Nonprofit Marketing: Nine Inexpensive and Effective Websites to Ramp Up Your Marketing Efforts

Here are some great resources for the ultra-busy, several-hat-wearing nonprofit marketer. These websites can save you that draining time in front of a computer trying to learn some new program or code that you think you can’t afford to pay an expert to do.

They can also save you money by taking simple projects in-house and replacing some gritty administrative tasks that distract you from your genius. Remember, if it is not your genius, it is not your job. Use these sites to stay in your genius zone. Canva is great for small design projects. It doesn’t replace a graphic designer to develop your visual brand, but it allows you to make visually appealing design work without high-end software like InDesign or Photoshop. Upload your brand colors, logo and any other graphic elements. Then use the many Canva templates and image to create flyers, postcard, social media graphics, etc. My favorite tool: the magic resize button. Have a 8.5×11 flyer that you need to make a postcard? Hit the magic resize button and it creates the postcard! This service is about $12/month. Vennage is Canva for infographics. It lets you browse infographic templates by eight different types, including statistical, informational, comparison and geographic. There are tons of icons and illustrations. If you need to make charts, graphs or want to create an infographic poster, Vennage can do it. There’s a free subscription and if that’s not enough, a low-cost paid plan. Trint is a transcription service. You can upload an audio or video file and it will transcribe it into a Word document. It costs about $15 for a transcription. A methodology I teach for developing web or social media content quickly is to start with video. Instead of writing an article, make a video with the article content, upload to Trint, then massage that transcript into an article. The benefits of this are that you can create a video and a companion article in about 45 minutes and video is digital marketing magic. Putting video with an article will give you a lot more exposure. Resist the temptation to transcribe “because you can.” Just because you can do it, doesn’t mean it’s the best use of your time. Upwork is a freelancing site. You can get support on anything from administration to accounting to coding. Most of the freelancers are overseas and work for much less than you would pay in the US. You can decide if that works or is appropriate for you or not. To use Upwork, create an account and post a job. You will get freelancers applying for that job. You can review the applicants and select someone to do the job. You can also hire a person again and develop a longer-term relationship. I use Upwork when I need help with my website that requires coding. There are experts at almost anything you need at Upwork. Fiverr is like Upwork but leans more toward creative work, with the minimum price at $5. You can get social media, design, video or audio work done on Fiverr and usually for very little money. I use Fiverr when I make a video. For $30, a video editor creates a slide intro and outro and adds music. Once I found someone who could do the work, I didn’t post the job, just hired that person to do it. It is possible to build longer-term relationships on both Fiverr and Upwork. If are spending a lot of time trying to come up with content ideas, go to Answer the Public. Type in the keywords for your organization to see questions people ask. This site is a goldmine of good ideas that will stimulate your thinking around content ideas. (PS Don’t let the creepy guy with the “come at me bro” look on his face scare you.) SEMrush is a huge website for Search Engine Optimization (SEO) diehards. The free account gives you 10 searches a day; that is probably more than enough. The most important feature is the Keyword Magic Tool under the Keyword Analytics tab. Experiment with different keywords to find the most popular words. Using the right keywords means being more findable to new audiences. Remember, you want to use your audience’s language and not yours. For instance, say your organization uses “specialized learning” instead of “special education” to decrease the stigma. Totally understandable, except that those words are not what your audiences is using. Use their language to connect with them and then teach them yours. By way of example, “specialized learning” was searched only 90 times/month while “special education” was searched 12,100 times/month. So using keywords is key to increasing the visibility of your organization. You know those cool videos where magic hands draw illustrations? If you would love to have that but can’t afford it, try Doodly. Costs vary depending on the plan. I tried a Doodly video; you can see it here. It took me a few hours to make. I use this video in webinars and in social media so it was worth the time investment. I did use some illustrations from Canva and brought them over. We have all seen the word clouds that make lists of words into pretty graphics. Here’s something to try: Go to your organization’s website, select All and hit Copy. Then go to Wordart, hit the Create button, then Import and Paste Content. It allows you to easily see the words used most often, and to assess if these words are aligned with your keyword research.