Marketing is invaluable to nonprofit organizations. It can enhance their public profile in the crowded nonprofit space. It can help attract and maintain donors, volunteers, sponsors, and members. Moreover, it can drive people to create desired social and political change. But marketing comes at a cost, right? In the private sector, companies routinely devote 10+% of their revenue to marketing. Some firms, like Salesforce and Tableau, spend closer to 50%! For many nonprofits with ambitious missions and meagre budgets, this is a cost too steep….
Lucky for them, there is a now a suite of free or discounted marketing tools! These tools support all elements of nonprofit marketing strategies, including social media, websites, graphic design, event planning, emails, and more. Below are the best tools that we’ve encountered (and, in many cases, used ourselves!).
- Social Media Tools: Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram – whatever the platform, there’s a tool to help! Awario and Meltwater, for example, monitor social media globally. Awario finds and analyzes specified keywords, while Meltwater integrates Artificial Intelligence to better understand audience views. Buffer, Hootsuite, and Sendible help manage social media by allowing users to schedule posts, plan content, and reply to messages. Finally, nonprofits interested in image-first platforms (like Instagram) should check out Later and Tailwind for analytics and tips!
- Website Builders & Optimizers: Every nonprofit should build a website, whether to share information or capitalize on online giving. For assistance, look no further than Doodlekit (which provides free, secure, and customizable websites), Ethion (which offers free domains, templates, and hosting), and Elevation (targeted at nonprofits).
Once you have a website that's up and running, there are a multitude of analytics, SEO, and other tools you can utilize. Google Analytics and Hotjar can be used to track website information, such as the best/worst performing pages and where website users are coming from. Lastly, Google Search Console and Google Trends are two free tools that can be used to measure site search traffic and performance, fix issues, and perform keyword research.
- Graphic Design & Stock Photos: Nonprofits need images all the time – for websites, advertisements, newsletters, social media posts, and more. To meet this need, they can pull millions of free stock images from Flickr and Shutterstock. Or they can create their own visuals using graphic design tools. Crello, Canva, and Design Wizard, for instance, all provide stunning templates and enable users to crop images, remove backgrounds, import fonts, customize color palettes, add frames, apply filters, etc. Canva (our personal favorite) even offers free pro accounts for eligible nonprofits! Many of these creative design tools also have stock photos and/or videos available to use.
- Video Makers: Anyone with a cellphone can make a video…but can they do it well? Typito can help nonprofits craft professional-grade videos across 20+ video formats. Animoto offers pre-built storyboards and video templates that can be customized with text, colors, or music. And then there’s Youtube. The mother of all video-streaming platforms teams up with nonprofits and offers online courses “tailored for social impact innovators." The company also empowers video producers to add “donate” buttons or “link anywhere cards” that can re-direct viewers to any URL (like the nonprofit’s website or fundraising page).
- Events: All those fundraising events won’t manage themselves! Fortunately, these tools will. Eventbrite allows users to “create a beautiful event listing page with built-in payment processing." Users can then track RSVPs, analyze and report on funds raised, and promote the event via email and social media. Bizzabo differentiates itself by providing an “all-in-one” experience with common branding throughout. Its content can be tailored—to each individual attendee! Last but not least, Event Wizard is an event registration software that facilitates registration form design and promotion. Plus, with the help of the Attendee Scanner App (which scans tickets at the door), Event Wizard can generate real-time attendance reports.
- Email Marketing & Management Platforms: When it comes to online fundraising, email marketing is considered “king”, generating a 4400% return on investment. Nonprofits can capitalize on this opportunity with the help of several tools. First, they can use templates from AWeber and Benchmark to craft compelling emails. Then, they can sit back and let MailChimp automatically send the emails on their behalf! And for the nonprofits always striving for improvement, Benchmark reveals exactly how subscribers respond to emails (such as opens, clicks, and unsubscribes). Additionally, it offers A/B testing to help determine the highest performing subject lines, times to send emails, and more.
All in all, nonprofits have an impressive toolbox at their disposal—at little to no cost! By leveraging these tools, nonprofits can not only boost their online donations. They can also spend less on marketing and more on what matters: the cause.
Looking for more ways to boost your nonprofit's donations? Opinions4Good helps to expand funding for over 300 different nonprofits across the U.S. through our unique funding model. Nonprofit supporters are able to sign up to take online surveys with us, and can in turn donate their survey incentives back to the causes they support. It's free to sign up as a partner, and we create all marketing content needed to promote the opportunity to your supporters. This program has allowed us to donate over $480,000 to our nonprofit partners to date, and we look forward to seeing that number grow. Click Here to register your nonprofit and learn more, or check out our offerings one-pager using the button below.