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Designing Flyers for Your Nonprofit: 5 Tips

A few days before the start of another school year, you might be wondering about how to spread the word about your organization. 

It’s a great time to recruit new members for your organization. In order to join, they need to know that it exists. Your flyers have to stand out, so that prospective members notice it among all the other organizations that are also recruiting! (Read our article on graphic design principles to use for your flyers)

Here are five tips for creating an effective flyer design for your organization:

  1. Keep It Simple
  2. Define Your Objective and Target Audience
  3. Be Clear and Concise
  4. Design Like a Pro
  5. Make it Memorable

We’ll also talk about printing the flyers, and how to distribute them to your target audience

Don't panic, just follow these tips to design a flyer for your organization!

flyer-design-nonprofits

1. Keep It Simple

When you’re figuring out what to have on your flyer, remember that the fewer words, the better

Your communication would be more effective as a result. To accomplish this, you’ll need to consider some basic communication strategies. 

flyer-design-nonprofits-simple

2. Define Your Objective and Target Audience

First, answer these questions: “What do I wish to communicate? Who am I trying to reach?”

There are usually three types of objectives for organizations: 

  • To spread the word about the organization and its activities
  • To improve or change public opinion about the organization or its cause
  • To provoke an action (join as a member, donate, make a purchase, etc.)

Depending on your organization’s objective, you have different options for how to proceed with your flyer.

If you just created your organization, the objective would be to let as many people know about it as possible. 

However, if your organization has existed for years, the objective may be to build loyalty among your members and encourage them to pay membership dues or buy T-shirts. Your objective for your flyer would be to provoke an action.

Once your objective has been determined, you need to define your target audience.

Think about who you want to join your organization, and what would attract them to check out your organization’s meetings or social event. Depending on the demographics of your target audience, you can select the right tone for your flyer.

If you are a student organization that is for students interested in pursuing careers in business or finance, you might want a more professional tone for your flyer. However, if you’re an ultimate frisbee team, a less formal tone would be better.

Be honest in your language. People can usually detect when claims like “the best student club on campus” are too exaggerated!

flyer-design-nonprofits-target-audienceCorinne knows which tone to take on her flyers
for her target audience!

flyer-design-nonprofits-objectives3. Be Clear and Concise

Flyers are generally much smaller than the huge billboards you see on buildings. Even though there is a lot of space on those billboards, keep in mind how little text those billboards usually have.

Your flyer definitely won’t have enough room for you to write your organization’s history, founding, and leadership team. This is fine anyway, because the flyer should be clear and concise. 

In half a second, the person looking at your flyer in their hands needs to understand the organization and what it offers. Immediately capturing someone’s attention is absolutely key for flyers.

Prioritize and determine four pieces of information that must appear on your flyer. 

Tip: You should include contact information, in case anyone has questions. They need to know how to reach you!

flyer-design-nonprofits-concise

4. Design Like a Pro

You've sorted through your information, and you have the essential elements ready to be put on the flyer. Now it's a question of making the text easy to read and understand with the flyer design.

Choose a Legible Font

Select a font that is easily readable at a glance. You can play with the text placement, but the font itself needs to convey your content effectively. 

You can play with the font size, as a way to prioritize your content. We recommend having the most important content be twice as big as the secondary information. Anything else can be smaller.

Your flyer audience should be able to figure out quickly the main message, whether it’s “Join our club!” or “Come to our concert.”

Select an Image for Your Flyer

"A picture is worth a thousand words." This saying is also applicable to your flyer!

Since you don’t have that much space to add text, you should use an image or photo to capture people’s attention.

Choose an image that is related to your organization’s activities to feature on your flyer. It can be your club’s members from last year, or a photo of your club in action in the community. 

The image or photo must be high resolution! No one likes a pixelated low-quality photo on a flyer. To print clearly, the image should be at least 300 dpi (dots per inch). 

Of course, your logo belongs on the flyer, so people can associate your logo with your organization.

Use the Right Colors

Each color provokes a different emotion, which is why you should consider what colors you want on your flyer. 

flyer-design-color-chartDon't worry, you don’t need to be a professional graphic designer to put together a visually striking flyer. Try using a free color palette generator like Coolors

flyer-design-nonprofits-colors5. Make Your Flyer Memorable

We are surrounded by flyers. If you think about it, you see flyers when you’re walking around, in the windows of restaurants, cafés, bakeries, office buildings, and grocery stores.

However, do you remember what the last flyer you saw was advertising? It’s fine if you don’t remember, but this is something you can try to avoid for your own flyer.

The forgotten flyer - or the flyer that is thrown in the trash right away - doesn’t have to be your flyer’s fate!

Your organization is not trying to sell something or make a profit from customers. Your "non-commercial" positioning frees you up to be more creative with your flyer.

You need to figure out how to make the flyer dynamic, interesting and entertaining

One way to do this is to select a tone to communicate with your audience. Is your organization’s tone informal and casual, with plenty of wordplay, emojis, and jokes? Or is it more formal in the written tone, with eye-catching images?

Communicate with the same tone on your website, newsletter, social media, and, of course, your flyer. If your community can recognize your organization without ever seeing your organization name, you have set up a great communication strategy.

flyer-design-nonprofits-memorable

Printing the Flyers 

Respect Paper Dimensions

Please note that there are different paper sizes to choose from, when designing and printing your flyer.

The most common flyer sizes are:

A5 (5.8 x 8.3 in)
A6 (4.1 x 5.8 in)
DL (3.9 Ă— 8.2 in)

You can print it on both sides, or on one side only. Some printing shops charge for printing on both sides. 

The most common paper orientation for flyers is usually in portrait format, but this is not a requirement. You can be original with how to set up your flyer, as long as it gets your message across in a memorable way!

Choice of Paper

Here we are! We’re talking about finishing touches to your flyer now, but the quality of paper you print your flyers on is important when considering your organization’s “image.” 

Do you want to be that organization that prints flyers onto normal printer paper, and cuts the flyers unevenly with scissors? Although this method is more economical, you’re already conveying that you expected the flyer to be thrown away right away. That’s not what we want your audience to feel like doing!

Don’t go out and print your flyers on the most expensive paper in the shop, but it should be a little thicker than normal printer paper

If your budget allows it, a matte or glossy paper offers a more attractive finish. Your colors would appear more vibrant, which will enhance the look of your flyer.

flyer-design-nonprofits-paperDistributing to Your Target Audience

You're almost there! Your flyer is printed. Now what? 

You have to distribute it to all the people who should know about your organization

Most flyers are discarded. According to the Direct Marketing Association, only 1% of people who receive a flyer respond to it. 

Not only is it eco-friendly to think about how you distribute your flyer, it also saves your budget from printing too many unnecessary flyers that end up in the trash.

For the start of the new school year, you should post flyers in strategic places, where you think your target audience will be. 

If your organization sets up a booth at a student organization fair, people will come to your table to find out more information. You definitely need to have flyers ready at your booth, because they are coming to you. If they leave with a flyer after a conversation with you, this is a much better flyering technique than you leaving a flyer in each mailbox.

You could explore leaving flyers on the counter at stores or restaurants, but few people really pay attention to it. However, if you know that your target audience goes to the library, a certain bar, or café, make sure to leave flyers there!

flyer-design-nonprofits-reach

You only need to arm yourself with a little bit of patience and imagination, and your flyer can help your organization reach more people. Onwards! 

Trusted by 10,000+ nonprofits, AssoConnect provides digital tools to help nonprofits focus on their missions. 

With AssoConnect’s all-in-one online software, nonprofits save time while managing their databases, events, donations, and email campaigns. 

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