Scaling An Awareness Campaign: Starter Guide

December 7, 2016
7 minutes
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It's a tough world for nonprofit owners and staff alike. First, there's always the worry, fear, and the questions—yes, the questions. Will we get enough in donations? Are the programs running properly? Why isn't our organization more prominent in the community?

It is not an easy task to raise awareness when it comes to your nonprofit. Even if the work you're doing is fantastic, it does not always translate in popularity to the rest of the world.

That said, if you're running a nonprofit and struggling to raise awareness during a campaign focused on the business or mission or cause, switch some of your campaign's focus. Poof! Now you've got yourself an awareness campaign.

Finding your audience

Gaining widespread awareness might start with narrowing down your audience. This may sound a bit counterintuitive; yet, many nonprofits experience significant growth by appealing to a specific group of people. Starting with a focused audience allows people to connect with your organization's mission, internalize it and, in turn, begin to advocate for it.

When a nonprofit appeals to a specific age group, interest, or community, it becomes much easier for those people to feel a personal connection. Your nonprofit will stay top-of-mind with this audience.

If you notice your cause gaining popularity, there will most likely be people who support the cause but don't want to be a devoted fundraiser. Even though that participant is passive, they may still share your organization with someone willing to donate or get involved.

Reaching out

So, once you've identified your audience, you will need to get in touch with them. Making use of the internet, email marketing, and social media is critical for communications.

Face to face interactions

Nonprofits may want to send representatives to schools, colleges, workplaces, and government offices. This is particularly useful when working on nonprofit awareness campaigns as a physical presence during the campaign is always helpful to arrange publicity shots or appearances.

Consider hosting a booth for the campaign at a community event. Many cities run annual festivals or fairs, as do some churches and community centers. It is even better if the organization shares an interest in your cause.

It often occurs that an organization that shares your views may offer you a free booth or propose sponsoring your booth, allowing you to stretch your budget much further.

Keep your website content fresh

Another example of reaching out to increase awareness of your campaign involves keeping the information on your website (yes, we will assume your organization has one) as current and as informative as possible. This involves, for example, displaying your campaign donations prominently on the homepage. Keeping your website current with great content also increases your SEO profile. You will eventually generate more traffic and get around most ad-blockers. This content can also be posted on social media platforms, adding another channel to your distribution.

Social media

One of the most effective tools available to any nonprofit. It is estimated that almost 2.8 billion people use social media daily. Scaling awareness involves making use of these tools daily during your campaign.

The best part of employing social media marketing for your campaign is that it does not take a major time commitment as you will not need too much original content. Much of the content posted revolves around the nonprofit awareness campaign you are promoting.


If you can provide a promotional product branded with your campaign and organization name on it, they would offer a fantastic ROI as they will persist with your donors or organization members long after the campaign is over.

It has been noted that nearly 89% of participants, supporters, or donors can recall the branding on the promo product they had received within the last 24 months.

Your members and donors

Don't forget about your existing members and donors. Nonprofit awareness campaigns also involve email marketing to existing members as well as including links where they can suggest that their friends offer donations.

If you are offering a crowdsourced option for your campaign, you will definitely scale your event by giving the donors a personal webpage for their contacts to donate and allowing them to share that they donated to your organization via their social media. This often lends credibility (increasing your nonprofits social proof) and brings on new donors at the same time.

Partnerships help:

Scaling or increasing a nonprofit awareness campaign can be achieved by partnering with a local organization (does not need to be a nonprofit). Many for-profit organizations seek nonprofits to help them build morale in their offices as well as increase their social good in the public eye. Don't partner with just anyone who comes calling, though. Pick an organization that shares your views and dedication to your cause.

Final thoughts

Any nonprofit can benefit from the information above on increasing and scaling awareness. For the most part and also with the support of local businesses, these tips above are simple and cost-effective but mostly totally engaging in ways to increase your outreach in order to grow your donor base.

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