We'll answer all your Google Ad Grants questions in this guide.

Google Ad Grants: Frequently Asked Questions Answered

If you’ve been in the nonprofit fundraising world a while, you’ve probably heard of Google Ad Grants. For those who are unfamiliar, Google Ad Grants is a program created to help out nonprofits with their marketing and fundraising efforts by increasing their visibility online.

Participating organizations receive $10,000 per month to spend on Google Ads. These funds allow nonprofits of all sizes to grow their online presence and get more conversions.

It’s shocking how many nonprofits don’t already leverage the program. As long as your organization meets Google’s eligibility requirements and follows all rules of the program, you should have no problem getting into the program and staying enrolled.

Whether you’re looking to increase site traffic or connect with new prospects, leveraging Google Ad Grants is an effective way to reach your organization’s goals.

Whether your organization already leverages Google Ad Grants or has never heard of the program, we’re sure you have some questions. To clear up any confusion about the Google Ad Grants program, we’ve grouped the questions you likely have into these categories:

Here at NXUnite, we’re always looking for new fundraising ideas that we can share with nonprofits, and Google Ad Grants is one of the most successful ones we’ve found. We’ve got a lot of questions to cover, so let’s dive right in!

Check out Getting Attention for help with Google Ad Grants.
Learn more about what Google Ad Grants are.

What Are Google Ad Grants?

For those of you who are new to the program, we’ll start with the basics. The Google Ad Grants program gives eligible nonprofits $10,000 per month to spend on Google Ads. These ads typically appear at the top of relevant Google searches, allowing your organization to grab potential donors, subscribers, and volunteers’ attention.

To help you visualize Google Ads in action, we’ll give you an example. Say you’re a huge animal lover looking to make a difference. You might search “animal shelter” or “animal shelter near me.” From there, you’d likely see a Google Ad for a local animal shelter you can volunteer with or donate to in addition to other related resources.

Here's an example of a Google Ad in action.

While for-profit organizations can run Google Ads as well, Google Ads for nonprofits are a little different. To participate in the Google Ad Grants program, organizations must meet the eligibility requirements. Additionally, those who do not qualify for the program have to use traditional Google Ads and pay per click for their ads to run.

With the money granted by Google, nonprofits can bid on specific keywords and promote certain pages of their websites. Organizations choose which pages to promote based on their current goals. For example, if your organization has an upcoming event, you may want to highlight your event registration page.

Now that you have the gist of the program, it’s time to learn about its benefits in greater detail.

Check out the benefits of Google Ad Grants.

What Are the Benefits of Google Ad Grants?

If you’re going to spend time researching and applying for this program, you’ll want to know how it can benefit your organization. Take a look at the benefits Google Ad Grants could have for your nonprofit:

More engagement on your site.

To attract people to your organization, you’ll want to make sure you have the proper content on your website. However, your content could be great, but if potential supporters can’t find it, then it’s not serving its purpose.

The Google Ad Grants program helps to get the right web pages in front of the right people. For example, someone searching “donate to climate change donations” is likely looking for a place to contribute monetarily. As a result, you can use funds from your Google Ad Grant to promote your site’s donation page to this audience.

More conversions.

While you might associate conversions with sales and other related for-profit activities, nonprofits can also track conversions to measure outcomes and reach. Increasing conversions means that more people will be interacting with your site in the way that best suits them. Here are some examples of online conversions your nonprofit might track:

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

To increase site engagement and boost conversions, having the right content is key. If you don’t have the proper pages for meeting your conversion goals, then it will be difficult to increase conversions. However, once you create that content, Google Ad Grants can help you promote it accordingly and get it in front of the right audience.

Improving communication with your supporters.

Even with endless communication tools including email, calls, and social media, it can be difficult to interact with your supporters and share new information with them. Some people might feel overwhelmed with all the communication they receive from an organization. Others might be too busy to give your communication any attention.

Although Google Ad Grants don’t replace traditional communication strategies, they can enhance them. They provide a way for supporters to stay up to date on your content in a way that fits their own schedule and needs.

More information about your supporters’ goals.

Increasing communication effectively means understanding what information supporters need from your site. Using Google Analytics, you can see which pages users visit and what actions users take to learn more about which aspects of your organization are important to your supporters.

Since Google Analytics provides you with useful data about your campaign performance and website interactions, you can use that information to optimize your content and consequently increase engagement.

No competition for funding.

Google Ad Grants are not like traditional grants. While other grant programs have a limited amount of money that they distribute based on organizations’ needs, the Google Ad Grants program gives the same amount to all eligible organizations.

As long as your organization meets the program’s requirements, you will receive $10,000 worth of ad credits per month. This allows your organization to put more energy into using the grant effectively as opposed to stressing about how much funding you will receive.

See what you can accomplish with Google Ad Grants.

What Can You Use Google Ad Grants to Accomplish?

Going into the Google Ad Grants program, it’s important to think about your goals as a participating organization. What pages do you want to promote? What conversions would you like users to make? These are some questions you may want to answer before applying.

To get you thinking, here are some reasons nonprofits use Google Ad Grants:

  • To collect donations from current and potential donors
  • To spread awareness about your organization’s cause
  • To recruit volunteers for upcoming opportunities
  • To share information about upcoming events and sell tickets
  • To add subscribers to your email list
  • To encourage users to take certain actions like engaging with your social media or signing a petition
Here are different ways that you can use Google Ad Grants.

The possibilities are endless with what you can use Google Ad Grants to accomplish as long as you define your goals ahead of time.

Participating in the Google Ad Grants program is free for nonprofits.

Is It Free to Participate in the Google Ad Grants Program?

As long as your organization is eligible for the program, it is free to participate! You must also follow the application process and stay compliant with all requirements once you accepted into the program.

Although the program is free for eligible organizations, determining your eligibility, applying, and preparing your account can be very time-consuming. If you want to participate in the program but don’t have time to figure out the process yourself, consider hiring a Google Grants agency. They will do all the hard work for you so you can focus on your goals as a participating organization.

Managing your Google Ad Grants may require help from an agency.
Any size organization can participate in the Google Ad Grants program.

How Large Does Your Organization Have to Be to Participate?

There’s no organization size minimum or maximum for participating in the Google Ad Grants program. Any nonprofit can benefit from the program and its opportunities to grow its online reach. Even small nonprofits will be able to access the program’s benefits, including increased engagement, more conversions, and greater knowledge about their supporters.

Google Ad Grants are great for smaller nonprofits because they allow opportunities for those organizations to grow as they expand their audience. However, if your organization is brand new, you might have to wait a few months to be eligible for the program. In the meantime, it will be helpful to learn more about the program and prepare your goals for participating in order to make the process run more smoothly once you’re eligible.

Find out if your organization is eligible for Google Ad Grants.

Which Types of Organizations Are Eligible for Google Ad Grants?

Since it’s free to participate in the program for any size organization, Google specifies several requirements that nonprofits must meet to be eligible for the program. The guidelines vary slightly based on your country, so be sure to check the unique requirements for your organization’s location.

The eligibility requirements are as follows in the United States:

  • Register with the IRS as a charitable organization. In order to be a valid charitable organization, you’ll need to have 501(c)(3) status, exempting you from taxes. For verification of your organization, Google also requires you to register your organization with TechSoup.
  • Accept the terms and conditions of the program. There are general Google for Nonprofits terms you’ll have to agree to as well as Google Ad Grant-specific certifications.
  • Own your own domain and feature relevant content. Since you will be using Google Ad Grants to promote pages on your website, Google has some website requirements. These include owning your domain, featuring unique content, and including accurate information about your nonprofit’s purpose.
  • Obtain an SSL certificate. Google wants to make sure your website is secure before they promote it, so they require Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certification. If you have installed it correctly, there should be a lock icon in the navigation bar in Google Chrome, and your URL will include https:// instead of http://.
These are the types of organizations that are eligible for Google Ad Grants.

If your organization follows these requirements, you should be good to participate in the program. However, the following organizations are automatically ineligible for the program:

  • Governmental agencies and organizations
  • Hospitals and healthcare institutions
  • Schools, academic institutions, and universities

Google prohibits these organizations from participating in the program. However, if your organization falls under the last category, you may be able to participate in Google for Education, a similar program specifically for educational institutions.

Here's how to apply for Google Ad Grants.

How Do You Apply for Google Ad Grants?

Applying for Google Ad Grants for nonprofits isn’t complicated, but we’ve broken down the process into steps to simplify it even further. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to apply for Google Ad Grants:

Follow these steps to apply for Google Ad Grants.

1. Check the eligibility requirements.

As we just went over, there are several eligibility requirements for participating in the program. Before you apply, you’ll want to make sure you qualify and take any actions necessary to become eligible. This way, you can make sure the application process goes smoothly and avoid having your application rejected.

2. Sign up for TechSoup.

Once you’ve determined that your organization is eligible for the program, the next step is signing up for TechSoup. TechSoup is an organization that works with Google and other companies to give nonprofits access to helpful resources at discounted rates.

In order to register with TechSoup, follow these three easy steps:

  1. Go to the TechSoup registration page and create an account.
  2. Select your preferred language and the country where your organization is located.
  3. Click ‘New Member,’ select ‘Register,’ and agree to TechSoup’s terms.

After you complete this process, TechSoup will give you a validation token that you’ll need to activate your Google for Nonprofits account.

3. Create a Google for Nonprofits account.

Google Ad Grants is just one of the resources Google provides under the umbrella of Google for Nonprofits. When you create your Google for Nonprofits account, you’ll be able to access:

  • Google Workspace for Nonprofits, which grants your nonprofit access to Google’s suite of apps including Gmail, Docs, Sheets, Calendar, and Meet.
  • YouTube Nonprofit Program, which enhances your YouTube account for the nonprofit space with features like a donate button and video annotations that link to your website.
  • Google Earth and Maps, which allows people to find programs and resources near them.

In order to create an account, make sure you have your tax ID number, contact information, and TechSoup validation token on hand.

4. Set up Google Analytics.

It’s essential for your website to have Google Analytics connected to it before applying for Google Ad Grants. Circle back to the goals you have for participating in the program. This is where you’ll put them to work!

You should install Google Tag Manager and create some conversion tracking goals for your site that align with your goals for participating in the program. For example, you might want people to do one or more of the following:

  • Sign up to be volunteers
  • Register for an event
  • Donate to your nonprofit
  • Sign a petition for your advocacy campaign
  • Spend a certain amount of time on your website

Adding these goals to Google Analytics will allow you to track which pages are most successful in acquiring conversions. It will also allow you to recognize which pages need some work so that you can adjust them accordingly.

5. Complete the Google Ad Grants application.

Now that the preliminary steps are complete, it’s time to actually fill out your Google Ad Grants application. You’ll have to log in to your Google for Nonprofits account to access it.

Part of the application process includes submitting your website for review. The Google Ad Grants team will look over your website and its content to see if your organization is ready for the program.

Another thing to consider about your application is whether you’ll choose to start a “Smart Campaign” or “Classic” account. “Smart Campaign” is a more basic option with automated settings. It requires less management whereas the “Classic” account has more tools and customization options included.

Finally, Google will review your application and respond within three business days. When Google approves your account, you’ll automatically be able to access and start using Google Ads to amplify your organization’s most important web pages.

This is how to best use your Google Ad Grants account.

How Do I Use My Google Ad Grants Account Successfully?

Now that you have your Google Ad Grants account, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting the most out of it. The way to do so is to have a well-thought-out plan for how to develop and implement your ad campaigns.

While Google Ad Grants will certainly increase your website’s visibility, it’s the work you put into optimizing your account that will allow you to see the best results. Here are some ways to make sure your account is successful.

Follow these tips to optimize your Google Ad Grants account.

1. Create good content.

It’s easier said than done, but creating good content for your website is an integral part of your success with the Google Ad Grants program. Without good content, it doesn’t matter how much traffic comes to your website because users will be less likely to make conversions once they see your pages.

There are a couple elements your content should have to increase its value, including:

  • Topics with high search volume. Your content could be well written and engaging, but if no one’s searching for it, then it doesn’t matter. Make sure to feature content with popular topics that will help people find your site. For help with figuring out how topics rank, look at Google Trends or Moz to research keywords.
  • Focus. People typically only search for one topic at a time, so you’ll want to design your page to reflect that. Spread your content out so that each page has its own focus.
  • Built-out pages. On the other hand, you want to make sure your content on each page is substantial. This is not only crucial for user experience but also for how Google ranks your page. You’ll also attract more users if your pages actually contain helpful information people are looking for.
  • Calls to action. You’ve created your conversion goals, and now you want to make it clear to users what you want them to do in reference to those goals. For example, if you want people to register for an event, make sure to include a button or a link that will take them to your event registration page.
  • Mobile friendliness. More and more searches these days come from mobile devices. Therefore, it’s important to ensure that your content is mobile friendly so that people can access it in the format you intend for them to. Additionally, mobile friendliness is one of Google’s ranking factors for organic traffic, which you’ll want to keep up in addition to your Google Ads.

The better your content is, the more people will flock to your website. Hopefully, this increased traffic leads to more conversions, which are important to measure and analyze to make continuous progress for your mission.

2. Track your campaign goals.

Data should be the guiding force in making decisions about your Google Ad Grants account, and lucky for you, there are tools at your disposal to help you use data effectively.

To get the most out of your Google Ad campaigns, you’ll have to set up conversion tracking and data analytics. These tools are included within Google Analytics, which you should already have installed. Use Google Analytics to set up goals so that you can track your campaign performance accordingly.

As we’ve gone over before, your goals for participating in the program are what shape how you will use Google Ad Grants to your advantage. You’ll want to track these goals to make sure you’re accomplishing them and adjust your website if you’re not performing as well as you had hoped. Ideas for goals are:

  • Signing up for your email list
  • Making a donation
  • Submitting a volunteer registration form
  • Buying a ticket for an event
  • Signing a petition

For each goal that you have, you’ll want to set up conversion tracking in Google Analytics. That way, you’ll be able to see how well your goals are panning out and make necessary changes.

3. Get to know your audience.

The Google Ad Grant program has ways for you to limit who your ads are shown to. To take advantage of this feature, you’ll want to define your intended audience and keywords for each campaign. That way, you can ensure that each campaign is focused and reaching the people you want it to reach.

To get to know your audience, it’s also helpful to do some keyword research. Once you know exactly what people are searching for that’s related to your page, you’ll have a better idea of what keywords to include in your own content that will help them show up in searches.

If you have an idea of what your audience isn’t searching for or what unrelated audiences are searching for, use negative keywords. Unlike regular keywords, negative keywords are used to prevent your content from showing up in searches that contain certain words.

Once you’ve been using Google Analytics for a while, you can start to look through the search queries of people who visit your site to see which ones don’t result in conversions or aren’t related to your nonprofit. This process will allow you to add more negative keywords to your list and only show up for relevant searches.

4. Use other marketing efforts.

Google Ad Grants are certainly a powerful marketing tool, but don’t forget about what else is out there! Continue your usual marketing activities, whether that’s regularly posting on social media or sending out email newsletters once a week. The data you collect from your Google Ad Grants campaigns will also be useful to consider for these marketing methods as well.

Additionally, your Google for Nonprofits account gives you access to other marketing tools that you can leverage. For example, the YouTube Nonprofit Program makes it easier to fundraise on YouTube by teaching you how to create effective campaign videos and equipping your account with a donate button.

5. Focus on quality.

Although the program gives you $10,000 a month in ad spending, most nonprofits don’t use it all. This may be because some organizations don’t have enough time or resources to manage multiple campaigns. Alternatively, others may not have content geared toward their audience’s needs and therefore aren’t getting good results.

Whatever the issue is, you can still spend only a portion of what Google provides and have a successful Google Ad Grants account. For example, your audience may be specific to a certain area or interest that may allow you to reach it without spending the full amount of money.

In conclusion, remember to focus on the quality of your content and its ability to create conversions as opposed to haphazardly using all the funds Google provides.

Here's how to maintain your Google Ad Grants account.

How Do I Maintain My Google Ad Grants Account?

Maintaining your Google Ad Grants account is an ongoing process. You’ll want to make sure you’re using the funds Google provides effectively and that your campaigns reflect the data you’ve collected. Check out our suggestions for keeping your Google Ad Grants account strong:

  • Run at least 3-5 campaigns. When you start using Google Ads, get a feel for how many campaigns your organization can manage at once. Less than three won’t be enough to show results, but too many campaigns might overwhelm whoever’s managing your account. You’ll want to have multiple campaigns to promote different aspects of your website. For example, one campaign might highlight your donation page while another simply promotes your homepage with background information about your cause.
  • Connect your ad groups to your cause. Like your website’s landing pages, you’ll want to make sure your ad groups are focused on their respective topics as well as your organization’s mission. For example, if you’re an animal shelter looking for volunteers, your Volunteer ad group should include keywords like “volunteer at an animal shelter,” “work with cats and dogs,” and “help animals get adopted.”
  • Use ad extensions to your advantage. Ad extensions invite users to click on your content by providing them with extra information. There are several different kinds of ad extensions. An example is callout extensions, which allow you to add bullet points under your ads to highlight what’s important.

While creating your account was easy, maintaining might be more complicated than you originally anticipated. Not to worry though! This just means you might benefit from the help of a professional agency. Google Grants agencies can save you time and energy by managing your Google Ad Grants for you.

Maintaining your Google Ad Grants can be a hassle, but Getting Attention can help!
These are the Google Ad Grants account rules.

What Are the Google Ad Grants Account Rules?

Just as Google has certain requirements for creating a Google Ad Grants account, they also have rules for keeping your account active. It’s important to follow these rules to not only run your account successfully but to also avoid suspension.

Google lists out the requirements for compliance in its official compliance guide, but we’ve summarized some of the most important ones below:

  • Avoid using single-word keywords unless it is on this list of approved exceptions.
  • Don’t use overly generic keywords.
  • Only use keywords with a quality score higher than 2.
  • Maintain a 5% monthly clickthrough rate (CTR).
  • Set up conversion tracking with Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager.
  • Create at least 2 ads per ad group and at least 2 ad groups per campaign.
  • Include at least 2 sitelink ad extensions.
  • Answer the yearly program survey.
Make sure to follow these requirements to maintain your Google Ad Grants account's compliance.

To stay on top of these rules and any potential changes to them, make sure to regularly check the Google Ad Grants compliance page. You may want to bookmark it or schedule time on your calendar each month to review it. A Google Ad Grants agency could also answer any questions you may have about the program’s compliance requirements.

Find out why your Google Ad Grants account may have been suspended.

Why Was My Google Ad Grants Account Suspended?

As long as your account remains compliant with the program’s requirements, it will renew monthly, requiring no further action. However, not maintaining your account’s compliance could put your account at risk of suspension.

Take a look at some of the most common reasons Google Ad Grants accounts are suspended besides the compliance rules we’ve reviewed:

  • Violating the program’s terms multiple times
  • Not meeting eligibility criteria
  • Losing 501(c)(3) tax-exempt status
  • Abusing the ad network
  • Not reverifying your account when asked to do so
  • Falsifying information about your organization
Here are some reasons why your Google Ad Grants account may be suspended.

If your account does get suspended, don’t panic! A Google Ad Grants agency can help you to figure out the problem and how to solve it to get your account back.

A Google Grants agency can help you manage your account.

Can Someone Help Me Manage My Google Ad Grants Account?

Yes! If you’re at all confused or need help in any step of the Google Ad Grants process, a Google Ad Grants agency is equipped to help you out.

You could turn to a regular nonprofit marketing consultant, but for the expertise you’re looking for, a Google Ad Grants agency would be a better choice. Since they spend all their time working to manage Google Ad Grants, they have the knowledge of and familiarity with the program that you’re looking for.

Google Ad Grants agencies will manage the entire grant management process, including:

  • Determining your Google Ad Grants eligibility
  • Applying for the program
  • Researching keywords
  • Managing your campaigns
  • Maintaining your account’s compliance
  • Optimizing your pages
  • Reactivating your account if it is suspended
Here's how Google Ad Grants agencies can help your nonprofit.

Whatever you’re having trouble with, Google Ad Grants agencies are the best source of help for your questions about the program.

Here are more resources to help you with Google Ad Grants.

What Else Do I Need to Know About Google Ad Grants?

By now, we hope you feel like an expert on Google Ad Grants! Now that you know all about what they are, how you can use them, and how you can manage your account, you have all the tools you need to be a successful participant in the Google Ad Grants program.

However, we know you might have even more questions that we weren’t able to cover. In case that’s the case, here are some resources that can help:

Check out our recommended agency, Getting Attention, for help with Google Ad Grants.

15 Best Nonprofit Graphic Design Examples

With the rise of the digital age, people are consuming information faster than ever. In order to capture their attention before they click away or scroll to the next post, you need exciting graphics. 

Graphic design is an essential part of marketing your nonprofit organization to the world. A powerful graphic allows you to deliver information to your audience in a way that’s visually appealing, informative, and impactful. As a result, you’ll be able to maximize your nonprofit’s reach and improve your brand visibility.

For some nonprofits, graphic design can feel daunting, especially if you don’t know where to start. If you’ve found yourself looking for inspiration, you’re in the right place. By examining compelling graphic design examples, you can see what’s possible for your own website, social media, and more! 

In this article, we’ll show off 15 of the best examples of nonprofit graphic design by format, along with tips and tricks to creating your own. Specifically, we’ll go over: 

1. Graphic Design Basics

2. Nonprofit Logo Examples

3. Nonprofit Website Design Examples

4. Nonprofit Infographic Examples 

5. Nonprofit Brochure Examples

6. Nonprofit Video Examples

By seeing how other nonprofits have successfully used graphic design, you’ll be in great shape to plan your own designs and excite your audience. 

Ready to jump into the world of nonprofit graphic design? Let’s get started. 

Graphic Design Basics: Building Your Brand 

Your nonprofit organization might be serving the same need as another organization. So, how can you stand out from the crowd and maximize donations? 

A great graphic design will help build your brand recognition. By using a consistent theme across designs (colors, illustrations, messaging, and more!), your supporters will be able to immediately recognize your nonprofit and better connect with its mission. Better yet, more people will become familiar with your organization and want to contribute. 

There are many types of graphic design you can use to improve your nonprofit marketing strategy. Consider adding the following to your graphic design portfolio: 

  • A Memorable Logo – Shape the public’s perception around your brand in a creative way. A good design incorporates your organization’s values and is easy to understand. 
  • Engaging Website Design – Your design should engage visitors and make them want to stick around to learn more. Consider font, color scheme, and a layout that is accessible, modern, and unique to your organization.  
  • Helpful Infographics – These tools bridge the gap between visuals and text in an exciting way. Infographics are especially useful for education or to highlight your organization’s impact. 
  • Comprehensive Brochures – Digital and in-print brochures can help people learn about your organization and why they should become involved. Maximize engagement with clear formatting, helpful information, and graphics that evoke an emotional response. 
  • Impactful Video Graphics – Videos are a powerful form of story-telling that resonates with audiences. Use features like animated text and moving graphics to showcase your organization’s mission and impact on the community. 

As you look through examples in this article, consider which graphic design types would be most beneficial and relevant to your nonprofit. Remember to keep in mind your audience. Your graphic design should be inspiring and impactful for the group you’re targeting. 

1. Humane Society of the United States

The Humane Society of the United States is a great example of nonprofit logo design because of its unique illustration.

Why We Love This Logo

The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS) is an animal welfare organization that has three focus areas: end the cruelest practices toward all animals, care for animals in crisis, and build a stronger animal protection movement. 

Their mission to support animals in the U.S. is clear in the design. The logo features an illustration of America made from a variety of animals, ranging from pets like dogs and cats to wild animals like whales. The image is engaging to look at and immediately lets the viewer know that this logo belongs to an animal-centered group in the U.S., even if they aren’t familiar with the HSUS. 

The color blue is another key feature that makes this logo great. Blue conveys positive qualities like trustworthiness, reliability, and professionalism to viewers. Blue is also in the American flag, so this color helps emphasize the organization’s mission to serve all of the U.S. 

Top 3 Lessons From This Logo

  • Tap into your creativity! If your logo is boring, it won’t appeal to your audience. 
  • Make your logo relevant to your organization’s mission. This will help strengthen relationships with supporters and attract new ones. 
  • Select a color scheme that represents your values. Different colors make people feel different emotions, so consider your audience and how you want your logo to resonate with them. 

2. Feeding America

The Feeding America logo is an example of excellent graphic design because of its illustration of wheat and clean typeface.

Why We Love This Logo

Feeding America is a charitable organization that seeks to provide equitable access to nutritious food across the United States. 

The words are stacked on top of each other so each letter is perfectly in line, creating a simple yet effective design. Feeding America’s mission is well-reflected in the letter “I’s” which align to create an ear of wheat. The wheat illustration adds character to the logo without making the words difficult to read or distracting the viewer. 

This logo also uses color to its advantage. Feeding America’s color palette strategically ties back into their mission to tackle hunger. The orange and green colors feel earthy and can easily be linked to food production. 

Typeface is another feature that plays an important role in this logo’s success. Feeding America’s logo was created with the font Gotham Bold, which is a sans-serif typeface. Sans-serif feels modern, clean, and friendly, making it a great choice for Feeding America’s branding. 

Top 3 Lessons From This Logo

  • Integrate designs into your logo naturally. 
  • Be simple and intentional with your color scheme. If you’re using more than one color, make sure the colors complement each other. We recommend using 2 to 3 colors maximum to create a minimal look. 
  • Select a typeface and font based on the visual aesthetic you want your logo to achieve. 

3. Rethink Mental Illness 

Rethink Mental Illness has a great nonprofit logo design celebrating their 50th anniversary.

Why We Love This Logo

Rethink Mental Illness aims to improve the quality of life for people with mental illness. This U.K. based organization offers support groups, mental health training, and more to improve mental healthcare. 

For their 50th anniversary, Rethink Mental Illness created this special anniversary logo to commemorate their longevity. Developing an anniversary logo is a great way to demonstrate your organization’s longstanding commitment to serving its mission while adding authority to its brand. People want to feel confident that their donation is being put to good use, so highlighting your organization’s achievements can help attract more support. 

Rethink Mental Illness seamlessly wraps the number 50 around its traditional logo, creating a feeling of unity. The number is large, clear, and immediately lets viewers know that this organization is celebrating a historic milestone. 

Top 3 Lessons From This Logo

  • When creating an anniversary logo, stay true to your original branding. Use colors and fonts that your audience is already familiar with so they can easily recognize your updated logo. 
  • The numbers should be as prominent as possible. We recommend making it the biggest element in your design so it’s clear that your organization is celebrating this achievement. 
  • Make the numbers pop with a simple yet engaging design that ties everything together.

Nonprofit Website Design Examples: Highlighting Your Mission

1. The End Fund

The End Fund has an engaging nonprofit website design with consistent branding.

Why We Love This Website Design 

The End Fund is a charitable organization that seeks to end the most common neglected tropical diseases (NTDs). This group is the only one of its kind with its critical mission to provide NTD treatments to over 1.7 billion people. 

This focus on improving the lives of people affected by NTDs is evident throughout their web design. On the homepage, The End Fund breaks down their organization’s purpose with educational and engaging sections. Each section flows smoothly into the next and utilizes the same color scheme of red, blue, and black with a consistent font. 

The End Fund maintains consistent brand colors and font which is a good nonprofit graphic design practice.

For example, “The Problem” section uses illustrations and bold lettering to highlight the number of people suffering from parasitic and bacterial infectious diseases. This design makes the statistics digestible for a wide audience. It also helps to illuminate the magnitude of the problem so people feel more passionate about The End Fund’s cause. 

The End Fund has an interactive map on their website which is a great example of nonprofit design.

Another great feature of this homepage is the interactive map that identifies where The End Fund operates and its impact when you hover over the red countries. This visualization grabs the viewers’ attention and makes navigating The End Fund’s website a positive experience. 

Top 3 Lessons From This Website 

  • Maintain consistent branding across your website. Use the same color palette, font, and tone of voice throughout to build brand recognition and avoid distracting users. 
  • Make your website well-formatted with clearly labeled headings and tabs. 
  • Break down complex information into easy to understand graphics. Instead of writing long paragraphs about your organization’s impact, display it in a map or infographic. 

2. MAHUBE-OTWA Community Action Partnership, Inc.

MAHUBE-OTWA has compelling nonprofit website design featuring several images.

Why We Love This Website Design 

MAHUBE-OTWA tackles poverty by empowering children, adults, and seniors to be self-sufficient. 

Its homepage features a slideshow of engaging images that change every few seconds. These pictures include prominent captions that explain MAHUBE-OTWA’s services as well as an easy-to-click “Learn More” button that takes visitors to a more detailed page. This makes navigating the website and finding information a breeze. 

MAHUBE-OTWA features a calendar in their website design so supporters can stay in-the-know.

Another great feature on this website is the interactive calendar located under the Events tab, which is displayed prominently on the homepage. This calendar makes it simple for site visitors to learn about in-person or virtual events so they can get more involved. The calendar also fits well with the rest of the website because of its purple and white color scheme.

Top 3 Lessons From This Website 

  • Feature one or several images on your homepage. This lets visitors visualize your organization’s services and can help create an emotional response that connects people with your mision. 
  • Include buttons with embedded links so visitors can easily navigate to another page on your website to learn more information. 
  • Create an interactive calendar that makes learning about upcoming events easy. This can be coupled with text message or email reminders so your supporters can stay in-the-know. 

3. Live Out Loud

Live Out Loud has compelling nonprofit website design through its engaging graphics.

Why We Love This Website Design 

Live Out Loud is a charitable organization that seeks to uplift LGBTQ+ youth through offering resources, role models, and opportunities. 

The branding across the website is consistent with the butterfly logo, which is featured prominently on the homepage. Here, visitors can see a slideshow of different teens in front of the butterfly logo as if these wings are their own. This ties back into Live Out Loud’s Mission to help kids become leaders in their communities. 

With a straightforward menu bar at the top of every page, users can easily find the information they’re looking for. Live Out Loud simplifies and brings attention to the online donation process through a prominent “Donate” button highlighted in blue in all caps. 

Live Out Loud's website design features an accessible donation form.

Once visitors click on the “Donate” button, a form is automatically generated with very few prompts, making donating simple and convenient. This helps donors feel more compelled to give again. 

Top 3 Lessons From This Website 

  • Incorporate your logo into your page in a fun and unique way! This helps maintain your brand and boosts excitement over your content. 
  • Include a clearly labeled “Donate” button on the menu bar that grabs visitors’ attention. Try using all caps or a different font color to set it apart. 
  • Embed an online donation form into your website with only a few prompts. This saves donors’ time and makes the donation process simple to complete. 

Nonprofit Infographic Examples: Developing Creative Resources

1. American Heart Association 

American Heart Association's infographic titled "How to be More Active" is an example of great nonprofit infographic design.

Why We Love This Infographic 

The American Heart Association (AHA) seeks to promote cardiovascular health and prevent heart disease and stroke. One key way they achieve their mission is through providing public health education.

This focus on health education is evident in AHA’s infographic design. It features the clear title “How to Be More Active” in all caps at the top, which grabs the audience’s attention and defines what the infographic is about. 

The layout, split between “Move More” and “Tips for Success,” is easy to understand and follow. AHA makes great use of illustrations to emphasize points and makes reading this graphic fun. The images, like the target by the “Set Goals” heading or the children playing, are relevant and help the infographic feel more approachable. 

Top 3 Lessons From This Infographic 

  • Place your title clearly at the top and choose a short, catchy phrase that encompasses the entire infographic. 
  • Choose a layout that makes sense for the purpose of the infographic and is easy to follow. Your readers will be more likely to stick around and learn from the information! 
  • Get creative and incorporate graphics that will excite your audience and make them want to read the corresponding information. 

2. World Wildlife Fund 

This infographic from World Wildlife Fund uses good nonprofit graphic design practices.

Why We Love This Infographic 

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) is a conservation organization that seeks to protect the environment and the people and animals that inhabit it. 

This infographic explores the important role sea turtles play in the Mesoamerican Reef. While this could be a difficult topic to explain, WWF’s infographic makes complex information digestible through short information bullets, sections covering different subheadings, and an engaging life-cycle diagram.

The life-cycle diagram features fascinating graphics of sea turtles and brief descriptions accompanying them. Clear arrows make it easy for the reader to follow the material. 

The color scheme – made up primarily of blue, orange, and pink – helps the information pop. Blue, which is the predominant color, relates closely to the ocean and adds to the visual appeal. 

Top 3 Lessons From This Infographic 

  • Break down complex information using diagrams or brief bullet points. This helps your infographic appeal to a wide audience. 
  • If you’re using a diagram, make sure it’s easy to follow. Use clear symbols that your reader will understand, like arrows. 
  • Incorporate colors that complement each other well and, if possible, relate to the topic of the infographic. This will help your reader connect with the information. 

3. Amnesty International

Amnesty International explains the U.S. Maternal Health Care Crisis in this interesting example of nonprofit infographic design.

Why We Love This Infographic 

Amnesty International seeks to promote universal human rights and challenge injustices around the world. 

This organization strategically makes their infographic more captivating through a graphic of a pregnant woman, which is relevant to its subject. Inside of the woman, statistics are listed out in large, white text, which helps it stand out from the green color. The body font is simple and easy to read, inviting the audience to read the text associated with the numbers. 

Amnesty International has clear branding at the bottom of the infographic. This helps to build brand visibility and let viewers know more about the organization so they can get involved. 

Top 3 Lessons From This Infographic 

  • Make important statistics stand out by varying the text color and size. This will help bring your audience’s attention to the highlights of your infographic. 
  • Choose a body font that complements your title and header fonts and has a minimal feel. Your reader will feel more inclined to read over everything as long as it doesn’t feel too overwhelming. 
  • Include your organization’s name to increase brand awareness and, if space permitting, add the logo, purpose statement, and link to your website/social media handles. 

Nonprofit Brochure Examples: Telling Your Organization’s Story 

1. Doctors Without Borders 

Doctors Without Borders uses excellent nonprofit brochure design practices in this example.

Doctors Without Borders is a humanitarian organization that provides medical care for people in conflict. 

This digital brochure – 7 pages in length – gives a comprehensive overview of the organization including how they carry out their mission and use donor funds. On the front page, viewers can clearly see the organization’s name printed in the center and at the bottom as part of their logo. 

The first page also includes a large, clear image of the organization at work, showing a child receiving medical treatment from a volunteer. This image highlights the impact of Doctors Without Borders and creates an emotional response. 

The branding is consistent throughout the brochure, which uses the red, black, and white color scheme and the same header and body font. This strategy boosts brand recognition and maintains readers’ attention.

Doctors Without Borders explains how supporters can be part of a global movement with great nonprofit brochure design.

Another great feature of this brochure is the strong call to action at the end. Doctors Without Borders encourages readers to “be part of a global movement” and offers multiple ways (with links!) that they can get involved. 

Top 3 Lessons From This Brochure 

  • Use images to drive emotional impact! Include a powerful image on the front page that will make someone want to open up your brochure and read its contents. 
  • Maintain consistent branding throughout the brochure. Your font, color scheme, and tone of voice should align with your other communication channels and advertising materials. 
  • At the end of your brochure, include a call to action and let your supporters know what steps they can take next to get involved. 

2. Atlanta Humane Society

Atlanta Humane Society's brochure has great nonprofit graphic design features such as a clear image of a dog and a volunteer.

The Atlanta Humane Society (AHS) is a charitable organization that provides shelter and veterinary care for homeless animals. 

Their digital brochure can be flipped through like a book, enhancing the reading experience and inviting readers to engage with the material. AHS has a section dedicated to explaining the organization’s animal-driven mission and its impact in the Atlanta community. This helps supporters feel confident that they are giving back to a worthy cause. Plus, it can help boost local support because of the organization’s proud ties to Georgia’s capital city. 

Atlanta Humane Society's brochure has engaging nonprofit designs of pie charts showing how they've shifted their operations.

Another highlight is the use of graphics to represent how AHS has used donations to power change. The pie charts illuminate how AHS shifted from focusing primarily on shelter services to community outreach with COVID-19. These visualizations (and fun illustrations of pets!) help readers better connect with the material. 

Top 3 Lessons From This Brochure 

  • Let your reader know all about your organization! Within the first few pages of your brochure, there should be an about section that dives deep into your mission. 
  • Appeal to your audience! If you’re a smaller nonprofit organization, you’ll want to draw supporters from your area. A great way to do this is by showing your pride for the city or region. 
  • Include charts or graphs so your statistics resonate with readers. Include a clear key that explains the color scheme. 

3. Boys and Girls Club of York County 

The Boys and Girls Club of York County uses wonderful nonprofit graphic design features like engaging colors and text boxes.

The Boys and Girls Club of York County focuses their mission on empowering children to realize their full potential. This is done through a variety of programs for children, including summer camp. 

This brochure works well for in-print distribution because of its tri-fold layout. Rather than focusing on the organization as a whole, this example targets the summer camp experience to get more children to enroll (and spread their mission far and wide to increase donations)! This allows the organization to provide more focused details such as the summer locations and fees. 

The front panel establishes a clear purpose so people know that this brochure is all about summer camp. Colorful photos of kids having fun appeals to parents and will increase the chances of families reading through the brochure to learn more. 

Another great quality is the clear headers, distinguished by bold font and colors, to bring the reader’s attention to the different sections. Even though the brochure has three different panels, there is a consistent style with the blue and green background colors and white text boxes. 

Top 3 Lessons From This Brochure

  • In-print brochures are a great way to expand your outreach to people that may not be familiar with your organization. Choose a simple layout, like the tri-fold design, so your brochure feels more inviting to read. 
  • You can use brochures to focus on specific programs or events. Dive deeper into the details, but include a small section that explains your organization’s mission. 
  • Grab your reader’s attention! Your in-print brochure should stand out even when it’s placed with 10 other brochures. Opt for bold colors and exciting graphics on the front panel to intrigue people to flip through! 

Nonprofit Video Examples: Expanding Your Reach 

1. Smile Train

Why We Love This Video

Smile Train is a charitable organization that treats children with cleft lips and palates. 

This organization has designed their video to be both informative and emotional. The video begins with a lighthearted animated scene of a child throwing food around and giggling. This is coupled with an important statistic about how children eat several meals a day. However, the next part of the video tugs at the viewers’ heartstrings by explaining that this is a struggle for children with clefts. 

This video evokes an emotional response in the viewer and makes the audience feel more connected to their cause. Its simplicity draws attention to the problem Smile Train is trying to solve and why it’s an important issue to address. 

The video is only 17 seconds long, but it gets to the point quickly and effectively. Viewers immediately know why Smile Train exists and their interest is piqued to learn more. 

Top 3 Lessons From This Video

  • Make your graphics interesting and relevant to your organization’s mission. Animation, for example, can be a great tool for organizations serving children. 
  • Statistics can be powerful in highlighting an issue, but don’t go overboard with it. Just one statistic can help shed light on your organization’s mission without overwhelming your audience. 
  • You don’t have to produce a lengthy video to make an impact on your viewers! A video that’s short and simple keeps the audience’s attention and is a great way to introduce people to your organization. 

2. American Cancer Society 

Why We Love This Video

The American Cancer Society (ACS) seeks to end cancer through groundbreaking research, public education, and policy changes. 

This video shows real people affected by cancer and how ACS positively impacted their lives. Ranging from children to adults, the people in this video demonstrate the scope of this problem and how it can impact anyone at any time. Their stories are raw and vulnerable, with one woman even saying that she has a high chance of getting cancer again in the near future. 

Between clips of survivors, the video includes slides with short phrases to drive important points home, like “You can make a difference,” and “We need your help” in all caps. 

Along with cancer survivors, the Chief Medical Officer of the ACS is featured in the video. The video ends with his powerful appeal to the audience for donations to save lives like the people shown in the video. 

Top 3 Lessons From This Video

  • Featuring people and stories of impact can help build connection to your mission. People want to feel confident that their donation is going towards a good cause, so this lets your audience know how their money is making a difference. 
  • Add text to your video to emphasize important points, but keep it short and sweet! You don’t want to overwhelm your audience with too much text. Stick to visuals as much as possible. 
  • Have a strong call to action in your video. Ask supporters to visit your website to learn more or donate. 

3. Education and Employers

Why We Love This Video

Education and Employers aims to inspire students by connecting them with volunteers working in a variety of different professions. 

This video follows a real-life case study of students to track gender stereotypes in the workforce – but there’s a twist! Three women ask the students to draw a surgeon, fighter pilot, and a firefighter, and the video follows the children’s drawing process. The majority of the children opt to draw a man for each of the professions, and are surprised when the women reveal that they work in these professions. 

The twist in the video is a surprise to both the children and the audience. Education and Employers accurately captures the problem of gender stereotypes in this video and why there is a need to help children, especially young girls, realize their potential. 

This video also interlays statistics about gender stereotypes and other key points with the clips of the classroom experiment. Black text on the white screen, as well as the letters formatted in all caps, grabs viewers’ attention. The typeface is easy to read and minimal, which increases the chances of the audience reading and internalizing the message. 

Top 3 Lessons From This Video

  • Share your mission in action! Showing the audience a real-life situation of your organization’s impact and the issue it’s trying to solve can help increase your number of supporters. 
  • Incorporating shock value can capture people’s attention and boost interest in your cause.
  • If you’re including text, make sure to use an easy-to-read font. Make your text stand out by using bold print, all caps, or a color that pops. 

Wrapping Up

Now that you’ve seen the best nonprofit graphic designs, you can dive into bringing your own logos, websites, infographics, brochures, and videos to life! 

Including some (or all) of these graphic design types will help get the word out about your awesome nonprofit (meaning more supporters and more donations)! Consider which types of graphic design would be most effective to bring attention to your mission and programs. 

And remember, you can always keep learning! Continue to gather inspiration from nonprofits doing great things with graphic design. Check out their social media and websites so you can create the most engaging designs possible! 

Interested to learn more about nonprofit graphic design? Explore these additional resources: 

The Top 3 Fundraising Metrics You Should Be Tracking

Fundraising is an increasingly data-driven activity, just like most other forms of business and marketing today. 

For nonprofits, this makes sense. Effectively stewarding your limited resources with quantitative insights derived from data is a responsibility that simply comes with running a nonprofit. It’s essential for growing your reach and pursuing your mission over time. 

Looking towards the new frontiers of nonprofit technology, artificial intelligence can take much of the guesswork out of campaign planning. However, you still need a solid understanding of the data that drives more technically complex processes that you might adopt, like AI.

But where do you start? What are the most important fundraising metrics that a nonprofit should prioritize tracking?

This is by no means an exhaustive list, and different metrics will be important in different circumstances, but here are what we consider to be three critical top-line metrics that nonprofits should track, study, and seek to improve for healthier fundraising and donor stewardship over time.

Fundraising ROI

Fundraising return on investment (ROI) is a fundamental metric that compares how much money you raise against how much you spent to raise it. 

ROI essentially tells you about the effectiveness of your fundraising campaigns—do they generate revenue through donations, or do they cost more money to run than they make? Both outcomes can be valuable learning experiences, but a negative ROI typically means you’ve encountered issues that need immediate attention to keep your program healthy.

How to Calculate It

To calculate fundraising ROI for a campaign:

  • Subtract its total costs from its total returns (or the amount raised). This gives you your campaign or appeal’s net revenue.
  • Then, divide the net revenue by the total costs. This is your ROI as a ratio. 
  • Multiply this number by 100 to present it as a percentage.

A positive ROI indicates that you raised more than you spent and generated revenue. The greater the ROI, the more effective the fundraising appeal was at securing donations. A negative ROI indicates that you spent more than you raised and lost revenue.

How to Improve It

There’s a practically infinite number of tactical ways to improve ROI depending on the unique context, audience, and goals of your campaigns. This open-endedness is the reason why digging even deeper with data is so useful but can also feel overwhelming.

There’s one core concept to understand: You need to raise more while spending less. The most fundamental way to do this is by better targeting your campaigns to specific donors in order to improve returns. 

For example, rather than sending a direct mail appeal to an extremely broad segment of your donors, try tailoring your message to a smaller but more targeted list of donors who are actually likely to give right now. When you send the appeal, you’ll secure more and larger donations on average than you would have otherwise, and you’ll have spent less on printing and postage. The result is a stronger, positive ROI for the appeal.

Whether you’re seeking unrestricted annual gifts in a mail appeal, asking for support for a specific program via email, or inviting donors to your next big-ticket event, this underlying concept will improve your ROI. Machine learning technology offers the most direct way to get started targeting your donors, offering a quicker and more accurate approach than traditional data analysis techniques.

Donor Retention

Your nonprofit’s donor retention rate is the rate at which you retain active donors from one campaign (or other period of time) to another. How many donors who gave to one appeal gave again to the next one? What does churn look like in your regular giving program? How does your retention of those donors track over time?

Donor retention is critically important to your nonprofit’s bottom line. Retaining the support of existing donors is much more cost-effective than focusing solely on acquiring new ones. Tracking and continually seeking to improve your donor retention rate is a must.

After all, reaching new audiences, catching their attention, and inspiring them to give is a costly and time-consuming process. However, keeping existing donors excited about giving is an easier lift, and it allows your team to focus more on growing those relationships and gifts over time—meaning a larger base of support for more efficient fundraising in the future. This is especially true in your regular giving programs, where the cost of acquisition can be high.

How to Calculate It

To calculate your donor retention rate:

  • Determine the timeframe or specific comparison for which you’d like to calculate your retention rate, for instance, annual retention in your regular giving program.
  • Divide the number of retained donors at the end of the year (i.e. donors who stayed the whole time) by the number of donors at the beginning of the time period. This is your donor retention rate for that particular time frame.
  • Multiply this number by 100 to present it as a percentage.

This will give you a top-line idea of how well your campaigns have retained the support of your existing donors. 

But remember that this formula does not account for donor acquisition, meaning you could see strong retention metrics that are in fact inflated with new donors who joined halfway through the time period. Donor acquisition is great news, but don’t lose track of how well you’re encouraging them to actually stick around over time. 

Effective data management software should make it easy to exclude specific types of donors, like those newly acquired, to keep your numbers accurate. The granularity to aim for will depend on exactly what you’re trying to accomplish, but it’s never a bad idea to dig deeper into the data when possible.

How to Improve It

Failing to retain donors, also called donor churn, can be caused by an extremely wide range of factors. Whatever the specific reasons that individuals choose not to engage with your campaigns, the overarching issue is that you’re losing their commitment. 

This is especially critical when it comes to your recurring donation program since these donors generate such high value for your organization over the long run and can be costly to acquire. The program only succeeds when the churn rate is low.

The best way we know how to address churn at its source is to proactively identify churn risks in advance. Artificial intelligence technology can be used to screen your nonprofit’s CRM, find patterns that lead to churn, and flag these individuals for extra attention. Engage them with phone calls, other forms of personal outreach, or event invites—just don’t ask for another donation right away.

Donor Lifetime Value

Donor lifetime value (LTV) is a measure of how much a donor gives to your organization from their first donation up until the time they stop giving. LTV is often averaged across particular segments of your donor base.

Understanding your donor LTV is important because it allows you to make all kinds of informed cost-benefit decisions relating to acquisition, retention, and stewardship.

For example, acquiring new donors can be costly, but if you know that your campaign will attract a segment of donors with a high average LTV, the cost of carefully acquiring them will be worth it. Additionally, tracking your donor LTV over time can reveal deeper retention issues—if the average lifetime value of a core segment of your donor base is falling, you’re losing them to churn and should address it.

How to Calculate It

To calculate donor lifetime value, use the following formula:

Donor Lifetime Value = Average Donor Lifespan x Average Donation x Donor Frequency

To generate the metrics necessary for the formula, you’ll need to make some initial calculations:

  • Compile the set of donors whose lifetime values you’ll be averaging, whether that’s your entire donor base or just one segment.
  • Determine the average number of years that donors in your segment actively give donations (Average Donor Lifespan).
  • Divide the total value of donations made by those donors by the number of individual donors (Average Donation).
  • Divide the total number of donations in a recent period (for instance, 5 years) by the total number of individual donors. Then, divide again by the number of years during which the donations were made (Donor Frequency).
  • Multiply your Average Lifespan, Donation, and Frequency numbers to generate your LTV for that set of donors over that specific timeframe.

Here’s an example: If 100 donors have given 1,000 gifts (totalling $100,000) in the past 5 years, and your average donor gives for 10 years, your LTV is:

Average lifespan = 10 years

Average donation = ($100,000 / 1,000 gifts) = $100

Donor frequency = (1,000 gifts / 100 donors / 5 years) = 2 gifts per donor per year

10 Years x $100 x 2 gifts = $2,000 LTV

In other words, these donors give 2 gifts of $100 every year for 10 years. The retained support of one of these donors represents a total of $2,000 for your mission over time.

How to Improve It

Many factors and unique contextual elements impact donor LTV, so it can be difficult to lay out a one-size-fits-all improvement strategy. However, the underlying issue is that donors aren’t sticking around long enough to give more and larger gifts over time. 

Churn and disengagement are often at the root of dropping LTV metrics—anything you can do to retain donors and keep them excited about your mission should help. Identify at-risk donors in advance so you can personally reach out, invite them to more events, diversify your campaign offerings, and send a wider range of messages than just the same appeals each year. 

To proactively improve LTV, pursue new stewardship opportunities, like by using AI to identify potential mid-level donors and singling them out for individual outreach. You can also explore corporate giving connections to help donors generate more value for your mission without needing to make more donations themselves.

The exact strategies you roll out to improve any of these metrics will vary based on the unique context and goals. But most importantly, be sure to actively track them over time and use tools like AI and a robust CRM platform to simplify the process of organizing and studying them. 

By taking a strategic approach backed up with data, you can begin to develop concrete acquisition, engagement, and retention strategies for each bracket of your donor base as your organization grows.

Woman stands with a megaphone in her hand. Social media and marketing icons flow out from the megaphone.

Cause-Related Marketing: A Brief Guide for Nonprofits

In today’s world, consumers want to support corporations that emphasize ethical practices and work to make society a better place. For many businesses, that means taking part in corporate social responsibility and contributing to charitable organizations in their communities. From a nonprofit standpoint, this can lead to an increase in support from businesses and additional revenue for worthwhile causes.

Enter cause-related marketing. When charitable organizations and for-profit businesses work together, this impactful strategy has the power to elevate nonprofit/business partnerships and make a real difference in the world around us. However, many nonprofits fail to recognize the potential that cause marketing holds.

In this quick guide, we’ll provide you with some key insights and answer the following critical questions on the topic:

  1. What is cause-related marketing?
  2. How does cause-related marketing benefit nonprofits?
  3. What are some examples of cause-related marketing efforts?
  4. What are some best practices for cause-related marketing?

For businesses investing in cause-related marketing strategies, running a successful campaign can mean improved awareness, sales, and reputation. For nonprofits like yours, however, corporate cause marketing efforts can result in increased funding and long-term community partnerships.

Ready to learn more about this win-win situation and see how you can maximize its impact for your own cause? Let’s get started!

What is cause-related marketing?

Cause-related marketing is a specific type of corporate philanthropy in which companies partner with nonprofit organizations to spread the word about their brands while doing social good. By sponsoring a co-branded marketing campaign, the corporation often makes significant financial contributions to the nonprofit as well. This type of campaign creates a mutually beneficial relationship between for-profit and not-for-profit organizations with substantial advantages available to both parties.

How does cause-related marketing benefit nonprofits?

While cause-related marketing is typically seen as a corporate strategy, it simultaneously functions as effective marketing for nonprofit organizations that participate as well. Often, big corporations have larger marketing spends than charities that are typically on tighter budgets. As such, organizations can benefit from these partnerships (and free publicity!) in significant ways.

For example, cause-related marketing can result in the following advantages for nonprofits:

  • Increased funding: A major component of any cause-related marketing campaign is the financial support given by the business in question. Corporate contributions are one of three overarching sources of charitable funding for many organizations, alongside individual donations and grant-giving foundations. When nonprofits partner with these businesses, they collect a significant amount of revenue for their own fundraising needs.
  • Boosted awareness: Cause marketing efforts are a great way to get an organization’s name (and mission) out there in front of potential new supporters who might have never interacted with them before. Thanks to the business partnership, a company’s dedicated customers will be exposed to the charitable cause and even consider becoming loyal supporters themselves.
  • Long-term business partnerships: Although most cause marketing campaigns are short-term efforts, the forging of one provides a chance for ongoing nonprofit partnerships. For example, a business might sponsor a single nonprofit fundraising event then move on to support the organization through additional giving opportunities like matching gifts, volunteer grants, in-kind donations, or payroll deductions.

With these benefits and more, nonprofits are better able to secure much-needed revenue and drive their missions forward.

What are some examples of cause-related marketing efforts?

The first known example of a cause-related marketing campaign was spearheaded in 1983 by American Express. This company vowed to donate one cent to the Statue of Liberty restoration for every time a charge card was swiped, which resulted in increased card usage and new cardholders for the business as well as more than $1.7 million for the foundation rebuilding the statue.

Since then, these nonprofit/business partnerships have flourished. In recent times, a popular way that businesses support nonprofit organizations is by acting as a corporate sponsor on Giving Tuesday. For example, on Giving Tuesday 2020, DoorDash partnered with the leading network of nonprofit food pantries, Feeding America, to provide a meal to someone in need for every meal that was purchased through the food delivery app.

Alternatively, some companies choose to work with and support nonprofit efforts by sponsoring their events. This might happen on a smaller scale, with a local restaurant partnering with the neighborhood community center to host a walk-a-thon or similar fundraising event. When the business provides donations of funding or goods, the organization can, in turn, include them on promotional materials as a key sponsor for the event.

What are some best practices for cause-related marketing?

We’ve walked through some examples of successful campaigns and explored various reasons why nonprofits should invest in cause-related marketing. But how can you make sure your team gets the most out of your partnership efforts? Consider the following best practices.

1. Choose your corporate partners carefully.

Just like recruiting the right ambassadors for a fundraising campaign is critical for ensuring your organization is being represented well, so is choosing your corporate partners thoughtfully on an even larger scale. When you join forces with a for-profit business, their actions and practices reflect on your team, too. Therefore, it’s critical that you don’t go forging partnerships with just anyone!

To get started, consider seeking businesses with similar missions to your own. For example, if you run an animal welfare organization, you might reach out to companies selling pet food or other products. If you work for a food bank, you might consider local grocery stores or restaurants. 

Corporations that have been philanthropically minded in the past might offer a good jumping-off point here. Just be sure to do thorough research before getting deeply involved. After all, the funding you might receive is not going to be worth tanking your organization’s hard-earned reputation by way of a poorly constructed partnership. 

2. Avoid coming across as insincere. 

A big concern with cause-related marketing strategies is that, when not done well, the organizations involved can be seen as hosting a cheap marketing ploy or scam. This often occurs when communications surrounding the partnership focus on emotional manipulation or guilting the audience into giving.

To avoid this negative light on your organization and its mission, be sure to communicate the impact of your partnership so that your audience understands its purpose. For example, you can incorporate real success stories about people who have benefited from your services. In doing so, you remind potential supporters and customers of the philanthropic need behind your organization rather than functioning as just another request for money. 

3. Spread the word about your partnership.

While a lot of awareness about your cause-related marketing will likely come from your corporate partner, don’t forget to communicate the relationship and campaign specifics to your supporters as well. 

Here are a few ideas to get the word out about your cause marketing efforts:

  • Include details in your organization’s newsletter. If you already send updates to supporters in a regular newsletter, whether physical or digital, be sure to include a snippet about the campaign.
  • Send a postcard. A postcard in the mail can be a simple way to grab your audience’s attention and share basic details about your partnership. Since a postcard contains a limited amount of space, be sure to direct readers to another resource where they can learn more about getting involved. 
  • Share information on your social media profiles. More than likely, your organization has profiles on major platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. Use these social networking sites to spread the word and encourage your followers to do the same. 
  • Update your nonprofit’s website. Your website is the main hub for information about your organization’s mission, services, and fundraising efforts. Create a dedicated web page that includes information about your cause marketing efforts, and be sure to link to your partner’s website as well!

By taking the time and effort to market your cause marketing partnership, you can increase the impact that your campaign has on your organization’s bottom line. The more people who hear about it, the more you’ll raise for your mission and the more your business partner will benefit as well! 

If you’re considering taking part in a cause-related marketing campaign, following these best practices is a great way to set your team (and the corporation’s!) up for continued success. 

All in all, cause-related marketing strategies have the potential to drive dedicated organizations forward—both nonprofit and for-profit businesses alike. To get started as a nonprofit, be sure to keep an eye out for philanthropic-minded corporations and see where these partnerships can take you. Best of luck!

4 people stand or sit around a table in a discussion with laptops in front of them.

Building an Engagement Strategy to Boost Board Member Morale

You want your organization’s board members to be your biggest supporters, but sometimes, you’re so preoccupied that you forget to properly cultivate them into engaged champions of your cause. While this may not pose an immediate threat, the impact of neglecting board members’ experiences can heavily impact their work (and consequently your organization’s success) over time.

If you want board members to succeed and be excited to serve, they’ll need to be thoroughly invested in the mission and their work, which requires some extra effort on your end. This starts the moment they express interest in joining your board and extends throughout the duration of their term. In the end, the extra investment will be well worth it.

Whether you’re new to board leadership or are simply looking to revamp your engagement strategy, you’ve come to the right place! Board engagement requires a unique approach at every organization, and to help you design a thorough engagement strategy, we’ll walk through these key elements:

1. Why Board Engagement Matters

An engaged board is crucial to the health of any organization. Engaged team members are naturally more impactful because they’re willing to devote the necessary time and effort to complete their tasks and exceed expectations.

An engaged team is much more knowledgeable and passionate about the organization. This directly translates into a handful of valuable benefits, including:

  • Better governance in the boardroom since everyone will be focused on producing the best outcomes for the organization
  • Improved public relations because they’ll naturally spread the word about all the noteworthy work your organization is doing
  • More board recruitment opportunities, including an increased pool of participants who have heard great things about serving on your board

Overall, engaging your board members will lead to valuable opportunities for the organization. On the other hand, a disengaged board can work against your vision, making it difficult to make progress. 

Nurturing engagement is certainly challenging, but failing to do so can eventually produce insurmountable obstacles for the executive director and the board itself.

2. Ways to Boost Board Engagement

Now that you’re aware of why board engagement matters, it’s time to jump into the fun part: creating a plan for enhancing the board experience. 

Bear in mind that it’s not enough to simply increase responsibilities and demand more of your members’ time. These individuals have to want to go above and beyond. To inspire your approach, we’ll walk through a handful of simple yet highly impactful strategies that encourage board members to stay involved.

Provide a meaningful onboarding experience.

Your board of directors is likely comprised of individuals from all different walks of life and various experience levels. They join for all sorts of reasons, whether they’re looking to develop valuable skills, contribute to society, network with other leaders, or socially interact with others during this time of social distancing. Regardless of those reasons, you need to recognize that many of them might have minimal experience with this type of role. 

Being in a leadership position may not come naturally for some people, but sufficient guidance can go a long way. Lay the groundwork for your board members with an onboarding experience that sets expectations and helps them understand their roles upfront. For example:

  • Assign a board buddy to show new members the ropes, guide them through their first few meetings, and answer any questions they may have. They’ll appreciate having a friendly face in the boardroom.
  • Create a welcome packet that condenses down necessary information. Include a summary of your nonprofit’s history, your organization’s bylaws, a list of current board members, and a calendar of upcoming events.
  • Walk through each role’s responsibilities to remove any ambiguity. Be sure to communicate that all members should actively advocate for your mission, collaborate with their fellow board members, and come fully prepared to meetings.

Joining a board of directors for the first time can be intimidating. Offering an exceptional onboarding experience can go a long way to break the ice and clarify expectations. This sets the right tone from the start and helps everyone get up to speed quickly so that they can start to make actual progress.

Make the most of your meetings.

Your board members lead busy lives. On top of serving your board, they also balance their work and home lives. So, time in the boardroom must be maximized to the fullest extent possible. Otherwise, they’ll easily become irritated and will mentally clock out before you realize it.

Especially if you’re meeting in a virtual or hybrid format, your officers need to invest plenty of time into keeping board members focused and fully engaged during meetings. Here are a few ways to help board members make the most of their time together:

  • Share agendas in advance. A clear and focused board meeting agenda with discussion topics will enable board members to come fully prepared and ready to contribute with thoughtful questions and insights. Consider setting time limits and noting the goal of each item as well, whether that’s to inform, seek advice, or arrive at a decision. That way, you won’t waste time discussing items that were meant to be a quick update.
  • Encourage board members to participate. Those who passively listen won’t help you accomplish your goals. Encourage attendees to comment and ask questions as they think of them, instead of waiting until the end. Even if they’re afraid to cause dissonance, all board members’ opinions should be heard. You might also ask if anyone has anything to add after each discussion item, giving them one last opportunity to chime in.
  • Limit routine business items. Meetings are the board’s primary opportunity to collaborate and put initiatives into motion. While you certainly need to cover the “have-to’s,” be sure to devote plenty of time to strategic discussions regarding your mission.

Your board chair and administrator will lay the groundwork for your meetings, making sure they hit all the necessary talking points and stay focused. However, it’s up to board members to come prepared and ready to participate in every meeting. Every step you take to make the boardroom more engaging will make preparation and participation much easier on them.

Encourage interaction outside of the boardroom.

Only communicating during meetings will hinder your organization’s growth. When board members connect outside of the boardroom, engagement will thrive. Whether they’re discussing your mission or their personal lives, here are two ways they can stay connected between meetings:

  1. Retreats: An annual (or semi-annual) retreat gets board members away from the usual meeting space, allowing them to think critically about your organization’s progress. While smaller organizations may only need an afternoon, larger organizations might need two days to cover their bases.
  2. Social Events: Informal gatherings enable board members to connect on a personal level. Whether in-person or virtual, a more relaxed environment allows them to talk about their personal lives, promoting camaraderie and impacting their chemistry in the boardroom.

However your board members interact, just make sure they stay in touch between meetings. This will go a long way to ensure that they stay connected with your work and keep your organization top of mind.

Thank them for their hard work and dedication.

Don’t let your board members’ hard work go unnoticed. Remember, they’re volunteers; they choose to give their time and can walk away at any point. Pat them on the back for a job well done on a regular basis. Otherwise, they may interpret your silence as a lack of appreciation, leaving a sour taste in their mouths.

Not thanking your board is the easiest way to lose even the most passionate contributors that you worked so hard to recruit.

Among other organizational leaders, the executive director should reach out on a regular basis to personally thank board members for their hard work, whether that’s via phone call, face-to-face, or some other means. Some organizations even shine the spotlight on outstanding board members by featuring them in their newsletter or posting about them on social media. Align with each board member to make sure they would appreciate public recognition first though.

If you’re looking for more ideas – try hosting thank-you events, creating a recognition wall, or giving a small token of appreciation like a gift card or t-shirt. No matter which approach you take, make sure to tailor your strategies and thank them in ways that are meaningful to them. 

3. How to Measure Board Engagement

“Engagement” is often an ambiguous term with no truly accurate way to measure it. It usually refers to the relationship between an organization and individuals, be they staff members, donors, volunteers, or board members. It’s often viewed along two axes: (1) “warmth” or sentiment by the individuals toward the organization, and (2) a number of interactions between the organization and individuals.

In other words, there’s no true way to measure board engagement. It varies across organizations and is often based on opinions, rather than hard numbers. However, there are a couple of ways you can track and analyze engagement, broken down into two types:

  1. Psychological measures. How emotionally connected do individuals feel to your organization? One of the simplest ways to measure psychological engagement is to simply ask. Send a survey, asking members to rate various aspects of their engagement. For instance, ask questions regarding their participation and what they believe can be improved. Take the following survey questions for example:
    • On a scale from 1 to 5, what level of preparation and participation do you dedicate to board meetings?
    • How well do you understand your role as a board member? Are expectations clear?
    • What would you change about the board meetings?
    • Could better organization, including online tools, help you manage tasks?
    • Do you think you could describe the organization’s mission and accomplishments in an elevator speech?
    • What should board members do more of? (e.g. contribute professional talents and resources, tap networks for donations, follow through on assigned tasks)
    • What actions should our nonprofit take to keep developing and inspiring our board? (e.g. diversity of board recruits, virtual meeting options, board education opportunities)
  1. Behavioral measures. Consider the amount of time board members invest in reviewing board materials, communicating via electronic means, asking questions, and completing their tasks. These all serve as latent, non-invasive ways to track behavioral investment.

Having some sort of way to measure board engagement is crucial. Otherwise, you won’t have a reliable way to determine if your strategies are helping, hurting, or making a difference at all. Proactively analyzing engagement means you can adjust your approaches and make sure your efforts are worth it.

Recruiting and onboarding exceptional board members is only the first step in a successful board lifecycle. Successful engagement is a multi-step process—you can’t expect them to stay fully engaged throughout their terms without a bit of motivation.

Remember, board engagement looks different for every organization. No matter how passionate your board members are, your team will need to take extra steps to maintain their involvement and encourage them to stay invested in their work. After all, the last thing you want is a bored board. All that does is waste their valuable time and effort!

Two people stand by a donation box with signs that say "Donate"

Requesting Donations for Your Capital Campaign: 4 Key Tips

If your organization is looking to build its assets and facilitate growth, you might want to start planning a capital campaign. Money raised through a capital campaign can fund the development of projects like new buildings, renovations, and equipment, or provide start-up funds for new programs and increase endowment

Sounds exciting, but not so fast. Extensive planning is critical to maximize the success of your campaign. This guide will share some expertise regarding capital campaigns in order to bolster your future fundraising efforts. 

We’ll go over a comprehensive, step-by-step process to request donations for your capital campaign. Read on to hear some of our years of insight regarding this process as it is split up into the following steps:

  1. Create a fundraising plan
  2. Request donations online
  3. Send direct mail appeals
  4. Thank donors for their support

We’re bringing you our best practices to help your organization improve and thrive. Dive into our guide, and prepare to learn some game-changing capital campaign fundraising tips. 

1. Create a fundraising plan

Your best foot forward with your capital campaign starts with your team, and fundraising plans are key to benefiting your team and organizing your campaign. With a well-written plan, your entire team will have a document to reference for all of the decisions you make as you move forward with your fundraising efforts. 

Fundraising plans organize vital information about your campaign in one place, allowing you and your team to set goals with confidence. The content of your campaign plan will surely vary depending on the needs of your organization and your capital campaign itself. Some elements you may want to consider include:

  1. Objectives
  2. Goals
  3. How to recognize donors
  4. Leadership structure
  5. Campaign communications
  6. Budget
  7. Timeline

Each of these elements plays a vital role in the creation of a successful capital campaign plan. And luckily for you, a successful capital campaign plan often leads to a successful capital campaign. The plan’s format can vary depending on what works best for you, but every fundraising plan helps achieve the same goal: putting all individuals working on the campaign on the same page.

2. Request donations online

At a time when so much of our lives has shifted online as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, online fundraising is more beneficial than ever. In fundraising, we need to quickly adapt our work to the changing societal atmosphere—and a pandemic isn’t exempt from that idea. 

Requesting donations online is key during a time of social distancing and stay-at-home orders. This shift shouldn’t be too difficult, though. Statistics even show that 54% of donors prefer to give online. Not only will requesting donations online accommodate the remote format of our everyday interactions, it will also appeal to the evidently expressed preferences of donors.

Whenever you’re soliciting online donations for your capital campaign, keep it simple. Consider ditching a brochure—Zoom meetings don’t bode too well with large blocks of text for your donors to read. Instead, work on strengthening information more structured like an outline, such as a donor discussion guide

3. Send direct mail appeals

For years, direct mail fundraising has supported much of nonprofit fundraising and communication efforts. With direct mail appeals, it’s important to consider how you come across to your audience—the donor. Make sure to tell an engaging story, using visuals and personalization to connect with the reader. 

Direct mail appeals can even connect with your online donation solicitations. For example, you can include information in your appeal on how individuals may donate online. Include a URL or QR code, for instance, to your online donation site. Giving your donors many ways to give will increase the likelihood of their donating. 

4. Thank donors for their support

Thanking donors is so important. It builds good donor stewardship, which can make the difference between successful and poor fundraising. Your authentic gratitude will lead to happier donors, more positive feelings about your organization, and increased future giving. 

You can pursue creative ways to thank your donors, such as video thank-you’s, small gifts related to your mission, or handwritten notes using memorable language. No matter the format, the most important aspect of your “thank you” is that it is genuine and heartfelt.

Stewardship isn’t just about simply thanking your donors. Make sure they feel appreciated and valued—that’s what makes your gratitude memorable. With time and effort put into your stewardship practices, you’ll build trust with your donors and keep them giving to your cause year after year.

Your capital campaign will be unique in its needs and structure, but hopefully, this guide gave you some useful tips and essential fundraising practices. With careful attention throughout the entire process—from the fundraising plan to the “thank you”—you’ll be able to maximize your fundraising for your capital campaign. 

2 men stand in front of a chart. A target bullseye is in the background

Importance of Career Goal-Setting in the Nonprofit Sector

Those who work for nonprofits rarely hold the same motivations as employees in the for-profit sector. Generally, the greatest driver for nonprofit professionals like yourself is the desire to do good work in the world. However, this admirable ambition is often accompanied by discomfort when it comes to searching for self-advancement opportunities.

Nevertheless, career goal-setting in the nonprofit sector is just as important as it is in the for-profit world. Nonprofit professionals have the chance to achieve higher personal satisfaction and to increase their impact on the community by advancing their own skills. 

Even if it might seem uncomfortable or unnatural to put yourself first (nonprofit professionals are characteristically selfless people), setting your own professional goals is incredibly important to give a boost to yourself and your mission. By pursuing opportunities for self-improvement, you acquire an enhanced skill set to become a more effective contributor to your cause. 

In this guide, we’ll take a deep dive into the impact that career goal-setting has on professionals in the nonprofit world. Goal-setting contributes positive benefits such as:

Stay tuned at the end for some actionable steps you can take to set your own goals. Let’s dive in!

Job Satisfaction

Career goal-setting is a vital aspect of job satisfaction, no matter the industry. Setting goals, identifying the necessary steps to reach those goals, and ultimately checking items off the list is therapeutic and leads to happier professionals. This is because it shows how you are advancing

You’ve heard the term “dead-end job” before. This term refers to jobs with no opportunities for advancement or improvement. These jobs are generally discussed in a downtrodden tone by unhappy individuals who will eventually leave their work for something more satisfying. 

On the other hand, professionals happy in their careers often have an idea of where they want to go and have identified the steps it will take to get there. 

Opportunity for advancement is by no means the only measure of job satisfaction. Other common elements include compensation, stress levels, work-life balance, job security, workplace relationships, and access to professional development opportunities. With this extensive list of potential job satisfaction elements, keeping advancement opportunities in mind can be challenging, especially in a sector where your mission dominates your main focus. 

Let’s consider Knox, a professional fundraiser working with an organization to help homeless veterans get back on their feet with well-paying jobs, housing, and more. He has worked at the mid-sized organization for a couple of years, helping raise millions of dollars in total. He’s by no means a newcomer to the industry, but he’s not entirely sure where his career is going. He’s performing well in his regular routine of making calls and building relationships with supporters, but he’s looking for opportunities for variation in his daily tasks

Instead of looking for a new job opportunity, Knox decides to talk to the HR department about additional opportunities and responsibilities within the organization. He learns that the next natural step in his career path is to become a major gifts officer, but he still has several skills to develop before reaching that level. He starts making a list of steps to take in order to achieve that goal, including seeking educational opportunities for professional development, specifically focused on enhancing communication strategies. Having something to work toward has greatly changed Knox’s outlook on his job, revitalizing his dedication to his position and the mission. 

One element of this story that we’d like for you to keep in mind is the phrase, “instead of looking for a new job opportunity.” Knox was in danger of leaving the organization if nothing changed in his current position, but finding a new opportunity to advance his career helped keep him on board. This retention is key to helping nonprofits avoid spending the funds and effort required by the hiring process and to retain a skilled workforce for the long run.

Organizational Efficiency

Efficient organizations are by definition those that are able to accomplish more in a shorter time period and usually with fewer resources. This means that the organization gets the most out of staff members, funds, and time. 

When nonprofit professionals such as yourself start taking steps toward reaching career goals, you’ll end up learning and advancing your skills in the sector. Nonprofit leaders often (and should) reward individuals who learn new skills that will help them succeed.

Your organization may provide opportunities through internally designed programs presented in a learning management system or pre-built courses from another provider. Some organizations, especially smaller ones with fewer resources, may even leave it up to the individual to find these growing opportunities on their own, but this isn’t the recommended approach. 

As individuals learn more about the sector and start improving their own skills, they’ll discover they’re able to complete their jobs more efficiently. This creates a ripple effect throughout the organization. As more and more people learn to become more efficient, the entire organization will be better equipped to accomplish its mission. 

Consider the various aspects of your nonprofit’s strategy you might impact by becoming a more efficient employee. Organizations with effective strategic plans provide measurable elements for their planning processes. You can use these measurable elements to show how much you’ve accomplished for the organization and prove your own efficiency as an individual contributor. For example, consider the following nonprofit department goals and how individual efficiency can achieve these organization-wide goals: 

  • The development team has a goal to recruit 100 new supporters by the end of the quarter. Sally, a member of the development team, takes a course about communication with supporters in order to learn how to communicate more purposefully and persuasively. She tests out a few variations of emails to new prospects, then creates a template to use and customize based on the most effective ones. She shares this template with the team, saving everyone time that would have been spent endlessly crafting emails and ensuring the effectiveness of messages. By the end of the quarter, the organization has recruited 150 new supporters, surpassing the team’s goal. 
  • The programming team has a goal to build ten new homes for disadvantaged families in the next six months. It takes 20 hardworking volunteers to build a home in the timeframe of three weeks. Jessie, one of the programming team members, figures out that if they had 25 volunteers and can get volunteers up-to-speed faster on the building procedures, they could build a home in two weeks instead of three. Therefore, he works with volunteer recruiters to spread the word about the opportunity and develops a standardized course to teach them about the build process and safety procedures. By the end of six months, the team built twelve homes! 

A willingness to learn and share with the team is at the heart of efficiency improvements. Consider how becoming more efficient in your own position will help drive the entire team forward at your nonprofit. 

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, many nonprofit organizations started working remotely and many professionals used newfound time to advance their own skill sets and take advantage of learning opportunities. As you return to in-person work either now or in the near future, keep professional development in the forefront of your mind. You don’t need a national pandemic to find the time to learn. 

Continue seeking opportunities to learn how to become a more effective and efficient staff member. This helps you and your organization increase your impact on the community and your mission. 

Community Impact

As you and your organization as a whole become more efficient, you’ll increase the impact you have on the community. We saw this in the examples listed in the last section, and the same principle is true for your nonprofit’s projects and processes.

Therefore, when you start considering how you’ll set goals in your own professional career, be sure to keep in mind how your continuous development and leadership at the organization will create the impact you want to see on the community. 

This focus on the larger impact will help you keep your eye on the prize and maintain motivation for achieving these goals. 

Let’s consider one more example to further explain the idea of community impact through the eyes of professional development: 

Phil is a major gift officer at the same organization as Knox, focusing on providing for homeless veterans. While he’s an effective major gift officer, he understands there are always opportunities for improvement and does some research on the different skills that he could develop to become even better at his job. He realizes one area he can improve is his written communications. Phil takes a writing course and dives deeper into best practices for email messages. He immediately sees his open rates among major prospects increase. 

As more major prospects read Phil’s messages, they become more and more acquainted with the organization’s mission. Then, when Phil calls and invites them to give, more of the prospects are on board with the idea. In the end, Phil raises 10% more than he had in the past simply by improving his email skills. This money goes toward helping 100 additional veterans during the year, all thanks to Phil’s desire to learn and improve his skills. 

Getting Started

By now you understand the importance of setting career goals and taking steps toward achieving these goals. The next question is, how can you get started? 

First, consider where you want to be in the next two to five years. This will become your overarching goal for your career. If you’re not sure what it is you want, consider talking to your HR department or your manager to discuss the options. 

Then, consider the skills that someone in that position needs to succeed. Do they need awesome written and verbal skills? Persuasion? Organization? Planning? Write out a list of all of the skills someone in that position needs to be successful. 

Next, analyze your own experience and development of those same skills. Where are you already strong and how can you exemplify these strengths within your current position? What are your opportunities for improvement? 

Finally, seek out development opportunities that will help you improve.

When you actively show that you’re willing to put in the time, effort, and work necessary to reach the ultimate goal, you’ll be much more likely to get there. Openly communicate your goals to your manager, then explain the steps you’re taking to get there. Good luck!