Since I started guest blogging here a year ago, my goal has been to empower nonprofits to market themselves. I want to clear up the misconception that marketing will consume an organization’s time and money. There are many free and inexpensive ways to market your organization. Here are a few ideas and suggestions to kick start your efforts.
1- Community calendars
Most local newspapers, entertainment publications, and public television stations have community calendars and accept submissions (they want content after all). To capitalize on these opportunities, dedicate a member of your team to submit your event and program information, which can usually be done via email, on a regular basis.
Here is a list of resources to get you started:
- Journal Gazette – email@example.com
- Fort Wayne Monthly – firstname.lastname@example.org
- Whatzup Magazine- email@example.com
- PBS- firstname.lastname@example.org
- NIPR- email@example.com
- Visit Fort Wayne- firstname.lastname@example.org
- Fort Wayne Living- email@example.com
- Around Fort Wayne blog- firstname.lastname@example.org
- Living Fort Wayne – email@example.com
2- Radio Interviews
While a radio interview may be harder to get than a community calendar listing, it is not impossible, and provides great exposure. Many times, all it takes is a little initiative. Radio DJ’s are always looking for content for their shows, and many times they are connected to the community and want to spread the good word about local nonprofit organizations. Reach out and contact your local stations; you might be surprised how easy it is to score some free on-air time.
3- Press Releases
Anytime your organization hosts a fundraiser, special program, or other event, let local media outlets know by submitting a press release. If you’ve never written a press release before, here are some tips to consider.
- Compose a headline- make sure it will grab the reader’s attention, yet is brief, clear, and to the point.
- Write the body copy- start with the date and the city, and make sure the text to follow contains all pertinent details (who, what, when, where, why and how).
- Provide information about your organization- this should appear at the bottom of the release and contain background information, mission, and your website.
- Provide contact information- Make sure you list the contact name, title, email address, and phone number of the person journalist can contact for more information.
- Other tips- include a print-quality photo, make sure your logo is included, follow up the press release with a phone call, and use formatting sparingly.
4- Social Media
We’ve touched on this briefly in previous blogs, but you can make a lot of waves by developing a solid social media plan. And while social media isn’t free because it does require human resources, the platforms do not charge to send out your messages.
5- Newsletter & Mailing list software
There are many free or inexpensive software programs that allow you to gather email addresses and distribute text-based or html-based newsletters to subscribers. Here are two I recommend: Mail Chimp and Constant Contact. Newsletters allow you to send messages about events, programs, and more directly to people who have raised their hand to let you know they are interested in your organization.
This is not an exhaustive list, but it’s a good start. Remember, take it slow, have a plan, and most of all, have fun.
If you have questions or ideas for this blog, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I’d love to connect with you on social media too.