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A Nonprofit Marketing Resource List To Be Thankful For

 

I believe marketing is the means to greater awareness and support for those in true service to others.

The more people that know about the good work you are doing, and are given the opportunity to support your mission, the better our world will always be.

So today in honor of this time of giving thanks, I’m sharing with you a Marketing Resource List that I’m certainly grateful for, and think you will be too.

It includes some of the best of the best marketing tools that I know for certain provide the opportunity to expand your reach, attract and nurture supporters and overall increase the impact of your mission. 

They are some of my favorite low-to-no-cost marketing tools I’ve used to help small nonprofits streamline their marketing efforts and achieve great success. 

You can download and print the free PDF Guide and use it when you’re ready to explore or expand your marketing efforts, or bookmark this page and refer to it when you’re ready. 

Share it with staff or volunteers who are helping with your marketing outreach as a quick and easy Go-To-Marketing-Tool-Guide.

I’ve designed it to save you time, money and frustration in searching for the best tools to support your marketing outreach without the weight or worry of a heavy price tag either! 

One of the super powers of the digital age is that these marketing tools allow you to stand toe-to-toe with any big-budget, large nonprofit marketing system or program.

It’s all about marketing smart my friend!

And with this Marketing Resource List in hand, you’ll have what you need to do what you want when the time is right for you. 

Here’s the list!

Graphic Design Tools – Creating compelling imagery is key to social media posts, website design and more. Today there are a slew of online creative tools that can help you make professional-looking visuals even if you don’t consider yourself a graphic artist:

  • PicMonkey – Great photo editor with free and low-cost options, both annual and month-to-month. Very easy to use, lots of effects, but you’ll be providing the main photo content.
  • Canva – My go-to graphics maker. Lots of sizes from presentations, to social media posts, to print materials. Good font choices and lots of templates for branding to make your own. Good selection of stock photos, icons, and “flair” that are either free or $1 per use. Free and pro versions.
  • Stencil – Advertising itself as “ridiculously easy to use,” Stencil lets you create up to 10 graphics a month for free with limited photos/graphics, but if you spring for the $9/month Pro or $12/month Unlimited platform, you have access to 1.2 million free images, more than 2,000 fonts and can directly upload to social media platforms or schedule, as it is integrated with Buffer.
  • Piktochart – Transform blocks of text into engaging infographics on this website. Free accounts with access to 4,000 images/icons available, as well as monthly fees to access all their templates. Special nonprofit pricing ($40 a year for one user) available that gives you access to all 600+ templates, plus 400MB of space to upload your own photos to use.

Email Marketing Programs – As you know, I believe that email marketing is still essential for nonprofits today, and with these tools you can easily create communications that will inspire action. You’ll need to make some decisions, however, about how sophisticated you want the backend of your email program to be. Do you need landing pages? Do you want a vast array of templates to choose from, or will 40 or so work? What’s your budget? (Most offer free options but will limit either how many emails you can send or the number of subscribers you have). Here’s some of the best:

  • MailChimp – If you have 2,000 subscribers or less, this free tool could be your best bet. No autoresponder capability but with 12,000 free emails (or essentially six campaigns with a 2,000 subscriber list), this is a very popular option for smaller nonprofits. Pro version for about $10 a month that increases with the size of your list.
  • Constant Contact – Although they have a 60-day free trial, there’s no truly free option for Constant Contact. Pricing starts at $20 a month for the basic email program and a subscriber list of up to 500. However, prepaid accounts for nonprofits can get discounts up to 30%. Easy to use, lots of templates to choose from.
  • Aweber – Long considered an industry standard, Aweber’s pricing structure is only determined by the number of subscribers on your list. You’ll still get the same customer support, templates, stock photos, automation and analytics regardless of the plan you choose. (This alleviates the frustration you might feel if you need help only to find out that live customer support only comes with the “ultra-platinum premium plan.” 😊 Pricing ranges from $19/mo for up to 500 subscribers to $149 a month for 10,000 subscribers.
  • Drip – Pricier but with lots of bells and whistles. ($41 a month on an annualized credit plan for 2,500 subscribers). Lots of integrations and automations. There is a free version if you have less than 100 subscribers.

Mobile Marketing programs – It’s important to reach donors where they are, and increasingly they are on their smart phones, so having apps that allow donors to give easily on mobile devices is more important than ever.

Pricing will vary widely depending on what type of campaign or event you are using – an online auction at an event, text to give programs or maybe a peer-to-peer fundraiser for your cause. Typically the cost is a percentage of the donation, a per transaction charge and, if the mobile program is linked into your database, a monthly fee. Here are some of the more popular platforms:

  • MobileCause – wide range of services from website donation forms, text to give, peer-to-peer and credit card processing services.
  • QGiv – text and online donations, plus registration forms for events only, including online registration
  • RallyBound - peer-to-peer fundraisers for nonprofits
  • Gesture – Online bidding for auctions, guest management, donations and more. One really interesting twist with Gesture is that they can secure high-end travel packages for an auction at discounted prices (for example, nonprofits could get a 3-night Lake Tahoe skiing trip with lift tickets, airfare and hotel stay for two worth $5,100 for $2,800.) 

Payment Processing Programs – For fundraising events, auctions and more, it helps to have a secure payment processing program in place for your nonprofit. From Square to Stripe to  PayPal, pricing is similar to the mobile fundraising platforms, with costs including a percentage and sometimes a transaction fee (2.2% for qualifying charities plus 30 cents for PayPal; 2.75% but no transaction fee per swipe for Square; 2.9% plus 30 cents for Stripe, although volume and special nonprofit pricing is available).

Website Developer Platforms – All nonprofits need an online presence (although I have noticed a trend where some will just use a Facebook page but there are a lot of limitations going that route). But having a website doesn’t have to be a money drain. Some good examples of low cost website development programs that are also easy to use include:

  • WordPress – It’s an industry standard (about one out of four websites were built on WordPress) and there’s good reasons why. You can actually build a site for free (although your domain names have to be a subdomain of WordPress). But options ranging from $4 to $25 a month can get you access to themes and basic to advanced customization tools.
  • Squarespace’s tools includes a custom domain name for $18 a month (if you purchase a year in advance) and while they don’t have nonprofit pricing at this time, you can use the discount code NONPROFIT and get 10 percent off your first purchase.
  • Wix is considered one of the best drag and drop website builders on the market today. It even has an Artificial Design Intelligence system that can help build an entire site. Monthly plans range from $7 to $30 a month, but prepaying annually will save you between 14% and 29% depending on the version you choose.

GIF development tools – Yep, it’s time to get animated. Those quirky looped video bits are all the rage. When your FB post is not only an image but a moving image, the algorithm gods will look more favorably on your posts.

  • Giphy is one of my favorites because the site has a terrific selection of video clips you can use right there as well as being able to upload your own videos or photographs.
  • GIFs.com offers more font options but requires you to pay for a pro version if you don’t want the platform’s watermark on the lower right-hand corner.
  • Imgflip.com will create GIFs from both stills and video.
  • GIFmaker.me will only animate photos, although it also does slideshows and has free music.

For my recent blog on the how and why of GIFs (including step-by-step instructions on using Giphy), check out my blog post here.

Social Media Scheduling & Management. A busy nonprofit leader like yourself probably doesn’t want to do daily management of your social media accounts, so tools like Hootsuite and Buffer can help with the burden by letting you schedule posts on several social media platforms from one website. Pricing can range from free for an individual (although in the case of Buffer that means you can only schedule up to 10 posts at a time) to $99 for small teams. Both services offer 50% discounts to nonprofits. Both support Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram and LinkedIn. Hootsuite can also support YouTube, while Buffer can manage Pinterest.

Surveys – Get to know your supporters by asking them questions. Find out how your last event went over with the audience or what direction they’d like to see your nonprofit take.

  • The totally free option is Google Forms, which makes it a very popular choice. There is some customizing, but it’s more limited than in other programs. What’s very nice is that there’s skip logic even though it is free.
  • SurveyMonkey is probably the best known of the survey tools, but the free version has some limitations (only 10 questions per survey, only 100 responses for free). There is a 25% discount for nonprofits you can apply for that will reduce your standard $35/mo price.
  • Zoho has a little more to offer with its free product (15 questions/150 responses) and its premium pricing is about $24 a month with an annual subscription. Nonprofit pricing is available.

Lastly, where can you go to find out the latest and greatest in nonprofit marketing news? Facebook groups are a great free resource. Check out Thriving Nonprofit with Joan Garry (which has possibly my favorite hashtag - #NonprofitsAreMessy). Some are closed groups, like the Third Sector PR & Comms Network, but you can ask to join those groups via their Facebook page. 

So many reasons to be thankful for these tools. Explore and discover what resources could increase your organization’s reach, increase engagement and generally make your nonprofit a stronger and more savvy marketing machine.

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