In this post, you'll learn all you need to know about nonprofit HR.

Nonprofit HR — Nonprofit Catalog

Your nonprofit relies on people to power its mission, including donors, volunteers, sponsors, and other supporters. But what about the people working behind the scenes—your organization’s staff members?

Your internal team has a unique relationship with your organization. Not only are they passionate about your cause and everything it stands for—they’re also employees of your nonprofit. And as an employer, it’s your responsibility to ensure that their employment experience is a positive one that keeps your internal operations strong so that you can serve your community effectively.

That’s where nonprofit HR comes in! Let’s dive into the basics.

What Is Nonprofit HR?

Nonprofit human resources (HR) is the part of your organization that manages the employer-employee relationship between your nonprofit and its team. This means your HR professional will be responsible for building out a hiring process, managing payroll, carrying out performance reviews, and more.

There’s a misconception that nonprofits are completely exempt from government regulations, and thus don’t need HR. This isn’t true. In fact, any organization with employees needs to comply with employment law. Having a robust HR strategy helps nonprofits adhere to these laws.

Plus, your nonprofit relies on its full-time staff. By optimizing their employment experience, you’ll increase your chances of retaining top talent. And, you’ll set yourself up for growing your team (and thus your organization’s capacity to serve its beneficiaries) down the line.

Nonprofit vs. For-Profit HR

Nonprofits and for-profit organizations both have to adhere to employment laws. And both want to retain their talented employees. But there are some major differences between nonprofit and for-profit HR. Here are some of the unique aspects of nonprofit human resources to be familiar with:

  • Mission-Driven Nature: Instead of trying to make a profit, nonprofits are trying to further their causes. Thus, all of the strategies that make up nonprofit HR will be intrinsically tied back to the organization’s larger mission.
  • Limited Resources: It’s no secret that nonprofits have to operate on lean budgets and with limited time. This can make it challenging to prioritize HR responsibilities and even put some organizations at risk for violating employment regulations.
  • Project-Based Staffing: For nonprofits, some funding sources will be program or project-specific, which translates into staff needs being program and project-specific, too. This can often make nonprofit staffing more complex than it is in for-profit organizations.
  • Recruitment: Nonprofits compete with for-profit organizations for talent. And, due to slimmer budgets, they can’t hinge their hiring efforts on salaries. Thus, nonprofits have to take a more holistic approach to compensation in order to stand out in the job marketplace.

Understanding these aspects of nonprofit HR can set your organization up to optimize its HR strategy and better manage your human resources responsibilities.

7 Key Responsibilities of Nonprofit Human Resources

Whether your nonprofit has an in-house team of human resources professionals or you rely on the assistance of an HR consultant, your HR professional will shoulder the following responsibilities:

This graphic lists the key responsibilities of nonprofit HR, which are explored in the text below.
  1. Compensation: Because nonprofits face the challenge of trying to be competitive employers while also managing tight budgets, many nonprofits opt for a total rewards approach that involves both direct (salary, bonuses, etc.) and indirect forms of compensation (paid time off, perks). Designing and implementing a total rewards approach that works for your nonprofit is a critical responsibility.
  2. Performance Management: Performance management, also known as talent management, goes beyond annual performance reviews. It is the process of continually training, coaching, and communicating with employees, and is important for boosting employee performance, engagement, and retention rates.
  3. Compliance and Documentation: Ensuring that your nonprofit complies with local, state, and federal employment regulations is a big task. Working with an HR consultant, lawyer, or insurance agent can be especially helpful for smaller teams.
  4. Recruitment, Onboarding, and Ongoing Training: Your HR professional will be responsible for designing what the employee lifecycle looks like at your nonprofit, from recruitment to exit interviews. Though others will be involved in this process (like managers or directors), your HR professional will build out the bulk of your strategy.
  5. Culture Building: An organization’s internal culture plays a big role in employee engagement and satisfaction. The right HR strategy can set the tone for your nonprofit’s internal culture. For example, your HR professional might help you develop an employee recognition program that shows employees that they’re valued and needed. These programs can involve sending thank-you messages, providing bonuses, hosting awards ceremonies, or providing opportunities for professional development.
  6. Payroll and Taxes: Alongside your financial professionals, your HR professionals will also be in charge of ensuring payroll is conducted in a timely manner, employees are classified correctly, and the right tax forms (like your Form 990) get to the IRS.
  7. Volunteer Management: Managing volunteers is an essential part of running a nonprofit, and your HR professionals can help you streamline your management strategy so that you boost your volunteer engagement and retention rates.

Honing your organization’s HR strategy is an essential part of running a successful nonprofit. And remember, though your HR professionals will design and guide your strategy, everyone at your organization has a part to play in making it a great place to work!

Additional Resources

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

Compensation Consulting: The Ultimate Guide (+Top Firms!) – Compensation is a critical aspect of the employee experience. Learn how compensation consulting works, and how to hire a consultant of your own.

HR Consulting Firms: 20+ Top Providers for Small Businesses – Working with an HR consulting firm can give your organization’s HR strategy an edge. Get recommendations for firms to work with!

A data append can provide your team with valuable information about your supporters.

Data Append – Nonprofit Catalog

Today’s marketers work with data every day and understand its vital role in maximizing return on investment for outreach. However, inaccurate contact information—among other crucial supporter data—can ultimately waste your team’s time, lead to a decline in supporter engagement, and hold back your team from achieving its mission. That’s where data appends come into play!

In a data-driven world, there’s no excuse for inaccurate data! Modern technology allows any organization to unlock the power of data appending for a relatively low cost. We’ll take a closer look at the basics, so you can start updating your constituents’ profiles and elevate your relationships with those who make your work possible.

What Is a Data Append?

Data appending is the process of adding new data elements to an existing database. Most often used by marketers, data appending allows you to use identifying information to fill in missing constituent data, such as phone numbers, email addresses, and postal addresses.

To append data, you’ll take the information your nonprofit’s collected on individual supporters and match it against a more extensive third-party database. To reduce the manual labor needed, many nonprofits turn to a trustworthy service provider to conduct the data append for them.

How Can Data Appends Help Your Organization?

There are plenty of reasons why you might append data for your nonprofit. For instance, you won’t have to reach out to supporters to update their information continually. Contacting them is time-consuming on both ends and likely won’t yield results.

In addition to streamlining information updates, data appending allows you to:

  • Clean up your nonprofit’s data and make sure your CRM isn’t cluttered with outdated or otherwise inaccurate data (such as those caused by typos during manual data entry).
  • Fill in gaps for missing information to ensure you have a complete record for each supporter.
  • Increase open rates by sending outreach to the correct email addresses, mailing addresses, and phone numbers.
  • Identify new segments within your audience so you can tailor your outreach and services to specific groups who share similar demographics.
These are the key benefits of data appends.

Ultimately, you just need to decide what types of information you want to append and how doing so will fit into your larger strategies.

What Are the Different Types of Data Appends?

As a nonprofit marketer, you already know there’s an endless list of data you collect for supporters. Knowing this, you’re probably wondering what types of data you can append for individual supporters. What’s more, which types of data are actually worth appending?

Knowing which information will actually propel your marketing efforts forward will help you spend your budget responsibly. While you’ll primarily want to append contact information, there are some other valuable data points you can append, resulting in richer profiles. Let’s explore some of the most common types!

This graphic breaks down the types of data you can append.

Contact Information Appends

Verify existing contact information and find missing details to make sure you’re reaching out to the right people. Here are some of the most common types of contact information you can append:

  • Email addresses. Email marketing is one of the most lucrative digital marketing avenues. Marketing research indicates that for every dollar spent, you can expect an average return of $36. That’s a higher return than any other form of marketing. But to experience those benefits, you’ll want to have the right email addresses for supporters!
  • Postal addresses. Even with the rise of digital marketing, direct mail isn’t dead. In fact, it’s a more personal form of communication that can help you steward deeper relationships when compared to mass emails and generic social media posts. People’s mailing addresses change all the time, so continually append postal addresses to keep them up-to-date.
  • Phone numbers. Reaching out via text or phone call can be a great way to connect with supporters. Plus, it opens your team up to more fundraising opportunities, like phone banking and text fundraising. Just like mailing addresses, people’s phone numbers change from time to time, too. Use data appending to make sure you have the most recent numbers for supporters.
  • Social profiles. With more than 4.2 billion active users, social media is a fantastic way to tap into a global network of supporters. Connect with your current supporters and encourage them to spread the word about your cause by interacting with your team online. Just make sure you have the right social media profiles for them!

If your email bounce rates are high or your call answer rates are low, it might be time to conduct a data append and make sure the information you have on file is accurate!

Employer Appends

An employer append allows you to add employment information for each of your contacts. This is a fantastic way to identify corporate giving opportunities. Double the Donation’s guide to employer appending breaks down a few ways this process can impact your fundraising, such as:

  • Uncover corporate giving opportunities. Research each company’s corporate giving guidelines to determine whether you have any available matching gift or volunteer grant opportunities.
  • Identify potential corporate partnerships. If several supporters work for the same company, use that information to kickstart a conversation with company leadership. You can even have supporters facilitate introductions with company leadership if they have direct connections.
  • Estimate wealth data. Knowing information like where your donors work and what their roles are can help you estimate their incomes and, by extension, their giving abilities.

With the right strategies, appending employer data can help create more robust supporter profiles and can impact your ability to reach your fundraising goals.

Demographic Appends

With this type of data appending, you can pull essential background information about your supporters, which will allow you to segment them into meaningful groups and send highly-tailored outreach.

NPOInfo’s guide to demographic appends lists the following standard demographic information that nonprofits append:

  • Net worth
  • Age
  • Gender
  • Ethnicity and race
  • Income
  • Marital status
  • Presence of children
  • Religion
  • Political affiliation
  • Lifestyle attributes such as hobbies, interests, and occupations
  • Buying behaviors such as online product purchases and online gift registries

How you leverage this information will depend on your unique organization. For instance, advocacy organizations may want to verify contacts are of voting age or have a certain political affiliation before reaching out.

Birthdate Appends

Dates of birth help you to better understand how to connect with your supporters. When you get creative, you can leverage birthdays to improve supporters’ experiences with your organization. For example, you might use this information to:

  • Send birthday newsletters and gifts to donors.
  • Encourage supporters to launch a birthday fundraiser on social media where they ask followers to donate to your cause.
  • Verify people are of voting age before contacting them about an upcoming election.
  • Segment your donors into similar age groups to send targeted communications.

From simply wishing people a happy birthday to encouraging birthday fundraisers, there’s a lot you can do when you know supporters’ birthdays. Pair all the data you append to transform the supporter experience and cultivate stronger, more meaningful relationships.

Additional Resources

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

The Nonprofit’s Ultimate Guide to Data Append Services – Learn the value of data append services and how the process can transform your marketing strategies.

The Data Append Guide for Nonprofits Working on Data Hygiene – Dive further into the data append process and gain plenty of data enrichment tips with this guide.

Nonprofit conferences offer resources and networking opportunities.

Nonprofit Conferences – Nonprofit Catalog

Each year, professionals in different industries gather at conferences to discuss the most pressing events and issues in their sector. The same is true for nonprofit professionals. Nonprofit conferences are an opportunity for professionals in the mission-driven space to connect with and learn from each other, expanding their capacity to support their missions. 

What are Nonprofit Conferences? 

A nonprofit conference is a gathering of nonprofit professionals to discuss topics related to a central theme. Attendees hear speeches from industry experts, attend educational sessions, and network with other professionals. Conference activities are an opportunity for professionals to share their knowledge and gain actionable strategies for nonprofit growth. 

Nonprofit conferences may occur in person, with attendees traveling to a central location and gathering in a shared space, such as an expo center or hotel. In-person conferences allow attendees to easily browse different booths or network over coffee.

Virtual and hybrid conferences have made the conference experience more accessible. Instead of traveling, conference attendees have the option to engage remotely. With no need to navigate a conference center, virtual attendees can quickly explore digital booths and attend keynote webinar sessions. 

Hybrid conferences allow nonprofit professionals to attend in person or engage with virtual offerings. This flexible structure supports the varying locations, availability, and interests of different attendees.  

What are the Most Popular Nonprofit Conferences?

If you’re looking for a nonprofit conference to attend, there is no shortage of opportunities to put on your calendar. Here are a handful of the most popular nonprofit conferences to consider:


Hosted by the Association of Fundraising Professionals, AFP ICON is the world’s largest conference for fundraising professionals. The conference is a major hub for nonprofit professionals to connect and learn from one another. Over the course of three days, attendees network with other fundraisers, hear from leading speakers, and choose from over 100 educational sessions. 

Nonprofit Technology Conference

NTEN’s Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) brings together nonprofit professionals seeking to use technology to further their missions. From tech experts to beginners, attendees of NTC’s keynotes and sessions will leave with valuable technology best practices. Informal networking sessions provide opportunities to share resources and make connections with other professionals.


Each year, CauseCamp curates a lineup of session topics and speakers that reflects current events in the nonprofit sector, allowing industry leaders to share insights with nonprofit professionals. CauseCamp’s breakout sessions are designed to leave attendees with actionable strategies for nonprofit growth. 

The Nonprofit Innovation & Optimization Summit

The Nonprofit Innovation & Optimization Summit (NIO) is presented by NextAfter, a leader in digital fundraising. Nonprofit marketers and fundraisers will have the opportunity to explore new technology, hear from digital marketing thought leaders, and network with other professionals. NIO’s offerings focus on research-driven practices and online fundraising innovation. 

Review NXUnite’s roundup of the top nonprofit conferences for more information on additional conferences happening this year. 

How Can You Prepare for a Nonprofit Conference?

Nonprofit conference organizers invite industry experts to speak at their events. If you’re invited to be a conference speaker, prepare by working on developing effective presentation skills.

Begin by getting to know your audience. How much experience do conference attendees already have with the topic? Understanding who you’re speaking to will allow you to tailor your presentation to the knowledge level and interests of the people listening. 

Giving an impactful speech requires both thoughtful presentation material and engaging delivery. Prepare for public speaking by working with a conference speaker coach. These professionals can help you develop your unique presentation style and play to your strengths. Working with a coach is also a great way to practice delivering your speech.

Create an emotional connection with your audience through storytelling. Share specific examples of what you’ve experienced while working with your organization, and offer takeaways that listeners can implement. Closing your speech with a motivational call to action leaves your audience with an impactful ending. 

Additional Resources

Understanding the nonprofit web design basics can strengthen your digital presence.

Nonprofit Web Design — Nonprofit Catalog

Your nonprofit website is one of your organization’s most valuable marketing assets. It’s supporters’ online hub and go-to resource for everything related to your organization. Whether you have an in-house graphic designer or outsource the work, you should take the time to learn the basics of nonprofit web design and ensure your site is the absolute best it can be!

What Is Nonprofit Web Design?

Nonprofit web design is the practice of conceptualizing and arranging content on a website to create a positive user experience. While web developers usually focus on coding and coordinating the technical elements on the “back-end” of websites, web designers focus on the visual elements that users see and interact with.

Specifically, web design encompasses steps like choosing layouts, images, color schemes, fonts, and other “front-end” elements. Optimizing your design and user experience requires you to balance aesthetics with functionality.

How Effective Nonprofit Web Design Can Help Your Cause

As your nonprofit’s primary digital asset, your website can (and should!) communicate your mission and establish a sense of respectability among users. A strong nonprofit web design tells your supporters that your organization is modern, professional, and reliable. In turn, establishing a sense of trust through your site will reinforce their confidence in contributing.

Plus, an effective design will help users navigate through your web pages, find the exact content they need, and tell them how to get involved quicker than with an outdated design.

Ultimately, a functional, user-friendly, and visually appealing nonprofit web design will make a strong first impression on new prospects and foster relationships with current supporters.

Tips for Designing Your Nonprofit Website

There’s no single “right” way that your nonprofit website should look. Rather, each organization’s website will look different in order to convey its cause and represent its brand. However, there are a few basic principles that will result in a cohesive nonprofit web design for any organization.

1. Create a consistent, branded user experience.

The last thing you want is for someone to be several minutes into browsing your site, decide to get involved by volunteering, and click through to your signup page only to be met with a webpage that looks entirely different from the rest of your site. This interrupts the user experience, makes them think they’ve wound up on an entirely different site, and can make them wary to continue browsing.

Instead, ensure every page on your site is fully branded to your cause and offers a consistent experience by featuring:

  • Your organization’s logo in the header
  • A color scheme that prioritizes your official colors and complementary ones
  • Images that showcase your beneficiaries, supporters, and cause altogether
  • A maximum of 3 different legible fonts

Creating a consistent visual experience will ultimately keep users on your site as they stay fully emerged in your content!

2. Strategically place your calls to action.

Your calls to action (CTAs) tell readers exactly how to get involved in your cause. Whether they find your site through a Google Ad, organically on a search engine, or from your social media, you want readers to know what they can do to support your work. Most often, this means asking them to donate, volunteer, register for an event, or sign up for your newsletter.

Consider where you place your CTAs. For example, most nonprofits feature a ‘Donate’ button in their header so that it appears across the entire site. You can also include them on your homepage, informational pages like your ‘About Us’ page, and blog posts.

The most effective CTAs include:

  • Clear, concise, and urgent language such as ‘Volunteer now!’
  • Bold text and eye-catching colors
  • Links to relevant landing pages, such as a volunteer registration or donation page

Take The Nature Conservancy’s website for example. They feature three well-placed, clearly-worded CTAs on their homepage, encouraging users to take meaningful actions:

The Nature Conservancy uses CTAs effectively, creating a strong nonprofit web design.

While CTAs are a must-have element for effective nonprofit web design, note that too many CTAs will clutter your page. Think critically about the most meaningful next action you want supporters to take when exploring different content on your site!

3. Include captivating imagery.

Illustrations, still photographs, videos, and other graphics are vital for creating a visually-engaging nonprofit web design. When choosing your imagery, keep these strategies in mind for a more cohesive look:

  • Feature your own photographs. Stock images can work well, but including photos of real volunteers, donors, and beneficiaries will make your site much more engaging and authentic.
  • Convey your brand. Any images you include on your site should be expressive and communicate your nonprofit’s story. Illustrations and purely decorative graphics should feature your brand colors, while photographs and videos should showcase those who support and benefit from your work.
  • Choose only a few images. There is such a thing as too much of a good thing. Avoid overcrowding your site with excessive images. Otherwise, you’ll risk a cluttered design that distracts users. Plus, too many images can slow your site speed down.

Choosing your images strategically can boost site engagement, drive more traffic, and ultimately boost your conversions. After all, humans naturally process images much quicker than text. Kwala’s fundraising flyers design guide mentions that:

The human brain can process visuals 60,000 times faster than text. And when paired with text, visuals can also increase people’s retention of information, making it crucial part of nonprofit web design.

4. Feature a responsive design.

360MatchPro by Double the Donation’s fundraising research estimates that half of all nonprofit website traffic comes from mobile devices. What’s more, mobile users make up an incredible 33% of online donation transactions. Knowing this, you should ensure your site works seamlessly on mobile devices.

A mobile-responsive nonprofit web design is vital based on these statistics.

A responsive nonprofit web design will automatically reformat your content to fit any screen size, opening up your cause to more people.

You can take your mobile-first design a step further by compressing images to quicken your load speed, minimizing the number of pop-ups you include, keep layouts vertical, and use larger fonts.

Additional Resources

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

6 Types of Nonprofit Web Design and When to Use Them – Explore the different types of layouts and other tips to incorporate into your nonprofit web design.

Graphic Design for Nonprofits: What To Know & 9 Free Tools – Dive into the world of graphic design and find tools to kickstart your nonprofit web design journey with this guide from Kwala!

Cookie Dough Fundraiser – Nonprofit Catalog

What is a cookie dough fundraiser?

A cookie dough fundraiser is a type of product fundraiser in which an organization sells cookie dough to supporters in exchange for donations. Usually, an organization works with a product fundraising partner, a company that sells products in bulk and provides your organization with a custom web page to sell from. These companies typically offer a variety of cookie dough flavors for your organization to sell.  

Cookie dough fundraisers are also versatile and able to fit your organization’s specific needs. Like many product fundraisers, cookie dough fundraisers can be run fully online, in person, or hybrid, which makes it convenient for organizations who want to reach a wide number of supporters. 

How to start a cookie dough fundraiser

With so many different fundraising ideas floating around, it might be difficult to pinpoint exactly what you want and where you want to start. Planning out your fundraiser will ensure a profitable and stress-free fundraising experience. 

Ready to get started? Follow these steps: 

  • Choose a product fundraising partner to work with 
  • Set up an online web store
  • Have students or volunteers collect orders from neighbors, friends, and families
  • Place your order
  • Distribute the cookie dough

Remember, planning out your fundraising strategy does not have to be stressful or difficult. A few simple steps can help your organization kick off its next cookie dough fundraiser on the right path! 

Best cookie dough fundraisers

Cookie dough fundraisers are a convenient and delicious way to raise money for a good cause, but they tend to come with many considerations. What format of cookie dough do you sell? What cookie dough program is the best option? What flavors do you offer? 

To launch the best cookie dough fundraiser, try these tips to maximize your success:

  • Sell gourmet cookie dough. Many product fundraising partners offer a variety of gourmet flavors. Research different options before deciding which product fundraising partner to use, and look for one that offers gourmet flavors.
  • Pair your cookie dough fundraiser with an event. For an additional fundraising opportunity, add a bake-a-thon or cookie decorating party to your campaign.
  • Offer cookie dough tubs and pre-portioned options. You can ask your supporters ahead of time which option they would prefer, or offer both! 

Keep your donors’ preferences in mind when you make decisions about your fundraiser. Don’t be afraid to send out a survey to directly ask what kinds of cookie dough they’d prefer. 

Additional Resources

In this quick guide, you’ll learn what donor acquisition is, why it’s important, and how to go about it for your nonprofit.

Donor Acquisition – Nonprofit Catalog

As a nonprofit, you need donors to further your mission and help the communities that you serve. Along with stewarding your existing donors, your organization needs to continuously work to find new donors to support your cause.

Prioritize securing new donors throughout the year, not only during specific fundraising campaigns. Ongoing donor acquisition should be a key part of your marketing strategy, allowing you to continue to grow your support base as you foster existing relationships.

What is donor acquisition?

Donor acquisition is the process of acquiring new donors for your organization. Through direct mail, social media, and other outreach strategies, your nonprofit can connect with potential donors and earn their support. 

Expanding your existing donor base increases your organization’s capacity to support its mission. Additionally, donor acquisition is essential to ensuring that your nonprofit is able to sustain itself when donors lapse. A lapsed donor is someone who previously donated to your organization but hasn’t for a set period of time.

Donor Acquisition vs. Donor Retention

A common misconception about nonprofit donor relations is that donor acquisition and retention are opposite and separate processes. According to eCardWidget, donor retention can be defined as “the strategies and efforts a nonprofit implements to encourage donors to continue their support over an extended period of time.” Once your organization has acquired a donor, the natural next step is to try to get them to engage with you again.

Although acquisition and retention are connected, many nonprofits wonder which one to prioritize. To help you answer this question for your organization, let’s look at some of the benefits of each process:

This graphic compares the benefits of donor acquisition and retention side by side, which will be discussed in more detail below.

Benefits of Donor Acquisition

  • Increasing your organization’s capacity for growth. If your nonprofit is planning any type of expansion, you’ll need new donors to boost your fundraising capabilities.
  • Reaching new audiences. When you acquire a donor, you can tap into their networks to spread awareness of your mission to different segments of your community.
  • Compensating for lapsed donors. No matter how much effort you put into donor retention, some of your supporters will inevitably stop participating in your organization’s activities. Acquiring new donors can help offset this lost support.

Benefits of Donor Retention

  • Cost effectiveness. Retaining donors typically requires fewer resources and less time than acquiring new ones.
  • Financial sustainability. When donors give on a regular basis, you can count on their contributions as a consistent revenue stream for your organization. This is especially true if supporters join your recurring giving program and set up automatic monthly or annual donations to your organization.
  • Supporter loyalty. You’ll build deeper relationships with the donors you retain, allowing you to provide them with a better giving experience. Plus, you can encourage them to get involved with your organization in other ways, such as volunteering or attending fundraising events.

In summary, your nonprofit should prioritize donor acquisition if you’re planning for organizational growth or want to expand your reach in your community. However, focusing on donor retention day-to-day will provide more stability for your organization’s finances and supporter relationships.

Donor Acquisition Strategies

You can use a variety of different strategies to secure new donors to support your cause. The best donor acquisition plans involve using multiple strategies, all of which should be targeted to your organization’s specific audience. We’ll discuss three options here.

A multichannel marketing approach can improve donor acquisition rates.

Multi-Channel Marketing

A multi-channel nonprofit marketing approach allows you to connect with multiple audiences that have different communication preferences by communicating with donors across several platforms. It also gives you a variety of touchpoints with supporters who engage with you across channels. 

Market your nonprofit across a variety of communication channels, such as: 

  • Direct mail. Sending physical mail to supporters’ addresses often feels more personal to donors than email. 
  • Email. Comprehensive email marketing includes regular newsletters, campaign updates, fundraising appeals, and invitations to events and volunteering opportunities.
  • Social media. Use social media to highlight successful examples of your nonprofit’s work, share volunteer stories, and interact directly with supporters. 

Direct Mail Donor Acquisition

Direct mail remains an impactful way to reach donors, especially when combined with digital marketing techniques. Physical mail can offer a personalized touch to your donor communications and gives supporters a tangible representation of your nonprofit. 

When using direct mail as a donor acquisition tool, include information about your nonprofit’s mission and explain how their support would directly further your organization’s goals. Direct mail outreach to potential donors might also encourage them to interact with your organization in another way, such as by visiting your website or following your social media accounts. 

Google Ad Grants

Google Ad Grants are a powerful tool for nonprofits. Under the Google Ad Grant program, nonprofits are eligible for $10,000 in Google Adwords spending each month. This allows nonprofits to feature their marketing content at the top of the search engine results page, more easily reaching potential donors who search for terms related to their work. 

Growing your supporter base through donor acquisition efforts is essential to ensuring your nonprofit is able to sustainably further your mission. If you’re unfamiliar with Google Ad Grants, there are agencies dedicated to helping nonprofits increase their reach through Google Ads.

Additional Resources

Text-to-give is a powerful way to raise funds for your nonprofit.

Text-to-Give — Nonprofit Catalog

Text-to-give is a powerful tool for nonprofits to expand their reach and drive revenue. As supporters spend more time on their phones than ever, your organization can meet them where they already are by offering a text-to-give donation option. 

What is text-to-give?

Nonprofits can leverage text-to-give to offer supporters a simple and convenient donation option. Text-to-give allows donors to quickly make donations from their mobile devices. This fundraising method makes donating to your nonprofit intuitive and accessible, expanding your organization’s reach and providing additional support for your mission.

Text-to-Give has a variety of benefits for your nonprofit and its donors.

There are many benefits of text-to-give:

  • It’s convenient for donors. Supporters can easily give from anywhere at any time, as long as they have their phone in hand. 
  • It expands your organization’s reach. Studies show that 97% of Americans have a cell phone, so your organization can readily reach new audiences by targeting mobile users. 
  • It can be paired with any fundraising event to maximize donations. Alongside your peer-to-peer fundraiser, auction, or other event, you can add in a text-to-give component to incorporate even more opportunities to give.

Text fundraising can help your nonprofit take its fundraising strategy to the next level, allowing you to raise more money and deepen your community impact. With the right text-to-give software, your nonprofit can access all of these benefits and streamline the entire set-up and execution process, giving your staff more time to advance its mission. 

How does text-to-give work? 

With the right technology solutions, text-to-give is easy for nonprofit professionals to set up and manage. Once implemented, your nonprofit and its supporters will find this donation method intuitive and simple to use. 

Text-to-Give is easy to set up and execute with the right text messaging provider.

Here’s how text-to-donate works:

  1. Partner with a text-to-give provider with fundraising experience and create a keyword. Supporters opt-in to receive texts from your organization by texting the keyword to your designated shortcode or long-code. 
  2. Send out donation appeals with a mobile-friendly link to your donation page. A mobile donation page should have limited fields and be optimized for phone viewing, making it easier for supporters to donate via their mobile devices. 
  3. Receive donations from your supporters. By sending emotionally compelling donation requests, your donors will feel inclined to tap on your donation link and contribute to your impactful work. Test out different message content and frequencies to maximize the impact of your text-to-give campaign

Text-to-give has the potential to skyrocket your fundraising potential, all while saving your nonprofit time and energy so you can focus on pushing your mission forward. 

Text-to-give best practices

While text-to-donate is a fairly simple process, it will require ongoing efforts from your nonprofit to come up with moving messages that will not only be read, but acted on. Explore these best practices to develop a winning text messaging campaign. 

Choose a catchy text-to-give keyword.

Supporters text a keyword to sign up for your messaging. The keyword should be relevant to your campaign and memorable. Keep it simple, as overly complicated keywords are more difficult to type and can cause prospective donors to get frustrated. Examples of good keywords include:

  • JOIN
  • GIVE
  • WALK 

If you’re running multiple campaigns, choose different keywords for each campaign.

Build your contacts list.

Promote your text-to-give campaign on your website, email, and social media to build your contact list. You’ll also want to include a prompt on your website’s donation page for donors to fill in their phone number and opt into your text messaging campaign. If your nonprofit has received supporters’ phone numbers in the past, you can add them to your text-to-donate campaign.

Always allow your supporters the ability to opt out of your campaign at any time. This can be done by enabling your supporters to text “STOP” or a related word or phrase to leave your texting campaign. Not only is this legally required, but it helps build trust with your supporters.

Send inspiring text messages.

Use storytelling elements to highlight the issue at hand and why donors should take action and give. One of the most impactful ways to inspire your supporters to donate is by telling an unfinished story. For example, if you’re a healthcare organization, you might tell the story of a 10-year-old patient who needs lifesaving treatment and explain that donor support is needed urgently to fund this child’s care. This allows the donor to be the hero of the story, further incentivizing them to step in and help. 

Include a clear call to action so donors know what their next step should be in the donation process. Link directly to your mobile donation page so donors can take action quickly.

Collect and analyze data. 

Pay attention to metrics like open rate, click-through rate, and conversion rate with the help of your text messaging provider. This will help you enhance your text messaging strategy, from optimizing the frequency of your text messages to improving your segmentation efforts so messages are more likely to resonate with donors, thereby increasing donations.

With the help of a leading software provider, your organization will be in great shape to create a robust text-to-give campaign. Do your research to find a provider that will help you elevate your nonprofit’s mission and drive fundraising success. 

Additional Resources

Create standout marketing materials by learning the building blocks of fundraising flyers.

Fundraising Flyer – Nonprofit Catalog

Dating back to the invention of the Gutenberg Press, flyers are one of the oldest marketing assets around. Even in a world that’s driven by technology, they’re still used to promote worthwhile causes today.

While for-profit entities can certainly create flyers, this type of marketing is especially beneficial for nonprofits. Fundraising flyers have the power to promote your campaigns and amplify your mission to supporters on a more personal level.

Let’s explore the basics of fundraising flyers and how they can fold into your current marketing strategies.

What Is A Fundraising Flyer?

A fundraising flyer is a nonprofit marketing tool used to promote campaigns and events. Flyers share background information about the nonprofit, its cause, and how funds will be used. They also provide important logistical information, like the date, time, and participation details, so readers can get involved.

Beautifully-crafted fundraising flyers can catch prospects’ eyes and inspire them to contribute to your cause by communicating your campaign’s purpose and telling them exactly how to support your work.

Benefits of Fundraising Flyers

Flyers have been around for quite some time — and for good reason. They work! When you take the time to create an eye-catching design, they’re a fantastic addition to your marketing.

Some of the advantages of fundraising flyers are that they’re:

  • Informative and digestible. When you follow graphic design best practices, your flyers can communicate a lot of information in a way that’s not visually overstimulating for readers.
  • Great for digital and in-person marketing. While flyers are traditionally printed, you can kill two birds with one stone by creating a digital version and sharing it on social media and in your email newsletters.
  • Easy to disperse. You can easily distribute fundraising flyers to a wide audience. Mail them to supporters, post them on community billboards, and create a digital version to share online.

Put some thought behind your design and how you’ll share your flyers with supporters. In turn, you’ll drive a lot more people to get involved in your campaign!

What to Include In Your Fundraising Flyers

Depending on what you’re promoting with your nonprofit flyer, you’ll want to incorporate certain elements, such as:

  • Your nonprofit’s name, logo, colors, and other branded elements
  • The campaign name and branding
  • The date, time, location, and activities associated with the fundraiser
  • Entry fees or suggested donations, particularly if it’s an event
  • Your nonprofit’s contact information, such as your URL, email, and phone number
  • Eye-catching graphics that represent your cause
  • Captivating yet readable typography and colors
  • A call-to-action that tells readers whether they should donate, attend your event, or something else
Include these essential components in your nonprofit fundraising flyers.

Pairing must-know details with powerful graphics, colors, and typography will result in a cohesive design that tells prospects everything they need to know about your fundraising campaign or event!

Tips to Design Compelling Nonprofit Flyers

Once you nail down all the information you’ll include, put some thought into the actual design. After all, you want your flyer to stand out to people among crowded bulletin boards, busy inboxes, and social media feeds.

Create eye-catching designs with tried-and-true tricks like:

  • Create compelling graphics. Your graphics are what will draw readers in, so choose bold, striking images. Depending on what fits your brand, you might choose stock images or create more artsy graphics. Just make sure whichever visuals you choose directly relate to your campaign. For instance, a bake sale flyer might feature doughnuts, cookies, and other baked goods to entice readers.
  • Choose a striking color scheme. Kwala’s guide to nonprofit graphic design explains that effective colors and contrasts can make your artwork pop. Our eyes are naturally drawn to high-contrast designs, which might mean that you use bright splashes of color on dark backgrounds. Experiment with your colors and find combinations that pop!
  • Get creative with your typography. The design process is when you can let your creativity shine, but don’t go too wild with your fonts! Choose one or two that are readable yet still bold enough to catch people’s eyes. You can also choose different font sizes to draw the reader’s attention to key information.

Take this fundraising flyer for example. It reels readers in with a striking image, interesting typography, and a cohesive color scheme while also hitting the key details of the campaign.

Use this example fundraising flyer

The right information paired with thoughtful design can make a huge difference in your nonprofit’s flyers.

Additional Resources

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

The Busy Nonprofit’s Guide to Donor Communications – Fundraising flyers are a great addition to your communication strategy. Learn other marketing best practices in this guide.

Creating Your Best Fundraising Flyer: 8 FAQs – Looking for more advice to make your fundraising flyers the absolute best they can be? Check out this guide!

Learn what nonprofit video production is and creating a video can benefit your nonprofit.

Nonprofit Video Production – Nonprofit Catalog

As a nonprofit, you use every tool at your disposal to advocate for your cause and your community. From navigating new social media platforms to creating podcasts, your staff know how to innovate to get supporters’ attention. Nonprofit videos are one of the many creative methods you can use to market your organization to supporters and raise awareness of your mission. 

If you haven’t tapped into the potential of nonprofit video production yet, we’ll go over the basics of what it is and how videos can work for your nonprofit.

What is nonprofit video production?

Nonprofit video production is the process of creating videos for your nonprofit to use for marketing, often with the help of a video production company. 

You can create any type of video that aligns with your organization’s goals, from fundraising videos that promote a specific campaign to testimonial videos that feature the voices of your beneficiaries. By adding videos to your nonprofit’s marketing strategy, you’ll create long-lasting content that tells your story creatively and captures the attention of a wider audience. 

How can video production benefit your nonprofit? 

While producing a video does involve a significant amount of time and resources, there are plenty of benefits that make the process worthwhile. We’ll explore some of the key benefits of nonprofit video production. 

Use nonprofit video production to tell your story, increase awareness, and educate supporters.

Tell your organization’s story

Videos give you the opportunity to tell your story in your own words, using compelling imagery and footage to explain your mission and impact to the public. Create a video that gives an overview of why your nonprofit exists, which communities you serve, and exactly how you make a difference. 

Start with these ideas to tell your story effectively:

  • Explain your mission in-depth by starting with your nonprofit’s founding. 
  • Film testimonials from constituents, staff, volunteers, or supporters.
  • Use storytelling techniques to craft a compelling narrative, with an easily identifiable beginning, middle, and end.
  • End the video with a specific call to donate and guidance on how to make a contribution. 

When creating an organizational video, emphasize the impact your organization makes with the help of donors. 

Market your fundraisers

Adding video production to your marketing strategy can help you effectively promote fundraising events or campaigns and increase funds. Use footage from past fundraising events, or showcase the initiatives these funds will support.

Educate supporters on key concepts

Explain concepts that are important to your nonprofit’s activities with an animated explainer video. When supporters better understand the complex work you do and why, they’ll be more likely to donate. 

You can also use videos to raise awareness of your cause itself, using key statistics or providing updates on current events that impact your work. Or, explain a program that benefits your organization which your supporters may not know about, like these matching gift video examples from Double the Donation

Nonprofit video production companies

Many organizations choose to work with a nonprofit video production company to gain their expertise and reduce their staff’s workload. These companies work with your nonprofit to create a video marketing strategy that aligns with your goals, then complete each step of the video production process with your input.

Tectonic Video lists six top nonprofit video production companies that you can research to begin your decision making process. Choose a production company that will uphold your organization’s priorities and work with you to express your values in the most engaging way possible. 

Additional Resources

Understanding the fundamentals of nonprofit graphic design will amplify your marketing materials.

Nonprofit Graphic Design – Nonprofit Catalog

Among a sea of charitable causes, your nonprofit needs to do what it can to stand out and attract supporters. That all starts with creating eye-catching marketing materials that feature powerful nonprofit graphic designs.

From your nonprofit’s website to your direct mail outreach, graphics are entwined with your nonprofit’s overall image. Everything from your colors to your typography is associated with your cause. Let’s review the basics of effective graphic design for nonprofits, so you can capture your brand and pique supporters’ interest.

What Is Nonprofit Graphic Design?

Nonprofit graphic design refers to the visual aspects of your nonprofit’s brand. It’s a craft that involves creating visual content to communicate messages and tell your organization’s story. Graphic design includes the typography, colors, images, and any other artistic components used in your printed and digital materials.

Visuals that require design work range from your logo to the images you use across your website, and they communicate to supporters what your organization is all about.

By applying layout and visual hierarchy techniques, your nonprofit can create artwork that helps communicate your message, spruce up your marketing materials to be more digestible, and strengthen your brand identity.

Types of Graphic Design for Nonprofits

Regardless of the cause you’re furthering, creating a strong brand identity is vital to your success. Your graphics are a major contributing factor to your nonprofit’s identity and can be broken down into a few main types.

Note that each type of nonprofit graphic design requires varying levels of design expertise, which may mean you should outsource some of the heavy lifting to a professional if you don’t have a dedicated designer on staff.

Now, let’s dive into the five main categories of designs your materials will fall under.

The most common types of nonprofit graphic design include logos, digital designs, print designs, and environmental artwork.

Nonprofit Logos

Your nonprofit logo is one of your most important brand assets. From your website to your fundraising letters, your logo appears across all of your brand creatives, meaning it will be one of the first things that comes to mind when someone thinks of your nonprofit.

Kwala’s guide to nonprofit logos breaks down a few core design elements that contribute to any logo:

  • Your mission. Nonprofits should choose symbols, images, and words that are closely associated with their cause.
  • Colors. Different colors evoke different emotions and symbolize different things. For instance, green is commonly associated with the Earth and is primarily used by environmental organizations. Red can communicate urgency, love, or violence, which is why disaster relief, health, and anti-violence organizations use it in their nonprofit graphic designs.
  • Typography. Fonts also elicit different emotions. If you’re shooting for a traditional font, go with a serif font, but if you’re looking going for a modern and minimalistic design, go with a sans-serif font. To mimic real handwriting and calligraphy, use a script font, which can either look elegant or playful depending on the exact one you choose.
  • Simplicity. The most memorable nonprofit logos are simple and not overloaded with too many elements. A simple design will incorporate white space effectively and feature only the most important colors, symbols, and words related to the organization’s mission.

Take the World Wildlife Fund’s logo for example. This unique logo features a minimalistic design, a symbol of the endangered giant panda, and the organization’s acronym.

This diagram of the World Wildlife Fund's logo outlines the nonprofit graphic design elements used.

By ensuring all of these elements shine through in a logo, any nonprofit can create a memorable graphic design that perfectly encapsulates its cause.

Digital Graphic Designs

In a digital-first world, visually-compelling content is more important on social media, email, and other digital platforms than ever before.

Here are some common types of graphics that will come into play when creating digital marketing materials:

  • Your website: Effective graphic design for nonprofit websites can optimize the user experience and guide readers through your content. Choose banners and supplementary images that demonstrate your values and feature your beneficiaries and volunteers. Feature graphics like your logo, carefully choose your color scheme to match your brand, and use colors and headings strategically to highlight important content and establish a visual hierarchy.
  • Email newsletter: Newsletters heavily rely on striking the perfect balance between content and graphics. Avoid walls of text by using images, headers, and graphics to break up the text and make your organization’s newsletter easy to digest.
  • Videos: Great for featuring on social media and embedding into your website, videos enable supporters to hear directly from your nonprofit’s leadership, staff, volunteers, and beneficiaries. This is a fantastic way to humanize your nonprofit’s work, but creating videos requires some level of experience with video, audio, and graphic editing.
  • Infographics: These types of nonprofit graphics break down complex information and put it in a digestible format. Most commonly, they feature statistics related to the cause that help supporters visualize your impact.

These are just a few common nonprofit graphic designs you’ll use across your digital outreach. Whether you’re launching a fundraiser or sharing updates on a project, your artwork can play a part in connecting with supporters in the competitive online space.

Print Designs

The internet might dominate today’s world, but print marketing is still awfully important for pushing your cause forward.

A few common print materials that incorporate nonprofit graphic design include:

  • Brochures: Give rundowns of your programs, services, and major fundraising campaigns through colorful brochures with compelling images, readable fonts, and well-organized copy.
  • Letters and postcards: Instead of sticking to plain black ink on white paper, get creative with your solicitation letters and postcards. Spruce them up by including your logo in your letterhead and on the envelope, artistic graphics representing your mission, colors emphasizing key information, and a perforated return envelope that’s pre-addressed.
  • Merchandise: From t-shirts to mugs, nonprofit graphic design elements are infused into your branded merchandise. Make sure merchandise captures your organization’s identity with elements like your name, logo, colors, and graphics that communicate your mission.
  • Annual reports: Transform a dry summary of your nonprofit’s year into an eye-catching masterpiece. Use charts, photos, and striking colors to show donors what their support helped you accomplish this year.
  • Fundraising flyers: Filled with colorful typography, varying font sizes, and eye-catching images, a powerfully-designed flyer like the one below can inspire someone to attend your event or donate to your fundraising campaign.
Here's an example a fundraising flyer with effective nonprofit graphic design.

Our nonprofit marketing guide explains that well-designed print materials can help you connect with supporters who aren’t active online. Plus, it comes across as more personal since it takes a bit more effort than publishing a social media post.

Think of it this way: a well-designed fundraising letter among stacks of bills and junk mail is much more likely to mean something to recipients.

Environmental Designs

Nonprofit graphic design even plays into creating a unique and inviting environment at your organization’s office and events. Combine interior design and graphic design best practices to create an immersive environment that captures your brand with elements like:

  • Donor walls: Show appreciation to your sponsors, major donors, and partners by featuring a donor wall. Be creative with your design by moving past generic metal plaques, though. You’ll need to choose a layout that complements the architecture of your space. The donor wall should also be branded with typography, colors, shapes, and other images that communicate your mission. Enhance your office and help donors visualize their impact all at once.
  • Banners: Lightweight banners are easily transportable, so you can reuse them at your office, fundraising events, and industry events. Your banner should be simple, featuring only your logo, tagline, and basic imagery.
  • Murals: Whether at your office or somewhere around town, a well-painted mural will raise awareness for your organization’s cause while also beautifying the community. Beyond the artwork itself, be sure to include your logo and contact information like your nonprofit’s URL or social media handle.

Spruce up your office, events, and community with these types of designs. No matter what environmental designs you create for your nonprofit, make sure to focus on tasteful artwork that blends into your environment.

Additional Resources

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

The Ultimate Nonprofit Board Report Template and Tips – Need some help formatting your board reports? Check out this guide that gives a rundown of effective nonprofit graphic design for board reports.

12 Best Nonprofit Graphic Design Tools to Amplify Your Cause – Build your arsenal of nonprofit graphic design tools with this ultimate list. You’ll find some great resources to launch your design efforts forward!