Even as the world moved online in 2020 and both businesses and nonprofits relied on digital marketing to get the word out, direct mail became the sweetheart of the year. During this time of little to no contact, it became more precious than ever to reach into a mailbox and pull out something physical and tangible to hold on to that didn’t require a screen, smartphone or a stable internet connection.

In case you’ve wondered, let us be clear: In this increasingly digital world, there is still a place for printed marketing collateral to support your organization’s mission. It may be even more useful now to differentiate yourself as emails continue to flood overflowing inboxes.

As you plan your marketing strategy and collateral for 2021, let’s talk about the role printed marketing collateral can play in your organization’s marketing strategy. First, a quick rundown of the basics:

What is nonprofit marketing collateral?

Marketing collateral is any medium you use to promote your nonprofit’s products or services. This collateral can include anything from print materials like posters and flyers to digital content like online ads and emails. Really, anything that you can use to advertise your nonprofit’s mission and message is considered marketing collateral.

Why is nonprofit marketing collateral important?

Put simply, to get the word out. A lot of other organizations are vying for the same donation dollars you are. If you’re not investing in marketing collateral to promote your nonprofit, how do you plan to attract new donors and constituents? Effective marketing collateral communicates your message and mission with both great design and compelling language, and it’s the best way to tell people why you exist and are worthy of their support.

What kinds of nonprofit marketing collateral do I need?

Going back to the earlier “sweetheart of the year” comment, let’s focus specifically on printed collateral right now. It really has become the darling of marketing media because it gives everyone a break from their screens and something they can physically touch. For some, that walk from their home office to their mailbox has become their favorite trek of the day.

Our print specialists at Firespring have been helping businesses and nonprofits with their printed marketing materials for decades, and these are six of the top print assets they recommend for every organization to include in their marketing strategies:

printed nonprofit annual reportAnnual reports.

More than just a dry summary of your year or annual financial statement, your annual report can be used to show supporters what their donations accomplished and how you’d like to partner with them in the future. Designed right, your annual report can be one of your most pivotal marketing pieces of the year.

printed nonprofit brochureBrochures.

Think of this as a glorified elevator pitch on paper. A colorful brochure with compelling images and pithy but engaging copy can be a great leave-behind after meetings with potential donors, a nice way to welcome new supporters through the mail or a great handout at events (when we get back to having those).

printed business cards for nonprofit professionalsBusiness cards.

You might not be doling these out at many meet-and-greets or networking events at the moment, but those will come back eventually and you won’t want to show up empty-handed. Plus, business cards can be a great bridge from the offline world to your online presence when you add a QR code on them.

printed appeal letters for nonprofitsAppeal letters (includes envelopes).

They still work! You may be moving more toward appeal emails, but combine them with physical appeal letters for a more effective and integrative strategy. You can try a unique size or envelope shape to stand out even more.

printed toolkits to promote your nonprofitDonor or volunteer engagement toolkits.

Make a list of some of your most loyal donors and volunteers, and call them your “street team.” These are the people who are going to get the word out for you, either about a particular campaign or your mission in general. Mail them “toolkits” of print collateral they can use on your behalf—brochures, posters for local businesses, fact sheets (see below). Maybe even think outside the norm—like custom promotional coasters with your URL that your street team can leave behind at coffee shops.

printed fact sheet for your nonprofitFact sheets.

This is a quick one-page educational piece that quickly communicates key facts about your organization. Think “short and punchy sentences,” easy-to-read charts, stats about your org and a compelling image that tells the story of your mission. Depending on how you use them, you could create a few different kinds of fact sheets. One, for example, that pairs with your annual appeal letter and answers FAQs about how you use donations.

Get started creating your nonprofit’s marketing collateral.

There are so many ways to use printed marketing collateral, and we strongly recommend that you include it in your overall messaging strategy this year. We also understand you have a lot on your plate. At Firespring, we have the resources, equipment and print expertise to help you.

To see what we can do to lighten your load and help you spread awareness in 2021, here’s more about our brand identity package and direct mail printing options.