Marketing & Communications for Nonprofits

Telling your story is vital to fundraising and building awareness of your organization’s mission. A compelling story told to the right audience is what you need to be effective. During the week-long Marketing & Communications Institute for Nonprofits, you will learn to pull all of the pieces together to create a successful marketing plan for your organization whether the focus is to raise money or awareness of your mission.

The Marketing & Communications Institute for Nonprofits is specially designed for both fundraising and marketing professionals, career switchers and program staff who want to learn more to enhance their careers. This is especially useful for fundraisers who work for a small nonprofit without a separate marketing role or department. Our classes are taught by marketing professionals who are experts in their fields and share the real-world knowledge as well as their love of fundraising.

Institute Overview

Strong communication is vital to the success of nonprofit organizations. Having a thorough understanding of communications helps nonprofits make the most of limited resources. The Marketing & Communications for Nonprofits program is designed to provide a comprehensive overview of marketing basics, effective communication and promotion.

The Marketing & Communications Institute for Nonprofits is an intensive 24-hour, 6-day certification program. During the week, you’ll create a comprehensive, implementable marketing plan for your organization. At the conclusion of the program, you’ll earn a professional certificate from the University of Richmond.


  • Build a comprehensive communications and marketing plan for your organization, integrated with fundraising
  • Identify your audiences and reach them with the appropriate messages
  • Learn to develop stories to share your mission and impact
  • Learn how to effectively integrate social media tools into your marketing plan
  • Formulate a direct marketing plan to make the most of your direct mail versus “e” dollars


The following modules will be covered during the institute.

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  • Assessing Your Organization

    In the ever-evolving world, a solid understanding of marketing fundamentals is essential for success. This module offers a comprehensive and accessible overview of key marketing concepts, strategies, and practices that drive business growth and consumer engagement. The module will provide participants with a foundational knowledge of the marketing discipline, equipping them to make informed decisions, shape effective strategies, and contribute meaningfully to their organization’s marketing efforts.

  • Introduction to Storytelling

    This module examines the core principles and techniques that underpin effective storytelling. Through a combination of interactive discussions, practical exercises, and collaborative activities, participants will develop the skills necessary to create compelling narratives that resonate with authenticity and emotional resonance.

  • Assessing Your Audience: Storytelling

    This session builds upon the work done in the first storytelling module and culminates with a framework learners will use to draft a brand story.

  • Assessing Your Audiences: Generational & Social Listening

    Boomers, Millennials, Generation X, Generation Z… Generations have gone from handy birth-year segmentation to massive descriptors of entire populations — that are often completely wrong. In this session we will use Dean and Feedback’s behavioral research, graduate studies, personal anecdotes and pop culture to explore each generation’s unique roles. However we will also challenge the notion that generations are effective or even helpful ways to segment audiences.

    From there we will build to include how to discover and listen to your audiences online and in social media. Surveys and dashboards can tell you that something is happening but only deep listening through digital ethnography can tell you why. Digital ethnography provides a unique view into your clinicians, especially during a crisis such as the pandemic, delivering actionable insights into how clinicians (and in fact all staff) feel about facilities and brands, make decisions, self-segment, and how they feel represented in efforts of Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI). Learn how to use deep listening research to inform strategy, build recruitment journeys, refine messaging, discover channel opportunities and focus investments. Mini case studies of internal and external audiences in healthcare will be presented from across the last two years of clinician studies.

  • Turning Insights Into Action: How to Leverage Marketing, PR, Social Media, and Advertising Together to Reach Your Goals

    Once you have developed your brand/company’s voice and you understand your audience, it’s time to turn those insights into action with your content strategy. Learn the difference between earned, owned, and paid channels and how these intern and external communications work together and how to define the purpose, messaging, and specific audience segment of each one.

  • Assessing Your Leadership & Personal Growth: Resources, Contacts & Inspiration

    Learn how to create a commonplace book, build a network, and other ways to build up the list of resources that can help fuel your marketing creativity, no matter your organization or budget.

  • Assessing Your Leadership and Personal Growth: Bringing Discipline to the Process

    This module will offer tools to help keep the strategic marketing work active in your organization. Participants will be exposed to practices and resources that will keep them thinking strategically, innovating, and assessing long after the session ends.

  • Bringing It All Together (Personalized Marketing Plan): Reflections & Review

    In this module, participants will have time to reflect on the coursework, ask questions, collaborate with fellow participants, and develop their marketing plan.

  • Open Zoom: Work Session

    This is an open session where students can work on their plan. The session leader will be available to consult with in a breakout room at any time.

CFRE Approved Program

CFRE logo

The University of Richmond Institute on Philanthropy is a CFRE-approved provider for continuing education. Full participation in IOP courses is applicable for points in Category 1.B - Education of the CFRE International application for initial certification and/or recertification based on the number of contact hours listed for the class.

Earn the Marketing & Communications for Nonprofits Badge

Grant Writing badge

In addition to earning a Certificate from the University of Richmond, students who complete this Institute successfully will earn the Marketing & Communications for Nonprofits badge. Once earned, you can share this badge on your website, digital resume and social media profiles to demonstrate to employers and colleagues that you’ve completed the program’s outcomes.