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Should non-profit organizations spend money on online advertising?

When you think about non-profits, you tend to think about volunteers and fundraising events. While they are certainly still approaches used by these groups, non-profits are also taking advantage of modern technology, which means using the Internet to get their message to the masses. One way to do that is via online advertising, and there are several good reasons why non-profits should consider placing ads online:

Getting the word out

Door to door visits, flyers, events and other more traditional forms of advertising are still good and proven. However, there is no way that these methods can reach as many people as quickly as online advertising. Specific areas that may be behind in terms of donations can be targeted in order to try and improve performance and get more people to donate.

Low cost PSA’s

Many publishers often have open remnant ad inventory on their websites that they want to fill, and they are usually more than willing to run public service ads at much lower rates than normal. Some are even willing to offer up those ad spaces for free, which is always good for non-profit organizations that may not have much of a budget to work with.

Negotiation power

Pricing is a major issue for many non-profits, as there really isn’t much of a marketing budget to spend. With limited resources available, these organizations need to be able to negotiate advertising costs, and that is something that they can generally do with most ad vendors. Everyone has a passion for favorite causes, organizations or groups that they are more than happy to support in any way they can, and that includes business vendors. As such, it’s not uncommon for non-profits to be able to negotiate a much better price for ad serving and media buys.

Improved ROI

While the average advertiser looks at the money they make from their advertising efforts as income, non-profits look at those monies as donations. Regardless of the terminology, it is still considered a return on investment (ROI). With the ability to negotiate a better advertising price, these organizations have a real opportunity to improve their ROI, which means they can spend a little on advertising to collect a lot more donations to finance the primary cause.

Transparency

Using the correct ad vendor means having access to a wide variety of reports that show exactly how much money was spent by the non-profit for advertising. To build and maintain trust with the public, non-profit organizations are held to a higher level of transparency than just about any other businesses or organizations. Therefore, they need to be able to show exactly where every penny they spend goes.

Adding online advertising to the marketing mix is an excellent idea for any non-profit organization, but they need to be aware that it is the message and the cause that is the most important thing. As much as they want to boost the number of donations they receive, they still need to demonstrate and prove that their cause remains at the forefront at all times and all donations are used wisely and efficiently.

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