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3 Bad Nonprofit Marketing Habits to Stop Right Now

Marcella Vitulli

In case you haven't heard, it's Inbound Marketing Week! Across the world, marketing pros working in every industry, public and private, for-profit and philanthropic, are gathering to discuss the past, present, and future of inbound marketing.

Our team attended the Mid-Atlantic Inbound Summit hosted by the folks at Quintain Marketing + learned a whole lot about how nonprofits can do a better job at inbound.

But instead of tips, we thought we'd offer a few words of caution: here are three bad nonprofit marketing habits for your organization to quit right now.


Photo credit: cobblucas / Foter / CC BY


Stop trying to "sell" your nonprofit

The pre-internet methods of in-your-face, disruptive marketing are over. Unless your nonprofit has the resources to run commercials (the vast majority don't), it's time to start focusing on ways to earn the interest of potential donors.

These days, people prefer to buy rather than be sold to. So, even though the fundraising cold call isn't going anywhere anytime soon, your organization is better off creating attractive content in the form of blog posts, social media updates, videos, etc. that will empower potential donors' decision to support you.

Bottom line: it's time to start making content creation a priority in your nonprofit marketing strategy! 


Stop relying on keywords to tell your story

You don't have to be a marketer to know that SEO, or search engine optimization, has been running the show in the digital age. No matter how amazing their content, organizations must still compete with each other for page ranking, domain authority, and social media visibility.

(If none of this makes sense, just know that it's a jungle out there + it's hard to get noticed online when other nonprofits that support similar causes show up before yours on Google.)

But loading up your blog posts with strings of keywords, or making every word in your tweet a hashtag won't help you actually connect with your audiences once you reach them. Instead, showcase your nonprofit's identity in every piece of communication you produce using language + tone that (surprise!) actual living humans use in conversation.

This is especially critical when talking about the work you do + the amazing support of your donors - trust us, your supporters will thank you!

Bottom line: embrace honest messaging + incorporate it into your storytelling!


Stop trying to be something to everyone

The internet is an amazingly huge stage for your nonprofit to show the world what it's doing to make things better. But as wonderful as your story is, you'll never reach everyone + that's actually a good thing.

Forget the idea that your audience is the general public + rewrite your nonprofit digital strategy to target the group(s) you're actually trying to reach. Your message will be better received + your analytics reporting will begin painting a clearer, more accurate picture of how your actual audience engages with your organization.

Bottom line: your organization is better off being everything to the right people.


better nonprofit fundraising emails

Topics: strategy, marketing