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For businesses making a difference

6 Marketing Tips For Good Causes

Whether you’ve got a cause or are still looking for one, get inspiration from companies that are leaving the world better than they found it.

1

Find more people like your current supporters

Use Facebook Lookalike Audiences

Share your message with the people who are most likely to engage.

Use Facebook Lookalike Audiences to identify what your biggest advocates have in common, then reach more people like them.

Targeting Ideas

Reach more people who look like:

  • Customers who purchased your products
  • Patrons who donated to your cause
  • Advocates who most engage with you on social media
  • Attendees who have gone to your events
  • Volunteers who make it all happen
Facebook Ads for Non-profits

How It Works:

Lookalike Audiences target better by using feedback

1. Define your goals

Define what’s important to you online–like donations through your website, newsletter signups, or website leads.

2. Find your audience

Facebook will look at users who have completed these goals in the past, and analyze 2,000+ dimensions to find more users who have the most in common.

3. Create a feedback loop

Better targeting will lead to more goal completions and more data about your ideal audience. This creates a positive feedback loop where your ads get more and more efficient over time.

Facebook Donate Now Button

Tip:

Non-profit? Signup as a non-profit to take advantage of Facebook’s fundraising tools, like accepting donations through Facebook ads. Be sure your page is categorized as a nonprofit. Contact us if you need support.

2

Visualize the problem and solution

Communicate With Better Design

Like an ‘elevator pitch’, your entire message should be understood at-a-glance.

How to Design More Clearly

Ask yourself these questions

  • What does the current problem look like?
  • What does the solution look like?
  • How do people benefit?
  • How does it work?

Case Study:

How Blueland uses visuals to provide context

The Problem

According to the EPA, the average American throws away about 4.5 lbs of trash per day. 52% of that waste gets landfilled.

The Solution

Blueland‘s solution to single-use soap and plastic cleaning bottle is simple: purchase one bottle, and dissolve a cleaning solution tablet into water from your own faucet.

Examples

Click the images below to enlarge or pinch to zoom

For The World

What global benefits does Blueland focus on?

  • No single-use plastic – This means less waste in our landfills and fewer microplastics in our drinking water and seafood
  • Earth-friendly packaging – Product comes entirely in compostable and recyclable packaging
  • Smaller carbon footprint – Cleaning products are 95% water, which is wasteful and unnecessary to transport

For Yourself

What local benefits does Blueland focus on?

  • Cost savings – Inexpensive refills
  • Quality of bottle – Non-leaching, BPA-free, shatterproof
  • Safety of ingredients – Non-toxic
3

Show And Tell

Use Video To Educate

Provide more context than is possible with text and images alone.

How to Make A Good Video For Your Cause

Answer these questions in your video

  • What is the problem? What is the solution?
  • Who is the product or service for?
  • How is your product or service different than other solutions out there?
  • What do customers get out of your product or service?
  • What pain points do you customers avoid by using your product or service?

What To Include In Your Video

  • Ask real people to share their experience
  • Demonstrate how it works
  • Explain the benefits, not just the features

Case Study:

How Flow Hive uses video to explain benefits

The Problem

The U.S. alone has lost more than half of our managed honeybees hives (2.5M colonies) in the last 30 years. This phenomenon, called ‘colony collapse disorder’, is caused by a complex of parasites, lack of flowering crops, and neonicotinoids (an insecticide) that harms pollinating bees.

The Solution

Humans rely on bees, and bees rely on us. The caretaking of bees can help mitigate colony collapse disorder. Flow Hive makes bee husbandry more accessible to more people by making honey harvesting easier for the beekeeper and gentler on the bees.

Examples

Consider the ways Flow Hive gives visual context for each feature, and also matches each feature to a relevant benefit.

“…the honey doesn’t require any processing at all…”
“…no need to go through that long, messy, sweaty process of conventional harvesting….”
“…just simply turn the handle, and watch as delicious, raw honey fills your jars, ready for you to eat…”
“…[traditional] honey harvesting is such a pain. It’s a tremendous amount of work, and it makes a huge mess. It’s very disruptive to the bees. It’s kind of a disaster….so to actually just have it pour out of the side of the hive into a jar, and skip all of that mess, is amazing…”
“…inside is our second-generation patented Flow Frames which allows you to share the new experience of harvesting pure, untouched honey directly from the hive…”
“…by popular request, we’ve included an adjustable harvesting shelf, to make it easier to collect your very own fresh honey…”
“…includes a tool and screws to make it easy to assemble, even by hand…”
“…the roof shingles now come pre-glued together for better weather protection, with roof locks for high winds…”
“…all handles and latches are now robust solid brass…”
“…we now manufacture in our own, in-house workshop using precision laser cutting to to make sure every hive is of the highest quality…”

For The World

What global benefits does Flow Hive focus on?

  • Symbiotic relationship – Our agriculture system relies on pollinators, and Flow Hive is introducing more people to beekeeping. While there is contested debate within the beekeeping community as to whether introducing more amateur beekeepers will help or harm colony collapse disorder, having a larger community who understands bee husbandry techniques will almost certainly be beneficial in the long run
  • Sustainably-source – Wood is sustainably-sourced, and wood waste is upcycled into pollinator homes for solitary bees

For Yourself

What local benefits does Flow Hive focus on?

  • Honey on tap – Keep for yourself, give it away, or sell for a profit
  • Ease-of-use – While successful beekeeping still requires training & maintenance (inspecting hives, dealing with mites, monitoring for diseases, making splits), the process of harvesting the honey has been made drastically easier–simply turn a lever to extract pure, raw honey
  • Support your garden – Enjoy a more thriving flowering garden with the help of pollinators
4

Raise money passively

Sell Merchandise With A Purpose

Why Merch Works

People want to broadcast their values and they want to participate in good causes–even if only financially.

Your cause needs advocates to share your message publicly–merch gives them the tools to do so while raising money for your mission.

How To Make It Work

Narrowly define what a customer is funding with their purchase.

Define it specifically. How many meals does it provide the hungry? How much water does it provide the thirsty? How many books does it bring into classrooms? For how many pets does it provide a home?

4cocean funds ocean cleanup through merch
4ocean promises to pull one pound of trash from the ocean for every product purchased.

Help your patrons understand how a purchase specifically helps others.

Case Study:

How 4ocean uses merch sales to fund ocean cleanup

The Problem

The average plastic water bottle degrades in the ocean over 400 years, leaching toxicants and small plastic particles into our water and the food we eat. 90% of trash enters the ocean from rivers in developing countries who rely on the same consumer products we do, but don’t yet have the infrastructure to manage it as well.

The Solution

4ocean isn’t a nonprofit and doesn’t accept donations. Instead, they clean up one pound of trash from the ocean for every product purchased.

1.

4ocean sells products, like these:

2.

Profit is used to hire people and purchase equipment

3.

Reclaimed materials, like glass & plastic, are used to make more products, like these:

4.

Repeat.

For The World

What global benefits does 4ocean focus on?

  • Sustainably-made products – Merch made from 100% GOTS-certified organic cotton, post-consumer plastic & glass collected from the ocean
  • Closed-loop program – Don’t throw your merch away, sending it back to 4ocean, they’ll even pay for the shipping
  • One pound promise – Oh, did we mention that they’ll clean up a pound of trash out of the ocean for every purchase made? They’re mission is 100% funded by the purchase of sustainably-source & recycled merch.

For Yourself

What local benefits does 4ocean focus on?

  • Quality products – Braclets to show off, totes for carrying goods, drinkware that insulates your beverages, and apparel to clothe your body
  • Badge value – Users can sport the 4ocean logo, broadcasting their values to others

Tip:

Automate your merch

Don’t have the time to fulfill merch orders?

Consider using a print-on-demand service that can receive customer orders from your website and send the merch to customers on your behalf.

Printful is one such company that syncs with every major ecommerce platform (like Shopify, Woocommerce, Squarespace, and more.)

  1. Get one of these shopping carts for your website.
  2. Sign up with Printful.
  3. Sync your website with Printful. (Your designs will automatically populate on your website).
  4. Create custom merch designs on Printful. Opt for their eco-friendly products.
  5. Customers buy your merch, Printful sends it to them.

Notes:

Ethical Merchandise

Note #1 – Printful should only be used if absolutely needed. If possible, opt for a more sustainably sourced merch company that focuses on eco-friendly ink, sustainably sourced organic cotton, fair trade, and high labor standards. Here are my recommendations:

Note #2 – Printful offers an affiliate program with 10% commission on sales for the first 9 months. I am choosing to use their affiliate links and if you choose to use them, 100% of proceeds will be donated to Climeworks, an organization capturing CO2 from the air and sequestering it permanently underground in our effort to fight climate change.

5

Shoutout Your Biggest Supporters

Curate User Content

Curate & share the content of your base.

Credit and praise your supporters publicly & they’ll continue to show others how they interact with your brand.

Tower Garden

Case Study:

How Tower Garden focuses on fans

Consider these beautiful user-generated photos from Tower Garden’s Instagram

Know a company that should be on this list?

Tell us about it.

6

Are you a non-profit?

Sign Up For Google Ad Grants

Get $10,000/mo in free advertising on Google for your non-profit.

No joke. $10,000 per month in free advertising. This allows you to show up at the top of Google when users search for keywords related to your service and mission.

Use free advertising in Google to:

  • Raise awareness
  • Increase donations
  • Attract volunteers
  • Help people locate support services
Sign up for ad grants

Follow these steps

How do I sign up?

First, go here to see if you are eligible.

To sign up, start here.

  1. Apply for Google Nonprofits
  2. Submit the Ad Grants pre-qualification form
  3. Create your Google Ads account
  4. Submit your account for review

Need help applying for Google Ads Grant? We’re happy to help – often at no cost to you. Simply send an email to nonprofits@justincollier.com and tell us a little bit about your mission.

Tip:

Create answers to common and not-so-common questions regarding your area of service. Put each question and answer on its own unique page of your website. While you are at it, make sure the pages are optimized to be found on search engines.

Then use Dynamic Search Ads in your new Google Ads account, which will help connect your answer to the people who need them.

 

What makes for good questions?
Consider the following questions on the topic of homelessness:

  • How many people are homeless?
  • Why are people homeless?
  • What are the effects of homelessness on children?
  • What is the cost to end homelessness?
  • What is ‘housing first’ model?
  • What are the pros and cons of ‘housing first’?
  • How can I combat homelessness?

There should be a version of these questions for your cause.

7

Use Evocative Imagery

A photo by Justin Hofman, and promoted by SeaLegacy, an organization committed to ocean conservation through visual storytelling that rallys global support for ocean projects. This image captures the heartbreaking ubiquity of single-use pollution in our oceans.
Another photo from SeaLegacy, giving context to the effects of mass marine extinction caused by overfishing, pollution, and ocean acidification.
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