Non-profit marketing can often be a double-edged sword. On one side, you need awareness to reach your target audience and promote your programs and services. On the flip side, you have the development component, which is critical to helping your organization fulfill its vision and mission.
As an employee of a non-profit organization, you have already declared yourself an advocate for persuasion. You are constantly trying to communicate to those in need about your services. Marketing is the best way to turn your mission into reality.
So, how should non-profits approach marketing? Below is a baseline overview of marketing with a mission.
Develop Your Messaging
Assuming you already have a mission and vision statement in place, the next step is to craft messaging for your target demographics. Ideally you should have an overall tagline that resonates with everyone, which can be developed into supportive messaging that is tailored to the respective audiences.
Brand for Consistency
To maximize the impact of your marketing efforts, it is important to keep both messaging and branding consistent throughout all your marketing materials – regardless of who you are targeting. Inconsistency in your marketing – be it online or offline – dilutes your brand and makes your organization less memorable.
Define Your Channels
Messaging means nothing if it doesn’t reach the intended audience. Today there are a wide range of interactive and traditional marketing channels from which to choose. However the real challenge lies in selecting which channels will deliver the greatest reach and RIO. For example, if you’re marketing to millennials then social media is a logical platform. On the other hand, if your audience is an older demographic, it may be more effective to choose a more traditional platform such as advertising, a letter or brochure.
Prioritize Your Budget
This is often a challenge for non-profits that are passionately driven to support their mission, but tend to lose site of the need to fundraise in order to remain sustainable. Allocating a portion of your budget to fundraising and development may seem counterintuitive to your mission, but investing in a communication strategy to solicit donors can be an effective way to advance your organization and its mission. The old adage of spending money to make money is still quite relevant in the non-profit world.
Don’t Engage – Inspire
Many non-profits have the unique advantage of being inspirational to both the people they serve we well as those who are willing to give to their cause. There are several ways organizations can inspire and motivate advocates throughout the year. Some tactics include “retelling” the story behind your organization’s founding, developing communication vehicles that inform donors how their contributions are being spent as well as communicating “real life” success stories within your organization.
Track. Measure. Refine.
Measuring success can be difficult in any company, but it should be seen as a critical component of a comprehensive marketing strategy. Many non-profits take a two-tiered approach to measuring success. One is to track the growth of interest and engagement within its target audience. The second is to measure the level of increase in philanthropy towards the organization. If you find your marketing efforts aren’t delivering on your predetermined goals, you may need to revisit the plan and tweak as necessary to obtain the desired outcomes.
Want to start a discussion on how LMI can help your non-profit fulfill its mission? Contact Kelly Smedley, Director of Strategic Solutions, at 717-569-8826 x24 or firstname.lastname@example.org.