The Winning Formula for Non-Profit Marketing Success
Non-profits start with a good cause.
An idea is born out of an injustice or a need for support, visibility, or awareness. The passion to correct a wrong is ardent. The motivation behind the movement the movement has momentum. Sleepless nights and weekends are invested into mobilizing troops to support the mission.
But then as quickly as the non-profit picks up steam, it fades. The initial excitement is gone. The donor base is difficult to amass. The volunteers lose motivation. The community’s passion fades.
But, how can such a great idea lose momentum so quickly?
Well, that’s probably because there was an ingredient missing from its formula for success.
In order to have a continually successful non-profit, where communities are engaged and the donors are plentiful, cause leaders should employ the perfect mix of “breart.”
Breart, simply put means:
breart = brain + heart
Having a good cause, passion, and motivation is not enough to run a sustainable and impactful organization. It is also necessary to employ intelligence, insight, talent, and strategy.
Your mission is the heart. It is the driving force of your organization. It’s your “why.”
But what about the brain? Below are several tips to help non-profits better exercise the brains in the breart formula.
Clearly define your mission, objectives, and reason for existing.
An effective non-profit always keeps its mission front and center. It has a strategic and tangible plan on how it will continue to share its work and contribute to greater societal good. The organization’s leaders understand, and can effectively articulate, how the organization is different from others with similar missions. Rule of thumb: be sure you’re able to convey your unique selling proposition and elevator pitch in a way that fuels continuous buzz and sparks curiosity.
2. Put detailed specifics around your target audience and donor-base.
Be deliberate in outlining exactly who your organization seeks to impact, and how. It is easier to evaluate success and promote change by knowing exactly who you’re focused on and why. Having a deep understanding of your target audience will set the foundation for more focused strategies and ensure people actually care (and are connected to) what your organization stands for.
3. Consider mixed-source funding.
Funding doesn’t only have to come from donations. Consider exploring a variety of funding and revenue sources, including a mix of both private and public donations. Additionally, another alternative for additional funding lies in strategic sponsorships and event promotion partnerships. Competing for government and corporate grants is also a good way to rev up your fundraising efforts. Start by asking your board members to do some of the heavy lifting. A quick intro of your organization to their network could do wonders for expanding your reach.
4. Define alternate and lucrative sources of revenue.
Any organization reliant solely on just private or public donations can be victim to the economic uncertainty of the time’s social and political climate. It is wise to develop an alternate source of income. Organizations that reach greater stability and sustainability are those that capitalize on a service (e.g., trainings, assessments, demonstrations, entertainment) or a product (e.g., t-shirts, mugs, bumper stickers). Diversify your organizational revenue structure as a way to withstand market changes.
5. Outline and implement a holistic marketing strategy.
Non-profits have powerful messages they want to convey, thus communicating this message effectively is serious business. A good marketing strategy successfully connects the audience with the message. Be sure your messaging evokes emotion and gets to the heart of what your target audience cares deeply about.
6. Be accountable.
The public wants to know how their investment is spent, which means transparency is a must. A solid approach is to develop a monitoring and evaluation plan. This plan will help you monitor how finances are managed and spent, track activities, measure change, and REPORT all of this in the appropriate form.
7. Create a plan for continuous insight, learning and improvement.
Speaking of evaluation, data can also yield powerful insights for improvement. Organizations that withstand the test of time use what they learn from past experiences, others’ successes, and from other data sources to implement a plan for constant improvement.
The heart is the purpose and promise of a non-profit, but it is their brain is what gives it real traction.
Do you need help with constituent outreach, integrated marketing campaign development, event promotion, data collection, or cause-activation strategies?
We are here to help!
Contact us today, and we’ll help you discover new opportunities to engage current and prospective donors, increase digital acquisition, and better connect with your community.