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3 Tips for Nonprofit Organizations

With the economy still struggling to show signs of stable, consistent growth, nonprofit organizations are facing tougher times raising funds. They’re looking for creative ways to launch new events and promotions, but many fail to do as well as prior years. And this only raises their concern that if they do more fundraisers, they run the risk of donor burnout. Sometimes the right strategy isn’t about doing more; it’s about getting more return, and getting back to the basics.

Here are three key components to building a solid marketing foundation for your nonprofit organization.

1. Develop a complete brand.

With donations under tighter scrutiny, businesses and individuals are more likely to say “yes” to the nonprofit organizations that have a consistent, clearly-defined brand across all of their marketing collateral, from their website, to brochures, mailers, catalogs, event materials, and more. A mixed identity creates the perception that there may be mismanagement in the organization, leading to concerns that donations may not be put to their most efficient use.

A brand has many components, from an organization’s name, to their logo, tagline, graphics and other visual elements. But, it’s more than that. Unfortunately, many nonprofit organizations stop here thinking they’ve created a complete brand without understanding how to position themselves to their various target markets, as an example.

Where should your organization begin to determine if you have an effective brand?

Start with a brand audit to review and analyze your target audiences, competition, mission and services, points of distinction, credible proof points, and your marketing messages and collateral. Follow up with an assessment of your market’s awareness and perceptions of your brand to see where you may need to make adjustments to get them in synch.

2. Document evidence of credibility.

Credibility is important to all successful organizations, but it is critical for nonprofits. Commercial companies have the benefit of being able to provide direct, tangible evidence to consumers as to what their dollars produce by delivering products and services. A nonprofit organization doesn’t always have the same opportunity.

Yes, at some fundraisers, nonprofits can auction off items with an instant exchange of cash for goods. However, many times these same organizations can only offer a promise that donations will produce a future benefit that the donors may not be able to experience first-hand.

How can your organization overcome issues of credibility?

Document your growth. Get it in the press. Share your evolving story online; post it to YouTube; include it in your newsletter, and in other marketing collateral. If your organization creates a positive impact for your target audience, make your donors aware of it. They appreciate seeing the positive change that comes from their generous giving. This will help your organization secure additional donations.

3. Connect with your audience often using various media and channels.

Your target audiences lead busy lives. They have a multitude of people, companies, agencies and organizations competing for their attention. Statistics indicate that the average person receives approximately 4,000 marketing messages a day through various channels, including TV, radio, websites, social media networks, mobile devices, and mailers. As a result, many people develop a level of advertising blindness.

What methods can your organization use to grab their attention and get them to take action?

Create top-of-mind awareness with your community by increasing your touch points with relevant messages through various channels. Touch points can include phone calls, email blasts, offline and online advertising, events, brochures … any method for putting your brand and your marketing messages in front of your intended audience. When increasing your communications, it’s important that you maintain brand consistency, but you can vary your message so you don’t burn out your donors.

For more information about how we can help your nonprofit organization with our marketing tips for attracting donors and getting them to open up their wallets, go to our Contact Us page, or call us at (410)-366-9479 ext. 2#. 

Dina Wasmer is President of Incite Creative, a marketing and graphic design firm that provides brand-building services and strategies for small-to-middle-market businesses and non-profit organizations in the Mid-Atlantic region. For more information, log onto www.incitecreativeinc.com or contact dina@incitecreativeinc.com

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