I’m hosting this month’s Nonprofit Blog Carnival, where the theme is quirky, kooky, and off-beat nonprofit marketing and fundraising ideas.

It’s time to get creative, people.

I promise, you really can do something a little different that grabs people’s attention, while still staying true to your mission. We’ve got plenty of examples to prove it! In fact, I received more suggestions that I could include in this post and still keep it relatively manageable.

If I had to pick one subsector of the nonprofit world that does some really creative marketing, I’d have to pick local animal shelters and humane societies. Yeah, yeah, I hear you, they have cute puppies and kittens threatened with lethal injection (and worse). But they have A LOT of them, so marketing is still hard work, even with easy pictures and stories.  The ASCPApro blog, Shelter’s Edge, highlights many of these campaigns on a regular basis. (ASPCApro has compiled a Little Black Book of Adoption Promotions that’s full of nonprofit marketing ideas that can be translated to other fields too.)

For example, the SPCA of Wake County, NC was the first shelter in the country to do a Groupon for pet adoptions.  ASPCApro also reports on the NOAH Spay/Neuter and Adoption Center in Stanwood, WA, which did a “100 Today Or Else We Stay” promotion (staff wouldn’t go home until 100 animals were adopted). NOAH did a great job covering the event in real time on their Facebook page with staff video updates.

Ontario Nature asked a hummingbird, Ruby, to write its appeal letter. A donor wrote back to Ruby, and then Ruby replied to the donor! Get the saga from Agents for Good.

So you don’t have cats, dogs, or hummingbirds. Shanon Doolittle explains the creative step she took to get a donor who was ignoring her to actually meet her in person.

Being nimble enough to capitalize on pop culture and current headlines is a great way to be off-beat, simply because most nonprofits aren’t that nimble.

Mashable just published several great examples of How Non-Profits Are Tapping Internet Memes & Pop Culture, including how the American Red Cross used Charlie Sheen’s #tigerblood fixation to its advantage. Katya Andresen also found some other great stuff via Mashable in her post, Inspiration: Some creative (and wacky) campaigns for social good.

Grant Writing Confidential came up with a social media program idea to capitalize on the backlash against flash mobs.

Keying off of the major holidays is a popular nonprofit tactic, but what about all the minor ones? Check out the House of Charity’s Groundhog Day Campaign.

Or how about a spin on the same-old “donate and get your name on it” trick? The Prospecting Blog at Philanthropy.com shares how Legion Arts in Cedar Rapids is letting donors get their names on new urinals and toilets.

Sheri Booms Holm, Communications Director at the West Central Initiative shared two off-beat ideas that have worked for them: surprise grants and an indoor golf tournament to raise funds from staff.

Claire Morgan, a social media intern with Building Tomorrow, which builds schools in Uganda, created a rap video to Salt-n-Pepa’s “Shoop” which is Ellen DeGeneres’ favorite song, asking for Ellen’s support and to gain Twitter followers.  “We haven’t heard from Ellen yet, but we have gotten a lot of positive feedback and even hosted a #BTweetathon to talk about the video and our cause,” says Claire. “The video was bold and definitely kooky, but also extremely successful in generating buzz about a worthy cause.”

XtraNormal is a sure-fire way to do quirky videos . . .  here’s a funny video spoofing volunteer management from Tobi’s Nonprofit Management Blog.

David Venn talks about how micro-volunteering could be a creative way to solve some of your nonprofit’s problems.

I did a similar carnival round up last year, so don’t forget to revisit some of these creative marketing and fundraising ideas too.

Thanks to everyone who contributed, and if we missed you, share your ideas with links in the comments!

P.S. Hey bloggers, here’s how you can participate in next month’s Nonprofit Blog Carnival hosted by Big Duck with a multi-channel marketing theme.


Published On: August 31, 2011|Categories: General|