A Nonprofit Marketing Strategy for a Post-COVID World


Is Your Nonprofit Marketing Strategy Adapted for a post-COVID world?

Almost a quarter of all Americans are now fully vaccinated against COVID-19 and another two million are getting vaccinated daily. States are slowly loosening restrictions as infection rates decline.

We’re not out of the pandemic woods just yet but many experts are hopeful, and indicators are pointing to a strong economic bounceback.

Typically, when consumer confidence rises and economic momentum builds, nonprofits see an uptick in support from donors, sponsors and benefactors.  As life begins to settle into a new normal, will your organization be ready?

This period of “calm-before-the-storm,” is a great time to finetune your nonprofit marketing strategy so you’re well-positioned to thrive in a post-COVID world.

Here are five ways to prepare your nonprofit marketing strategy for post-COVID success:

1. Embrace the Remote/Office Hybrid

The truth is, we don’t know yet if offices will play the same role as they did pre-Covid, but it’s safe to say “the office” will never be the same.

Many organizations are just now starting to consider how to reopen their brick-and-mortar offices, while some are questioning if they even need office space at all. Most seem to be creating hybrid solutions that combine in-person and remote work with limited or rotating staff.

The right fit will be different for every organization, but my bet is that the hybrid model is here to stay for the foreseeable future. My view is to hold the office space for now, but double down on your technology. Ensure that:

You might also consider creating an official company policy that outlines expectations for online meetings to ensure your organization is well-represented.

This may include language that requires home offices or other meeting spaces to be reasonably well organized and distraction-free or details Zoom dress-code, for example.

You and your team will likely still be doing a lot of remote meetings; streamline your communication channels to ensure you’re able to rise to the operational challenges with ease.

2. Get your digital house in order

Does your foundation seek donations? Or are you strictly a grant-maker? Does your nonprofit manage a member database or produce a newsletter?

Now is the time to evaluate and, if necessary, update or upgrade your nonprofit’s digital tools and software. Are they working as hard as they can for you?

Take the time to:

  • Assess your CRM tools so they’re optimized to give you the best performance and data
  • Upgrade an outdated or clunky CMS and make sure it integrates smoothly with your other software
  • Consider refreshing your website, email marketing programs, newsletters, or databases, especially if they’ve taken a semi-hiatus in the last year

Most importantly, make sure your team is trained and well-versed on how to use any new software, platforms or upgrades you’ve introduced for a seamless transition.

As life begins to settle into a new normal, will your organization be ready?

3. Examine and Strengthen Your Positioning

We’ve discussed on this blog how critical it is to clearly communicate your positioning if you want people to quickly understand your mission.

Examine the touch points in your digital marketing, including your website, email headers, taglines, statements of purpose, and social media pages. Each should clearly and consistently reflect who you are and what you do, inspiring prospective benefactors to align with your mission.

Remember that online attention spans are short. If your potential supporters can’t discern what your organization does at-a-glance, you could be missing opportunities to grow your base.

4. Assess the Quality of your Lists

If, like many of us, you pulled back on email outreach to prospective donors and supporters during the COVID crisis, it’s possible your email database could use a review.

Evaluate all your lists and their various categorizations and purposes. Are these individuals still relevant to your mission? Are there new individuals you’ve met over the last year who aren’t represented?

A thorough review and pruning of your lists will help ensure you make the most impact – and develop the most meaningful relationships – with your supporters as you return to regular communication with them.

And of course, if it’s been a while since you last spoke, consider writing a heartfelt, genuine and purposeful re-introductory message to bring them back into the fold.

5. Prepare Spiritually and Psychologically for Success

Hellen Keller said, “Optimism is the faith that leads to achievement. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence.” We have every reason to ride the wave of optimism we feel as the pandemic recedes further away in the rearview mirror.

Nonprofit leaders have an opportunity to inspire their teams to reimagine what the workplace can be. You’ve spent the last year rising to any number of challenges. It’s a good time to not only embrace positive change, but to also restore a sense of purpose and renewal about your organization’s mission. Leading with positivity and confidence will go a long way towards refocusing your team on your mission’s most important priorities.

Consider these strategies:

  • Encourage your team to shift their mindsets from “reactive” to “proactive”, offering reassurance that it’s ok to plan for the future
  • Support a willingness to seek new opportunities, reimagine the workplace, experiment with new programs, methods or policies.
  • For some organizations, it will take time for staff to ramp back up to pre-COVID levels of productivity and workflow. Lead with confidence and empathy, giving staffers time to get back in the groove.

We’re fast approaching a post-COVID world, where almost nothing will revert to “the way it was.” Having strategies in place to hit the ground running when the new normal emerges will be invaluable for organizations determined to rise to the challenges that will inevitably appear.

It’s an excellent time to reevaluate how we define normal, and take advantage of the opportunity to collaborate with both staff and supporters to create a forward-thinking future for your organization.


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