Need help finding cheap/free advertising for my nonprofit
September 18, 2007 6:00 PM   Subscribe

Looking for inexpensive ways to advertise for a nonprofit

Simple version:
I've founded a nonprofit based in Michigan and just added a job board I want to get the word out about. The jobs board is free. It will always be free.

Funding is nearly nil, as in, whatever is currently in my wallet.

Any and all options are welcome. I'm not afraid of walking the streets posting fliers. I'm not afraid of making 1000 phone calls.

Whatever you got, lay it on me.

Thank you

More detail if you'd like (not essential to the question but explains more about the organization if you're interested):

The organization is called City Job Club and the main goal is to help job-hunters and career-changers find enjoyable employment. Eventually I want to be able to give people in other cities the tools to start their own "job club" so they can help out their community.

What makes City Job Club different from what exists is the community aspect. I know there are support groups here and there but I really want to accomplish that on a much larger scale. "The one place we want a high turnover" The general idea is that no one's a job hunting pro. Together though, with everyone's input and feedback, the community as a whole can be a pro.

The jobs board is something like a mini but free forever.

The target audience is primarily employers with 250-300 or less employees. I figure larger companies have the money and resources to pay the $400 for an ad. What I'm trying to accomplish is to bring out the jobs that are there but are hidden due to the costs of advertising positions using the mainstream methods. Smaller business just don't have the resources or money to cope with what's currently available.

Whats out there: $400 per ad for monster and careerbuilder, $650 just to peruse up to 400 resumes for a week, about $165 for a small 5 line newspaper ad. Plus, with the way the economy is out here, people apply for just about everything they see so a single ad could potentially yield 1000 responses. Because of this, the smaller runners rely on word of mouth, insiders, or a poster in their window.

Many small businesses don't even have an HR department.

I want to prove that there are more jobs out there. We just don't hear about them.

Thanks again for all your input!
posted by mrflibble to Human Relations (15 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
I would suggest putting posters up on the bulletin boards in the waiting areas at the unemployment office, the social services offices, and other public spaces in your town (courthouse, city services building, etc.) that might be frequented by people who are looking for employment. Also, most convenience stores and gas stations, even restaurants, will let you put a flyer in their store if you're a non-profit.
posted by amyms at 6:21 PM on September 18, 2007

Another thought... You might be able to get radio stations to plug it for free as a public service.
posted by amyms at 6:22 PM on September 18, 2007

contact the taproot foundation.
posted by thinkingwoman at 6:33 PM on September 18, 2007

Here in New Orleans, we all advertise by "Neutral Ground signs" - corrugated cardboard (also known as coroplast) signs on small metal stakes scattered on the median.
posted by radioamy at 6:49 PM on September 18, 2007

Also, maybe get member businesses to display signs saying "City Job Club Member" and your website.
posted by radioamy at 6:50 PM on September 18, 2007

Does your cable company have a Community Bulletin Board? Some local channels do also.
posted by ALongDecember at 6:52 PM on September 18, 2007

See if any of your local publications (community magazines and newspapers, online and in print) profile businesses or would do a story about you. Can't hurt to take a look at the kinds of articles they run and call and ask for a reporter and give them a pitch. I work for a small business newspaper and we always listen to and cover small business, because they're our readers.
posted by slow graffiti at 7:29 PM on September 18, 2007

2nd'ing slow graffiti on the article idea.

If you're doing flyers, do grocery stores. Colleges too.

I think the real trick of it will be getting people to come clean with the jobs though.
posted by cashman at 7:42 PM on September 18, 2007

Response by poster: Wow, I'm amazed at how many responses so quickly.

Thanks for all the great feedback, keep it coming! :)
posted by mrflibble at 8:52 PM on September 18, 2007

Partner up with other non-profits. Your local nonprofits will have various fundraising opportunities for donors to advertise their brands/products/organiztions. Try to cut deal where you will display an ad for them if they display an ad for you. THis is probably an easy way to enter the npo community.

That said, the low cost to entry in job ads leads to quite a bit of fraud. Also, you are competing directly with your local craigslist which either has free or very low cost job ads.
posted by damn dirty ape at 8:57 PM on September 18, 2007

Grassroots Marketing
posted by clh at 10:27 PM on September 18, 2007

You might apply for some free AdWords from Google Grants.
"Designed for 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations, Google Grants... has awarded AdWords advertising to hundreds of non-profit groups whose missions range from animal welfare to literacy, from supporting homeless children to promoting HIV education."
posted by danblaker at 10:28 PM on September 18, 2007

Start networking in the non-profit/public service sphere! A very small nonprofit I've done web work with before networked with local radio stations and got a lot of free publicity through on-air mentions by a couple of DJs who supported the organization. Having members on the board of directors with ties to other organizations (for-profit and not-) in the community also helped get the word out in newsletters, fliers, etc.
posted by Alterscape at 12:06 AM on September 19, 2007

Don't forget to post a link on craigslist, or any other local online sites where you think people with listing or job-seekers might see the notice.

Also, add an "email to a friend" capability to your website, so that someone who discovers you can let other people know about it.

The suggestions about free media are all good - the media you and your potential clients read are much more desperate for information than you think. Also the note that you're going to need good moderation of ads to eliminate all the "make millions at home" and MLM schemes.
posted by teaperson at 6:18 AM on September 19, 2007

I'm the communications/marketing person for a small nonprofit - what you want to do is make the media your friend. Free PR is always, always the way to go and you'd be surprised how easy it is to get coverage. So, if you haven't done it yet, get a good media list together and use it. Go through the masthead of your local papers - check out every single paper and don't forget all the free magazines, free papers, free whatevers that are being distributed around your town. Call them and ask for contact info or just pull it off the masthead or website. Send out press releases. Lots of press releases. With pictures. With stories - "Mr. K found a job with us in one week and now he's completely happy, plus he's giving 1/10 of his new salary to the home for 3 legged cats and volunteering for the 2 nosed children foundation!" Stuff like that - feel good stuff. Keep it short and snappy and happy. Always have boilerplate that contains all kinds of good facts about your nonprofit - this sounds so basic, but you'd be surprised how many people forget it. Then call the reporters and make sure they got the press release.

Posters and flyers are excellent, but make sure they look good and make you stand out. You don't want some terrible photocopied thing with tear off phone numbers at the bottom and a whole bunch of blurry text. Seriously, thinking through your look and branding now will save you a whole lot of misery later on.
posted by mygothlaundry at 8:15 AM on September 19, 2007

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