Marketing on a Budget: How Churches and Nonprofits Can Make the Most of Their Resources


Can we all agree that marketing on a budget is top priority at this time? Whether your church is reliant on member donations or your nonprofit has corporate backing, marketing on a budget is no longer just a principle to live by, it’s a reality.  

Many of you are rightly concerned about budgets. Spreading your mission and trying to bring in new donors and/or members can seem like an impossible task right now. However, we’ve got 10 tips for you that will help you make the most of your resources. It’s all about marketing on a budget. 

Go through this list and decide which ones you can implement today. Then go back through and star the ones you can implement in a week or 2, because if you wait until next month it might be too late. 

10 Tips for Marketing on a Budget

These 10 tips will help you make smart decisions so that your marketing is more efficient and effective, thereby keeping your costs down—an absolute necessities in today’s market. 

The list is designed to position your message to prosper in the coming months. 

1) Enlist Volunteers

Members of your church or nonprofit all have unique skills, and many of them would be willing to use those skills to help you grow. Seek members who are writers, graphic designers, web designers, and marketing or PR professionals to help you with your marketing.

The key here is to keep your requests light and short and praise them for their efforts so that you don’t wear out your volunteers.

Try to find ways that the volunteers can work from home during this time. Due to Zoom and other platforms, there are a number of ways for your volunteers to meet and brainstorm ideas together. 

2) Offer Surveys

The more feedback you have about your organization, the easier it is to cater to what your members and the community want. Then, you can take that information and plan more effective marketing campaigns that cost less because they are more on target.

Conduct a Facebook poll, although this would not be anonymous. It would still give you useful information. 

Conduct a survey through Google forms. They offer a variety of templates and allow you to create your own. 

Conduct a survey using SurveyMonkey. SurveyMonkey is a free online tool. They have even created new survey templates specifically to help you navigate this COVID-19 time. And they have discounts for those in the education and nonprofit sector. 

Conduct a survey using a basic website webform. Most websites have the ability to build a survey and then embed it into a landing page. If you have a CRM, we recommend using your CRM webform as it often makes for a smoother integration process.  

Last but not least, is all about really getting to know your customer fast. As we said, this is not a free option. However, if your top priority is to know who you are really serving and how to best, then is highly recommended. 

It can integrate into your CRM and even automate a unique delivery of content based on how the surveyor answered. 

Have you ever taken an online quiz and the information is delivered directly to your email? This is how works.

We’ve helped churches integrate into their digital touch points with great success. It serves as a lead generating piece and gives immediate, valuable content to the surveyor, giving you the most bang for your buck!

We’ve helped churches and nonprofits get the biggest bang for their buck with this software by creating additional specific content that speaks directly to the surveyor’s problems, giving continued added value and engagement to their supporters, congregants, and followers. 

During this time, everyone’s needs have changed. We’re all experiencing problems we never thought about before. 

Some need encouragement and motivation, while others want to know who or how to help those within your organization or community. A survey could be exactly what you need so that you know which direction to take your church or nonprofit as you begin to gather again. 

3) Use Inexpensive Digital Options

There are 3 reasons you should focus most of your marketing efforts on digital marketing:

  1. It’s Less Expensive – Printing brochures is expensive, but there are many inexpensive digital marketing options available.
  2. It’s Where People Are – If you stick to more traditional marketing methods, you’ll be limiting your reach since nearly everyone is online at this time. And right now, with everyone online, you’ve got a captive audience!
  3. It’s More Impactful – With digital marketing, you can include videos and audio that enhance user experience and draw on more senses and emotions.

Some examples of digital marketing methods that can be inexpensive include social media, email marketing, and content marketing.

There are powerful ways to use digital marketing. Click HERE for some resources to help you market on a budget through content marketing. 

4) Advertise on Facebook

Facebook advertising is one of the cheapest advertising options out there—making it an excellent choice for those marketing on a budget. You can boost posts and run ads for as little as a couple of dollars a day.

And once you know it’s working, you can scale it so that you can spend a lot more because you know your return will be higher than your ad spend.

Nearly everyone is scrolling Facebook right now, so eye-catching graphics (that also have your logo) are something we recommend that will help you stand out. 

5) Remember Why People Join Churches & Support Nonprofits

Sometimes, when you are worried about your membership and/or donations, you forget what is most important, and that is to ensure you are delivering what your members and supporters really want. 

Apart from issuing regular surveys (which you should definitely do), it’s crucial to remember the main reasons people join churches and support nonprofits.

People join churches and get involved in nonprofits for a variety of reasons. Here is a list of the top reasons (in no particular order)…

Use storytelling in your marketing to speak to the emotions surrounding these reasons, and you’ll set yourself up for success without having to spend too much.

6) Get with the Times

And oh, what a time we are in! Regardless of whether you run a church or a nonprofit, it is imperative that you remain relevant. This means adapting to the needs of the changing times we are in. If not, the future could be bleak. 

However, given you are reading this right now speaks volumes. You are already a step closer to changing and adapting to the needs of those who need you most. Not only are you marketing on a budget, you are seeking digital advice, which is exactly where we are all traveling—at lightning speed—in the months and years ahead. 

This is especially important when it comes to churches, as most millennials are looking online to find resources that connect them to their faith. 

According to a 2016 Pew Research Center study, almost 60% of millennials search online when they are looking for a church.

If your website doesn’t work on mobile—or worse yet, if you don’t even have a website­—you are hindering any marketing efforts you are making.

Marketing on a budget means allocating your funds toward changes that will give position you where you need to be in the 3, 6, 9, and 12 months ahead. We in a time of major change, so decide how you will move forward today.  

7) Get Personal with the Surrounding Community (but at a distance)

It’s easy to become so focused on developing the community within your church or nonprofit that you forget one of the best ways to engage in marketing on a budget is to just go get involved in the community outside of your organization.

Obviously in this time of social distancing it can be challenging, but not impossible. 

Even in times of social distancing, be on the lookout for ways you can reach people in new and refreshing ways. Being there, especially now, for your community won’t go unnoticed. 

8) Have a Social Media Presence

Your nonprofit or church is there to make a positive difference in the world. Social media is there to help people interact and reach audiences. Bringing those two together only makes good sense!

Search for organizations similar to yours on Facebook, Instagram, or any other social media networks you want to focus on. Look at what they are doing that is working and use it to guide your own social media interactions. 

We’ve created a Facebook community that is designed specifically to help churches with marketing. Get and share marketing advice with other churches and begin to grow today. There are posts, weekly Facebook lives, and weekly give-a-ways. Click HERE to join! 

9) Don’t Forget SEO

While advertising brings in more immediate results, search engine optimization (SEO) brings in organic traffic that is free. The only problem is that it takes a while to earn search engine rankings. You’ll need to put in the consistent work, over a period time, then you’ll start to see results.

SEO can be done in-house by the person who handles your content and/or marketing as well. Use these tips to get started with SEO.

Since time is of the essence right now, it’s best to hire a company to help you with SEO, but be mindful of which you choose. If you’re marketing on a budget, you should look for one that can assist you in building a long-term strategy that can also adapt and change with the market.   

10) The Ultimate Tip: Hire Help

While it may sound counterintuitive to hire a company when you’re marketing on a budget, the best way to ensure money isn’t wasted is by developing a solid strategy first, which is easier to do when outside help is involved. 

Through market research, we know that right now, people are anxious. They are looking for quicker results and want to know how to move forward in life and personal growth. This is why hiring makes sense. 

As the nation begins to emerge from a state of solitude to re-opening, you need a solid strategy that will take you from surviving to thriving. Marketing isn’t just about finding the right tools; it requires a strategy that prepares you to overcome the most difficult times. 

You can either stumble around and spend a lot of time trying to do marketing on a budget yourself, or you can enlist the help of an agency that can get you real results so that the dollars you spend give you a big return.

How Viral Solutions Can Help Those Marketing on a Budget

At Viral Solutions, we understand what you’re going through. We cater to churches and organizations that are marketing on a budget, so we know how to help you get the most from the marketing dollars you spend.

Want practical advice today? Then click HERE and join our Church Marketing SOS group and start getting free marketing tips right away. We’re here to help you grow, this is our purpose and mission in this season.


At Viral Solutions we are committed to seeing YOU succeed. It is our goal to grow your business with proven digital marketing strategies that will help your business for the long haul.

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Filed Under: Marketing by Industry