Trends in Marketing and PR for non-profit organizations


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Wondering how to engage donors and volunteers to help the cause you believe? Which tools are the best to perform that? What are the hopes and fears of non-profits this year? A report released by Non-Profit Marketing Guide (NPMG) answered these questions and let us have an idea of what is working for these organizations and how they are willing to improve their communications.

The report only reinforces that for smaller organizations, Online Communication plays an important role, being the absolute number one source to connect with their audience. For reasons of budget, the low cost factor of online channels attracts great part of their strategy, making them more “social” than bigger non-profit organizations that usually stick with the traditional media.


Forget outdated websites. In order to engage with your target, the new page must have interactive features and be super user-friendly. According to NPMG’s report, having a website design that follows these advices is the thing that are boosting the expectations of nonprofits in 2012. As for upcoming websites, has being recurrent the necessity of a functional mobile version. (Elita, pls at least 1 more sentence about the importance of responsive web design and the quick speading of mobile devices..!)

- Integrated Communication

Your organization have a voice. A singular one, that should be presented in all kinds of messages. It has been noticed that integrated communication is responsible for increasing the effectiveness of the message a non-profit seeks to deliver. The established brand both on visual as on textual aspects must match in all types of channels to give the sense of integrity and professionalism that allows donors to feel safe when engaging with the cause.


It doesn’t matter if it’s for online channels or traditional ones, every message’s prior goal is to catch the recipient attention. The process of getting someone to be part of a cause, by donations or volunteering, is just as complex as getting someone to buy a product. Therefore, the most effective way to do it comes through story-telling. What you do and why you do it must have a meaning for your target. People must empathize with a cause to be compelled to act. There are many ways to tell a story, but currently the next three are helping all kinds of non-profits to raise awareness about their cause.


Only touching the viewers individually is not enough anymore. Today, the world’s looking for the buzz. It’s not only about being well-produced, sentimental or having celebrities on it. Those things are good, but everything comes down to only one question:

- Will people bring it into their lives, discuss and share it?

Despite the feelings you might have about Kony 2012, they way the video showed to the world the impact that Internet and its buzz can have on a non-profit organization or cause is undeniable. In only six days, the Invisible Children video to promote the Stop Kony campaign reached 100 million views.

ii, Gamification

It’s time to put the fun in fundrasing! This global trend is slightly taking over the non-profit sector. If the challenge is to get younger crowds into action, gamification is definitely the solution. Aware of that, some non-profits already started to use gaming as a way to raise awaress and donations.

The Urban Ministries of Durham chose this tool to show the importance of their cause. To do so, they put you on the shoe’s of a struggling low-income worker just so you know how hard can it be to make it through the month. Try Spent!

Or have you ever thought about feeding people without touching your pocket? The World Food Program made that possible by taking our love for quizzes to a feel-good level. Through Free Rice, you can play all day and still feel guilt-free since every right answer means a 10 grains of rice donation. The donation is paid by sponsored banners that are shown at every correct answer.

Social Media

We just cannot leave social networks out of a list of trends. The ever changing field is always bringing something new to the table and Pinterest is its latest sweetheart. Don’t worry, Facebook still is the number one social media tool but be aware that non-profits are also using the social pinboard network to drag traffic to their websites and raise awareness. Up until now, the main demographic of Pinterest users are women from 22 to 44 years old, but as the number of users keeps increasing exponentially it’s possible to have a different demographic in a close future. Exposing products is another great function useful for non-profits with web shops.

Over here you can take a look on how Charity:water is pinning the creative ways people are using to raise money for the organization.

Appart from showcasing their merchandising, USA’s Amnesty International have listed films, music and reading related to Human Rights.

Tip to succeed

-Keep it simple, clean and short

It is known that people have very short attention spans on the web. So you must be able to effectively deliver your message fast. Of course you should have long and detailed documents, reports about the work performed for users willing to dive deep into the organization. But the point is that the first look a user takes into your org should be appealing and easy to understand. To do so you have to summarize the organization: why it exists and how it’s accomplishing the established goals.

Non-Profit Communications Trends Report, 2012

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