Avoid these nonprofit marketing mistakes

    Despite signs of rebirth for the economy, charitable giving is not expected to rebound any time soon. According to the Chronicle of Philanthropy, “Charities predict they will continue to struggle to raise money in 2010, with many groups unable to collect as much as they did before the recession.”

    This means already fierce competition for contributions will become even more intense. Avoid making these nonprofit marketing missteps that can cost you your share of the philanthropic market.

    Marketing only your mission. Your mission may be the reason you exist and is the driving force internally, but it’s your story that differentiates you to donors, customers and volunteers. Unless these audiences hear the emotionally compelling impact your nonprofit is having on the community, they will take their hearts and wallets elsewhere.

    Not messaging for your audience. Reframing messages to target a specific audience will have a greater impact than listing all your accomplishments. Stacy Jones, a nonprofit marketing consultant that contributes to the Philanthropy Journal suggests that “instead of telling the audience all the benefits of the organization, change the message to show the impact the audience can have on the cause.”

    No call to action. Ever been moved by a nonprofit’s story but then not knowing how to help? It happens all the time, especially when an organization launches a new initiative. If a potential donor or volunteer cannot immediately respond to the call for action while the excitement is there, your opportunity for connection is lost.

    Lack of brand consistency. Ask 10 people involved with your organization. Nonprofits need to create key messages about the organization’s impact and how they make a difference in their community. Equally important: Make sure all board members, key volunteers and staff know and use these messages.

    No budget. Marketing is an investment in an organization’s viability. Without marketing, programs and services will suffer, because donations will drop, volunteers won’t know about volunteer opportunities and there will be low turnout at events. Marketing is a critical piece to building affinity and needs to be treated as such, with at least some marketing dollars reflected in the budget.

    Cathi Mohan, founder of Brand on the Run, is a nonprofit consultant specializing in providing an integrated approach to resource development and marketing communications strategies that deliver to brand goals. She can be reached at 414-534-4688 or clbmohan@gmail.com.

    Sign up for BizTimes Daily Alerts

    Stay up-to-date on the people, companies and issues that impact business in Milwaukee and Southeast Wisconsin

    No posts to display