This article is inspired by a conversation that I had with Natan Cohen, a veteran digital marketer in the non-profit and corporate space. You can listen to this podcast and others here: https://jewishpodcasts.fm/profitingwithnonprofits/41661
Many organizations today are afraid to advance their marketing to Facebook, YouTube, and Google ads. Why is that the case when they could be making so much more money in a far more effective way?
Firstly, most people are scared of the unknown. Since digital marketing is still relatively new for many companies, they’re scared to jump into unknown territory.
They also have no idea what digital marketing entails, but imagine that it must be risky, complicated, and expensive, even though it certainly is not.
Many people are also held back because of perfection. They are scared to go through the process and learn what works for them. Marketing isn’t magic. It can’t possibly be effective right away- the methods often have to be tweaked as you try out different models and adjust to what works for you and your company.
Although these reasons may seem entirely legitimate, they are simply a cause of misinformation. Yes, it can be scary to try something new. But in no way is digital marketing risky, costly or complex in any way. When you work with someone who has experience in this area, the process is smooth and so much more effective than previous marketing models.
Ø You just have to just jump in. Go for something new and unknown because it will save you so much time and effort in the long run, whilst bringing in so much more funds.
Organizations in the non-profits space often believe that once all the infrastructure is in place, they ‘just need donors.’ They just need one representative to go out there and meet with people individually.
This is simply not reality.
In the for-profit space, there will always be a board behind the company. This is so important for non-profits too- you need to invest in a donor base, in people who support you and stand behind your organization. More than getting one-time big checks, you need people around you who can involve others in your cause.
You have to build a story, and build connections.
Everyone likes to belong to a mission, to a greater cause. Every person wants to identify themselves with an organization that is filling a need in the world. You can tap into that by having people direct that desire toward your organization.
One practical way of investing in your donors is by reaffirming their decision to donate. This prevents buyer’s remorse and ensures that the donor wants to continue giving in the future. It doesn’t matter if it was a large check or a micro-donation- you have to tell your donors ‘Thank you.’ Better yet, show them how their donation was used to benefit people through your efforts. That’s the key difference between a non-profit and a for-profit company.
Everyone understands that you don’t have to thank a person for buying a BMW. The car company doesn’t need to thank the buyers because they will win their loyalty by having a good product. In the non-profit world, appreciation is key to building connections, loyalty, and passion in others for your cause.
Ø When you can reaffirm their decision, they will become loyal to you, and advocate for you.
Many organizations make the mistake of introducing their mission to people when they need their money. This is a big mistake. When you approach someone and have to start explaining what you do, why it’s important, who you’ve helped and how you are barking up the wrong tree.
By the time you ask for the donation, your potential donor has to know who you are already.
Your story has to proceed with your conversation. You have to educate the masses in advance so that when you want them to help you out, they’ll know, and maybe even support you, already.
Ø Make sure that people know and care about you and your mission before you ask them to donate.
It’s also important to connect to people emotionally. Think about how you want to be sold, what experience would you want to have when you make the decision to donate and sell it that way. If you connect to potential donors on an emotional level, they won’t feel like they’re being sold.
Take advantage of your network and of your resources. Marketing is sometimes uncomfortable and unpleasant but if you know the value of effective marketing, you can make it work for you. Think about your goals and the resources that you have to get there, and study your target audience- who you would like to sell your product to show your target audience why their money would be best spent on your organization.
Ø If you’ve connected emotionally, they will feel your passion and donate happily, and, they most likely will advocate for you too.
It’s so important to go where your donors are- the donors of this generation are on the internet. And in this day and age, the only way to get funds is by putting yourself out there. If you post something that can easily be shared, even if the person who first saw the ad couldn’t give you much, they may share it with someone or be connected with someone, who will come through with a hefty donation. The way to grow and expand your reach is to widen your orbit through social media.
Ø Don’t stay in the past. The most effective way to move forward is by showing up in the places where the donors of today are- Google, Facebook, YouTube and other social media platforms.
To conclude, a tip from Natan Cohen:
Two of the most important aspects of digital media are audience and data. Know your target audience- what they want, what they’re looking for, what they value, etc.- the better you know them the more you can sell your organization in a way that they won’t be able to refuse you.
Ensure that you have data so that you can set your benchmark and determine whether you have reached it, or how you can get closer. When you have data on your fundraising efforts, you can analyze what works and what doesn’t. You can then decide how to move forward to get the desired results.
Sean Littman is the founder and CEO of Catch22-Nonprofit Marketing, his out-of-the-box thinking, and approach to marketing have helped dozens of organizations both large and small, maximize their potential and see explosive results on all ends!
If you'd like to see how Sean can help your organization, book a FREE 15-minute call today!