Tag Archives: Marketing

5 Quick & Effective Nonprofit Communication Ideas

It’s a simple recipe. Nonprofits start “cooking” when they establish a mission. Then, in order to achieve that mission, they add healthy servings of potential donors, volunteers, and community members.   These stakeholders are what make the dish come alive. They are essential in the same way flour is essential baking bread. But, we need more. We have the ingredients but we need a space where the two—the mission and the stakeholders—can come together. This “space” is usually called a kitchen. In the nonprofit world, I call it the Communications Plan.

The Communications Plan tells us what, how, and when we will share our message with the larger community. It answers core questions such as:

  • Who are we trying to reach? (also known as your target audience)
  • What is the core problem we are solving and how do we want to frame the issue?
  • What are our key messages?
  • When/how do we interact with the media? Who is responsible?
  • What communication tools (social media, newsletters, etc.) do we use and how often?
  • Who is responsible for interfacing with the public?

For a quick template, click here.

Communication and PR strategies can make a big difference.  Even when there isn’t much in the budget for communication strategies, nonprofits can still have an impact.

5 Quick & Effective Ideas:

1)      Teach board and staff how to speak about your agency. The people that are close to the organization—staff and board—are already talking about you. Do you know what they are saying? If not, then share with them your key messages. Write out those messages and offer a training where everyone can practice. Make sure to ask them to add their own personal flavor. They can share a story that touched their heart or share about the aspect of the mission which is especially important to them. It’s much more powerful to hear someone when it’s obviously they really care.

2)      Tell stories. Stories are a powerful currency in the market of donor engagement. They can motivate us to give, to act, to share. By capturing and sharing the stories of your organization—the client success stories, the volunteer’s inspirational stories, the donor’s generosity stories—we can engage the community in a visceral way. Ask your staff to write down and collect clients’ stories. Keep these in a safe space so they can be used in enewsletters, appeal letters, media pitches, donor recognition letters, and so much more.

3)      Use a variety of the tools available. There are many new tools available through the internet which can make communication cheaper, easier, quicker, and more engaging. These tools can and should be used in combination with each other. Here are just a few:

  1. Social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn (for great examples, look at Mama’s Kitchen, the San Diego Zoo, and the San Diego Opera)
  2. Nonprofit Blogs (for a great example, see San Diego Coastkeeper’s blog)
  3. Enewsletters (there are many inexpensive platforms such as MailChimp, ConstantContact, and VirtualResponse)

4)      Enlist your funders. Is one of your donors a large corporation with many staff? Perhaps they can help. Here are a few ideas:

  1. Ask if your staff can participate in their company trainings. This is free capacity-building for your staff.
  2. If they would share your information in their company newsletter (assuming the content is useful to their employees).
  3. Ask if they would share about you on their corporate social media accounts.
  4.  And so much more. . . be creative!

5)      Make friends with the media. Media is a great source of free exposure; however, nonprofits are sometimes afraid to reach out to the media. Their media outreach efforts may rely solely a press release during major events. This is good but not good enough. A better strategy is to establish a relationship with the media. Meet the reporters that cover your area and begin a long-term conversation. It’s a win/win: over time you provide them with awesome story ideas, they in turn offer your agency excellent exposure. For an example, look at what Voices for Children accomplished with their recent Op/Eds…. The bottom line is this: don’t just think in terms of press releases, think about an ongoing relationship.

Nonprofit communication strategies are not hard but they do require some thought.  When sitting down to map out your communication strategy, you can use some of these five easy-to-implement, inexpensive ideas to ensure your message is heard.

What are your ideas? Share them below or on www.Facebook.com/JennysJunction.

Do you know a nonprofit that does a great job at PR/Communication? If so, share their links here so we can all learn.

Free E-Course: Social Media 101

Click here to register for your free e-course: Social Media 101. This free four part e-course will give you a basic understanding of the scope and benefits of social media for business – including nonprofits.

The course will be emailed to you once a week for four weeks. Topics include:

1. Social Media 101 – the Big Picture
2. Social Media 101 – Marketing and ROI
3. Social Media 101 – the Benefits
4. Social Media 101 – Getting Started

This course also includes: some light (optional) homework, lots of resources, and tips you can implement right away.

Who should take this course?
– A CEO who is reluctant to join social media
– Someone trying to convince a CEO
– Anyone wanting to know the basics

Not sure if you should jump on the social media bandwagon?

Check out this video:

Register today for this free e-course.

Questions? Ask me below or on Twitter.

 

Making the Switch: Marketing in Today’s World

At a business networking event, I met a marketing representative from one of those private fly-by-night schools. I’m not a fan of the institution (hence I’m not naming names), but they were in the middle of a fantastic marketing campaign. I told the woman how impressed I was. Her reaction surprised me. She asked,

 “What do you like about the campaign?”

This is key. I made a comment about her work. She immediately turned the discussion to me and how I, the potential consumer, relate to the brand.  

She engaged me. This is demonstrative of what Social Media is doing for marketing today.

Social Media asks the consumer, “What do you think?” Publically.

In traditional marketing, a company or nonprofit establishes a brand and then representatives spread the espoused message. The message is what the company says it is. No discussion.

Social Media provides a space in which a company must engage their constituency – customers, donors, clients, patients, community members, legislators, etc.  It shifts marketing activity from the “preaching”
of a pre-established message to a public dialogue. Yes, there is still the traditional branding in the sense of a logo and messaging; however, the goal is not to deliver a brand sermon. The goal is to engage in conversation and to be in relationship with your constituents.

Relationships require work. My colleague says, “Relationships are not 50/50 but 100/100.” You have to be willing to hear what the other person has to say. . . . Proceed with caution.

When you invite the public into a relationship on Social Media, you are holding perhaps the most public forum possible. An online discussion is available to the entire world. It is not limited to the number of people that can fit in a gymnasium. It is not limited to the speakers officially on the agenda. It is not bound by the same relationship dynamics we honor when meeting in person (handshakes, meeting agendas, subtle throat coughing, etc.).  It requires an entirely new set of rules.

This can be very unnerving, especially for those trained in marketing many years ago. This definitely isn’t Kansas.

As you can imagine, there are challenges and major risks associated with social media. Here are just a couple:

  • Negative feedback
  • Difficulty starting a discussion
  • Difficulty facilitating a conversation when it turns hostile or deals with difficult subjects
  • Privacy issues for all parties

These challenges aren’t insurmountable. In fact, some are tremendous opportunities.

I said earlier that the consumer was in charge. That isn’t entirely true. Nonprofits and small businesses have a tremendous opportunity to start and shape the discussion. Here are just a few of the tactics used:

  • Sharing a message and asking followers to repost or retweet
  • Creating an event and ask followers to invite others
  • Starting a discussion online
  • Asking for feedback
  • Providing useful information or shocking statistics
  • Hosting a contest where people have to create content such as a video, photo caption or short essay

Traditional marketing worked for many years. It is one of the reasons large companies like CocaCola or nonprofits such as St. Jude’s were able to grow. Today, marketing is different. Consumers want to engage. They want to feel like they are a part-of, and they want to help in the myriad of ways possible via Social Media. Marketing must both allow for and shape that interaction.

It is a relationship and it takes work. Are you ready?

Question for readers: What has been the biggest surprise for you as you begin to use social media for business?