can do to promote your cause.

In the next section, we’ll go over nonprofit marketing strategies you can use to promote your organization.

Step 7) Analyze your performance.

It’s important to keep track of your progress and performance using data. That way, you’ll know what worked and what needs to be changed for future campaigns. Choose metrics to track that will represent your definition of success. For example, if you’re implementing a social media campaign, you might want to track the number of shares, likes, and comments on your relevant posts.

As you can see, there are many things to consider when developing your nonprofit marketing plan. It can take time to complete a well-rounded plan, but it will be worth it to have your marketing goals, logistics, and strategy all in one place.

Take a look at these helpful nonprofit marketing strategies.

Nonprofit Marketing Strategies

There are plenty of ways to promote your organization. However, you should be careful to choose your nonprofit marketing strategies so that they align with your goals and audience. For example, if you’re targeting an older audience, it might not be the best idea to use social media as your main form of outreach.

The great thing about nonprofit marketing channels is that you can use them in tandem with each other. You will naturally want to promote your events via email and share your blog posts on social media. This way, you’re creating as many touchpoints as possible so your supporters can contribute to your cause in the way that works best for them.

To help you determine which nonprofit marketing strategies are best for your organization’s current needs, we’ve listed some of our favorites below:

Click on the ones you’re interested in to learn more or scroll through to check them all out!

Email marketing for nonprofits allows you to reach supporters of all ages and types.

Email Marketing for Nonprofits

So many nonprofit marketers rely on email marketing. It allows you to reach supporters of all ages and types, including donors, volunteers, event attendees, and board members. Since a large variety of people use email regularly, email marketing has a high ROI and is an easy way to stay connected with your supporters.

Additionally, it’s extremely easy to personalize emails using segmentation tools and email marketing software. That way, you can make your supporters feel special and send them information specific to their involvement with your organization.

Here are some ideas for using email marketing effectively:

An easy and useful nonprofit marketing strategy is email marketing.
  • Send a weekly newsletter with the most recent updates and urgent needs.
  • Send monthly emails with donation requests and upcoming opportunities.
  • Thank new subscribers for joining your email list with an automatic reply.
  • Thank donors for contributing to your cause with an automated email.
  • Segment your supporters into different groups for more personalized email campaigns.
  • Append email addresses to make sure you have accurate contact information and can reach as many of your supporters as possible.

Considering how easy it is to draft and automate emails, email marketing is a great choice for promoting your organization and sharing news with your supporters.

Direct mail marketing for nonprofits is a more personal marketing strategy.

Direct Mail Marketing for Nonprofits

Although many nonprofit marketers think direct mail is dead, it actually has a higher response rate than emails. Perhaps this is because direct mail is even more personal than emails, and people acknowledge the extra time that went into the campaign, especially if you’re using segmentation.

Additionally, the letters you send your supporters serve as physical reminders of your organization and their involvement. Having something tangible that’s associated with your nonprofit may encourage supporters to donate or attend one of your events.

You can create direct mail campaigns for donation requests, event invitations, thank you letters, and more. While you can use direct mail to simply inform people about your organization, it’s best to include a call-to-action to ensure the time and funds you put into your campaign pay off.

To help you create direct mail campaigns that drive your supporters to take action, we’ve compiled some tips:

Direct mail is a nonprofit marketing tactic that allows supporters to create a tangible connection with your organization.
  • Incorporate storytelling. Make your direct mail outreach even more personal with strong storytelling. While facts and statistics are helpful for understanding what your organization does, people want to feel a connection with your nonprofit. For example, if your organization is an animal shelter, tell your supporters about a dog you’ve rescued and given a better life. Seeing the impact your organization has had will inspire people to become a part of it.
  • Include powerful visuals. People are drawn to images/ Plus, visually-engaging images help to break up text, make content easier to read, and can help communicate your message. Your supporters will get more out of your letter if you include meaningful visuals that connect to the copy you’ve written. Consider using pictures of real people your organization has helped or informative graphics that illustrate different points you’ve made.
  • Combine your campaign with digital marketing. While direct mail is an effective outreach method, you can make it more engaging by connecting it to your online marketing efforts. Including a QR code that connects to an event registration page or listing your social media handles will allow your supporters to navigate smoothly across different digital marketing channels.
  • Append mailing addresses. How useful can your direct mail campaign be without your supporters’ addresses? You might not have all the mailing addresses for your supporters, but working with a data append service can help you obtain the information and put it to good use.

Direct mail is a great way to show your supporters you care about them. However, it’s important to regularly check your supporters’ communication preferences to make sure they’re okay with receiving letters from you.

Print is a more personal form of nonprofit marketing that's great for reaching local audiences.

Print Marketing

While the digital landscape helps break down geographical barriers, print marketing is a fantastic way to connect with your local audience members. Some nonprofits view it as “old-fashioned” or “outdated,” but print marketing is still a major force in the world of advertising.

Think about the last time you saw a poster for an upcoming event or received a flyer in the mail. When you consider how frequently you personally come across printed marketing materials, you’ll notice that it’s still prominent in people’s everyday lives even with the rise of digital marketing.

In a world driven by quick communication, people rarely see printed communication that they care about. Among stacks of junk mail and bills, a well-designed fundraising flyer is much more likely to catch their eye and mean something to them.

When dabbling in print marketing, there are plenty of options your nonprofit can use, including:

  • Flyers and posters
  • Brochures and pamphlets
  • Newspaper and magazine ads
  • Yard signs

Particularly for nonprofits, this type of marketing can help you connect with older supporters who aren’t as active online. Plus, many people interpret it as being more personal since it takes a bit more effort than sending mass emails or publishing a social media post.

No matter what type of print materials you create, you’ll want to make sure they’re designed to catch people’s eyes. Your graphics, fonts, and colors can mean the difference between someone stopping to read your ad and going on about their day without a second thought.

If graphic design isn’t your marketing team’s forte, consider hiring a third-party designer. We recommend Kwala! They work exclusively with nonprofits to produce professional marketing materials for both print and digital outreach.

Kwala designs nonprofit marketing materials like this brochure.

They design everything from letterheads to capital campaign brochures, like the example above! Reach out to their team to start creating powerful designs for your nonprofit marketing materials.

Event marketing for nonprofits provides a chance for people to get to know your organization in person.

Event Marketing for Nonprofits

Hosting an event provides a chance for people to get to know your organization in person. You can form a connection with potential supporters and tell them directly about the impact they could make on your organization.

There’s a wide range of events your nonprofit can host. If you have the budget for a more lavish event, try hosting a gala. To get your supporters up and active, organize a marathon. The possibilities are endless!

No matter which type of event you’re hosting, there are some general ways to make sure your event is successful at accomplishing your goals. For the ultimate nonprofit event, make sure to:

Hosting an event is a nonprofit marketing strategy that will help you form deeper connections with your supporters.
  • Maintain consistent branding across your digital and physical event materials.
  • Include your mission on digital and physical event signage.
  • Encourage event attendees to stay in touch and show their support.
  • Send all attendees thank you letters and follow-up surveys.
  • Offer event merchandise so attendees can continue to support your cause.

While they do take a lot of time and resources to plan, events are powerful nonprofit marketing tools. People will remember their experience at your event and retain that association between their enjoyment and your nonprofit.

Video marketing for nonprofits is a great way to engage your supporters.

Video Marketing for Nonprofits

Video marketing has become very popular in recent years, and it’s easy to see why. Videos are even more engaging than static images and can allow you to share an abundance of information in a short amount of time.

While YouTube was one of the first modern video-sharing platforms, others such as TikTok and Instagram have caught onto the short video craze. Nonprofits can take advantage of these platforms to promote their events and missions.

There are several reasons why video marketing is so impactful, including:

Nonprofit video marketing will engage your supporters and educate them in a unique way.
  • Easy to process. Did you know that people process visual content 60,000 times faster than written content? This makes it easier to inform your audience about your mission or upcoming opportunities.
  • Elicits emotion. Reading a paragraph or looking at an image could make you feel something, but it’s much more likely for a video to move you. This emotion can inspire action and a deeper connection to your cause.
  • Shareable. Social media platforms make it easy to send videos to your friends over text or through the apps themselves. This way, your supporters can help amplify your cause for you.
  • Entertaining. Most people would simply prefer to watch a video to learn about a topic as opposed to reading about it. Videos make topics come to life and will do a better job of capturing your audience’s attention.

While we’ve mostly discussed video marketing in the context of social media, that’s not the only place you can share videos your organization has created. Consider creating an informational video to live on your website’s homepage or a thank you video to send to donors after they’ve contributed.

Videos are extremely valuable marketing tools, but note that they can also slow down the load time of your website. Remember to turn off auto-play to help your website load as quickly as possible.

Social media marketing for nonprofits is free and easy to implement.

Social Media Marketing for Nonprofits

Since social media is free, it’s a great marketing choice for nonprofits. It also encourages interaction with your organization and its content. People can comment, like, and repost your content, maximizing its impact.

Social media also gives your organization the opportunity to leverage current trends and build a brand personality. Recently, small brands have blown up on TikTok for their funny and relatable content, and there’s no reason why nonprofits can’t do the same.

Although there’s a variety of social media platforms that all feature different types of content, follow these suggestions to improve your organization’s online presence:

Use nonprofit social media marketing to engage with your supporters.
  • Share important news about your organization and cause.
  • Create a brand identity to boost awareness and recognition.
  • Ensure your content includes calls-to-action such as event registrations, donation requests, and volunteer signups.
  • Describe real people’s experiences with your organization to recruit new volunteers and employees.
  • Thank donors, employees, and volunteers for their contributions.

Considering the number of different social media platforms out there, you’ll want to think hard about which ones fit best with your audience, content, and mission.

If you’re looking to fundraise, Facebook and Instagram are great choices because they have built-in peer-to-peer fundraising features. However, if your goal is to rally young supporters around your cause, TikTok may be a better fit. Be strategic about your organization’s social media presence for the best results.

Website marketing for nonprofits involves creating and optimizing your organization's website.

Website Marketing for Nonprofits

Your nonprofit’s website is likely the first place people go to learn more about your organization, so it’s important to do it right. Your website should not only host valuable information about your organization, but it should also inform supporters about upcoming events and opportunities.

Whether you’re creating your nonprofit’s website or optimizing it, use these tips to make your website ready and engaging for users:

Creating your organization’s website is an essential component of nonprofit marketing.
  • Review the WCAG and ADA guidelines to make sure your website is compliant.
  • Include well-placed call-to-action buttons and links to direct traffic to different pages on your site.
  • Make sure your website is easy to navigate and use.
  • Regularly check all tools and content management systems to make sure they’re working as they should.
  • Maintain a cohesive brand identity throughout your site.

Think about your website as the hub of supporter activity. It’s where you collect donations, share updates, describe events, and educate people about your cause. Since your website has several functions and purposes, it’s important to make sure it’s working properly and is designed effectively to provide a positive user experience.

Between following the above tips and ensuring your graphic design strategy inspires users to explore your site, your site will be well-equipped to be your ultimate marketing asset.

Content marketing for nonprofits allows you to build your organization's reputation and knowledge base.

Content Marketing for Nonprofits

Content marketing allows you to create valuable nonprofit content that can bring traffic to your website and build your reputation in the field. You can create standard blog posts as well as downloadable resources.

To help you get started with content marketing, here are some different types of content you may leverage:

Nonprofit content marketing allows your organization to establish its reputation as knowledgeable in the nonprofit sector.
  • Informative content about your mission or news in your field
  • Typical blog content that’s SEO optimized to help with your page’s search engine rankings
  • Shareable content that can help spread your mission further
  • Ready-to-use templates and downloadable resources for others to use

Writing content takes a lot of time and effort, so you may want to consider creating a copywriting team for your organization. That way, you can have a group dedicated to filling your blog and adding value to your website.

Text message marketing for nonprofits allows you to reach your audience quickly.

Text Message Marketing for Nonprofits

Since people are always on their phones, text message marketing has a high open rate and the potential to reach your audience quickly.

One way to use text message marketing effectively is by leveraging a text-giving tool. That way, you can create effective text-to-give campaigns that provide an easy donation option.

You can also use phone appends to make sure you reach all of your supporters. Phone appends fill in the missing phone numbers in your supporter database and update outdated ones. Having this data helps to ensure that you’re reaching out to the right people with the right contact information.

Besides initiating a text-to-give campaign, there are other opportunities for text message marketing. You can use this outreach method to:

Leverage text message marketing to quickly and effectively reach your supporters.
  • Announce events
  • Send urgent appeals
  • Remind volunteers about upcoming shifts or training
  • Promote donations throughout your campaign or event
  • Send donation receipts

While similar to email marketing, text message marketing is better for shorter messages and encouraging your supporters to take action. With a higher open rate, text message marketing allows you to reach your supporters in a way that’s convenient for them.

The Google Ad Grants program is a free and powerful nonprofit marketing strategy.

Google Ad Grants for Nonprofits

Google Ads provide a way for nonprofits to promote their services and mission in Google search results. If someone searches for a term related to your organization, they can find your organization’s website as an ad at the top of the search results and navigate to one of your pages.

However, it can get expensive to run Google Ads. That’s exactly why Google offers an option for nonprofits called Google Ad Grants. The Google Ad Grants program provides eligible nonprofits with $10,000 per month in ad credits. That way, your organization can expand its reach in a way that aligns with its budget.

As long as your organization is eligible and follows all program guidelines, it’s easy to get started with Google Ad Grants. You can even work with a dedicated Google Grants agency for help with the application process or account maintenance.

Beyond the few we discussed, there are so many more nonprofit marketing strategies your organization can leverage. Remember, don’t overwhelm your marketing team. Think about the purpose of your campaign and the characteristics of your audience, and choose the right platforms for your nonprofit. That way, you can reach out to supporters through different channels without wasting time and resources on unviable options.

Here are some nonprofit marketing ideas to get you started with your next campaign.

Nonprofit Marketing Ideas

It can be difficult to come up with specific ideas for how to market your nonprofit, especially for organizations just starting out. There are so many things to keep in mind, which can quickly become overwhelming.

To help you out, we’ve narrowed down some of the most essential nonprofit marketing ideas to make your campaigns stand out, including:

Develop design, personality, and attitude guidelines.

If you want people to recognize your organization’s branding, then you have to make sure it’s cohesive. Work with your nonprofit marketing team to carefully develop your nonprofit’s persona and graphic design preferences.

Commit to improving your content’s SEO.

It’s important to know how to optimize your content for search engines and which factors contribute to your content’s rankings. Research SEO best practices and determine the top keywords you want your content to rank for.

Establish a connected online presence.

We’ve discussed different digital marketing strategies. Whichever ones you choose to implement, it’s best to create paths that connect each platform to each other. For example, include the link to your website in the bio of your social media accounts. That way, people can go straight from one touchpoint to another seamlessly.

Create a nonprofit marketing budget.

One of the most important parts of your marketing plan is your budget. You’ll want to make sure you can gather all the resources you need to promote your organization effectively while still staying within your organization’s means.

Analyze your data.

If your organization isn’t constantly reviewing the data it has and making decisions based on that data, then you’re missing out on crucial opportunities to grow your nonprofit. Data provides concrete evidence for what your marketing team is doing well and what they could work on. Some metrics you could track include:

  • Clickthrough rate (CTR)
  • Conversion rate
  • Email open rate
  • Social media impressions and reach

Keeping track of the data associated with your campaigns allows you to improve your future marketing endeavors.

Emulate larger organizations.

The great part about starting a nonprofit is that there are thousands of model organizations to base your strategies on. Find an organization similar to yours and see how they’ve reached success to help inform your own nonprofit marketing efforts.

Implement segmentation.

Dividing your supporters into groups based on shared factors allows you to customize their experiences. That way, you can demonstrate that you understand your supporters’ needs and are willing to meet them where they are.

Personalize your supporters’ experiences.

Segmentation isn’t the only way to give people a personalized experience. Consider sending handwritten thank you cards to your donors or featuring a volunteer of the month on your social media pages. Showing your supporters that you care will only deepen their connection to your organization.

Try out some of these nonprofit marketing ideas.

Above all else, it’s important to continuously review your marketing efforts. That way, you can adapt to any new trends or identify any areas that need some work. Just because your organization was up to date five years ago doesn’t mean you can’t change your branding or segmentation to be more current to the present day.

Remember, your number one consideration should be your supporters. All of your promotional efforts are directed at gaining and retaining supporters, so it’s necessary to think about their needs and keep them in mind throughout the whole nonprofit marketing process.

Check out these additional nonprofit marketing resources.

Conclusion and Additional Resources

Now that you know all about nonprofit marketing, it’ll be easier to dive right into the process. Equipped with a marketing plan, strategies, and ideas, you’ll be all set to start reaching out to potential supporters and growing your nonprofit.

While we went over the basics of nonprofit marketing in this guide, there are still so many areas that you can dive into. Especially if you’re a newer nonprofit marketing professional, you’ll likely want some additional resources to look over.

Here are some articles that can teach you a little more about nonprofit marketing:

Learn more about nonprofit marketing by attending one of our panels or webinars.