3 Awesome Nonprofit Marketing Campaigns and Why They Matter

There are a lot of nonprofits doing really cool things to increase fundraising and general awareness of their work. But every so often, a charity manages to knock it out of the park with their marketing campaign. These are three of our favorite marketing campaigns and what you should take away from their success when planning your marketing strategy.

Charity:Water’s “Thank You” Videos

To celebrate their fifth birthday in 2011, Charity:Water did something very special for all the people who helped fundraise for them. They made personalized Thank You videos for each and every person/campaign, about 250 in all. But these videos were not just generic, boring thank yous. Charity:Water chose to involve everyone in their staff to help with this project, with each video having a particular theme related to the campaign they were thanking.

The campaign was especially captivating because Charity:Water allowed their staff to get creative and let their personalities bleed through in each video. We felt like we were getting a glimpse into the atmosphere of the people behind the organization, helping us feel further connected with both the people and their goal to bring water to everyone.

Donors want to feel connected to the organization they are supporting, so it is just as important to show them the people and personality behind the scenes as it is to emphasize your mission. Putting a human face (or faces) to your organizations helps people feel more connected to your work.

So be sure to turn the camera around every once in awhile and shine the light on your amazing staff doing the good work. (And be sure to thank your supporters as well!)

Mama Hope’s “African Men. Hollywood Stereotypes.”

Humor is a powerful tool. Mama Hope took full advantage of the humorous-side of their important work in their video “African Men. Hollywood Stereotypes.” The video features a few African men playfully explaining how absurd the portrayal of African men in Hollywood really is. The men in this video are not the typical machine-gun toting, violence-loving, war lords we see in many action movies. They are your typical young men, who spend their time studying, playing sports and joking around.

Mama Hope takes a unique approach by tackling the issues of African stereotypes and pitying using positive messaging and humor. These tools are much more effective because they help humanize the issue by making it more accessible and fun. We are not overburdened by the emotional or serious nature of the clip. Instead, I found myself laughing along with these men at the absurdity of the stereotypes and immediately sharing the video with others.

This video works because of its humor. We are a culture that loves to laugh, meaning positive videos are often the ones that go viral (e.g. Gangam Style). Shining a positive and optimistic light on your important work will help new supporters better relate to your work and feel more comfortable sharing it.

UNICEF’s Pinterest Satire

One of the cleverest marketing campaigns came from UNICEF, who utilized the hugely popular photo-sharing social platform Pinterest to promote their new fundraising campaign.


UNiCEF's pin vs.your average pin.

UNiCEF’s pin vs. your average pin.

For this campaign, UNICEF created a Pinterest profile for the fictional Ami Musa, a 13-year-old girl from Sierra Leone. Like millions of other Pinterest users, Musa had a board dedicated to the things she “really wanted” and filled it with photos of various items. The only difference was that Musa’s items were not the typical materialistic items found on most people’s boards; they were instead every day necessities many of us take for granted: water, soap, shoes, etc.

These pins took something very familiar to Pinterest users and stripped away the trivial nature of the platform, urging users to step back and re-think what is truly important in life. The campaign succeeded for two reasons: it was clever and original, and also it took advantage of a huge platform that has been difficult for most nonprofits to tackle.

The success of the UNICEF Pinterest campaign highlights the importance of bringing your content directly to your supporters, who are not only on Facebook and Twitter. Taking risks and doing something different is also a great way to stand out from the rest of the content on social media, which often blurs together in peoples’ minds.  Don’t be afraid to try something new, whether it be a new social media platform or a new approach to telling your story. It may pay off big in the end.

What is your favorite nonprofit marketing campaign? 


Cambodia’s Real Secret

The Lotus Mystery

Imagine yourself on vacation in South East Asia, something millions of people do every year.  Perhaps the ancient Angkor ruins of Cambodia have captured your imagination and you now find yourself in a land with a rich history spanning over 1,000 years.

But, unfortunately, this beautiful country also has a terrible dark side that some people don’t want to believe.  As you see the sights and follow along your guided tour, just out of sight, injustice in it’s greatest form takes root here.

And while poverty and subsistence living is a major problem in and of itself, in Cambodia, there is no safety net for the fragile women and children who made this mistake of being born poor.  There are no “public libraries” where they can learn about their options for a better life.  Instead, they are preyed upon by some of the worst people in the world, flocking to this country to force them into sex slavery.

Yes, while you’re on your imaginary tour, in reality, thousands of women and children in Cambodia are being held as slaves.  There are ways to escape this life, but they are simply unaware of their options.  So what can be done?


Give them the resources they need to understand what their options are.  Give them the knowledge and education they need to obtain a proper job and realize they can say no and resist the predators.

You can do this today.  GetSet-Go is an innovative organization, dedicated to providing tools and training for the most vulnerable women and children in the heart of Cambodia.  They already operate one successful free, 24-hour library.  And with your help, they can take this model across the country.  Click here to learn more and support the women and children around the world who need your help the most.



Top photo courtesy of Stuck In Customs

Second photo courtesy of mkleinmanns:

A Few Tools to Help You Get Back into Social Media

Social media is difficult to master. Each platform has its own set of best practices and every one seems to be continually changing and evolving. These changes make staying active on every platform a difficult and sometimes frustrating task, even for the social media savvy

We know the struggles with social media, which is why we have decided to begin a series of articles focused on helping you stay engaged with your supporters through social media in an easy and smart way. For our first post, we have gathered a few social media resources to help you stay on top of your social media strategy and avoid the dreaded social media slump.

Social Media Posting Guide

One of the best guides for starting a general social media strategy comes from Craig Von Korlaar over at Top Nonprofits. This handy guide gives you a quick run through of general best practices when posting on Facebook and Twitter. It is definitely worth printing out and hanging up around your desk, for quick reference and a good reminder whenever you hit that social media slump.

Social Media Posting Guide

Social Media Sizing Cheat Sheet

Social media platforms are constantly changing and evolving, making it pretty difficult to keep up with all the different restrictions and recommendations for photo, logo and banner sizing. There is nothing more frustrating than spending an hour planning and designing a perfect Facebook post, only to have it turn out looking awkward because the photo is the wrong size or the image is misaligned.

Luckily, the good people at Lunar Metrics have created a very useful infographic that details the media sizing information for a range of platforms, from Facebook to Twitter to YouTube and Pinterest. Definitely worth bookmarking for future use!

FB Cheat  Sheet

An Explanation of the Four Facebook Ad Types

Facebook advertising is an amazing tool, but also a daunting task for those new to these types of ads. There are four different types of ads on Facebook, each with their own specific purpose and drawbacks based on your objective.

So which type of ad will work best for you and your goals? John Haydon recently wrote an excellent summary of the four types that is crucial information for anyone wanting to get started in advertising on Facebook. Check out his article here.

Social Media Sharing Buttons and the Potential Hazards

Social Media Mess

Social Media sharing buttons seem like an easy and obvious solution to promoting your work across the various social platforms. Unfortunately for many websites, social media buttons are proving more harmful than helpful. Too many buttons can slow down your site’s loading times and often overwhelm your readers, as they have to decide which platform to share your work on. This is why it is critical to always remember who your audience is, how they behave and what content they are looking for.

Last fall, we posted an article highlighting some of the potential problems with relying too heavily on these social media buttons and some important things to consider when designing your website. You can find the full article here.

What are your favorite tools/resources that help you stay on top of social media?

Social Media Predictions for 2013: Are You Ready?


To help kick off the new year, the folks over at Social Media Examiner gathered several “social media pros” to make predictions of what 2013 holds in terms of social media marketing.

The entire article is definitely worth reading and gives great insight into some upcoming trends, but we decided to focus on only a few of the predictions that we think will have the heaviest effect on the nonprofit:

#1 Ecommerce and Social Media Grow Together

“Social Media is a great venue for consumers because of the integrated communication features and potential ecommerce features.”

Pinterest already allows users to include price tags on their pins and Facebook already has a marketplace for it’s users to sell stuff in a Craigslist-type fashion. The logical next step is to allow users to make direct purchases on these social media platforms.

But when will we see a Donate button on a charity’s Facebook profile? Social media always tends to be a bit late on tailoring their platforms for the nonprofit industry, but I am definitely excited at the possibility of a charity’s supporters being able to donate directly via their favorite social media platform.

#2 Visual Marketing

“Brands will need to understand what it takes to do visual marketing well, whether within their current communities or new networks like Pinterest, Instagram and others.”

Visual content is king! We touched upon this idea a couple times last year with our posts about visual storytelling  and the power of visual content, and this notion is even truer in 2013.

People don’t always have time for lengthy articles, which is why sites like Pinterest and Instagram saw tremendous growth last year. We want our content served to us in a simple and visually-compelling way. It’s time to expand your fundraising strategy to include more visual-heavy content. Platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest are perfect tools to start sharing your work and goals with your supporters and potential donors.


#10 Instagram Grows Bigger

“2013 will be a big year for Instagram.”

2012 was a huge year for Instagram, hitting over 80 million users in August and being bought up by Facebook for around $800 million. Not bad at all. So how can Instagram possibly get any bigger?

Probably a lot bigger, but that isn’t important. What matters more is realizing that photo sharing is growing faster than ever and quickly becoming the communication medium of choice among millions.  This type of photo communication is the perfect way to speak to your supporters, especially the younger ones. They want to see the work you are doing and more often than not, a photo will capture your work and inspire them better than any email newsletter or blog post.

#16 A New Social Site Rolls Out

“We will be taken surprise by a new social media service that hardly anyone will see coming.”

Could they be hinting at Karma Store? We sure hope so.

2012 was a very productive year for us  with a ton of major growth. And we are already gearing up for some big things in the coming months, which we will start unveiling very soon. Our goal for 2013 still remains the same: to help connect great charities with donors in a brand new way.

What are your predictions for social media in 2013?

Main photo courtesy of Jeff Seeger

2012 Year In Review


The word on the street is that everyone is very excited for 2013.  We are, and we hope you are too!  To kick off the year, I want to start by looking back.  Oh, and hello – I’m Matt Monday, the founder of Karma Store.

We’ve been so busy that it’s hard to find time to get to the blog, as I’m sure you’ve felt yourself from time to time.  But here we are, January 14th, 2013 and you can expect us to keep you up to date with exciting news from great nonprofits, important research, reports, and insight from top influencers and publications, as well as trends we see in other industries that have an impact on the nonprofit space.  For now, let’s take a look at 2012:

  • We started the year off by testing a new idea: “Can we help nonprofits better explain what they do and why it’s important?” The answer was a resounding yes, and this was the genesis of what we now call our Impact Pages.
  • To ensure that we could build a business with this idea, we had to charge for the first Pages we created, which we did successfully.  But to open the door to even more organizations, we decided to give them the option to create their own Impact Pages on Karma Store.
  • We had great traffic to our brand new website (over 3,000 unique visitors in just six months) as well as fantastic engagement with the Marketing Material we created on behalf of our customers.  For example, the Facebook post we made for Animals Asia received over 1,000 shares in just one week!
  • We grew our team, bringing on four great engineers to build the new Karma Store platform.  With their help, we ensured that Karma Store is built for the future, with everything ready for smartphones, tablets, and desktops computers.  They also built our new Camera App (more on this soon).
  • Vinod Kamath takes the “handyman of the year” award.  Originally joining as a marketing intern in late 2011, he has been responsible for a wide range of successes in 2012, including:
    • A new outreach program, bringing significant traffic to karmastore.org.
    • Crafting many of the Impact Pages live on Karma Store today.
    • Taking on a project management role as our engineering team grew rapidly.
  • Our social media accounts have gathered the attention of some amazing people, including:
    • @SFZoo, @NonProfitOrgs, @NPQuarterly, @dom, @SOS_Children, @NetImpact, @Jay_Nath, @HootSuite, and many more!
  • Collaborating with amazing people is truly the best part about what we do.  The groups on Karma Store work hard everywhere from San Francisco, to India, to China.  We love our customers and can’t wait to bring on more!

2012 was a great year for us at Karma Store.  As you may know, creating a company from scratch isn’t the easiest thing in the world, and none of this would have been possible without the support from you, our great friends and family.  Thank you for believing in us.  As great as 2012 was, we are more excited than ever for what this year brings.

We do need your help though.  So, to start this year out, what’s the one problem or issue in this world that matters most to you?