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Unusual Twists on Nonprofit Fundraising

Print newsletters are the default communications tactic for nonprofits. But other elements can yield tremendous benefits for nonprofits, as well.

If the goal is community engagement and advocacy, you might produce an annual report or a community report card. If the goal is promotional, you might use postcards, flyers, invitations and event programs. If you want to get in front of new donors, you might consider integrating alternative techniques that gain attention in fresh and surprisingly ways.

What are some of those alternative techniques?

Table tents: Table tents can be powerful tools. Develop a creative tagline to communicate your distinctive competence, then illustrate how the reader can help. Distribute tents in high-traffic areas where people have a minute to read your message, such as restaurant and retail counters.

Hang tags: Partner with a grocer or retailer to place hang tags on popular products. The association with a well-known brand gives your organization instant credibility.

“Gift” catalogs: Give benefactors a tangible idea of how donations are being used. A hunger relief organization might “sell” cereal, bread, or a family dinner, with “prices” corresponding to the cost of supplying these items to those in need. World Vision’s Christmas 2014 Gift Catalog allowed supporters to purchase goats, chickens, and ducks for Third World communities to provide both sustainable food sources and merchant opportunities.

These are not products we normally see associated with nonprofits donations, and that’s what makes them so effective. It takes more than clever advertisements to inspire your stakeholders to action. It takes creativity, too.

But beware of using these alternative techniques in a silo-ed fashion. Integrate them into an overall marketing strategy. Include measurable outcomes to keep your staff focused and results-driven. By building in accountability, you will ensure that your board members become your most ardent marketing allies.