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6 Easy Tips for Marketing for Social Impact Organizations

We’ve compiled a list of some of the top tips you can use right away to elevate your marketing and bring your brand to the next level.

Effective marketing hinges on positive and strong relationships. After all, it’s difficult to market your brand without understanding who your ideal customer is and how to best communicate with them. Values-based organizations are quick to grasp this foundational concept because their mission and outreach goals usually rely on it.

Marketing for social impact has serious implications for mission-driven organizations and businesses. In many ways, these organizations are cultural change agents tasked with creating a better and more sustainable future for all. As a result, it’s vital to create marketing campaigns that are simple, purposeful, and clear.

In this post, we’ll share six easy ways to market for social impact. With a few practical ideas, you can do everything from establishing your marketing strategy to scheduling actionable campaigns right away.

What is a Social Impact Organization?

A social impact organization elevates work that has the potential to positively affect communities at a local, national, or international level. Many organizations advocate for systemic changes within society as a whole.

With growing awareness of social issues both nationally and globally, data shows that social impact organizations are increasing in number. The recent uptick underscores the need a powerful marketing strategy.

You can differentiate a social impact organization from other socially conscious businesses by carefully evaluating the level at which they prioritize cultural change. While some companies devote a small portion of their activities to social development, true social impact organizations have a cohesive social focus throughout each level of business.

What is Social Impact Marketing?

Social impact marketing goes beyond simply elevating a product or service for consumers. While just about any organization can engage in classic marketing, social marketing focuses on community awareness and positive change.

When marketing for social impact, businesses, and nonprofits highlight the need for change within:

  • Environmental and climate concerns
  • Systemic racism
  • Poverty
  • Access to community healthcare
  • Affordable housing
  • Education

Although social impact marketing does shed light on the business (and offers the option for customers to buy or engage), the main goal is to draw attention to the societal problem at large.

Practical Marketing Tips for Social Impact Organizations

If you work for a social impact organization and want to successfully market your brand’s purpose, mission, and values, don’t stress. While your angle may be different than a traditional for-profit corporation, you can use a similar marketing strategy to make your efforts stand out.

We’ve compiled a list of some of the top tips you can use right away to elevate your marketing and bring your brand to the next level.

Tip 1: Establish an Organizational Marketing Strategy

Before you publish any campaign or message, start with the basics. Your organizational marketing strategy should be the foundation from which you build other efforts. A comprehensive strategy always includes:

  • Your company’s mission or purpose statement
  • Ideal buyer or customer personas
  • An established brand voice
  • Marketing activities that are most important or productive

Since social impact organizations often work with community leaders, donors, and other stakeholders, don’t forget to involve these important individuals in major marketing decisions.

Tip 2: Develop an Authentic Brand Voice and Message

Your core brand message is how current and future customers will recognize you. As a result, this should be a message that everyone on your team knows, is proud of, and can easily share.

Many social impact organizations rely on story-based marketing to describe how the business started and why it exists. If your company’s story is compelling, relational, and mission-focused, don’t be afraid to publish it.

Tip 3: Design Campaigns with Consistency and Clarity

As a social impact organization, words hold weight. Since your calls to action aren’t simply “Buy this product!” or “Use this service!” you must remain consistent and clear.

For example, the socially-mindful clothing company Bombas has an easy brand-wide slogan: “One purchased, one donated.” This mission and purpose is consistent across marketing and product pages, which helps customers clearly understand what each purchase accomplishes.

A picture of trees for marketing for social impact organizations

Tip 4: Use Metrics to Gauge the Level of Impact

As a socially focused business, chances are good that you’re interested in more than dollars or revenue. To understand the results of your marketing initiatives, you should establish reliable key performance indicators (KPIs) or metrics before you go live with new campaigns.

These metrics might change based on the concerns your organization helps to address. You can measure literally with metrics such as:

  • Dollars donated
  • Aid parcels sent overseas
  • Pairs of shoes delivered
  • Trees saved from deforestation
  • Etc.

You can also keep some metrics internal so that your marketing team understands which methods are most effective. For these measurements, you might consider digital ad performance, a number of clicks, or the number of website conversions.

Tip 5: Harness the Power of Social Media

Social media platforms like Instagram, Facebook, and LinkedIn are powerful drivers for social connection and communication. These are highly effective tools for any kind of marketing, but the ability to communicate cause-related information is unparalleled.

When using social media strategies, consider using different media options. This includes paid ads, live videos, photos on your feed, and more. If your content focuses on social issues or current events, don’t forget to post responsibly and actively monitor comments for any off-brand activity.

Tip 6: Market the Results

If your organization or business is making progress, it’s time to share it. There are lots of options for showcasing your results, including case studies, testimonials, impact trackers, and status reports.
BioLite, a producer of firepits and other energy sources, is on a mission to bring clean and accessible energy to the people of Africa. The company has impacted over 2 million lives to date, and they regularly track and publish how their product sales are changing lives around the world.

Granddaughter telling her grandmother about her work marketing for social impact organizations

Top Benefits of Social Impact Marketing

Not only does social impact marketing positively change lives around the world, but it also has several advantages for the brands that leverage it.

  • Strengthens community trust – Brands that give back to the community are more likely to earn trust from prospective buyers and partners. Even people who are not yet direct buyers may come to recognize the name of the business as a force for good.
  • Promotes corporate and employee engagement – Social impact companies tend to create inspiring missions for the people they employ. This engagement may reduce staff turnover, boost employee satisfaction, and help match qualified people to causes they care about.
  • Builds a sustainable future – Social impact marketing also draws attention to sustainability. Whether that comes in the form of ethical buying decisions, charitable giving, or environmental actions, socially conscious businesses can pave the path forward.
  • Helps drive customer loyalty – Customers may be more inclined to support businesses that are working for a common purpose. When businesses strengthen their social messages, customer support often increases.
  • Drives accountability – Unfortunately, the modern corporate landscape isn’t always built on trust and transparency. Social impact organizations can change this by serving populations with accountability and integrity.

A Special Note for Giving Tuesday

Giving Tuesday is an international social movement designed to inspire generosity and giving within communities all around the world. #GivingTuesday (as it’s often shared on social media) began in 2012 and has since grown to an annual event that reaches 75 countries and over 240 U.S.-based organizations.

This year, Giving Tuesday takes place on November 30, 2021. The event is the perfect launching point for new marketing campaigns focused on diversity, generosity, empathy, and social action.

If your organization is gearing up for Giving Tuesday 2021, don’t forget to apply some of the tips in this post to generate a powerful response from your target market.

Important Reminders

With corporate social responsibility on the rise, more organizations are looking for ways to spotlight their commitment to social causes.

Social impact organizations are uniquely equipped to craft marketing messages that not only connect with customers, but that also highlights the important work yet to be done in our communities. It’s completely possible to champion worthy social causes while implementing a powerful marketing strategy.

If you’re looking to make your social impact marketing efforts stand out, reach out to Acton Circle today. Our team is happy to answer your questions and start designing a strategy that reflects your brand and values.


October 27, 2021