5 Nonprofit Marketing Myths That Still Need Debunking

In less than two decades nonprofit marketing has evolved into a completely different animal.

The widespread use of social media and mobile devices means that your donors are now always connected (and more distracted) than ever before.

5 Nonprofit Marketing Myths That Still Need Debunking

Savvy nonprofits have embraced this change. They’re using email, content, storytelling, and mobile in ways that match how their donors communicate.

But many are still trying to catch-up.

In my consulting work, I often find myself debunking nonprofit marketing myths in an effort to bring an organization up to speed.

Myth #1: You can’t raise money with social media

Social media is relational, not transactional. So while email might be more effective at converting donors (transactions), social media is an excellent way reach new audiences, grow your prospective donor list, and stay top of mind with current donors.

For example, the Humane Society of Northeast Georgia recently engaged donors to stand up against animal abuse and support HSNG. Through this single offer, they’re able to grow their prospect list and raise money – on Facebook!

Social media is also the most effective way to share your impact with supporters, their friends, and the crowd. And any fundraiser will tell you that sharing impact stories improve donor retention and acquisition.

Myth #2: Marketing is about making your nonprofit look amazing

One of the most stubborn habits nonprofit marketers still make is bragging about their nonprofit. They mistakenly shine the spotlight on themselves and then wonder why no one is listening.

Yes, marketing used to be about getting the word out about your organization. But now it’s about getting your people to get the word out to their friends.

Engaging donors, particularly on social media, is about how you make them look to their friends.

  • Storytelling is NOT about telling your story.
  • Raising money is NOT about convincing donors that your nonprofit is doing great work.

Myth #3: Major donors don’t use social media

Oh, they certainly do! And your smartest major donors wish you were more socially savvy.

If you’ve ever wondered exactly how many of your donors use Facebook, this article will show you how.

Myth #4: Email is dead

I still hear this one a lot. Email is dead, everyone is using social media…

Wrong! Email is one of the most effective ways to engage donors. And the number of people using email is only going to increase.

Email is also the most effective online channel for driving high-quality prospects to your fundraising page.

Plus, smart email segmentation ultimately allows you to create highly receptive messages, which means more happy donors. You can’t do this with Twitter or Facebook.

Myth #5: Advertising is a cost (not an investment)

I still hear some nonprofits complaining about paying for ads to reach their fans.

Some view Facebook and Instagram ads as a “cost of doing business”, reluctantly spending money on ads just to keep up with their competition.

But Facebook and Instagram ads are not a cost. They’re an investment in growing your community, amplifying engagement, and yes, raising money.

To make your investment go further, check out this list of costly Facebook ad mistakes to avoid.

Be a myth buster

The world of nonprofit marketing and fundraising is changing faster than ever before. Keep up with these changes every Wednesday with the Hump Day Coffee Break.

John Haydon