Cost-Effective Marketing Ideas for Nonprofits




Nonprofit organizations often face unique challenges in spreading the word and fundraising for their specific cause. A limited budget and lack of manpower can make it difficult to deeply engage in different types of marketing presence.

But marketing efforts for your nonprofit don’t have to cost you anything. By using some of the creative marketing techniques outlined in this article, you can raise awareness of your message and even attract new volunteers.


Start spreading the news.

Press releases for your events are a great start. A short and sweet write-up announcing your event at least a week in advance is a fine strategy, but it doesn’t always get the attention it deserves. Keep in mind that once you send the email to local news sources, it’s ultimately up to the discretion of the assignment editors if they’ll pick up the story or not.


The Alternative

Use your internal resources. Enlist someone on your staff or even delegate an intern to be your very own journalist. Have someone perform projects such as tasks of a photojournalist at your events and once they write a quick recap, reach out to local community bulletins or newsletters. They’re always looking for content and it’s a great way to spread awareness in your local community. Of course, use this information to update your website and social outlets as well.   


Speaking of social.

Most social media platforms are free to sign up and use. Take advantage of these outlets and use them to express all the good your organization is doing. Facebook groups are a great way to coordinate fundraising events, for instance. Every member of the group will receive a notification when something is posted, so not only can this be useful for your organization, but your volunteers are able to connect before the special occasion.


Share often! 

Use social media as your stage to get the word out about the function you’re hosting, the fundraiser that ties into it, and to inspire those with a special story about the individuals the event helped.

*If you're already highly involved on Facebook, a more advanced option is to add the donate button to your page. Read more about that feature here.


Unique fundraising ideas.

Fundraising is crucial for your nonprofit to thrive and it shouldn’t have to cost your organization much of your own money to facilitate.

A lot of times, local restaurants are willing to give a percentage of their sales on a certain night back to an organization. Some retail stores are willing to do the same thing. Reach out to eateries in your area to see if they’d partner with you. For example, you can propose a “Taco Tuesday” night where a local restaurant or retail store is willing to participate and donate 10% of all sales back to you.

Sometimes these fundraising nights require the customer to present a flyer to ensure that they’re supporting the specific organization. This is another great way to get your name and mission in front of more eyes in a tangible format.

The key to a successful fundraiser is to get creative and be specific. Let participants know exactly what their dollars are being used for and be sure to tell the compelling story about your organization.


Make your passion fuel your fire.

If you run or work at a nonprofit organization, it’s almost certain that you are highly passionate about the cause. Reach out to other organizations in your community to team up with for a speaking event. Talk about your specific cause and invite others to speak about theirs.

Networking can be useful in any industry and it’s no different for nonprofits. Get everyone involved to create a larger sense of community.



When volunteers are encouraged to help out your organization, they’ll be more likely to talk about it with their peers. Here, you have the beginnings of word-of-mouth marketing which can be effective for nonprofits. The key is coming up with a strategy to keep these volunteers coming back and to keep spreading a good word.

You can motivate your volunteers through events, campaigns, and an opportunity to provide their own ideas. Some ideas could be a bake sale, game night, movie night, talent show, etc. Any kind of event your volunteers can look forward to.


It’s time to implement these tips.

While marketing can seem like an overwhelming territory to dive into, the tips you just read are cost-effective ways to continue to gain awareness and support for your unique passion.  Stretching your outreach efforts is extremely tough on such a limited budget, but there are plenty of ideas and tools you can implement to acquire the special attention you deserve. 


We are here to support with efficient, accurate, and cost-effective nonprofit workforce management solutions. To learn more about human resources for nonprofit organizations and how technology can help, click here to view our nonprofit solution.




Editor’s Note: This post was originally published to PrimePay’s blog and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.

Please read our disclaimer here.


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Brittany Brooks

Brittany Brooks

Brittany Brooks has worked in Human Resources as an HR specialist and manager for about ten years combined. After that time, she decided to use her powers for the good of the workplace and now uses her first-hand experiences in her writing to give business owners and HR professionals an honest look into what’s happening in their offices. She advocates for meaningful employee retention and improving the employer-employee relationship.

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