Nonprofit organizations often face unique challenges in marketing and fundraising for their specific cause. A limited budget and resource constraints can make it difficult to engage at times to build a 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 for your message and potentially attract new supporters and volunteers.

Start spreading the news.

Press releases for your events are a great start. A brief 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 will 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 act as a photojournalist at your events and once they write a quick recap, reach out to local church bulletins and newsletters. They’re always looking for content and it’s a great way to spread awareness in your local community. And 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 youth ministry outings, for instance. Every member of the group will receive a notification when something is posted.  Not only can this be useful for your organization, but your volunteers are able to connect before the event as well.

Share Often

Use social media as your stage to get the word out about the function you’re hosting and the fundraiser that ties into it.  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 does not need to cost your organization much of your organization’s 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 will partner with you. For example, you can propose a “taco Tuesday” night where a local restaurant 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 are 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 a 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 very effective. The key is coming up with a strategy to keep these volunteers engaged and to keep spreading the good word of your organization.

You can motivate your volunteers through events, campaigns, and an opportunity to provide their own ideas. Some ideas are a bake sale, game night, movie night, talent show, etc.

It’s time to implement these tips.

While marketing can seem like an overwhelming territory to dive into, the tips you just read are basic ways to continue to gain awareness and support for your organization.  Stretching your outreach efforts is tough on a limited budget, but there are plenty of ideas you can implement to acquire attention for your organization. 

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Disclaimer: Please note that this is not all-inclusive. Our guidance is designed only to give general information on the issues actually covered. It is not intended to be a comprehensive summary of all laws which may be applicable to your situation, treat exhaustively the subjects covered, provide legal advice, or render a legal opinion. Consult your own legal advisor regarding the specific application of the information to your own plan.

Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in January 2015 and has been updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.