7 Tips For Nonprofit Marketing On A Budget

Nonprofit marketing is constantly changing and adapting. Stay on top with these 7 proven tips, tricks, and ideas for nonprofit marketing at little or no cost.

Nonprofit marketing - NorthCoast Banners
Looking to make a social impact without breaking the bank? These tips will help you utilize proven tools to create a nonprofit marketing plan and get your name out there.

1. Design A Unique Logo to Optimize Nonprofit Marketing

The first step in nonprofit marketing is to design a unique logo for your organization. Your logo is what people will see and remember. It’s what you will put on your materials, your building, and more! Your logo can tell people who you are, what you do, and why you matter. 

Think about colors, symbols, words, and images associated with your mission and values… But avoid cliches (e.g. hearts, holding hands)! Consider long term costs associated with your logo – you may want to limit the number of colors in your artwork, as printing this logo later on vinyl and plastic roll banners, shirts, etc. (see step 2) will be less expensive if you limit it to 1 or 2 colors. 

Starlight Foundation - Plastic Roll Banners
Starlight Children’s Foundation uses just 2 colors, a whimsical font, and clear imagery in their logo

Note: White does not count as a color for printing costs. North Coast Banners has a helpful blog with art requirements to consider when you create your logo. There are lots of low-cost design tools available (check out Tailor Brands or Looka) to help you create a high quality logo in-house, without paying top dollar for a commercial design pro. 

2. Create Cost-Effective Marketing Materials

Once you have a solid brand logo, you are ready for nonprofit marketing and getting your name out there! Consider what will be the most effective materials to create and distribute. A fantastic, affordable option is Plastic Roll Banners. At just $0.15 per banner, roll banners can make a huge impact at any size event without breaking the bank! 

It is especially important to keep your brand in focus in today’s hyper-distracted, phone-addicted consumer world, so roll banners that can easily and affordably cover an event or space can be a gamechanger. 

Additionally, as a nonprofit, you’ll want to be socially/environmentally conscious – and many plastic roll banners are biodegradable, recyclable, and reusable. You can use roll banners for large scale events, fundraisers, tabling at community events, and even around your offices!

Plastic Roll Banners - Nonprofit marketing
The ALS Association utilizes Plastic Roll Banners for signage and easily distributed collateral for walk attendees

3. Cultivate Brand Ambassadors

Branding isn’t only about slapping your logo on mugs, t-shirts, or pens. While much of the brand and marketing focus in the nonprofit sector has been about fundraising and communications, times are changing – quickly! Nowadays, truly progressive nonprofits see the potential of branding to increase visibility, gain support, and enlist brand ambassadors. 

A smart nonprofit marketing plan will leverage these ambassadors to deliver its mission and promote its programs. Once you’ve found some dedicated volunteers and supporters, make sure they understand your mission and values and have an “elevator speech” prepared to share about your nonprofit. 

You will also want to be sure to equip them with the necessary materials to get your name out there. This is another great use of signage and plastic roll banners. Your ambassadors can help splash your logo all over their photos shared on Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram by keeping these inexpensive, easy-to-store banners on hand. 

4. The Value of Events for Nonprofit Marketing

One of the most critical aspects to nonprofit marketing is putting yourself in the shoes of the public. Think about what your supporters want to see when they engage with your nonprofit and go from there. What kind of events would the general public be interested in? What would appeal to your existing supporters?

You can start small – consider hosting an open house or event in your community to allow people to get to know your organization and the work you do. You can have guest speakers, perhaps people who have been served by your work, and an opportunity for people to learn about topics related to your mission. 

The goal is to give people a reason to attend your event and see what you’re about. 

The Dana-Farber Cancer Institute promotes their brand at major events such as their Marathon Challenge

Reach out to organizations who serve similar populations and find out what community outreach opportunities are out there. Most events hosted by cities, schools, and libraries are free to attend and can be an easy way to promote your nonprofit. 

And remember the key to any event – plaster you name/logo EVERYWHERE! Keeping budget in mind, the versatility of plastic roll banners can save money and effort. For example, even industry giant Subaru utilized plastic roll banners to create a quick photo backdrop or logo wall area (scroll down to the second image for reference). 

5. Create A Marketing Budget – And Stick To It

Start with a plan and timeline detailing how much money you will need to enact your nonprofit marketing strategy, and where these funds will be used. Consider staff costs, materials, and if you will incur professional expenses. 

Make sure there is a specific individual taking a leading role in managing the budget to ensure that there is accountability to get the job done. 

Don’t spend beyond your means. Although we know the phrase, “you have to spend money to make money,” as a nonprofit you need to be very cognizant of how you are spending donor funds. If you are going to introduce an expense, consider how it will benefit it your nonprofit and how you can maximize the use. 

Keep in mind that the Better Business Bureau recommends that at least 65 percent of a nonprofit’s total expenses should be for programs – and the best nonprofits allocate even more than that.

6. Leverage Partnerships for Nonprofit Marketing

You don’t have to go it alone to create a strong nonprofit marketing plan. In fact, it shouldn’t be a solo venture at all! Strategic partnerships can expand the reach of your organization and your marketing efforts. 

Look for ways to work with the people and organizations who share goals and can lend resources to help advance your work. These might include other nonprofits with similar or objectives, local volunteer groups, businesses looking for philanthropy opportunities, or local and federal government agencies.

And don’t forget media coverage! Promote yourself and your nonprofit –  send a press release about your organization’s accomplishments to local media outlets. Utilize your brand ambassadors to make connections, as well. This step alone can create a substantial marketing opportunity.

7. Be A Treasure Hunter – Utilize Talent for Nonprofit Marketing 

Start digging and getting to know the people are your organization! Never underestimate the talents that lie within your employees, volunteers and even yourself. When you’re first diving into nonprofit marketing, you will find that many of the folks on the team anticipate wearing multiple hats to help get things off the ground. 

Reach out and see what your staff, donors, volunteers, and supporters are capable of. You may find that you don’t need to hire expensive pros for every aspect of your marketing plan – with some training and software, you might be able to do it at a fraction of the cost. 

Plus, if you assume that every member of your staff or volunteer team has something to contribute to your marketing strategy, you will have the bonus result of invigorating and engaging your base! 

There’s no one trick to nonprofit marketing, but following some of the suggestions above will start you down the right path. Do your homework, research, and reach out. 

About the Author: Shoshana Simones has dedicated her career to the nonprofit sector, program development, volunteerism, brand strategies, and social media management. She holds a degree in Art History with a minor in Design, and a Master’s in Art Education with an emphasis in Museum Studies. Shoshana has worked with many local and national nonprofit organizations in roles including volunteer management, program management, grant writing, marketing, and fundraising. She has worked within the for-profit sector with businesses looking to optimize their marketing and social media reach. 

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What Is A Tearaway Banner?

Your event is coming up and your sponsor is pushing you to find a creative way to deck out the place with their branding (Hint: you haven’t yet discovered a tearaway banner). You’ve taken your nose to the grindstone but you can’t find a way to get it done without buying more vinyl banners.

Enter the tearaway banner, the cost effective solution to getting your brand, sponsor or company logo plastered around any event area. Produced as a Plastic Roll Banner, they are often called tearaway banners because you can simply cut off a banner, two or 50, to cover any amount of space.

Here’s some innovative ways brands are using tear away roll banners:

TearAway Banners - Plastic Roll Banners

Tito’s vodka cuts off their tearaway banners (AKA plastic roll banners) and wraps them around the water barrel and deadweights used to tie down a tent.

TearAway Banners - Plastic Roll Banners - NorthCoast Banners

Subaru puts them together, lined up, then tears away the excess to create a quick photo backdrop or logo wall area.

TearAway Banners - Plastic Roll Banners - NorthCoast Banners

At a festival, traffic barricades control the flow of attendees, but they don’t do much in terms of branding with their unsightly, dry metallic sheen. Rent King covers them with tearaway roll banners across the festival.

Don’t be afraid to throw a roll of plastic roll banners in the back of the pickup truck before heading out to an event. It will come to use in more ways than one.

Got another way you tear away your plastic roll banners? Send us a photo, we’ll feature it on our Instagram and Facebook page!

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Crowd Control with Plastic Roll Banners

Techno Glaceau Festival Banner Fence Line

Crowds can get a bit out of hand sometimes. After all, everyone benefits from boundaries. Lucky for you, plastic roll banners can be used for crowd control while spreading your branding message.

Lion King Roll Banners Used for a Perimeter
Crowds line up outside The Lion King in New York, seen here in a television screenshot

Plastic roll banners make natural barriers that can direct crowds, regulate lines, or even barricade off specific areas. Attach them to fences, blockades, or trees. Roll banners will beautify your space, control your crowds and utilize free advertising space!

For more information about plastic roll banners and their uses, please give us a call at 800-231-4213 or check out our website at www.northcoastbanners.com.

Surrounding a Venue with 96.3 KSCS Roll Banners

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Caring for Your Vinyl Roll Banners

Air Force Reserve Vinyl Roll Banner on Printer

An essential part of getting the best value from your vinyl roll banners is keeping them clean and properly stored. Keeping your banners looking its best helps you prolong its life and maximize its effectiveness.

Using aggressive or harsh cleaners and detergents is not a good idea as they can harm or even destroy your banners. A non-detergent or soap and water solution is best, ideally used with a soft cloth. Any abrasive materials or paper towels are potentially destructive and should be avoided entirely.

After your roll banners are sparkling once again, then you’ll want to make sure you store them properly. The best and simplest way to store your banners is to re-roll them (it’s helpful to use a tube to roll the banner around). Make sure that you roll the banner with the graphic facing out and always wait for your banner to dry completely before rolling it. Finally, make sure that the banners are kept in a cool place to prevent any melting or distortion.

It’s important to note that vinyl roll banners aren’t meant to last forever. That said, proper care of your banners can extend their durability and lifespan, increasing the value of your purchase. We guarantee (in most cases) that the color on your vinyl roll banner will last for a year outdoors! So as long as you keep that banner clean and stored properly, it should stay looking bright and beautiful!

Read more about vinyl roll banners or give us a call at our offices: 800-231-4213.

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Plastic Roll Banners: Cost Effective Marketing

Marketing and advertising campaigns can run into the many hundreds or thousands of dollars.

Yet unlike many other areas in your marketing projects, plastic roll banners make a lot of noise about your company without making a dent in your bottom line.

Contact us today for the best pricing and high quality roll banners!

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How much will my vinyl banner weigh?

The weight of your banner will vary with size and type. Below I’ve outlined the different kinds of vinyl we carry:

13 oz. Vinyl

  • These banners weigh 13 oz. per square yard.
  • For a finished banner (grommets & hems) use this formula:
    total surface area in feet (length x height) * 0.12 = weight in lbs
  • An unfinished banner will weigh slightly less.

90/10 Vinyl Mesh

  • These banners weigh 10% less than 9 oz. vinyl.
  • For a finished banner use this formula:
    total surface area * 0.083 = weight in lbs

70/30 Vinyl Mesh

  • These banners weigh 30% less than 9 oz. vinyl.
  • For a finished banner use this formula:
    total surface area * 0.065 = weight in lbs

30/70 Vinyl Mesh

  • These banners weigh 70% less than 9 oz. vinyl.
  • For a finished banner use this formula:
    total surface area * 0.028 = weight in lbs

With any kind of banner, remember to add a few pounds for packaging.

Helpful Conversions

  • 1 lb = 16 oz
  • 1 yd = 3 ft
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What’s a Skip Perforation?

Plastic roll banners can be perforated so that each banner instance is torn off like a paper towel or a piece of notebook paper.

skip perf is simply when your banner perforations skip over banner instances. In other words, the perforations occur every two, three, four, etc. banner instances.

Skip Perforation in a Banner Example
Skip perfs must occur in even multiples and can be as long as 120 inches.

BC Wresting Banner
Table Skirts

Skip perforations can turn your banners into table skirts, base wraps, or table covers.

For more information about plastic roll banners, perforations, or any of our other products, feel free to give us a call at (800) 231-4213 or visit the NorthCoast Banners website.

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Outlining Your Roll Banner Fonts In Adobe Illustrator

When making Plastic Roll Banners, vector art is required. It is common for artists to overlook the importance of fonts within their design. The way to ensure never having a font error in your file is by outlining. Outlining fonts converts the data type from a font to a graphic.

For more information on Artwork Requirements, Stage Banners, Digitally Printed Banners, or Plastic Roll Banners please feel free to call us at 1-800-231-4213 or visit the NorthCoast Banners website.

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Printing Plates for Roll Banners: What’s the Big Deal?

When you purchase plastic roll banners, you also purchase the plates required for printing them. These plates are a pivotal part of the printing process. They are the vehicle through which ink is transferred onto the plastic. Since we print with this flexo technology, every color you use in your design requires its own plate.

Here’s the great news about your plates: once you purchase plates for a design, you’ll never have to purchase them again! This is the truly wonderful thing about plastic roll banners and flexo-printing: your plates can be used and re-used as many times as you want! What’s more is that we will store your plates for free for as long as you would like. NorthCoast Banners is here to serve our clients. We have not forgotten that the customer comes first.

Read more about flexographic printing of plastic roll banners

You can also give us a call at 800-231-4213.

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4 Color Process Plastic Roll Banners

Chinch Bug Finished Banner

Instead of using spot colors, which is how most of our plastic roll banners are printed, 4 color process uses four plates — Cyan, Magenta, Yellow & Black (CMYK) — to print the image. This allows for a larger range of colors on your plastic roll banners.

Chinch Bug Banner - Coming Off the Press

For more information on 4 color processplastic roll banners, or any of our other products, please call us at 800-231-4213 or visit the NorthCoast Banners website.

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