As I mentioned in the first part of this series, I recently expanded my services at Gerald & Joan to include brand consulting because I love helping clients achieve clean design and tell their stories in an inspiring and efficient manner. I have also seen so many cases where the design and marketing falls to poor, overworked staff members who would be much better off using their talents elsewhere.
As these well-meaning folks don't have a clue where to start with marketing but know they need help, I wanted to highlight three additional elements of strategic marketing for nonprofits –website and social media content management, email marketing and public relations:
Website and Social Media Content Management: Websites are truly no-brainers in today’s world. Every brand must have one, and it should be updated on a regular basis. I prefer a simple, easy-to-navigate website that uses great graphics and images. For nonprofit websites, I like to see a current staff list with email and phone contact information, a calendar of upcoming events and ways donors/volunteers can get involved. A blog is also a great way to encourage visitors to check out the website on a regular basis, and it gives nonprofits content for social media. Social media goes hand-in-hand with website management, and it should be used to drive traffic to the website. Every brand should have social media because it’s a really easy way for potential partners to find out more about the nonprofit and stay engaged on a regular basis. For these reasons, each social media channel should have consistent branding (clean logos, a great cover photo, updated organizational information and some great photos) and regular posts that engage and excite the specific audience. If possible, a good percentage of the organization’s posts should drive the audience back to the organization’s website.
Email Marketing: In my career, I’ve send out tons of weekly and monthly email blasts. Both can achieve good open rates, but nonprofits (and for profits for that matter) must know their audiences and how often they want to receive news and updates. If they don’t have a good feel for this, they’ll lose subscribers. I recommend offering sign up options for subscribers – perhaps a weekly CEO update and a monthly volunteer newsletter. Emails should be short and to the point, and then they can link back to longer features on the organization’s website. E-blasts also serve as great content for social media!
Public Relations: My college degree has a PR emphasis, so I learned at the age of 22 that PR and nonprofits can work really well together. Journalists love a great story, and nonprofits can offer great stories. Unfortunately, nonprofit employees don’t always have PR backgrounds, and therefore they don’t know what to pitch (all nonprofit “news” is not worthy of a reporter’s time), when to pitch it (events can’t be pitched too early or too late), how to pitch (there are preferred methods to pitching) or who to pitch (there are tons of reporters at every news outlet). Journalists also appreciate well-written press releases and news advisories that make good use of AP Style and working with a single organizational contact that can set up interviews for them quickly and efficiently.
Readers, if you know a nonprofit that could benefit from any of these brand consulting services, please send them my way. I would love to put together a plan that meets the unique needs of their organization and helps them make great use of their marketing budget.
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