By: Laurel Mintz, Founder & CEO, Elevate My Brand

As a nonprofit you wear many many hats. Some hats are organizational, some hats are fundraising. The one hat that is usually missing or terribly frayed is marketing. As discussed at GHJ' December 2nd nonprofit workshop, marketing is the #1 thing that nonprofits can do to increase their visibility and profitability now and in the future. So why does this area often fall by the wayside? Usually it’s a lack of 2 things; 1) expertise, and 2) money. But we believe most organizations are actually looking at this the wrong way. Marketing at it’s most basic level is how you touch your donor before, during and after the “ask”. It's what builds lasting relationships that over time have a greater lifetime value and, most importantly when done right, shortens the time between that first point of contact and the “ask”. The next questions we usually get it, “what should that budget look like annually?” Here are some numbers that we hope will scare you just enough to know you need to get in the game.

For established brands, those typically 5+ years old or older who have strong brand recognition, you should look to spend between 6-12% of your projected GROSS revenue on marketing services. For new and emerging brands or for brands who are trying to gain visibility in a new market, that number almost doubles to 10-20%. I know you are looking at your budget and thinking, “we can’t possibly afford that!” My response to that is always, you can’t afford not to. In a world where we are oversaturated by advertisements and asks from both for and non-profit companies, you must learn how to break through the noise. Not only do you need to learn how to break through, but it’s also a matter of maintaining that visibility and tracking results. And remember, marketing is not a magic bullet. It’s about testing different opportunities and tracking the progress to find the right mix for your organization. At the end of the day marketing is about testing, consistency and metrics. Once you have someone on your team or an outside agency driving your marketing efforts forward, you will see results that will have a lasting impact and will give you the ability to better service your mission.

Elevate My Brand offers complimentary consultations to any nonprofit organization interested in learning more. Contact them to schedule a call. Or visit them at or Facebook or Twitter to learn more.