What Marketers Can Do to Raise the Bar for NFPs
6 February 2018 at 8:42 am
Not for profits can reap big from a solid marketing strategy. Here are five strategies that you can apply to raise the bar.
Not-for-profit organisations (NFPs) pursue various causes and can often be at the mercy of conflict of interest, lack of funding or no profit margins. So, how then does a marketing team in a not-for-profit organisation work? Is there any need for NFPs to market themselves? Yes, there is. In fact, marketing for a NFP is no walk in the park.
In an environment inspired by do-more-with-less, it is possible for an NFP to get lost in the shuffle. Imagine an organisation whose cause is geared to making the world a better place, but is struggling to generate revenue. Well, that’s where marketers come in.
Just like any other organisation, non-profit agencies can reap big from a solid marketing strategy. The aim is to increase donor funding and volunteer participation, because NFPs rely heavily on donations to keep doing what they do.
As a marketer, what are some of the strategies you can apply to raise the bar for your NFP?
- Develop and maintain a robust online brand
Like any other organisation, NFPs have to compete for donors’ money. Most of the time, a strong brand and message works magic. And what better way to push your brand’s mission than via online channels? Any branded content or messages available about your NFP should be aligned, well-packaged and tell a story; from the website design and social media platforms right down to the smaller details on the donation forms. Ultimately, the aim is to sell the inherent worth of your programs and causes.
Be clear and coherent in your mission statement. Be informative, but not overwhelming. It always helps to give your audience an idea of what you do, why you do it and how they can become a part of the cause. Progress on funded projects should continuously be updated. Let donors know the impact of their donations and visitors know how their contributions have been or will be utilised.
- Create a constant social media presence
Social media is a thriving medium, where current and future generations of donors are constantly engaging with companies and causes. Reach out and connect with them using a strong brand message. It’s the job of an NFP marketer to tailor the organisation’s message and create content that resonates with your constituent community as well as prospective followers and supporters.
Tell stories and share information that evokes emotions. You can do this through compelling imagery and videos, as well as real-life testimonies and experiences.
It’s important that your Facebook page is active. Post regularly and engage your followers in related discussions. Apply for a “Donate Now” button for your page to make it easier for visitors to donate to your cause. Use hashtags and threads on Twitter to extend the reach of your stories.
Create events via LinkedIn and host happy hour sessions and meet-up sessions. Ultimately, your goal is to connect with as many people as possible, and connect with your community so they remain engaged with your cause.
Set aside a budget to pay for advertising of your NFPs social media handles and best content on various social media platforms.
- Invest in and utilise email marketing
When promoting a cause, and not just a product, communication is king. Why not take the message about your NFP directly to the inbox of your target audience? An email newsletter will enable you to reach hundreds, potentially thousands, of people. Quite often, generating and sending a successful email doesn’t take too much time and effort, but careful planning and targeting.
Come up with interesting subject lines to capture the attention of recipients. Keep the message short, simple and compelling. Provide links to your organisation’s website and online content, as well as sharp call-to-actions.
- Enable your current community to promote your cause
You already have a database of current donors, but have you engaged them sufficiently to get referrals to other potential donors? Cultivating a relationship with your current donors through constant communication and appreciation can open the door to their networks and connections.
Develop a profile of your ideal potential donor, to make it easier to target them. And don’t be afraid to ask for referrals.
- Exhibit social proof and transparency
What is social proof? The demonstration that people have done it before. There is no better way to convince people that their donation should go towards your cause than to show them proof of a vibrant donor community as well as the positive impact of their contributions.
Being a NFP, you will be subject to a higher level of scrutiny on how you use donated funds. Putting your budget out there before anybody raises questions improves not only trust but cements your foundation’s image.
Put out figures of donations raised and the projects funded. Detail projects yet to be financed and how much is expected to be raised. Be an open book to both donors and the wider community.
How to keep winning in not-for-profit marketing
Are you a marketer in a not-for-profit organisation, or would love to join one, but wondering where to start with your marketing efforts?
The pointers above are just a glimpse of the many techniques that can be used to market NFPs and grow their donor or volunteer database. To be an effective NFP marketer, you will need specific qualifications to raise the bar. To stand out, you can apprentice under an experienced NFP marketer to learn the art or further your education by enrolling in a Master’s degree in marketing.
While either of these options is viable, a Master of Marketing guarantees quick turnaround and a tailored learning experience. And what’s more, you have the option of studying online while you gain on-the-job experience.
Just like pursuing any other course, there are strong networking opportunities. Not only will you get to interact with various people taking the course, but you will get exposed to marketers who work across different industries. It’s also a powerful tool for creating connections with like-minded people or companies, willing to be a part of your cause through funding, partnering or volunteering.
The not-for-profit sector provides a number of exciting and rewarding career opportunities. As a marketer, the potential for growth is limitless. With the correct skills and knowledge, you can be a force to reckon with among your peers. Pursuing a master’s degree in marketing and creating networks will set you apart in a crowded marketplace and ensure that your NFP organisation will keep winning.