In recent years, growth hacking has been dubbed the next big thing for startups and has received widespread praise and attention. As a subfield of marketing, growth hacking is all about continuously testing and improving how an organization operates, with a singular goal of boosting growth.

The word ‘hacking’ might sound illegitimate but in reality, it indicates a smarter alternative way to drive an organization’s growth. This means that there is no hacking involved in growth hacking and an average growth hacker is simply someone who is a creative marketer that works with cross-functional teams to rapidly scale and grow a business.

In many ways, startups and nonprofits function quite similarly as both rely on talent, the latest technology, and securing important funding to keep their lights on

While primarily used in the for-profit world, growth hacking techniques can easily be adapted to help nonprofits grow fast and on a budget. This article looks at three simple but highly effective growth hacking strategies that can help your nonprofit grow:

1. Leverage your Social Media

Social media is essential for the growth of nonprofits as it has become increasingly important to the populace today. For instance, 95% of Canadians and 90% of Americans reportedly use at least one social media channel daily. Similarly, the latest data suggest that YouTube and Facebook are among the top social media choices for most people. As a result, nonprofits who wish to engage with their supporters, connect with stakeholders, and generate helpful feedback must focus on growing their presence on popular social media platforms.

Regularly posting on social media is the best way to generate awareness about your mission and garner public support. Additionally, it is critical to use video content as more and more millennials and Gen-Z prioritize consuming video over text-based and other content. Finally, taking full advantage of hashtags to join meaningful conversations and promptly encouraging followers to share what you post is essential to keeping your social media audiences engaged and growing.

2. Analyze your Expenses

It’s no secret that most nonprofits have limited resources at their disposal and they rely heavily on donations from their supporters. That’s why they constantly look for ways to keep their expenditures minimal while holding their revenue streams steady. Also, nonprofits are often under extreme pressure to be more transparent by measuring and highlighting the effectiveness of the collected donations. Meanwhile, there is an increased focus on improving the overall donor engagement to sustain the relationships with important stakeholders.

To ensure future growth, conventional cost analysis methods may not be viable for many nonprofits. Therefore, you need to take full advantage of a few simple financial ratios such as the operating reserve ratio, program expense ratio, and administrative expense ratio. Lastly, it’s always advisable to compare costs to the benefits using Cost-Benefit Analysis (CBA), which is one of the most commonly used tools to ensure growth. Analyzing expenses against the services you provide can easily be one of the most overlooked hacks available for nonprofits to grow exponentially.

3. Motivate your Staff

This might sound very simple, but in reality, having dedicated employees is one of the key growth hacks that any organization can rely on for achieving its growth-oriented goals. In fact, many organizations are investing heavily into delighting their staff as it can potentially help any business overcome barriers to achieving and sustaining long-term growth. One of the easiest ways to achieve this is by motivating senior managers and the junior staff to have one-on-one engagement about the organization’s goals. It is also essential to highlight that for any nonprofit to grow, it must pay attention to volunteers as they often make up much of the staff. Therefore, offering incentives and rewards for their time and efforts can keep them motivated.

Always remember, that many employees nowadays prioritize career development more than salary so offering growth opportunities to staff is crucial. You can also offer coaching and learning opportunities for employees to keep them happy as well as show gratitude for their dedication. Lastly, keep in mind that there is no silver bullet to creating self-motivated growth teams at your nonprofit. But, you must do whatever is necessary to make your staff feel valued, respected, and appreciated for their time and effort. This will have a positive and far-reaching impact on the future of your organization.


In many ways, startups and nonprofits function quite similarly as both rely on talent, the latest technology, and securing important funding to keep their lights on. Therefore, nonprofits have a lot to learn from studying the growth strategies of startups. Practicing the above-mentioned growth hacks will ensure that your nonprofit not only stay afloat but achieves its growth targets. Additionally, having a dedicated growth hacker is an excellent investment for a nonprofit to remain ahead of the curve of all the latest developments taking place in the field of growth hacking.

[Thumbnail credit: LinkedIn Sales Solutions on Unsplash]

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