Nonprofit marketing teams, which often consist of only a few or even a singular person, fight an uphill battle. They must find ways to market particularly challenging “products” – fundraisers, certifications, and memberships, to name a few. Plus, they’re typically strapped to a tight budget.

Tony Veroeven, Director of Sales and Marketing at AMPED Association Management, joined AMA Madison’s Craft Marketing event on August 29th to share his best advice for nonprofit marketers. In his presentation, he dropped five high-impact strategies marketers can use to maximize their limited resources.

But first, Tony presented a critical question:

What does your board of directors expect from you at the end of the day?

Sure, their expectations may not be realistic using the limited resources you’ve been granted. But laying it all out will help you prioritize your efforts for optimal impact. Tony also emphasized the importance of knowing your numbers by consulting your strategic framework and KPI dashboard.

Tony then laid out five actionable tips marketers can use to amplify their efforts. While all tips are worth considering, he recommends only pursuing one or two. Focusing on too many initiatives at once may mean little payoff, but putting all your energy and resources into a couple of efforts will lead to better results.

5 Tips to Stretch Your Limited Marketing Resources

1. Trade Buyer Personas for Audience Development

Do you have time to create 8-10 detailed buyer personas? If you don’t, you’re not alone. Tony explained that these projects are extremely time and resource-consuming, but there’s another way: audience development. He broke it down into six steps:

Audience Development in 6 Steps

  1. Identify all the audiences you want to reach.
  2. Narrow that list down to 3-5 priority targets.
  3. Define your audiences’ “why”s and motives for interacting with your organization.
  4. Narrow down your priority targets even further to the top two you believe you can realistically impact within the following year.
  5. Create a MARCOM grid plan for each audience. Tony advised that marketers have patience for this often slow-going process and that they get together with their members one-on-one to hammer it out quickly if possible.
  6. Get buy-in and review from your committee.

2. Leverage Your Stakeholders’ Relationships and Networks

Social media is a powerful tool that organizations must take full advantage of. Still, your stakeholders may not understand the value of social media, so it’s your job to help them buy into it. 

First, Tony recommends that you ask your leadership to “like” and interact with your social media platforms. It might seem too obvious of an ask, but you’d be surprised how many aren’t engaging with your brand online. They also may not have their credentials and volunteer positions related to your organization listed appropriately on their LinkedIn profiles. Ask them to add these roles to their profiles and to tag your organization’s page properly.

To keep your social presence top of mind, mention your social media accounts and hashtags to stakeholders when appropriate. Work with your members to get the word out about upcoming events to their network using hashtags. Don’t forget to emphasize the importance of tagging your organization, too! 

3. Use All the Free or Cheap Tools Out There

There’s no shortage of stellar tools available online for cheap or even free. Tony’s top suggestions are:

    • Canva provides user-friendly graphic design tools as well as photo and video editing tools. It even has a stock photo library if you get the paid version, which is $120 annually. An attendee of the presentation shared the tip of using Canva to create and share branded templates with members so they can easily insert their information while maintaining the company branding. Just be aware of premium images and features if you have the paid version – your members may not have access.
  • Powtoon is an all-in-one video and presentation tool that’s free to users with Powtoon branding and a three-minute limit, but there’s also an affordable free version. 
  • Sparktoro is a research tool that allows you to view where your customers visit, like which social media accounts they follow, and with premium, you can see which podcasts they listen to and what websites they visit. Without premium, you get five free searches a month.

4. Forget the Rules and Myths About Email Marketing

To improve your email marketing, Tony recommends scrapping the rules. Many of these rules are simply myths, like the idea that you should only send emails once a week on a certain day and time. In reality, there’s a way around these conventions: send from different names. This can be more engaging for your audience. Tony also shared that sending emails from an address like “Tony from AMPED Association Management” instead of just “Tony” can increase open rates by 28% for b2b audiences and by 22% for b2c audiences.

Another myth is the idea that your email writing voice can only be “professional” and “serious.” Try changing up your tone and adding a touch of cheekiness and creativity into your writing. Of course, Tony cautions that it’s still possible to get too fiery, but at the right level of playfulness, you may be able to grab your audience’s attention. Tony also advises marketers to try out leaving some important pieces of information out of their emails to give recipients extra reason to click.

5. Start a Video or Podcast Series

Finally, Tony recommends starting a video or podcast series. While being the face of your organization can feel intimidating, it doesn’t have to be. You don’t have to post in-depth content at a rapid pace. He provided the following tips for beginners

  • Start simple and slow with your releases. Doing something is better than nothing, and you can increase the frequency and pace of your releases when you find your footing.
  • Be timely with your releases and look for opportunities to latch onto current events and topics. This can “spike” your brand.
  • Interview speakers, award winners, board members, customers, or sponsors.
  • Make your videos with your researched audiences in mind.
  • Regarding tools for editing and producing podcasts and videos, Tony recommends checking out Zencastr, Camtasia, Adobe Premier, Windows Video Editor, Mac iMovie. For hosting, Anchor FM and YouTube are excellent options.

It Really Works

Tony closed out the presentation with the story of the most validating message he’s ever received: His organization once fired a client and left them in charge of the podcast Tony had started for them. After some time, the person who took over the podcast sent him a message thanking him for starting and leaving it to them because they just hit 100k downloads, up from 12k when Tony left it.

From this message, Tony learned that even though this podcast was started on a whim, with a little persistence, it found immense success. Even more, it was validation that this type of content creation really works.

See You at Garth’s Brew Bar for August’s Craft Marketing


Craft Marketing invites you to its next live in-person event at Garth’s Brew Bar in Madison at 5:30 PM on September 27th, 2022, where Meaghan Ziemba presents “How to be an Employer Women Want to Work For.”

Registration information coming soon!

Thanks to our sponsor:

Picture of author, Kara MartinAbout the Author

Kara Martin, Content Writer at Naviant, specializes in written B2B content, from case studies to blogs and beyond. She transforms complex technical information into compelling, data-driven content that helps organizations turn their digital transformation goals into a reality.

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