5 Minutes

Non-Profit Marketing in 2022

Published on
June 22, 2022

Non-profit marketing is the art of persuasion that does not involve selling the product or service.

You may have heard about The Endowment Fund, which gives out money for research in medicine and medicine policy; about The Boston Foundation, which funds projects at Harvard and MIT; about The Salvation Army, which helps people find shelter and food; about The American Museum of Natural History, which seeks out new exhibits. These are just a few examples of what non-profits do across the board — from cancer research to defense spending, from health care to education. You might have heard about all these organizations through news stories or through social media posts by their staffs or boards of directors — but chances are you didn’t know much more than “they do this” when you came into contact with them.

This is not an unintended consequence: most major nonprofits (compared with small businesses) spend a lot less money on marketing than they would like because they don’t want their work exposed as “just another charity doing good work” (often in response to criticism), or because they don’t know how public opinion would respond if it was known that their funding sources were hidden. And so fundraising becomes one of the primary tasks at every nonprofit organization (and often one of its highest priorities).

Non-profits need inexpensive ways to reach far more people than just those who donate money — and by “reach more people quickly and easily” I mean “shortly and easily for anyone with an internet connection” — so there are many methods available to them today.

How marketing will change for non-profits in 2022

Non profit fundraising has come a long way over the past few years. Big banks, charities and foundations have changed their behavior in a way that has led to more direct donations from their customers. Companies like Coinbase are taking a stake in the non-profit world by offering services like crowdfunding and making it easier to raise money directly through their platform.

The nature of non-profit fundraising is changing – people aren’t donating out of the kindness of their hearts anymore – they are donating for a number of specific reasons which can be summarized as:

  • Paying for things
  • Saving money
  • Finding ways to do good (developing country initiatives, volunteering)
  • Applying for grants and funding opportunities

We should note that this is not an exhaustive list but rather an attempt to highlight some key factors which contribute to increased non-profit fundraising. What is certain is that we will need new tools and tools that can be used by charities and non-profits alike, so let’s see what we can learn from each other.

The challenges that non-profits will face in 2022

One of the big challenges for nonprofit organizations is attracting new donors. The demand for charitable donations is likely to grow, and as such nonprofits will need to be able to raise more funds from donors.

Non-Profit Marketing is a lot like the startup world in that it is still a developing field. The difference is that non-profits are increasingly being forced to start from scratch, as they find themselves in a unique position: they are not competing for money and investments but rather forming relationships with it.

This means that non-profits need to do things differently than the typical tech company:

  • They have limited budgets and have to think long term (which can be challenging);
  • They are fighting a very different battle. Non-profits don’t see their organizations as weapons, they see them as assets;
  • They have no “killer product”, they have only assets or knowledge;
  • Their products must be “cool”, not “conventional”;
  • They don’t expect all of their customers to follow the same strategies for success;
  • They cannot count on any single channel (so partnerships are key); and more…

What non-profit marketers need to do to be successful in 2022

Non-profit marketing is not a new thing. But in the future, it will be even more important. As we continue to see greater complexity and consumer interest in institutions and brands alike, the need for non-profit organizations to communicate their value will only increase.

They need a way to get noticed by consumers and potential donors — so they are going to create new ways of doing that. Some businesses are already working on doing this.

I’m not quite sure what the future holds for all of these, but there are definitely opportunities here for Non-Profit organizations who want to use their brand or message in a way that works well with consumers. In many cases they can be very successful at achieving both goals (“we have a great cause! We have a great message! We have a great website!”).

So what does all this mean? If you aren’t already part of an organization that has created something valuable for society through its work — if in fact you aren’t getting more than $1 from every dollar you spend on advertising — then I encourage you to consider working with us to understand your marketing strategy and goals.

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