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10 tips for marketing with a small non-profit team

It’s easy to list all those fancy marketing strategies and say that your organisation will be more successful if you implement them. But what if you don’t have the capacity to follow through on them? What if you work with a very small team and you’re all at capacity already? We’ve put our heads together and came up with a few tips and tricks of what you, as a socially good organisation, might do to still present yourself in the best possible light. Here are our tips for marketing with a small non-profit team:

1. Reach Out

Even though you have a small team of employees, as a not-for-profit you might have many more supporters, not least your donors, volunteers and service users. Reach out to them and see if they would be interested in contributing to your content library. What questions would they like to see addressed and, more importantly, which ones might they be able to answer and give insight on? (If you’re using the content strategy TAYA, their input might be indispensable.)

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2. Identify and make use of (hidden) talents in your team

Ask your team if anyone has any creative talents they would like to use at work or they would like to explore further/learn. Maybe someone has always wanted to learn how to make wee doodles/cartoons? This could be useful to create some fun, engaging content. Or maybe someone loves to take pictures and would be happy to use their talents to move your organisation’s marketing along. This approach might infuse your staff as well as your marketing with an extra sprinkle of passion and creativity.

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3. Cooperation with others

Asking partner organisations to share your content can help you, too. Not only will they help you reach your target audiences, but they can help you do some of the heavy lifting when it comes to getting your content out there. Find collaborators that might share a similar audience to yours, i.e. if you are a charity that focuses on furthering children’s education in a specific country, you could look to work with an organisation that might try to improve food security or access to sanitary products in that country.

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4. Take your time

Just because you have a small team, doesn’t mean you can’t grow a robust catalogue of content. Sure, you might be slower than you might like, but slow progress is better than none. Do what you can with the resources that you have. Continuous effort is better when doing marketing with a small non-profit team than a big push at the start that slowly grows dormant.

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5. Have a content strategy/calendar in place with your team

Marketeers will tell you that good marketing starts with a strategy. We will tell you the same. But we will also tell you that having a strategy doesn’t mean you need to have a lengthy document that takes months to write. A strategy is basically a well thought-through plan of how to proceed – and that can be done in a single page. What should be on that page? Easy:

  • Your organisation’s purpose & goal
  • The objective of your marketing (e.g. increase awareness, more followers, donations, etc.)
  • Your target audience and where to find them
  • Topics and content categories you want to focus on
  • Content format, channel and frequency with which you want to post (consistency better than sporadic)

To get this strategy paper right, it is a good idea to block out a full day for its creation, ideally involving your team. Making this the priority for a day will ensure that everyone is on the same page. You are all free to focus on marketing which in the daily stresses of a small not-for-profit can be easily forgotten. At the end of the day, distribute tasks equally and set expectations for everyone.

Once you have that, you are pretty much ready to go because you know what you will post about, whom you want to address, where you’ll post, how often and what you want to achieve. This one-pager gives you a road map and a clear path forward for your marketing with a small non-profit team.

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6. Focus on your target audience and channel

There are quite a few major social media channels these days and even more smaller niche ones. It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking you will have to cater to all the common ones. But it might be much more effective and productive for a small organisation to focus on only one channel, whether mainstream or niche, ideally where your target audience is mainly active. Are you looking to attract other organisations and businesses? LinkedIn might be your main choice. Connecting with young environmentally conscious women? Instagram might be your go-to platform. Focusing on one platform doesn’t mean you can’t use others as well, but making one your priority will help to optimise your content for that specific channel and concentrate your efforts.

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7. Create content in bulk

Another way to ensure that you take time for marketing is to create content in bulk. So instead of saying ‘I will create a new post every Wednesday to post on Thursday’, block off one day a month to create 4-5 consistent and coherent pieces that tell a story of which you can then post one a week. Blocking off one day a month is likely easier than ensuring you are always free at a certain time during the week.

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8. Use free/low-cost software

A great way to create content when you don’t have many resources available is through free online software. If you’ve ever searched for creative content software, you have likely stumbled upon Canva. This a software which helps you to easily create visuals for your marketing. And there are many more out there. Search for what you’re looking for and you might be surprised at how many possibilities the internet has to offer and how much easier content creation can be, especially when marketing with a small non-profit team.

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9. Schedule your content

Another good way to stay on top of your regular content schedule is to use free software which helps you post at the times you want to post. Let’s say you create a bunch of content at the beginning of the month. Using scheduling software and uploading all that content onto it right after you have created it, means that you don’t have to worry about content creation and posting for the rest of the month. (Although you should make sure your posts are still up to date before they are posted.)

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10. Make maximum use of your content

Last but not least, make use of your existing content. Do you write a monthly newsletter to your donors? Why not take its content, break it up into a few pieces (short blog posts, a quotation and couple of pictures) and use them for your social media? Repurposing content is a great way to save yourself some time. It ensures that your content gets seen as much as possible.

A blog post that you have written a year ago might still be as a relevant today as it was then. Update it and post it again. Do you have a quotation or picture that received a lot of attention and engagement when you first posted it? There’s no harm in posting it again. Evergreen content is used by a lot of organisations and influencers. It’ll help you lighten the load of having to create new content all the time.

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