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  • Writer's pictureNonprofit Learning Lab

4 Best Strategies to Grow Your Nonprofit’s Outreach

Updated: Apr 4

A diverse gathering of people at a restaurant for a nonprofit event.

Although retaining donors is a must for nonprofit growth, that doesn’t mean your organization should abandon its donor acquisition goals. By creating positive connections with new supporters, you’ll convert them into loyal donors and volunteers, expanding your nonprofit’s mission.

To secure this support, your organization needs to grow your outreach efforts to reach a wider audience thoughtfully. To help you do that, we’ll cover four top strategies you can use to communicate your priorities and purpose to new and potential supporters—let’s begin!

1. Get involved in local events.

Getting involved in events in your community is an optimal way to raise awareness. This is extremely beneficial for smaller nonprofits that rely on local support. A few types of events you should consider participating in to raise awareness of your nonprofit include:

  • Local festivals. Set up an informational booth at your local festival and prepare cards and flyers. As attendees wander around the festival, engage any interested individuals by explaining your nonprofit’s mission and how you’ve positively impacted your community. Offer a signup sheet so interested attendees can receive updates and content. 

  • Educational fairs. Participating in educational fairs allows you to get to know future generations of donors and foster a charitable mindset in students. Plus, if students have a community service requirement to graduate, you can recruit a strong volunteer force from these events.

  • Business conferences. Join local business conferences as a nonprofit exhibitor to increase awareness of your organization among larger, more financially secure corporations. This can lead to partnerships and sponsorships for your organization, resulting in more support for your cause.

You may also attend events specific to your nonprofit’s mission to interact with a more relevant audience. For example, if your organization’s cause relates to environmental conservation, you can attend environmental advocacy events. Individuals who attend this event will already be passionate about environmental conservation, making it easier for you to promote your nonprofit.

Alternatively, you can host an event of your own. If this is the path you take, Funds2Orgs’s guide to nonprofit fundraising ideas recommends that you start with an exciting event idea to drum up anticipation and increase attendance.

2. Offer local volunteering opportunities.

Volunteering offers a unique hands-on experience to supporters interested in making a difference. Keep in mind that there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to volunteering. The opportunities you’ll offer will depend on your cause.

Here are a few examples of popular nonprofit missions and the volunteer activities that organizations associated with them might host:

  • Reducing the impact of homelessness: sorting donated items at a clothing drive, assisting in building or repairing shelter facilities, or putting together hygiene care packages.

  • Addressing food insecurity: delivering donated cans of food to beneficiaries, serving meals at a soup kitchen, or organizing and maintaining a community garden.

  • Improving animal welfare: socializing with young animals, fostering pets when the shelter is overcrowded, or planning adoption events.

  • Funding medical research: social media management, corporate sponsor outreach, or starting crowdfunding campaigns.

  • Environmental conservation: organizing community clean-ups, planting trees, or participating in conservation research.

Make the most out of the people in your community who want to get involved. You can even target specific businesses whose staff members are well-suited to helping your cause. For instance, if your nonprofit’s mission is to improve the quality of life for veterans, you could reach out to a local massage business to ask if their therapists would be open to volunteering by providing massage therapy to veterans at your next event.

3. Implement a multichannel marketing strategy.

In a world where the average person sees around 10,000 ads daily, your nonprofit needs to intentionally use marketing strategies to capture your audience’s attention. To successfully advertise your organization and grow your outreach, you should promote your mission through multiple different marketing channels.

Many nonprofits use the following channels to grow their outreach:

Website. Your website is the first place new supporters will navigate to learn more about your mission, beneficiaries, and events. Ensure your website is branded to your nonprofit and easily navigable to provide a great visitor experience. If you’re ready for something more advanced, NXUnite recommends optimizing your website for search engines so that individuals searching relevant keywords are more likely to find your site.

Direct mail. If your nonprofit mostly operates in a local community, advertising through direct mail can be extremely effective. Send postcards and flyers to individuals in your community to invite them to attend any events you’re hosting and learn more about your work.

Email newsletters. Ideally, your nonprofit should send out email newsletters to supporters to keep them updated with your programs and keep your organization top-of-mind. Your writing in the newsletters should be engaging and impactful to draw in the reader. For instance, if you’re reporting that you raised $2,000 at your last fundraising event, let your supporters know how this amount will help you pay for a week’s worth of food for 300 dogs at your animal shelter.

Social media. With the number of social media users reaching over 5 billion, nonprofits must pay attention to these platforms in their marketing efforts. Create visually appealing posts on platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, and TikTok to capture the attention of audience members who use these platforms.

If you’re serious about upgrading your marketing and outreach efforts, consider purchasing tech tools to manage advertising easily.

4. Ask for supporter feedback.

Sometimes growing your organization's outreach is as simple as talking to those involved with it. Asking for feedback from supporters makes them feel more involved with your organization, and the best way to do that is by sending a survey.

Your survey questions may include:

  • How did you first hear about our nonprofit?

  • On a scale of 1-10, how would you rate our messages to you? Why?

  • What channel(s) do you prefer we use to reach you?

  • What messages from us do you find the most interesting or motivating?

  • How can we improve our outreach efforts?

  • Are there any specific topics or issues you wish we talked more about?

Through these questions, you can determine which outreach channels are most effective for your nonprofit and what improvements you can make to attract more engaged supporters. But you’re not limited to these queries. You can also ask about other outreach activities. For example, you might solicit feedback from supporters about your fundraising events and ask them if they have any unique fundraising ideas you should host.

With a robust outreach strategy, you’ll see an increase in new supporters that you can steward into generous donors and loyal volunteers. With this extra support, you can chart a new course for your mission, generating the positive impact you want to see for your beneficiaries!

Additional Nonprofit Resources:

Looking for additional free nonprofit resources? Check out our free nonprofit resources page here!

Do your organization want to explore more diversity, equity and inclusion approaches?

Browse our DEI resources here!

Effective Volunteer Management: Recruitment, Training, Retention, Committees & Manage Difficult Volunteers series training here.


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