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How to get your Non-Profit marketing strategy right

Non-Profit marketing strategy

When it comes to how Non-Profits interact with their constituents, the impact of the pandemic has been meteoric.

From visual storytelling to virtual programming, prioritizing technology transformation requirements, and beyond — COVID-19 has got charities thinking about how they can develop a sustainable Non-Profit marketing strategy in 2022 and beyond.

Brian Tumpowsky, head of digital technology at UNICEF USA, said in an interview during the peak COVID-19 times: “We realized that people were going to be connecting with us virtually more and more. As the data about those interactions became more voluminous, we wanted to make it centralized and leverageable. These issues were already at play before the pandemic, but it made the need more urgent.”

With rapid and radical changes in donor perceptions and volunteer motivations, Non-Profit leaders are struggling to drive their mission. What are some of the lessons Non-Profit leaders can take back from the pandemic? How can it affect their Non-Profit marketing strategy?

1. Adopt virtual experiences

From virtual fundraising events to increased meetings over Zoom or Teams calls and virtual experiences must be embraced. It enables you to reach a wider audience and gives you the flexibility to connect from anywhere and at any time. Think virtual and you will have opened up a whole new spectrum of fundraising ideas such as gaming, virtual tours, etc., to name a few.

2. Partnerships as a long-term relationship

Securing a partnership and maintaining one are different things. Corporate partnerships must be perceived as a win-win relationship. As a Non-Profit, you have a lot to give to a business, including boosting their Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives, increasing employee satisfaction and engagement, and so forth. Companies are looking to see the real impact of their financial assistance on your program or mission. Show them your impact report and build their trust in you so that you can approach them gracefully again in the future with a compelling story backed by data.

3. Greater leadership engagement

All your constituents, including donors, volunteers, members, staff, etc., seek approval and appreciation from their leaders. By investing your time to engage with them by way of surveys, town halls, or email communication, you are developing a bond with them. This form of engagement boosts their involvement with your Non-Profit and they become marketers for the work that you do. Find out the other 5 important lessons the pandemic has passed on to the Non-Profit leaders.

So, what separates a good Non-Profit marketing strategy from a bad one?

Firstly, you must be clear on the differentiation between a marketing strategy and a marketing tactic.

Most of the blogs on marketing strategy across the internet focus on the tactics. Knowing the difference between strategy and tactic is of prime importance before you begin to craft your Non-Profit marketing strategy.

A marketing strategy looks at your Non-Profit goals, values and vision. Marketing tactics on the other hand are about how you can achieve those goals while executing with innovation and by keeping your values at the center of your marketing plan.

There is no right or wrong answer to what separates a good marketing strategy from a bad one. As Steve Jobs once said, marketing is more about values. The real challenge is how well you know your values and situate your operations around these values. This is what will differentiate you.

While there is no one-size-fits-all solution, there are steps you can follow to chalk out a Non-Profit marketing strategy. These are:

1. Know your Non-Profit vision and values

2. Set your Non-Profit goals and objectives

3. Get a detailed understanding of each of your constituents

4. Design a marketing plan to achieve your goals and objectives

5. Measure the marketing performance

Below are some of the promising ways to up your Non-Profit marketing performance:

1. Storytelling on social media

Social media is a great channel to capture people’s attention. Each social media platform differs in terms of its purpose for users and the users’ intentions and motivations for using each specific channel. If you are simply looking at post impressions or your fan following, it’s time to re-think the approach. When on social media, learn how to empathize with your audience. Draw clues from charity: water, a Non-Profit, that communicates empathy around the lack of safe drinking water by using visuals such as photographs and videos.

Another important element is that of emphasis on authenticity. And this is where impact reporting becomes critical for your success — and not just in marketing. Impact reporting also communicates your core values as an organization. Sharing reports and updates on your program or mission and connect your constituents to your cause. By tying donor dollars to the program outcomes and volunteer efforts towards the achievement of select Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), you will create transparency and build trust.

You must be mindful of the media and the message you are posting. Different social media platforms are designed to meet different intentions and motivations of people. When you match your message to the media, it better resonates with your audience and gets their attention to the cause they are passionate about.

2. User-generated content in Non-Profit marketing 

Investing in user-generated content has multiple benefits. These include a spark in donor engagement and participation, evoking emotion among advocates to express and share their voice for your cause. Get more details about how to drive user-generated content for your Non-Profit.

3. Role of impact reporting in Non-Profit marketing strategy

Collecting data is one thing. Providing data transparency and using accurate data to create more impact is another. Non-Profits that share their impact reports across social media and their website or any other distribution channel enjoy many benefits. These include getting a bird’s eye view of their program performance, a framework tying program outcomes with United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, building trust among constituents, and so on.

If you have not yet integrated sustainability into your overall strategy, it is time you do. To make it simple, start by learning about how to develop the best impact report for Non-Profits. Fayette Community Foundation explains some of the best practices of impact measurement and how it can help your fundraising and grant income.