In this guide, we'll explain how to optimize a Google Grant account in 7 easy steps.

How to Optimize a Google Grant Account in 7 Easy Steps

The Google Ad Grant is an invaluable tool for reaching potential donors and supporters online. While receiving the grant and setting up your account is a great first step, it takes more work to leverage the full potential of your free ad spend.

For the best results, you need to maintain and optimize your account. Here are seven steps to get started:

Whether you’re a seasoned digital marketer or a nonprofit professional new to Google Ad Grants, these insights will help you improve your online visibility, attract more donors and volunteers, and make a greater impact in the communities you serve.

Looking to optimize your Google Grant account? Click here to partner with our recommended agency, Getting Attention.

Before diving into the seven strategies for optimizing a Google Grant account, let’s answer some frequently asked questions.

What is a Google Grant Account?

The Google Ad Grant provides eligible nonprofits with $10,000 worth of in-kind advertising on Google Search each month, helping them reach a wider audience and connect with more potential supporters online.

After applying for the grant and being accepted into the program, nonprofits receive an account through which they can create and display ads on Google without the need to make any payments.

The Importance of Optimizing a Google Grant Account

If you want to make the most of $10,000 in free ad spend per month, you need to be willing to adapt and make improvements on an ongoing basis. Here are a few reasons why optimizing a Google Grant account is important:

  • Improved ad performance: Optimization techniques, such as keyword research, ad copy testing, and audience targeting, will help your ads appear in relevant searches and attract clicks.
  • Maximum impact: By optimizing your Google Grant account, you can ensure that your ads reach the right audience and attract engaged users who are interested in your nonprofit’s mission and services. This, in turn, can lead to increased donations, volunteer sign-ups, and support for your cause.
  • Compliance with Google’s requirements: Google has specific requirements and guidelines for participating in the Google Ad Grant program. Failure to meet these requirements can result in account suspension, making optimization crucial to maintaining eligibility.

Remember, even with the Google Ad Grant, your nonprofit is competing with paid advertisers for ad space. Optimization helps level the playing field, allowing you to stand out and succeed in the highly competitive digital advertising landscape.

7 Steps to Optimize Your Google Grant Account

Now that you understand the importance of optimizing a Google Grant account, let’s explain how to actually do it!

1. Partner with a qualified Google Ad Grants agency.

Without prior experience, optimizing a Google Grant Account can be a daunting task. Thankfully, there are Google Ad Grants agencies that provide valuable expertise and insight into the process.

Here are just a few areas of our recommended agency, Getting Attention’s expertise:

  • Account setup: Getting Attention assists nonprofits in setting up their Google Ad Grants account correctly, ensuring compliance with all program policies and eligibility requirements.
  • Google Grant reactivation: If your account lapses or is disabled, Getting Attention will get your Google Ad Grant reactivated in no time, so you can continue doing the work that matters.
  • Keyword research: Getting Attention conducts thorough keyword research to identify relevant and high-impact keywords aligned with your mission and goals.
  • Campaign monitoring: The Getting Attention team will regularly monitor the performance of ad campaigns, identify areas for improvement, and make data-driven optimizations to enhance results.

By working with an agency like Getting Attention, you can leverage the expertise of professionals who specialize in mission-driven marketing and digital advertising. This partnership will help your nonprofit create more impactful ad campaigns and attract support for your cause.

For more information on the benefits of working with a Google Ad Grant agency, watch this video:

2. Conduct regular keyword research.

Keyword research helps nonprofits understand which search terms and phrases are most frequently used by their target audience and allows them to optimize their ad campaigns accordingly. By regularly conducting keyword research, you ensure that your online content is optimized for the search terms and phrases that are most relevant to your cause.

Keep these tips in mind as you choose your keywords:

  • Understand your nonprofit’s goals. Start by clarifying your nonprofit’s advertising goals. Determine what specific actions you want users to take when they visit your website. For example, do you want them to donate, sign up for a newsletter, volunteer, or learn more about your programs? Understanding your goals will help you identify the most relevant keywords to target.
  • Brainstorm relevant keywords. Consider what potential supporters might search for when looking for organizations like yours and compile a list of relevant keywords. Include general keywords as well as specific terms that align with your goals. For instance, if you run an animal shelter, you might target the keywords “pet adoption” and “how to adopt a rescue dog.”
  • Use Google’s Keyword Planner. Google’s Keyword Planner is a free tool within Google Ads that helps you find relevant keywords and get insights into their search volume and competition. Enter your list of keywords into the Keyword Planner to see how frequently they are searched and get suggestions for other related keywords.

It’s also important to update the negative keywords that you want to exclude from triggering your ads. For example, if your nonprofit focuses on environmental conservation, you may want to add “hunting” or “pollution” as negative keywords to ensure your ads are shown only to the most relevant audiences.

3. Create well-structured ad groups.

Google Ad Groups are a way of organizing ads within your account. An ad group typically contains a set of ads that share similar targets, such as keywords, locations, or devices.

This diagram illustrates the required Google Ad Grant account structure.

Well-defined ad groups allow for better targeting, ensuring that the right messaging is delivered to the right people.

Here’s an example of how a marine conservation nonprofit might organize ads according to the two different programs they offer:

Ad Group 1: “Marine Wildlife Conservation”
Keywords: Marine wildlife conservation, ocean conservation, marine species protection
Ad Copy: “Help Protect Marine Wildlife. Support Our Ocean Conservation Efforts Today!”

Ad Group 2: “Beach Cleanup Volunteers”
Keywords: Beach cleanup, ocean cleanup volunteer, coastal cleanup
Ad Copy: “Join Our Beach Cleanup Volunteers. Make a Difference for Our Oceans.”

Continuously review and refine your keyword list for each ad group. Add new relevant keywords and remove irrelevant or low-performing ones.

4. Write compelling ad copy.

Well-crafted ad copy encourages users to click on the ad to learn more about your organization. To maximize your click-through rate (CTR), take these steps:

  • Craft compelling headlines. Write attention-grabbing headlines that are concise, clear, and highlight the unique value proposition of your nonprofit.
  • Use relevant keywords. Incorporate relevant keywords into your ad copy, especially in the headline and description. When users see the keywords they searched for in your ad, it increases the ad’s relevance, making them more likely to click.
  • Include a strong call-to-action (CTA). Include a clear and persuasive CTA that encourages users to take the desired action. Use verbs to prompt action, such as “Donate Now,” “Volunteer Today,” or “Learn More.”

If you’re in need of inspiration, review other top-ranking ads to see what they’re doing right.

For instance, let’s say you’re trying to target keywords related to food insecurity. Do a quick Google search to see what’s ranking number #1 for these queries:

This screenshot of a SERP shows the top ranking headlines for the search term "how to fight food insecurity" and is an example of how to optimize a Google Grant account.

Then, craft your ad copy with these top-ranking ads in mind, possibly emulating those popular “How to” statements in the headline.

5. Establish a landing page strategy.

Landing pages that you link in your ads should be designed to convert visitors into donors, volunteers, or supporters. For the best results, ensure that your landing pages are:

  • Relevant: The content and messaging on the landing page should directly align with the ad copy and the user’s search intent. Make sure visitors receive the information they’re looking for after clicking on the ad.
  • Mobile-friendly: Given the prevalence of mobile users, it’s crucial to have a mobile-friendly landing page. Ensure that the page is responsive and displays correctly on various screen sizes.
  • Visually appealing: The landing page should feature design and branding elements that reinforce your nonprofit’s identity and create a cohesive user experience. This includes using your organization’s logo, typography, and color scheme to establish brand recognition.

Conduct A/B testing (also known as split testing) on your landing pages to identify which elements resonate best with your audience. Continuously re-test and optimize these elements over time to improve the page’s performance.

6. Use conversion tracking.

Google Ads conversion tracking allows advertisers to measure the effectiveness of their ad campaigns by tracking specific actions that users take after clicking on their ads. Not only is setting up conversion tracking beneficial to your ad performance, but it’s also a requirement of the Google Ad Grant. Here’s how it works:

  • Advertisers define the specific actions they want to track as conversions. This could be completing a donation, filling out a contact form, signing up for a newsletter, or any other valuable action that aligns with the campaign’s objectives.
  • Once the conversion actions are defined, Google Ads generates a unique snippet of code called a “conversion tag” or “tracking pixel” for each conversion action. This code needs to be placed on the relevant web page or confirmation page that users see after completing the desired action (i.e., the “thank you” page after a successful donation).
  • When a user clicks on an ad and performs the desired action on the website, such as donating, the conversion tag on the confirmation page is triggered.
  • The triggered conversion tag sends data back to Google Ads, indicating that the conversion action has been completed. Google Ads then associates this data with the specific ad click that led to the conversion.

In the Google Ads dashboard, your team can view conversion data, including the number of conversions, conversion rate, and cost per conversion. Armed with that data, evaluate the performance of your campaigns and identify which ads are driving the most valuable actions.

7. Stay up-to-date on Google Ad Grant policies.

The main policies of the Google Ad Grant program include maintaining a minimum 5% click-through rate (CTR) across the account, adhering to a maximum cost-per-click (CPC) bid limit of $2, and using only text-based ads without images or videos. Nonprofits must also comply with Google’s website policy, ensuring transparency and relevance in their ad campaigns and website content.

Since these policies are subject to change, it’s important to stay informed. To keep up with Google Ad Grant policies and maintain compliance, follow these steps:

  • Visit the Google Ad Grants website. Regularly check the official Google Ad Grants website for the most up-to-date information on program policies, eligibility requirements, and guidelines.
  • Subscribe to certified Google Ad Grant newsletters. Sign up for newsletters to receive updates, announcements, and insights directly from Google.
  • Follow Google Ads and Google for Nonprofits on social media. Follow Google Ads and Google for Nonprofits on social media platforms like LinkedIn. They often share important updates and news about the Ad Grant program.

Set regular calendar reminders to check for policy updates and review your Google Ad Grant account’s compliance.

A Final Note About Optimizing Your Google Grant Account

Although optimizing a Google Ad Grant account requires consistent time and effort, it will ultimately lead to increased visibility for your nonprofit.

If you’re still not sure where to start, remember there are Google Ad Grant agencies like Getting Attention that will work alongside your nonprofit to create a digital advertising strategy that aligns with your goals.

For more information on Google Ad Grants, check out these additional resources:

Ready to make the most of your $10,000 a month in free ad spend? Click here to partner with our recommended agency, Getting Attention.
Learn how to apply for the Google Ad Grant in this comprehensive guide.

How to Apply for the Google Ad Grant: A Comprehensive Guide

If you’re a nonprofit professional looking for an affordable way to expand your organization’s online presence and reach a wider audience, then you’re in the right place. The Google Ad Grant offers eligible nonprofits up to $10,000 a month in free advertising on Google.

But with so many organizations vying for the grant, how do you stand out from the competition and secure the funding you deserve? That’s where this guide comes in.

Whether you’re a tech-savvy marketer or a nonprofit newbie, we’ll teach you how to apply for the Google Ad Grant and ensure that you’re prepared to maximize the benefits of free ad spend. Let’s get started!

FAQs About the Google Ad Grant Application

Before we dive into the specifics of the Google Ad Grant application process, let’s answer some frequently asked questions.

1. What is the Google Ad Grant?

The Google Ad Grant is a powerful digital marketing tool that provides eligible nonprofits with up to $10,000 in free ad spend per month. The grant can be used to create search ads in order to drive more traffic to the nonprofit’s website or to attract more donations and volunteers.

Here’s how it works: With a Google Ad Grants account, you create ads to show on Google Search. When a user searches for terms relevant to your nonprofit’s cause, your ads will appear either independently or in positions below paid ads.

For more information on the Google Ad Grant, watch this video:

2. What are the benefits of applying for the Google Ad Grant?

The Google Ad Grant program empowers nonprofits to target specific keywords relevant to their cause and optimize their online presence. That way, when someone searches for a term related to your mission, your content is most likely to appear at the top of the search results and attract their attention (as well as their support).

Plus, the Google Ad Grant program provides access to free ad spend. Rather than having to allocate a significant portion of your budget to digital marketing, you can invest in other critical areas of your organization’s operations and programs.

3. How long does the Google Ad Grant application process take?

The timeline for the application process can vary based on several factors, including the responsiveness of your nonprofit, the completeness of your application, and the volume of applications being reviewed by Google.

How to Apply for the Google Ad Grant in 5 Steps

Now that you know what the grant is and how it can benefit your nonprofit, let’s explore how to effectively apply for the Google Ad Grant:

This graphic lists 5 steps to applying for the Google Ad Grant, which will be written out in the text below.

1. Verify your organization’s eligibility

To be eligible to apply for the Google Ad Grant, your organization must:

  • Be a verified nonprofit. Nonprofits need to be a verified nonprofit in their country of operation. In the United States, this means achieving 501(c)(3) status.
  • Enroll in Google for Nonprofits or TechSoup. If your organization is not already registered with TechSoup or Google for Nonprofits, sign up and complete the registration process. These platforms help validate your nonprofit status.
  • Have a functional and secure website. You must have a functioning website with substantial content related to its mission and programs. The website should also be HTTP-certified.
  • Comply with Ad Grants policies. Agree to comply with all Google Ad Grants policies and guidelines, including those related to acceptable content, quality standards, and website requirements.

Keep in mind that eligibility requirements may vary slightly depending on the country or region where the nonprofit operates. Review the specific guidelines provided by Google for Nonprofits in your respective country to ensure you’re compliant.

3. Complete the Google Ad Grants enrollment process

Visit the Google Ad Grants website and follow the instructions to enroll your organization. Provide the necessary information about your nonprofit, such as:

  • Basic information about your nonprofit organization, such as its name, address, and website.
  • Your organization’s registered charity number or equivalent legal status documentation.
  • The location and type of activities your nonprofit conducts.
  • Your organization’s mission statement and how Google Ads will help further that mission.
  • A brief summary of your current online advertising efforts, if any.
  • A description of the target audience for your ads.
  • Your marketing goals and what you hope to achieve with the Ad Grants program.

It’s important to fill out the eligibility form accurately and completely, as incomplete or inaccurate information may delay or prevent your nonprofit from being approved for the Google Ad Grants program.

3. Build a strong website

Ensure that your website has relevant and high-quality content that aligns with your organization’s mission and the keywords you plan to target in your ad campaigns.

In addition to designing informative and engaging pages that provide value to visitors, you should:

  • Write clear calls to action (CTAs). Place clear and compelling calls to action throughout your website to encourage visitors to take desired actions, such as donating, signing up for newsletters, volunteering, or attending events. Make the CTAs prominent, easily clickable, and enticing, so visitors are more likely to engage with your organization.
  • Ensure a mobile-friendly design. Optimize your website for mobile devices as a significant portion of online traffic comes from mobile users. Ensure that your website is responsive and provides a seamless user experience across different screen sizes and devices. Mobile-friendly websites are preferred by Google and offer a better experience for your visitors.
  • Set up conversion tracking. Implement conversion tracking and use analytics tools, such as Google Analytics, to measure the effectiveness of your Google Ad Grant campaigns and website performance. Track key metrics like click-through rates, conversions, and bounce rates to gain insights into the impact of your ads and identify areas for improvement.

By following these tips, you can enhance the user experience, increase engagement, and maximize the impact of your Google Ad Grant campaigns. Remember to regularly review and optimize your website based on user behavior and campaign performance data to continuously improve your results.

4. Craft compelling campaigns

Develop an effective advertising strategy to promote your organization and its initiatives. This involves:

  • Identifying target keywords. Conduct thorough keyword research to identify relevant and targeted keywords for your ad campaigns. Use tools like Google Keyword Planner to discover keywords with high search volume and low competition. Focus on keywords that align with your nonprofit’s mission, services, or target audience.
  • Creating engaging ad copy. Craft compelling ad copy that grabs the attention of your audience. Highlight your nonprofit’s unique value proposition and include a clear call to action. Use language that resonates with your target audience and showcases the impact of their support.
  • Designing compelling landing pages. Ensure that your ad campaigns direct users to relevant landing pages on your website. For instance, if you’re asking users to donate, the CTA should link to the donation page on your website. These pages should have clear and concise information and easy navigation to encourage conversions.

Continuously test and optimize your ad campaigns to improve performance. Conduct A/B testing by creating variations of your ads and measuring their effectiveness. Test different headlines, ad copy, call to actions, and visuals to identify what resonates best with your audience and drives higher click-through rates and conversions.

5. Submit your application

Once you submit your application for the Google Ad Grant program, it will be reviewed by Google to ensure compliance with the program guidelines and policies. As previously mentioned, the approval process varies but typically takes a few weeks. During this time, Google may request additional information or clarifications.

Then, you’ll receive a notification from Google regarding the status of your application. If approved, you can begin using your Google Ad Grant to run ads and promote your nonprofit!

A Final Note About the Google Ad Grant Application

The Google Ad Grants program offers a valuable opportunity for nonprofit organizations to promote their missions online with free Google Ads. If you need assistance throughout the application process, consider working with our recommended Google Ad Grants agency: Getting Attention.

Their team of experts will ensure that your nonprofit meets the eligibility requirements, submits a successful application, and leverages the Google Ad Grant effectively.

For more information on the Google Ad Grant, check out these additional resources:

Incorporating Events into Your Member Recruitment Strategy

Event planning is one of many important parts of effective association management. A well-planned association event not only boosts your revenue and engages existing members, but it can recruit new ones as well.

Members make an association. And recruiting new members is just as important as retaining current members! Recruiting helps association growth and keeps numbers up when old members leave.

In this guide, we’ll discuss five essential ways your organization can incorporate events into your member recruitment strategy to enhance your results.

1. Determine your target audience

Before you begin planning an upcoming event to increase member recruitment, it’s important to understand your association’s target audience. There are different reasons for someone to attend an association event. Here are some common motivations:

  • Education: For attendees who want to learn more about a specific subject, consider having a speaker or a workshop on a specific topic relevant to your association.
  • Professional networking: For those who want to build connections for their professional social network, hold roundtable discussions, lectures, and workshops. Just make sure attendees have ample downtime between activities to socialize.
  • Socializing: Many people attend events to meet new people. Almost any kind of event will work for this! Try holding trivia or other fun activities that get people involved and talking.
  • Community involvement: Many attendees are interested in giving back to their community, so consider holding charity events that help them make a positive difference.

By understanding how to appeal to potential members’ values and interests, you can choose the right type of event to attract them.

2. Plan how you’ll engage potential members

Plan your association event with potential members in mind. You should always be thinking about the specific individuals you’re trying to draw in. It’s always a good idea to plan as much of your event in advance as possible. This way, everyone helping at the event knows exactly what they’re meant to be doing and how they can connect to potential members.

Consider hosting an event that both members and non-members are free to attend. Or consider inviting potential members to attend a members-only event as guests. No matter the event, you can prepare welcome packets containing important membership details to pass out to these non-members at the event.

To provide added convenience to potential members, consider making your event hybrid or virtual so that even those who may be unable to attend in person can participate.

At this point in time, most people are very familiar with attending virtual events, which makes it easy and convenient. This also broadens your audience and lets you reach more people. You can reach people who may live further away but are still excited to join. 

Having this option is a great way to attract people who are interested in your association but haven’t been able to make it to in-person events previously. They’ll be even more excited for this one! 

3. Enlist your current members to help at your event

Make the most of your existing members’ connections by enlisting them to help with member recruitment at your next association event.

Having current members there is a great way to introduce potential members to your association. It’s also a great way for potential members to form connections within the association through current members. A personal connection goes a long way.

Ask for volunteers from your members to become ambassadors at the event. They can encourage potential members to join your association by:

  • Welcoming guests
  • Sharing their experience as a member
  • Answering membership-related questions
  • Introducing them to other members at the event

Furthermore, encourage existing members to invite a non-member acquaintance, work colleague, or friend who might be interested in becoming a member.

Using existing networks is a great way to find new members. A person coming to an event through someone they know is more likely to join up if they have a personal connection to your organization already. 

4. Emphasize member benefits

Make it easy for event attendees to embark on their membership journey to your association by highlighting specific member benefits at the event. Show them why they should join! 

At the event, you can include benefits in your welcome packet. You can also consider passing out one-page sheets listing the benefits. Having the benefits highlighted in their own handout can be helpful to make them more clear.

You can also go into more detail if they’re separate, rather than trying to fit it all into the welcome packet, which should be concise. Provide a link to your website on anything you hand out, or another place where they can learn more.

Just a few member benefit ideas you can highlight include:

  • Discounts and coupons
  • Member directory
  • Mentorship programs
  • Exclusive online content
  • Professional training and certifications

Member benefits will be different for every association. Again, think about your audience. Who are they? What do you think would benefit them? What do you think they’d be most interested in?

5. Follow up with event attendees

In addition to your usual thank-you emails to everyone who attended your event, follow up specifically with your non-member event attendees about joining your association.

Give them a clear path, both during and after the event, for how to join your organization. Make the process as easy and clear as possible. Nothing stops a potential member more than a lengthy and difficult-to-understand application process. Having a straightforward application process should always be an important part of your member recruitment strategy.

There are many things you can fit into a thank you email. Here are some suggestions:

  • First of all, thank them for coming!
  • Tell them about the next event they can attend.
  • Link them to further information about your organization. This could be your website, which should have benefits laid out again, and a clear way to join your association.
  • Invite them to subscribe to a regular newsletter so they can hear about what’s happening next. These little updates and reminders help keep your organization in their mind and make them more likely to join.

Show them that you care about their experience with your organization by sending out post-event surveys to gather their feedback and make improvements for future events.

Events can give potential members a clearer picture of what membership in your association looks like. Therefore, it’s critical to plan an enjoyable and memorable event experience for all attendees. In this article, we’ve given five ways to help you improve your member recruitment strategy. Following these five tips will help turn your next recruitment event into a success!

Understanding the Fundraising Consultant Hiring Process

Understanding the Fundraising Consultant Hiring Process

Working with the right consultant can change the trajectory of your organization’s fundraising. No matter what kind of support you need, whether it’s planning a capital campaign or conducting a fundraising assessment, a fundraising consultant can help. 

But how do you find the perfect consultant for your organization, and how exactly do you hire one? To help you understand what the fundraising consultant hiring process looks like, we’ll cover the most important elements:

  • Assessing Your Organization’s Needs
  • Requests for Proposals (RFPs)
  • Consultant Research
  • Making Your Decision

Once you go through the hiring process, your nonprofit will end up with a valuable resource who can help you make lasting changes to your organization’s fundraising approach. Let’s dive in so you can start reaping those benefits!

Assessing Your Organization’s Needs

Similar to the process you go through when choosing new fundraising software to invest in, you’ll first need to determine exactly what you need from the consultant. Assess your resources, goals, and recent campaign performance to determine which areas of fundraising you need help with. 

Some common focus areas that fundraising consultants can assist you with include: 

  • Major donor research and cultivation: If you’re not meeting your fundraising goals because you don’t have enough major donors, a consultant can help you find the most likely prospects and strategically build relationships with them.
  • Capital campaigns: Need to fund a major building or project? Your fundraising consultant can conduct a feasibility study to make sure you’re ready, work with you to develop an effective case for support, and see you through the entire planning stage. Plus, they can provide you with ongoing guidance throughout the campaign.
  • Strategic planning: No matter what size campaign you’re planning, a qualified consultant will get familiar with your nonprofit’s needs and goals to develop a thorough campaign strategy designed to drive success.
  • General approach to fundraising: Maybe your team is new to hosting fundraisers or your traditional tactics just seem to be falling flat. Consultants can train your team on today’s fundraising best practices or even hire new staff members to support your organization’s long-term development.

After determining the type of fundraising support you’ll need from your consultant, be sure to  define specific goals for their involvement. What outcomes do you want to achieve with their help? Set concrete goals, such as securing 10 major gifts within the next year or increasing the total value of individual donations by 20%.

Request for Proposals (RFPs)

Next, you’ll use the goals you set to create an RFP, or Request for Proposals. RFPs are documents your organization creates to outline why you’re searching for a consultant, explain what you’re looking for, and ask prospects to send in proposals for consideration. 

RFPs keep your search on track and give prospective consultants a clear idea of the services you require. To write one effectively, Donorly’s fundraising consultant hiring guide breaks down everything your RFP should include:

  • Purpose: Explain why you’re hiring a consultant, what your specific needs are, and what you ultimately hope to achieve. If you need them to work on a specific campaign, explain the basic purpose of the campaign here.
  • Organizational information: Give a quick overview of what your nonprofit does and the causes you support. Include information on how long you’ve been operating and the fundraising strategies and tools you already use, as well. 
  • Details about the project: Outline the scope, timeline, work expectations, and budget for the project the consultant will work on, including as much detail as possible.
  • Goals for the relationship: Define specific success measurements for the project and the consultant’s work. Include how and when you’ll evaluate progress. 
  • Submission guidelines: Let prospective consultants know everything their proposals need to include, and set a due date. 

Once you’ve created a draft, run the RFP by your board for final approval. After researching options and selecting consultants you’re interested in learning more about, you’ll send your RFP to each one. Each consultant will then use these guidelines to create their own proposals, which you’ll use to determine the best fit.

Consultant Research

Now that you’ve outlined your needs and goals in your RFP, you can begin searching for potential consultants!

There are multiple avenues for consultant research. Start by reaching out to your colleagues and connections at other nonprofits to ask for recommendations. You might attend nonprofit panels that fundraising consultants participate in to hear about their services. Or, conduct research online using general Google searches or by visiting reputable websites like The Giving Institute or AFP’s fundraising consultant directory

As you research consultants, pay attention to each one’s:

  • Services and specialties
  • Case studies and examples of their work
  • Type of organizations they typically work with 
  • Fundraising philosophies
  • Location or ability to work with you remotely

Take notes on every consultant that stands out throughout your research, then bring your team together to discuss your findings. Based on these factors, narrow down your options to a list of 5-10 consultants you think could be the best fit.

Making Your Decision

As soon as you have your list of prospective consultants, you can jump into the process of sending RFPs and evaluating the candidates. To make a decision, follow these steps:

  1. Reach out to consultants and send RFPs: Email or call everyone on your list before sending your RFP to state your interest. Introducing yourself upfront will help you get to know candidates and start relationships off on the right foot. After this initial outreach, send RFPs and give the consultants at least two weeks to send their proposals in.
  2. Review proposals: Compile a team of staff members to review the submitted proposals together and discuss each one’s merits. Then, select a few consultants you feel confident about and want to interview.
  3. Conduct interviews and check references: Sit down with each of your top contenders and ask them anything more you need to know. For example, if they’ll be training your team, ask them detailed questions about their fundraising training process. Ask for a few references at the interview, then use them to verify the quality of their work. 
  4. Create and send a contract: Once you’ve made your final decision, you can draft a contract! Include information about compensation, key performance indicators, and the scope of their responsibilities. 

To make your final choice, consider factors like the quality of the consultant’s previous work, how their proposal aligns with your needs, and their personal fit with your nonprofit’s culture. According to eCardWidget, your company culture is made up of your organizational values, attitudes, and practices. It’s important that everyone working with your nonprofit aligns with its culture to ensure satisfaction. 

The consultant hiring process can feel like a big time commitment, but think of it as an investment. The more careful thought and dedication you put into the process, the better results you’ll see when you find the right fit. Fundraising consultants can give your organization the tools to thrive for years to come and ultimately do more of what matters, so they’re worth taking the time to find.

The Damage of Nonprofit Employee Churn & How to Prevent It

We’re living in an unusual labor environment—historically low but rising unemployment rates, high inflation, conflicting signs that may or may not point to an impending recession. We’re also seeing highly active labor movements and changing norms following the significant changes brought about by the pandemic and Great Resignation.

Economic anxieties are at a high, so nonprofits naturally have a lot on their minds. When instability is on the radar, most organizations know to strengthen their donor and partner relationships while seeking new ways to diversify their revenue—but look inward, too.

The internal health of an organization is essential for its overall health. Employee retention plays a critically important role. 

Let’s take a closer look at the state of employee turnover for nonprofits. Why is it so harmful, and how can you prevent it?

What’s the average nonprofit turnover rate?

The voluntary turnover rate for the nonprofit sector averaged 19% in 2022. It also sits consistently higher than turnover at for-profit businesses.

Historically, 19% turnover is typical, but looking at recent years, we can see some interesting trends. The turnover rate rose to a high of 21% in 2019 but dropped to a low of 14% in 2020 (NonprofitHR). One possible explanation is that the disruptions of the pandemic and the drastically increased need for nonprofit services during that time kept many nonprofit professionals in their jobs. 

Since then, the turnover rate has steadily increased to pre-pandemic norms as part of the Great Resignation, with many employees across sectors finding new opportunities. Perhaps your own organization saw the same trends play out at a reduced scale since 2019—a good reminder that while there are many causes of turnover that you can control, there are also external forces that you can’t

But just because you can’t directly control the forces that drive turnover doesn’t mean you can’t adapt to them! After the disruptions of recent years, nonprofits are already making positive changes. 

Specifically, NonprofitHR’s 2022 retention survey found that more nonprofits are now actively tracking employee retention metrics (+4%) and developing formal retention strategies (+13%) than in 2021.

This is great news—it’s impossible to reduce turnover and mitigate its damage without a concrete plan or data to inform it. It would seem that many nonprofits have learned from the lessons of the pandemic years to improve their employee management approach.

So what were those lessons exactly? What are the extended negative impacts of churn?

Why is employee churn so harmful?

There are many reasons why a high turnover rate is harmful to organizations, and they can amplify each other over time if left unchecked, making it increasingly difficult to retain talent. The key risks to consider include:

  • Financial cost. First, losing employees is costly. The hiring process to find replacements takes time and resources.
  • Opportunity cost. Time spent rehiring is time that could otherwise go towards revenue-generating activities. Not to mention, it takes time for new hires to begin reaching the same productivity as more senior team members who departed. For example, The Chronicle of Philanthropy estimates that it takes four years for fundraisers to reach full productivity in their roles.
  • Cultural and brand damage. Poor retention harms morale, especially if employees feel overworked when empty roles aren’t filled, creating an environment prone to further turnover. These impacts can then spread to harm your organizational brand as a whole, with employees feeling burnt out or disengaged from the mission.

For nonprofits specifically, these risks are heightened. Nonprofits usually operate on tight budgets, making the felt effects of turnover-related financial and opportunity costs especially pronounced. Nonprofits also rely heavily on relationships with donors, sponsors, and funders to sustain their work—relationships built by individual fundraisers or development officers. If these relationships are too siloed, that fundraiser’s departure can make it very difficult to maintain their valuable relationships.

Not to mention, nonprofits need positive public perceptions to continue fundraising and operating their programs effectively. Inconsistent staffing and a reputation as a place where people don’t want to work can cause your community to become disengaged or even lose trust in your nonprofit.

How can you reduce or eliminate these risks?

Enough of the gloomy stuff—what are the steps you can take to prevent these negative impacts from taking root in your organization?

1. Combat turnover.

It seems self-evident, but to avoid the damage of employee turnover, you should actively combat it by prioritizing retention. 

Although more nonprofits now actively develop retention strategies, many still don’t. And those that do often haven’t been able to devote much attention to management in the past, so their retention approaches may not be rooted in best practices. What do you need to know about employee retention?

Start by understanding the key elements of an effective strategy. According to Graham-Pelton’s retention guide for nonprofits, these include:

  • Benefits and compensation
  • Learning and development
  • Organizational culture
  • Employee engagement
  • Career progression
  • Recruiting practices
  • Management styles

Within these categories fall a wide variety of tactics you can use to engage and retain employees. There’s no one specific arrangement that will work for every nonprofit. Rather, each organization should seek to find the right ratio of tactics that mesh with their cultures, values, and communities. Ensuring that each category is represented will make your overall strategy more effective and well-rounded. 

But there are a few big-picture best practices that successful retention strategies share. As you develop your unique configuration of retention tactics, keep these in mind:

  • Foster an engaging environment that prioritizes communication and transparency. Explain whyyour organization makes the decisions it does and how employees play roles in its success. 
  • Create meaningful opportunities for development and progression. Offer actual new skills, responsibilities, and certifications, not just empty new titles or busywork, to help grow new leaders internally.
  • Strengthen your recruiting practices. Hiring the right individual for a role will boost the odds of long-term retention. If you feel that your current hiring process is often rushed or not very thorough, give it an update.
  • Offer the benefits that you can and that employees want. Nonprofits often aren’t in positions to offer highly competitive salaries and financial benefits, and employees drawn to nonprofit work understand this. But you must still make an effort to stay competitive in whatever ways you can—modest raises, workplace perks, hybrid work flexibility, etc.
  • Recognize employee achievements. Make recognition a cornerstone of your culture. Acknowledge valuable employee contributions, express gratitude, and explain to that individual or the whole team why their actions were impactful. A variety of recognition tools and platforms make it easy to build out a sustainable approach.

Building out a retention strategy to reduce turnover in the first place is the single best step you can take to mitigate its damage to your nonprofit. 

The best part is that your strategy doesn’t have to be perfect. It should instead be dynamic and adaptive—you won’t know what works best for your unique organization until you try it out, so approach your strategy as a continual learning experience.

2. Reduce knowledge and relationship silos.

With a solid preventative framework in place, we’ll now look at the infrastructural steps you can take to reduce the negative impacts of turnover when it does happen.

The siloing of knowledge and relationships creates undue risks—a departing employee takes their skills and contacts with them. And even if you’re still in touch with a donor after the departure of the gift officer who built that relationship, the relationship may now need to start from square one. To reduce silos, try these best practices:

  • Document your internal processes. All kinds of processes and workarounds develop organically over time, but they shouldn’t just live in one employee’s memory—record them in handbooks, manuals, flowcharts, or notes to simplify the work of other (and future) employees.
  • Develop concrete reporting protocols, specifically for donations and donor interactions. Clear records of who’s given, when, how much, and all other touchpoints that have occurred are essential for proper stewardship, and they’ll allow your team to seamlessly maintain relationships with donors even if a donor’s primary contact leaves your organization.
  • Keep your data clean. Data hygiene ensures your records are actually useful. Meticulously recording donor touchpoints will only be helpful if any gift officer on your team can successfully interpret them, so notes should be recorded in clear, straightforward language. Quantitative data points should also all be entered into your system in a consistent way.
  • Standardize your moves management process. Similarly, your gift cultivation and stewardship process should follow a few standardized steps or phases. You likely already have a clear sense of these phases, but is your team referring to them with the same language? Are they designated in your record system? Systematizing this process will ensure that donor relationships can be quickly understood and continued by anyone on your team when needed. 

Consider your regulatory context when looking for ways to reduce knowledge and contact silos. For example, grateful patient fundraising programs are subject to more restrictive patient privacy laws that will impact the specific fundraising and data flows that you can use as an organization. 

3. Give employees the tools and frameworks to succeed.

Equipping and empowering your employees to drive the greatest impact will go a long way to improve retention. When team members don’t need to waste time and energy with clunky systems and processes, they’ll feel more engaged and able to focus on their real tasks—engaging with donors and constituents, facilitating programs, and keeping your organization running.

And if turnover does occur, you’ll have more efficient, resilient, and intuitive processes in place that reduce its negative impacts. 

First, upgrade tech or invest in tech as needed. A modern CRM is a must, as is intuitive fundraising or donation software that truly meets your needs. If you’re feeling locked into a legacy platform that either isn’t offering a great donor experience or creates more problems than it solves for your team, an upgrade is likely a smart move.

And keep in mind that investing in your own ability to drive impact sustainably is an important part of stewarding your mission. Consider whether it’s possible to budget for needed upgrades and new purchases, remembering that sometimes overhead is essential. Or consider conducting a special capacity campaign to fund new investments—always an option if a jolt of capital will take your growth to the next level and you can make a compelling, specific case for support.

Aside from technology, you should also equip your team with the processes, frameworks, and strategies they need to thrive in their roles, especially if your small organization is growing. Ad hoc solutions and approaches may work for a while, but they’re often not scalable. Not only do they become more disorganized over time, but they also lead to worse employee experiences.

Increased organization and efficiency will be key. Moves management and prospect portfolio management systems are great examples of more advanced practices that organizations pick up and adapt as they mature. 

Of course, employee churn isn’t 100% avoidable—some employees will always choose to leave for personal reasons or because they’ve found new opportunities. 

What your nonprofit can control are the internal forces that drive churn and its potential negative impacts, and it’s not hard to take the first steps. Outline a concrete retention strategy if you haven’t yet. Consider if you’re unnecessarily siloing important knowledge or contacts and whether you’re offering tools and processes that make work easier rather than harder.

This guide explores the most important features nonprofits should look for in a nonprofit payment processor.

4 Features to Look for in a Nonprofit Payment Processor

From planning a fundraiser to promoting and executing it, your nonprofit likely spends most of its time thinking of ways to boost its revenue. From text campaigns to festive fun runs, your goal is to collect donations that will power your nonprofit’s mission. But communicating the importance of your mission and finding enthusiastic donors is only half the job!

Consider what happens after you swipe that credit card. Between the swipe and the funds landing in your account, a lot has to happen on the backend to ensure payments are processed securely and quickly—and preferably at a low cost to your nonprofit.

Your choice of a payment processor significantly impacts your ability to gain donors’ trust and collect donations with ease. That’s why we’ve compiled four of the most important features to look for when researching payment processors for your nonprofit. 

The choices, it can seem, are endless. There are nonprofit CRMs with built-in payment processors. There’s Stripe and iATS, Paypal, Fundly, and the list goes on. Think about your nonprofit to decide whether a CRM with a payment processor is the best choice, or if it’s easier for you to use a third-party system.

Regardless of which you choose, here are the four features you’ll want to be sure you pay close attention to as you shop around.

Security Certifications

Perhaps the most critical measurement you can take is how secure payments will be with any given provider. Fortunately for consumers and organizations, the Payment Card Industry has standardized security certification so you can tell, at a glance, how secure a payment processor is.

Payment processors should, at the very least, be PCI-compliant. If they have this designation, the payment processor adheres to PCI guidelines and will internally check their processes with a self-assessment. This compliance, achieved in about a month, means the payment processor has:

  • Taken a self-assessment to ensure it’s following the guidelines
  • Installed a firewall between their wireless network and the cardholder data
  • Implemented a strong vulnerability management program

The next step up from PCI compliance is PCI certification. This is a much more stringent certification and one that involves more steps to remain compliant. There’s a rigorous process that includes regular audits by a third party to ensure the software and security measures are safe. This certification isn’t common among payment processors as it takes about six months to complete—and the processor remains under careful watch to ensure compliance is maintained. 

If your payment processor is PCI-certified, it means that:

  • A qualified security assessor (QSA) has inspected and approved the software and security measures in place.
  • The QSA has researched how the software solution was developed.
  • The QSA checked the training the software developers have received.

Moving on from PCI compliance, some payment processors are SOC 2 compliant. A platform that is SOC 2-certified or compliant adheres to security standards that protect all the donor data you collect. Everything from network firewalls to encryption is evaluated to ensure that information about your nonprofit’s donors can’t be compromised.

SOC-2 certification and compliance are voluntary and are based on Trust Services Criteria determined by the American Institute of CPAs. Compliant processors are adhering to strict regulations about how they manage donor data. If you can find a payment processor that is both PCI-certified and SOC 2-certified, you’re looking at a processor that is much more focused on the security and safety of your donor data.

A final piece of the security puzzle is fraud prevention. It’s a fear of many nonprofits because when donor data or dollars are compromised, the reputation of your nonprofit can take a hit.

To give your donors peace of mind and protect their data, look for a platform that is regularly audited and held to the highest security standards. Many nonprofit CRM payment processors will offer some sort of fraud protection to their clients, and it’s advisable to seek out any level of fraud protection to keep your donors safe.


Can a payment processor be user-friendly? Yes, if you find the right one! 

Think about it like this: If a supporter donated just once at the end of each year, would they be familiar with the donation submission process? Or would they forget how to use the software after such a long time had lapsed and become frustrated with it?

Your payment processor should make it easy for donors to give, no matter how they choose to submit their donation. What makes it easy to give?

One-click giving, in which a donor enters a name and the system automatically populates the other fields, is a great way to offer donors a user-friendly experience. And having multiple options for donation types can help as well.

At a minimum, allow your donors to give via:

  • Credit card
  • ACH, or check/bank transfer
  • PayPal
  • Google Pay
  • Apple Pay

Other considerations include the ability to accept in-kind donations or donated stock/securities. And for donors worldwide, choose a payment processor that accepts multi-currency transactions.

Availability of Support 

When something in your payment processing software is confusing or just not working the way you expect it to, you’ll want to be able to pick up the phone or click a link and chat with someone.

How a payment processor views support tells you a lot about how the relationship is going to look, long-term. If they just want your signature on a contract, they might not be the best option. But if they offer a lot of support options: email, online chat, ticket system, and even the old-fashioned phone that actually gets answered, you might want to explore that relationship

Think of your payment platform as an investment in a partner who will support your fundraising ventures. This is especially true if you invest in an all-in-one solution that handles multiple fundraising tasks.

For example, if you are running a peer-to-peer campaign, you might appreciate a chat with someone who has seen dozens of nonprofit P2P events. If your nonprofit CRM is also a payment processor, they likely support their clients and offer a multitude of fundraising tools.

A tip is to look for a platform with a professional customer service team. Not only will you want the help to answer any questions you may have, but the right support team will:

  • Offer training: The support team should do more than crisis control—look for a provider who will help you learn the platform.
  • Answer at any time: Support should always be available and easy to reach.
  • Provide thorough information: More than simply answering your questions, the right help team will give you all the context you need to make the most out of the software.

Be sure that you can depend on the provider’s customer service team whenever you need help!

Leveraging a Subscription Billing Model

If you look at gyms or streaming services or the little front-door boxes with all the ingredients for a delicious dinner, you will see evidence of our (increasingly expected) subscription economy.

And what does that mean for your nonprofit? Donors are used to this idea of monthly giving. When your billing software supports automatic monthly donations or sustainers, or even pledges, you’re ahead of the game.

Don’t start your search for a payment processor by thinking about the donation process—observe your fundraising goals in their entirety. Your nonprofit will want to grow donations and retain donors. How can your payment processor support that goal?

According to CharityEngine’s guide to sustained giving programs, “Your nonprofit needs billing software created to maximize the dollars donated to your nonprofit.” To encourage recurring donations, your payment processor should offer a subscription billing model that allows for automated payments or online bill payments. 

Choosing the Right Payment Processor

Is there one payment processor that’s the best choice for every single nonprofit? No, but there is the best choice for your nonprofit. So once you’ve settled on the features that matter most, research your options and request demos from the providers that most impress you. 

More than anything, look for a partner. Check off these four features, of course, because you can leverage them to maximize fundraising. But listen to your gut when you’re asking about support. Having a partner that cares about your success is a sure way to win at the fundraising game.

In this guide, we’ll walk through all the details of how to start a fundraiser for your nonprofit.

How to Start a Fundraiser: The Nonprofit’s Ultimate Guide

Fundraising comprises a large portion of your nonprofit’s funding. Collecting donations empowers your organization to expand its reach and accomplish its mission.

However, it can be intimidating to start a fundraiser from scratch, especially for newer organizations and less experienced fundraising coordinators. Fundraisers require a certain level of organization, a clear strategy, and a lot of hard work to be successful. From creating your initial goals to developing your marketing materials, there are so many considerations that go into starting a fundraiser.

To help you stay on track, we’ll teach you how to start a fundraiser by walking you through the fundraising process step by step. Along the way, we’ll offer advice on how to pull off the fundraiser of your dreams.

Take a look at the steps we’ll discuss to make sure your fundraising plan is complete:

  1. Determine Your Goals For Your Nonprofit Fundraiser
  2. Select a Fundraising Campaign Type
  3. Develop a Fundraising Plan
  4. Choose the Appropriate Software Before Starting a Fundraiser
  5. Create Marketing Materials To Promote Your Fundraiser
  6. Promote Your Nonprofit’s Fundraiser
  7. Thank Donors For Contributing To Your Fundraiser
  8. Assess the Results of Your Nonprofit’s Fundraiser

It’s our goal at NXUnite to equip nonprofits with the tools and knowledge they need to be successful. Fundraising is such a huge element of nonprofit operations, so it’s important to know how to start a fundraiser properly. That’s why we’ve created this ultimate guide to help your nonprofit reach its fundraising goals.

With that, let’s jump right into it and learn how to start a fundraiser!

Our panels will help you develop a well-rounded fundraising plan.

1. Determine Your Goals For Your Nonprofit Fundraiser

To start a fundraiser off on the right foot, it’s important to set a focus for your campaign by creating clear goals. That way, you’ll build a strong foundation for the rest of the planning process.

The SMART Goal Method

Instead of creating generic objectives, there are some guidelines your organization should follow to make sure your goals are meaningful. The SMART goal model ensures that your goals are action-oriented and targeted to exactly what you want to achieve. Check out the elements of SMART goals:

  1. Specific. Make sure your goals have a clear purpose. It’s not enough to say you want to raise money for your cause. Indicate exactly what the money will go towards.
  2. Measurable. In this case, measurable typically refers to a clear monetary value you’d like to achieve. For example, your goal could be to raise $10,000 during the fundraiser. However, it could also be a certain amount of new donors you want to recruit or the number of returning donors you’d like to see.
  3. Achievable. While it’s good to be optimistic, you’ll also want to be realistic about what your organization can achieve. Don’t set your fundraising amount too high or give your nonprofit too short of a time to reach its goals.
  4. Relevant. Keep your organization’s current overall goals in mind when determining your fundraising goals. That way, your goals will align and make sense for your nonprofit.
  5. Time-bound. Set a deadline for your goals to motivate your organization to achieve them. Otherwise, you might put them off or not achieve them as quickly as you could.
The first step in how to start a fundraiser is to come up with SMART goals.

To sum up SMART goals, we’ll give you an example to refer to. If you coordinate school fundraisers, your goal might be to raise $100,000 over the course of the school year to help build a new playground. This goal is specific because it indicates exactly what the money will go towards. It’s measurable because you’ve assigned a monetary value to your goal.

Your team must determine whether your goals are achievable by evaluating your resources, but we know this one is relevant because it will add value to the school. Lastly, this goal is time-bound because it must be accomplished by the end of the school year.

Other Considerations For Your Fundraiser’s Goals

Now that you know how to create SMART goals, there are two other considerations you’ll want to keep in mind:

  • Your definition of success. This consideration ties into the achievable aspect of SMART goals. Do you want to raise a certain amount of money? Maybe you want to secure new donors or retain a certain amount of donors from your last fundraiser. Whatever the metrics you’re using to determine your fundraiser’s success, they will help you determine how much you need to raise and how much you could raise realistically based on your organization’s size and scope.
  • The intended impact of your goals. You might know what the money you raise will physically go towards, but why is that project or initiative important? Returning to our school example, maybe your school wants to build a new playground because it will teach kids the importance of being active. Illustrating this intended impact of the playground when you’re marketing your fundraiser will create a more compelling call to action for potential donors.

Putting thought behind your goals will set your campaign up for success before it even starts by giving participants something to work toward. Once your fundraising goals are solidified, it’s time to choose what your campaign will look like.

2. Select a Fundraising Campaign Type

Once your fundraising goals are solidified, it’s time to choose what your campaign will look like. There are a wide variety of available options for nonprofit fundraisers. Depending on your goals, budget, and resources, you can select the type of campaign that best suits your organization’s audience and needs.

To make it easier to plan your campaign, we’ve divided some of the top nonprofit fundraising ideas into the general categories of online and offline initiatives. Of course, some of these ideas are flexible and can be hosted in either sphere. Additionally, you might choose to combine multiple campaigns to expand your fundraising capabilities—it all depends on what you hope to accomplish!

To help you learn how to start a fundraiser, this graphic lists four types each of online and offline campaigns, which are detailed below.

Online Fundraising Campaigns

A major advantage of online fundraising is that it breaks down geographical barriers, making it possible to connect with more supporters no matter where they live. These campaigns are also convenient for your supporters since they can participate from anywhere. 

Here are a few online fundraising campaign types to get you started:

  • Crowdfunding. Leverage the power of social media and gain support from a wide range of people using a crowdfunding campaign. You can request small donations that add up to your goal and ask that followers share your campaign page with their friends and family to engage even more supporters.
  • Text-to-give. Make donating online even easier by meeting supporters where they probably are—on their phones. When a donor texts a keyword to your organization’s five- or six-digit shortcode, they’ll receive a link to your online donation page, where they can quickly fill out the form and make their contribution on the go. To make the most of your text-to-give campaign, ensure your donation page is optimized for mobile use.
  • Matching gifts. Matching gifts are a popular form of corporate philanthropy that allow you to double many of the donations you already receive. When a supporter who works for a company with a matching gift program contributes and submits a match request, their employer will donate the same amount. Embed your matching gift tool directly into your online donation page to prompt donors to check their eligibility and submit match requests.
  • Online shopping. Online shopping fundraisers allow supporters to contribute to your nonprofit by doing something they were probably going to do anyway: purchase everyday items from their favorite e-commerce sites. You likely heard of (or even participated in) AmazonSmile before its 2023 discontinuation, but there are alternative platforms your organization can still leverage to run a similar type of campaign.

The one downside of online fundraising is that it’s often more difficult to form lasting connections with campaign participants. That’s why it’s especially important to follow up with supporters and say thank you after they contribute online.

Offline Fundraising Campaigns

Many people prefer the personal touch of offline interactions, which is where more traditional fundraising methods excel. Plus, offline campaigns can often be combined with online ones or converted to a hybrid format if some supporters would still like to participate online.

Some popular offline fundraising campaigns include:

  • Direct mail. Requesting donations through mail often feels like a more personal outreach method than a digital ask on the supporter’s end. Segment your donors based on how frequently they donate and how much they have donated in the past, then tailor your messages to each segment. Include a prepaid return envelope with each letter, and consider adding a QR code to your online donation page to offer another giving option.
  • Fundraising events. There are many different ways to gather your community in support of your cause, so choose a fundraising event that resonates with your supporters. Popular examples include galas, auctions, 5K races, and a-thon style events like walk-a-thons or bike-a-thons.
  • Major gift solicitation. It’s estimated that 80% of nonprofit donations come from the top 20% of donors, meaning major gifts are essential to your nonprofit’s ability to further its mission. While you’ll use prospect research tools to identify potential major donors online, you’ll need to build relationships with each prospect offline so they’ll be receptive to your ask.
  • Volunteer grants. Similar to matching gifts, volunteer grants are a form of corporate philanthropy that involves your nonprofit’s supporters submitting requests to their employers based on their involvement with your organization. The submission again takes place online, but this time the contribution is based on an in-person activity: the number of hours they volunteer.

No matter which combination of online and offline fundraising campaigns you try, take steps to get your supporters excited about their involvement with your organization.

3. Develop a Fundraising Plan

An effective fundraising plan will keep you organized and on track. It will serve as your roadmap and ensure you have everything you need to make your campaign successful.

To make sure your fundraising plan is comprehensive, here are the elements yours should include:

  1. Goals. Start off your fundraising plan by adding the SMART goals you developed earlier. These goals will guide the rest of your fundraising plan.
  2. Case for support. You’ll want to craft a compelling reason for why donors should support your cause. It’s best to make this specific to the initiative or project you’re raising money for.
  3. Campaign type. Once you figure out which fundraising campaign you’re moving forward with, indicate that in your fundraising plan. Again, you can use any combination of the ones we’ve listed previously or others you come up with.
  4. Marketing channelsChoose which marketing channels are best for your campaign. Examples of marketing channels include social media, email, and your organization’s website.
  5. Timeline. Before starting a fundraiser, set a definitive timeline for your campaign. It might help to develop a campaign calendar to plan out the work that must get done each week.
  6. Budget. Figure out how much you need to spend to make your fundraiser a reality. Think about the costs of fundraising events and initiatives ahead of time so you only spend what you need to.
  7. Corporate sponsors. There are many philanthropic companies willing to assist nonprofits by sponsoring their events, offering matching gifts, and providing in-kind services. Identify how you’ll narrow down potential sponsors for your fundraiser and craft compelling proposals for support.
  8. Team members. Determine which members of your team will be part of this fundraising project and how much external support you’ll need from volunteers. You’ll want to delegate responsibilities to them so everyone knows what to do.
A fundraising plan will keep your fundraiser on track.

Incorporating all of these items into your fundraising plan will set clear intentions for your fundraiser, making it easier to move along with the planning process.

4. Choose the Appropriate Software Before Starting a Fundraiser

Fundraising software is necessary for your fundraiser to run smoothly. From accepting online donations and processing payments to managing donors and volunteers, there are so many aspects of your fundraiser that require software.

Events are one area where software can come in handy. You’ll likely want to take advantage of fundraising software to register and check in event attendees. If your event is virtual, you can provide a link or QR code to participants to make the process easier.

There are also specific platforms for certain types of fundraisers. For example, if you’re hosting a peer-to-peer fundraiser, you’ll want to look into peer-to-peer software, which enables your supporters to securely create individual fundraising pages to share with their networks.

If your organization already uses donor management software, find fundraising software that integrates well with the platform you use. That way, you can automatically import information about your new donors, saving your team time and energy. Later on, you can use that data to reach out to donors and shape future fundraising campaigns.

With fundraising software secured, you’re ready to move on to the next step in how to start a fundraiser.

5. Create Marketing Materials To Promote Your Fundraiser

Nonprofits need to come up with cohesive marketing strategies in order to promote their fundraisers effectively. Think about your campaign as a single story you want to tell. Every promotional material should work together in pursuit of your goals.

It can be difficult to create effective marketing materials on a budget, that’s why it’s essential to use the free or discounted marketing tools to empower your mission. This way, you’ll create stunning designs that are also cost-effective. With this in mind, here are some additional tips that will help you elevate your materials:

  • Focus your marketing on the impact your fundraiser will have. Of course, you’ll want to tell potential donors exactly what their money will go towards, but you’ll also want to highlight the underlying benefits of the project you’re funding. Make it clear why this project or initiative is important and what will happen if you don’t achieve your fundraising goals.
  • Using multiple different marketing channels will allow you to reach a broader audience. While you’ll want to tell the same cohesive story to all of your supporters, remember to adapt your message and content to each channel. For example, your social media campaign might feature short videos explaining the fundraiser while your website might contain an entire page dedicated to the fundraiser.
  • No matter which marketing channels you leverage, having well-designed images can help your marketing materials stand out. People are more drawn to images than words, and eye-catching designs can convey more information than you might think. Plus, images can break up large chunks of text to make it easier to read.
  • Feature your corporate sponsors. Corporate sponsorships can provide immense value to your nonprofit, but remember that they’re mutually beneficial relationships. Therefore, include the companies’ logos and details in your marketing materials to recognize them for their support and pave the way for long-lasting partnerships.

If your team has trouble creating its marketing materials, consider outsourcing the design work to a third-party graphic designer. We highly recommend Kwala, a nonprofit-focused graphic design company. By exclusively working with nonprofits throughout the years, they’ve become well-versed in what it takes to design materials that inspire support.

From social media graphics to fundraising flyers, Kwala can help bring your visions to life and spread awareness for your fundraisers in no time. Take this event invitation they created for the Wildlife Rescue Group for example:

Wildlife Rescue Group’s event invitation is a stellar example of the marketing materials you can create for your nonprofit fundraiser.

Whether you want artistic drawings or more realistic designs with stock photos, they’ll work with you to create the perfect promotional materials for your next fundraiser.

Once your marketing materials are ready to go, it’s time to share them with your supporters!

6. Promote Your Nonprofit’s Fundraiser

Your fundraiser could be for an outstanding cause with an organized fundraising plan behind it, but if no one knows about it, you won’t reach your fundraising goals. Promoting your fundraiser will attract new and previous donors to contribute to your cause.

As we alluded to before, your organization can use many different marketing channels to spread the word about your fundraiser. Use any combination of the ones we’ve listed below:

Try out a combination of these different marketing channels to promote your fundraiser.


You can’t go wrong with email marketing. It allows you to reach new and previous supporters and send a variety of different communications related to your fundraiser. Whether you’re informing subscribers about your fundraiser in your newsletter, inviting supporters to a fundraising event, or thanking donors for their contributions, email is an effective way to communicate about your fundraising efforts.


Your organization’s website is the home base for anything and everything about your nonprofit, so it’s a great place to include details about your fundraiser. Potential supporters will get the opportunity to look through other pages on your site to learn more about your organization before they lend their support.

Peer-to-Peer Outreach

One underutilized marketing tool is your supporters. Your existing donors and volunteers are some of your nonprofit’s biggest ambassadors. A genuine referral from one of them can go a long way in amplifying your fundraiser. Have them post about your campaign online and text their friends, encouraging them to donate to your fundraiser. You can even design event invitations or fundraising eCards they can use to challenge others to give to your campaign.

Learn more about designing donation and cause awareness greeting cards for your cause by exploring eCardWidget’s charity eCards guide.


If your nonprofit has a blog on its website, consider posting an article about the fundraiser. You could introduce or recap a fundraising event or provide an update about how much money you’ve raised so far.

Social Media

Social media is a great place to promote your fundraiser because your supporters can repost your content and share it with their own networks. You can also use social media as a chance to have some fun with your fundraiser’s promotion by playing into current trends and making short videos about the fundraiser with your team.

Press Release

See if any local media outlets will share a press release about your fundraising events. That way, you can reach members of your community who may know nothing about your organization.

Related Organizations

Ask your corporate partners, local businesses, or other related nonprofit organizations to help you spread the word about your fundraiser.

Google Ad Grants

The Google Ad Grants program provides nonprofits with $10,000 per month in Google Ad spend. As long as your organization is eligible, you can apply to the program and leverage Google Ads for free to promote your fundraisers and cause.

For help with applying for the program and managing your account, reach out to a Google Grant agency. A professional can take charge of your campaigns, so you can focus on other aspects of your fundraisers instead of writing ad copy.

Takeaway: The best marketing campaigns use multiple marketing methods. As long as you make the effort to interconnect each channel and communicate a cohesive message, leveraging multiple marketing channels will help you reach a larger audience.

7. Thank Donors For Contributing To Your Fundraiser

It’s always important to thank your donors, especially directly after they’ve made a donation. New donors can become life-long members of your community if you put in the effort to form relationships with them. Additionally, you can keep previous donors coming back by showing them you appreciate them.

The way you create a positive experience for donors is through effective donor stewardship. While 55% of US donors prefer to be thanked for their contributions via email, there are several ways to practice proper donor stewardship and leave a lasting impression:

Continue relationships with donors after your fundraiser with good donor stewardship.
  • Thanking donors by emailing them or calling them directly after they donate
  • Sending donors personal thank you letters with tax receipts
  • Treating donors with respect and care
  • Maintaining frequent communication with donors across marketing channels
  • Inviting donors to stewardship events
  • Sending donors reports that illustrate the impact they’ve made on your organization

Donor stewardship ensures that your organization creates and maintains strong relationships with your supporters. That way, your nonprofit can expand its network and build a community of supporters to work with and rely on when you start future fundraisers, projects, and initiatives.

Don’t overlook other supporters at this stage either! Recognize volunteers for any time and skills they used to make your fundraiser successful too. Sending a personalized eCard or quickly calling them can leave a positive impression. Additionally, take the time to publicly acknowledge your corporate sponsors for their contributions. You can do this with a sincere thank-you post on social media.

8. Assess the Results of Your Nonprofit’s Fundraiser

After your fundraiser, it’s essential to go back and look over your goals to see if you’ve accomplished them. This final step is important because it allows you to take the lessons you’ve learned from this campaign and apply them to your next fundraiser.

A great way to assess the results of your fundraiser is to ask your donors or event attendees for their feedback by sending them a survey. That way, you can get another perspective on what worked and what didn’t from fundraiser participants rather than leadership.

Additionally, there are some questions you’ll want to review with your fundraising team to evaluate your success. These questions may include:

Take the time to review the results of your fundraiser in order to make the next one even more successful.
  • Did you meet your initial goals?
  • Which marketing methods were most successful in achieving your goals?
  • Which marketing methods were unsuccessful?
  • Did you set an appropriate budget?
  • What were some successes that you should replicate when starting your next fundraiser?
  • What were some failures or shortcomings that you should avoid for your next fundraiser?
  • Are there any ways you could have used your resources more efficiently?

Taking the time to reflect upon your fundraiser will make your next one even more successful. Even though your team is likely busy with other projects, putting in a little time now means you’ll save time later in the planning process for future fundraisers.

Conclusion & Additional Resources

Now that you know the steps for how to start a fundraiser, it will be easier to stay organized and get the job done. Each time you host a fundraiser, you’ll get more familiar with the planning process, leading to more successful fundraisers.

In this guide to how to start a fundraiser, we touched upon many different considerations that go into fundraiser planning. We know you might have some further questions about how to host an effective fundraiser, especially if you’re a first-timer.

To help you out, we’ve compiled a list of resources that go beyond the basics of starting a fundraiser. These articles tackle more specific fundraiser tips and tricks that will help you along your fundraising journey. Check them out below:

Learn more about how to start a fundraiser by attending one of our panels or webinars.
Connect your nonprofit with local businesses.

4 Tips for Connecting Your Nonprofit With Local Businesses

Whether you’re seeking sponsorship, volunteer support, or joint marketing opportunities, establishing partnerships with businesses in your community is a powerful way to enhance your nonprofit’s impact. However, developing these partnerships can be challenging, time-consuming, and confusing without a strategic plan in place. 

In this guide, we’ll explore four tips for connecting your nonprofit with local businesses. From identifying potential partners to creating win-win collaborations, these insights will help you build strong cross-sector relationships that support your mission and drive positive change.

1. Research and Identify Potential Partners

To identify potential partners in the community, a nonprofit can follow these steps:

  • Define your objectives. Nonprofits often seek partnerships when organizing a large-scale fundraising event, launching a community initiative, or implementing a specific program that requires additional financial resources and support.
  • Research local businesses. Conduct thorough research to identify businesses in the community. Utilize online directories, local business associations, chamber of commerce listings, and social media platforms to identify potential partners.
  • Ensure your values align. Evaluate the values, missions, and corporate social responsibility initiatives of the identified businesses. Look for businesses that have a natural connection or alignment with your cause or mission. For example, a dog daycare business would be an obvious match for an animal shelter since they have similar clients and services. 

Reach out to the identified businesses to introduce your nonprofit and express interest in exploring a partnership. This can be done through phone calls, emails, or in-person meetings. 

2. Establish Clear Benefits

As you connect with local businesses, introduce your mission and communicate the benefits of a partnership. These may include: 

  • Community development: Partnering with a nonprofit allows businesses to contribute to community development and address social issues which can have a direct impact on their growth.
  • Elevated brand reputation. Collaborating with a nonprofit allows businesses to align themselves with a mission or social good cause, which can enhance their brand reputation and perception among customers, employees, and influencers in the community. 
  • Increased brand awareness. Add the business’s contact information and logo to marketing materials like fundraising flyers, event invitations, and partnership-related emails to increase their brand visibility. Or, create a personalized video about your sponsor and post it to your social media pages.
  • Employee morale and engagement. Most employees value working for a socially responsible company. Creating matching gift programs, introducing volunteer opportunities, and sponsoring local nonprofits can improve their satisfaction. 
  • Tax benefits. Businesses may be eligible for tax benefits or incentives when they donate or support nonprofit organizations. These financial incentives can provide a tangible benefit to the business, helping to offset costs or improve their bottom line.

Customize these benefits to suit the specific goals, needs, and sectors of the businesses you’re approaching. For example, a pet rescue organization might ask a dog trainer to financially support their upcoming adoption event. In return, the pet rescue will use Gingr’s pet business software to promote the dog trainer’s services, potentially leading to an influx of new customers. 

3. Create Tailored Partnership Opportunities

Develop opportunities that cater to different types and sizes of businesses. Offer a range of options, such as:

  • Sponsorship opportunities: Sponsorships come in the form of financial or in-kind contributions. To incentivize larger gifts, Double the Donation’s guide to corporate sponsorships recommends creating tiered benefit packages that correlate to the level of support given. For instance, when you receive a donation of $10,000 or more, you might mention the business in a speech and display its logo on partnership-related materials. Businesses that give less than this might receive a social media shoutout instead. 
  • Joint initiatives: A joint initiative is a collaboration between a nonprofit and a partner organization, in which both work to create a mutually beneficial event, program, or campaign. It involves pooling resources and networks to achieve a greater impact than either organization could achieve alone. 
  • Employee engagement programs: Employee engagement programs focus on involving employees of a business or organization in volunteer activities, fundraising efforts, or other activities that support your nonprofit’s mission.
  • Research collaborations: Nonprofits and businesses might partner together to research studies or projects related to their missions. For example, an animal welfare organization might partner with a dog boarding business to research the safest, most effective accommodations. 

After presenting a business with a partnership opportunity, gauge their interest and thank them for their consideration, regardless of their decision. That way, they will be left with a positive impression of your organization.

4. Demonstrate Impact

If a business agrees to be your partner, take notes throughout the partnership, making note of successes and areas of improvement. 

Then, in your outreach, explain the impact that the partnership has made on your nonprofit and the community as a whole. Share success stories, testimonials, or data that highlight the tangible outcomes of your programs or initiatives. This builds credibility and instills confidence in other potential business partners, showing them how their involvement will make a difference.

Remember, connecting with local businesses requires building meaningful relationships based on shared values and mutual benefits. By taking a strategic and personalized approach, your nonprofit can form valuable partnerships that amplify your impact and strengthen the communities you serve.

Read this for a comprehensive list of 18 discounted and free nonprofit marketing tools.

18 Free & Discounted Nonprofit Marketing Tools to Use Today

Did you know that nonprofits raise $78 on average for every 1,000 fundraising messages sent out? That means that every marketing message counts, so your strategy needs to be digitally savvy to be effective. Additionally, you’ll need to use sustainable marketing tools to keep your efforts going. But, how does your nonprofit find the right digital marketing tools on a budget? 

By using nonprofit-specialized marketing tools for free or at a discounted rate! This means you can promote your cause without overextending your resources. Compare it to shopping for discounts at your favorite store—a treasure hunt for the best finds at lowered prices. The key is knowing where to look.

In this guide, we’ve made your search easier by providing our top eighteen free or discounted nonprofit marketing tools in addition to some marketing budget guidelines. Here’s where we’re headed:

At NXUnite, we specialize in connecting nonprofits with resources to strengthen all of their operations. Marketing is a vital part of your nonprofit’s success because it’s how people find you, connect with you, and contribute to your organization’s impact. We understand that marketing can be difficult to manage on a small budget, that’s why we’re dedicated to providing you with useful resources like this guide to give your nonprofit an extra marketing edge. 

Click here to sign up for an NXUnite panel.

Nonprofit Marketing Budget Considerations

Before we jump into our top marketing tools, let’s discuss some marketing budget considerations. After all, you need to know how much ad spending you should aim for to understand why discounted or free tools are worth researching.

Within the for-profit sector, it’s standard to determine your marketing budget by allocating 10-20% of projected gross revenues to marketing. As a nonprofit, you should plan to allocate 5-15% of your budget to marketing. The marketing channels you choose to invest in should be determined by your team to ensure they align with your organization’s goals and target audience.

Types of Nonprofit Marketing Tools

What are your options for nonprofit marketing tools? There’s a wide variety of platforms you can use. To simplify your search, we’ve narrowed them down to the following categories:

This image shows the types of marketing tools your organization can leverage.
  • Search: Search tools aid in the promotion of your organization’s website through paid advertising or SEO optimization. They increase your online visibility and drive more traffic to your site.
  • Content: Content tools help you devise a strategic approach to creating valuable content that resonates with your target audience. There are several different forms of content marketing tools that can help you refine and schedule videos, photos, designs, articles, website pages, and blogs.
  • Social media: Social media tools leverage platforms like Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, TikTok, and Instagram to engage with your target audience and spread your organization’s mission. 
  • Email: Email marketing tools help your organization establish a regular email cadence with supporters. Many platforms include mailing list targeting and customizable templates to find and target the right email addresses
  • Analytics: Analytics tools measure your nonprofit campaign success and help you interpret supporter data. These platforms are essential for adapting your marketing strategy to supporter behaviors. 

Each of these types of tools can produce impressive marketing results. To find one that’s right for you, take a look at the following free or discounted providers listed by category: 

Search Marketing Tool

1. The Google Ad Grant

The Google Ad Grant program is a digital marketing tool that allows you to bid on keywords that strategically target your ideal audience. If nonprofits win, Google will place ads on Google’s search results pages (SERPs). 

It allows nonprofits to leverage the Google Ads program for free by giving eligible organizations $10,000 in free advertising credits every month. As long as your organization meets Google’s eligibility standards and complies with its rules, the grant will renew each month. 

You can use the Google Ad Grant to promote:

  • Donation pages
  • Service pages
  • Educational Content

These pages should match the search intent of each of your terms. For example, when you search “wildlife conservation” on Google, you’ll see ads at the top and bottom of the page for related nonprofit content. For example, this could include a donation page from the Wildlife Conservation Society.

Google enforces detailed requirements to apply for and maintain eligibility so nonprofits make the most of the program, which means the Google Ad Grants application and management is a full-time job. That’s why so many nonprofits turn to expert agencies for professional assistance. Check out our favorite Google Ad Grants agency: Getting Attention

Content Marketing Tools

This image shows discounted and free nonprofit marketing tools you can leverage to create compelling content.

2. Grammarly 

Grammarly is an online writing assistance tool that can help your nonprofit create compelling, error-free copy. It helps improve your writing by making grammar, punctuation, and spelling suggestions. Grammarly’s advanced features include pro options that can make clarity suggestions to ensure your nonprofit’s mission comes across loud and clear.

Our favorite feature: Grammarly can be easily integrated into technology your nonprofit already uses like its website builder, Microsoft Office, and Google Docs.

Pricing: Grammarly for Nonprofits offers free access to all Premium-level writing suggestions, administrative dashboards, and website integrations. 

3. Kwala

Kwala is a graphic design agency built for mission-driven organizations. That means they know how to make your nonprofit vision come to life. These professionals are dedicated to providing stunning graphics that showcase nonprofit work. They have experience perfecting nonprofit logos, year-end appeals, website graphics, brochures, and more.  

Our favorite feature: To make sure every design is just right, the Kwala graphic designers offer unlimited revisions and redesigns to capture your unique nonprofit flair. 

Pricing: Kwala understands that hiring a full-time graphic designer may not be feasible on a nonprofit budget. That’s why they offer unlimited graphic design services for a fixed $439 price each month. Or, you can pay for an annual subscription of $3999 with the first two months free. 

4. Canva 

Canva is a graphic design tool that enables users to create eye-catching designs on their own. Specifically, your organization can use it to make visually appealing graphics, presentations, social media posts, and other design assets. Canva’s user-friendly interface provides a wide range of templates, icons, fonts, and stock photos. With simple drag-and-drop functionality, your team can create beautiful designs in no time.

Our favorite feature: Canva is built for teamwork, so anyone can contribute to your design before it’s finalized. 

Pricing: Canva is free for nonprofits if they follow a few outlined steps: fill out the application form and wait to receive an email confirmation. 

5. Piktochart 

Pikto chart is an infographic and visual content creation tool that provides customizable infographics, charts, presentations, posters, and reports. With fifteen different visual tools and a library of top-notch templates to edit and make your own, Pikto Chart offers the right tools to create content that converts leads. 

Our favorite feature: Pikto Chart has video editing tools like a social media video editor and a cropping tool that lets you make shareable content in a flash. 

Pricing: Piktochart offers a discounted annual plan for nonprofits at a rate of $60 per member per year. 

6. Pexels

With Pexels, your organization can receive access to royalty-free stock photos to enhance your organization’s online visuals. These stock photos work as a great replacement when your organization does not have the perfect photos lined up. They work great for quick social media posts or website additions without any copyright restrictions. 

Our favorite feature: You can search photos by color, background, or most popular collections to find the perfect image.

Pricing: All Pexel photos and videos are free for commercial use.

7. Hubspot 

Hubspot’s all-in-one content creation tools can help your nonprofit manage several areas of content marketing and sales. Specifically, its campaign assistant, brand kit creator, and persona generator can be leveraged to refine your digital marketing strategy. Using these tools and more, you can brainstorm campaigns that perfectly suit your brand and resonate with your target audience.

Our favorite feature:  Hubspot’s blog ideas generator can rescue you from writer’s block with AI-assisted blog titles for a week’s worth of content. 

Pricing: Hubspot offers a 40% nonprofit discount that includes premium-level, nonprofit-friendly onboarding, and over 1,000 integrations. 

8. WordPress 

WordPress is a popular content management system (CMS) that makes it easy for nonprofits to create and manage their websites and blogs. It offers a range of customizable themes and plugins to customize your site and scale it over time. Its known for its user-friendly interface that lets your team make new web pages, post new blogs, and edit content hassle-free. 

Our favorite feature: WordPress’ Start-to-Finish Nonprofit Guide can take your team through the basics and get your website up and running quickly. And, if you run into any issues, they have a large online support community you can rely on.

Pricing: WordPress is free to download and customize. 

Social Media Marketing Tools

This image shows discounted and free nonprofit marketing tools you can use to boost your social media.

9. Hootsuite 

HootSuite is a social media management platform that lets you save time with prescheduled posts using a centralized dashboard. Your nonprofit can engage with its followers using Hootsuite’s unified message box that never lets you miss a notification from any of your social media accounts. Additionally, Hootsuite’s analytics capture and report your key metrics so you can skip the guesswork and track your performance. 

Our favorite feature: When prompted, Hootsuite’s OwlyWriter AI generates memorable captions and post ideas. 

Pricing: HootSuite offers a nonprofit 75% discount on its Hootsuite Team or professional plans. 

10. Buffer

Buffer is an intuitive social media scheduling tool that can help your organization plan, schedule, and publish content across ten different platforms. With scheduled publishing, you can maintain cross-channel branding consistency and build your audience base. Buffer also provides post-customization and team collaboration tools so your team can get each post right every time. 

Our favorite feature: Buffer’s video content creation tools are perfect for Shorts, Reels, and TikTok. 

Pricing: Buffer offers a 50% nonprofit discount that applies to all products and plans.

11. Later 

Later provides social media management tools that can sharpen your strategy. You can create, edit, and schedule posts across every profile. Later’s on-the-go mobile app lets you save your drafts or post when inspiration strikes. Additionally, Later’s Caption writer uses AI captions that do all the heavy lifting. 

Our favorite feature: Later’s tool creates fully customizable link web pages, so you can drive traffic from your Instagram and TikTok to your blog, YouTube, or online merchandise store. 

Pricing: Later offers a 50% nonprofit discount for eligible organizations. 

Email Marketing Tools

This image shows discounted and free nonprofit marketing tools which are discussed in more detail below.

12. Mailchimp 

Mailchimp is a marketing, automation, and email platform that helps you manage and talk to your supporters. Their approach focuses on maintaining healthy contact management practices with well-designed campaigns and detailed data analysis tools that engage your entire mailing list. 

Our favorite feature: Mailchimp provides detailed recipient list management capabilities to tailor your messaging to predefined audiences. 

Pricing: Mailchimp offers a 15% discount to verified nonprofits and charities. 

13. Active Campaign 

Active Campaign is an email marketing,  marketing automation, and CRM (customer relationship management) platform that can help your organization deliver personalized communications to your audience at the right time. You can track your email engagement with tags, custom fields, analytics, and performance reporting. With Active Campaign, your team doesn’t waste any time resending delayed emails.

Our favorite feature: Active Campaign includes pre-built templates and layouts for common email campaigns so you can customize your email the way you want.

Pricing: Active Campaign offers a 20% nonprofit discount for eligible organizations. 

Click here to sign up for an NXUnite panel.

14. Brevo 

Brevo specializes in building relationships across email, SMS, and chat messaging. Their marketing, sales, conversions, and transactional email platforms offer helpful tools to expand your reach. Specifically, Brevo’s transactional email platform guarantees a 99% delivery rate and is quick to set up with developer guides, code recipes, and more. 

Our favorite feature: Brevo’s campaign management tools let you trigger transactional emails, send marketing campaigns and track interactions. 

Pricing: Brevo offers a 15% nonprofit discount on their Enterprise license fee.

15. Mailerlite

MailerLite provides digital marketing tools to grow your audience with email marketing, automation, newsletters, and transactional email features. They offer three separate editors—drag and drop, rich-text, custom HTML–to create your customized email campaign. Additionally, their automation features allow you to set triggers to automatically deliver emails or update custom fields. 

Our favorite feature: MailerLite provides landing pages and pop-ups to help you build your subscriber list as your organization grows. 

Pricing: MailerLite offers a 30% discount on paid plans which can be stacked atop the discount automatically applied to annually billed subscriptions. 

Analytics Marketing Tools

This image shows discounted and free nonprofit marketing tools for analytics and tracking. You can read about each in the sections below.

16. Google Analytics 

Google Analytics gives you free tools to analyze your organization’s key data points. Using Google Analytics, you can measure the effectiveness of your marketing efforts, check the relevancy of your landing pages, and find out where your top users are coming from.  You can connect your Google Analytics account with your Google Ad Account to get these in-depth insights and more.

Our favorite feature: Google Analytics will show the success of each of your key landing pages including your volunteer and donate pages to get a detailed view of your web traffic. 

Pricing: Google Analytics is free. 

17. Hotjar 

Hotjar is an analytics tool that offers valuable insights about your website. Using Hotjar, you can visualize conversion flows with a full-funnel overview to see where users drop off and make adjustments to your website strategy. Their real-time feedback gives so users the chance to express frustration or delight about individual parts of your site, so you can keep them engaged. 

Our favorite feature: Hotjar’s heatmap feature offers graphical representations of data that detect website page user activity for you to understand your site at a glance. 

Pricing: Eligible nonprofits receive access to 50% off on higher data plans or a free Business account. 

18. Jetpack 

Jetpack is a WordPress plugin that contains over 30 different features and is designed to provide all the great parts of a site to use on a site. Including features like brute force attack protection that automatically block unwanted login attempts and keep your organization safe without having to worry about invaders. 

Our favorite feature: Jetpack provides powerful stats to keep track of real-time data on visitors and analyze ongoing trends. 

Pricing: Jetpack contains several free features designed for nonprofit use. 


Finding the right marketing tool on a budget can be difficult. Fortunately, you’re now equipped with the top free and discounted platforms to engage with your existing audiences and reach new ones.

Keep in mind marketing tools are designed to make your life easier. So, look for the ones with user-friendly features and reliable support. Consider choosing platforms that have experience working with nonprofits and consult their websites for further information, especially if you’re new to the nonprofit marketing scene. 

For more marketing tips, check out these articles: 

Click here to register for an NXUnite panel!
To take advantage of spring and summer weather, get your students and supporters outside with these three outdoor school fundraisers.

3 School Fundraisers that Get Your Students Outside

By the end of the school year, it’s likely that students will start to feel burned out by school work and classes, ready to get outside for summer vacation. Their parents might even be planning fun family trips and outings so they can soak up the sun. However, for many student organizations and sports teams, work doesn’t end when classes do. 

If you are a football coach or parent to a player, for example, you know that summer is when the team buckles down to train for the next fall season. But if you’re relying on last season’s funds, it can be difficult to cover the expenses your team incurs during this time (e.g., paying for new uniforms, equipment, and food for players). This year, why not be prepared for these costs by choosing an engaging fundraising idea to kick off the summer season?

In this guide, we’ll explore a few important best practices for holding fundraising outdoors, along with some fun ideas to try out:

  • What are some best practices for outdoor fundraisers?
  • 3 Outdoor Fundraisers for School Groups

There are some unique elements of outdoor fundraisers to consider before starting your campaign. Factors like weather can impact how you plan the event as well as the fundraising methods you choose. Let’s get started by exploring some best practices for addressing these factors.

What are some best practices for outdoor fundraisers?

It’s essential to remember that when you plan an outdoor event, you are surrendering control of certain elements (like the temperature). While a sunny, clear day with a light breeze would be best on these occasions, there’s a chance your fundraiser might be met with exceptionally hot, windy, or rainy conditions. 

To ensure your event is a success no matter what happens outside, here are some things to consider when planning:

  • Keep the weather and venue in mind. Obviously, your team should avoid scheduling the event on days that are likely to be extremely hot or prone to storms. However, weather is not always predictable, especially during warmer months. In the event that temperatures exceed safe limits or there is rain expected, be prepared with an alternative plan. Consider having tents, a secondary location, or a backup date ready in the event of rain.
  • Use a fundraising platform. When your team uses a fundraising platform, supporters can donate online before the event so they don’t need to wait in registration lines at the fundraiser. Additionally, your team won’t need to worry about collecting cash or checks during the event. This adds a layer of financial security as there is no risk of a donation blowing away or getting rained on.
  • Prioritize safety. When events take place outdoors, there are more variable factors at play to impact safety–particularly heat. If you are holding a physically demanding event like a sports tournament or race, make sure to have plenty of water, snacks, and shade available. If food will be present, make sure to adhere to proper food safety procedures during preparation and storage.

In addition to these special considerations, make sure you follow traditional fundraising best practices as well. To generate excitement and attract attendees, marketing the fundraiser ahead of time. And as always, be sure to thank and recognize your donors and volunteers with thank-you cards or emails.

3 Outdoor Fundraisers for School Groups

While there is a time and place for more serious fundraising events like galas, feel free to get creative with these outdoor events. Choose a fundraising idea that your team will love and that your community will want to engage with. Keep in mind that as a school-affiliated organization, parents will make up the largest portion of your volunteer base. So, avoid choosing fundraisers that will require unreasonable amounts of time and effort.

1. Charity Race

A charity race, 5K, or marathon is one of the most traditional, classic outdoor fundraisers. Don’t shy away from these tried-and-true fundraisers–just because something is traditional doesn’t mean it isn’t engaging and effective.  

The best part about holding a charity race is that they can easily be adapted to various age groups and fitness levels. Here are three different types of races your team can organize to appeal to distinct audiences:

  • Walk-a-thon. A walk-a-thon is similar to a traditional 5K, but instead of running, participants are encouraged to walk. Because it is stroller-friendly, this idea is great for younger children and families. To get the whole family involved, encourage them to bring leashed pets along, too.
  • Fun run. Double the Donation defines a fun run fundraiser as “a type of peer-to-peer fundraiser in which participants sign up to run, collect pledges, and earn donations for each mile (or other specified unit of distance) they run.” Your team will need to choose a route, date, and time as well as a fun theme. For example, you might choose an 80s theme and encourage runners to dress up in athletic attire inspired by the decade.
  • 10K or half marathon. A longer, more intense race is best for experienced runners and older students (i.e., those in high school). To get more community involvement in your race, make sure to advertise it using posters or flyers inside local business establishments. Additionally, your team could partner with nonprofits in your area to leverage both supporter bases. 

There are no hard and fast rules around who can participate in which type of race. For example,  your high school cheerleading squad might prefer a walk-a-thon to a 10K. The most important thing to consider is whether your team members and supporters would enjoy and engage with the fundraiser.

2. Picnic or Barbecue 

When you imagine the perfect summer evening, what comes to mind? For many, it’s backyard barbecues, ice cream, and lemonade. Your team can take advantage of the nostalgia and comfort of a picnic or barbecue for its next fundraiser.

When planning one of these events, follow these steps:

  1. Choose a date, time, and venue (e.g., a local park, picnic pavilion, or school playground).
  2. Determine how you will fundraise, either by charging for entry or per food item.
  3. Decide whether your team will host a potluck-style or catered event.
  4. Start marketing your event using digital channels as well as printed promotional materials like flyers.
  5. Purchase plenty of supplies, like plates, cutlery, cups, tablecloths, blankets, and, of course, food.
  6. Set up enough blankets and tables for all of your guests.
  7. Host the event and have fun!

If your team decides to prepare food onsite or in advance, be sure to strictly follow all food safety guidelines. Make sure to have coolers and ice available to keep food at the proper temperatures, and ensure all foods are cooked thoroughly to keep your guests safe.

3. Sports-Themed Fundraisers

If your group is a sports team, you already have a built-in, cohesive theme to follow for your fundraisers. Your supporter base will already be familiar with the sport, and they’ve shown that they are interested in supporting your team financially by purchasing merchandise or tickets to games.

Let’s say you coach a high school soccer team. 99Pledges’ guide to soccer fundraising ideas recommends organizing soccer lessons that benefit the team. So, your team puts together a weeklong camp at which younger players can pay to get soccer lessons from the older high school players.

There are many other ways to incorporate the sports theme into your fundraiser, even if you don’t want to center the entire event around your sport. For example, if you hold an outdoor bake sale in tandem with a summer carnival, you could sell soccer-themed cookies and other treats. Your team’s sport can play as big or small a role in the fundraiser as you like, but it can be a helpful reminder to show what donors are supporting.

While choosing to hold your fundraiser outside can introduce new challenges, it will make for an engaging, unique experience that your supporters will remember for years to come. No matter which event you choose, remember to always have a backup plan, whether that’s a secondary location or an alternative date. And finally, make sure that your participants, donors, and volunteers know you appreciate them and their hard work.