Feb 28, 2010

Avoid Common Marketing Mistakes II

Here are some more common mistakes non-profits make when it comes to marketing.

Not cross-promoting services or programs within target specific audiences: Many non-profits talk about one specific thing at a time and overlook mentioning their other programs or services. For example, a non-profit who offers addiction recovery services may also want to talk about other mental health or health care services offered. Organizational mission, what a donor’s contribution supports and how money is disbursed is also important information to communicate regularly and within appropriate promotional vehicles.

Overlooking web optimization: It’s tempting for non-profits to spend money on the bells and whistles of their website without making a commitment to optimize text and keywords for better search engine pick up. Having a great photo on the home page without thinking about how the copy on the home page impacts hits is a missed opportunity and can be costly in terms of visitors to the site. Think about who is searching for you and what they might type into a search engine. For example, if you work for an organization that services children with disabilities, you might want to consider having your home page include words such as “autism and children” or “kids with hearing impairments.”

Feb 20, 2010

Avoid Common Marketing Mistakes I

With so many balls in the air, directors of non-profits are faced with a variety of tasks sometimes making it difficult to do everything effectively and efficiently. However, with proper guidance and support, all marketing initiatives can be successful. 

One common mistake non-profits make when it comes to marketing is not having consistency.  Non-profit organizations, like all businesses, must have a cohesive brand identity. Organizational branding is extremely important and should be consistent from one program to another. Too often one program within an organization (perhaps because it has its own budget) develops its own promotional or communications material. Having one program appear as if it's part of an entirely different organization does not serve to promote the cause.

At the same time, in an attempt to save money, many non-profit organizations do not follow the proper organizational graphic standards. Colors, logos, and other graphic standards may be ignored, causing a loss of brand identity. Good branding is a precious commodity for every business and non-profit organization.

Brand identity is what differentiates the American Cancer Society from the United Cancer Foundation.  One is a state-based organization that focuses on obtaining free screenings for those who can't afford it.  Isn't it important for potential donors, volunteers, and clients to know the difference?

AMW Marketing can provide the necessary guidance to make your non-profit's brand stand out.  Is your message consistent?

Feb 16, 2010

Evaluate Your Most Important Resources- Part III

What is an organization’s most valuable resource?

The people make up the heart and soul of any organization.  Employees at non-profits are often underpaid and overworked. Take the time to evaluate the functions of each staff member and see how much responsibility each position carries. Is there some shifting that can be done to more evenly distribute job responsibilities? Are there some tasks that can be eliminated? Or do tasks need to be added? Can some projects be outsourced to free up time for staff to spend on programs or services?

Thank your staff.  In all cases, take the time to reward a job well-done and appreciate the staff you have. It’s the people who make an organization successful.

When you need assistance with business development, consider outsourcing to a marketing company that specializes in working with non-profits. 

Feb 11, 2010

Evaluate Your Most Important Resources- Part II

Another important resource to review is your brochures, flyers, and other marketing materials.

Take stock of all your collateral. When was the last time you reviewed all the printed material you have on hand? Pull together all communications materials you are still using and read it over with a fresh perspective. Does it still communicate your vision clearly? Is your audience responding to it in the way you had hoped? Are there better, more cost-effective ways to get the message across? Are there additional pieces you need to have on hand to talk about the benefits of your program or service? Are there new programs or services offered that are not covered in existing pieces of collateral? Often times, non-profits use outdated or inappropriate materials to save on costs. Ask yourself, what is the cost of not accurately communicating your mission, programs or services simply to save budget dollars?

Even logos need updating once in awhile.  AMW Marketing can help.

Feb 7, 2010

Evaluate Your Most Important Resources- Part I

Non-profit organizations have unique challenges especially when it comes to marketing. Budgets are smaller, resources are limited and board members can be overly cautious. But there are a few things non-profits can do to make the most of their dollars. Knowing what resources you have along with having a clear definition of your goals can help. Consider your resources before directing your marketing initiatives.

Review your database – One of the most valuable resources non-profit organizations have is their own database. These are people who have been involved with your mission and your organization in some way. Take time to inspect your lists regularly. Ask yourself some questions about donors and volunteers. When was the last time you communicated to the entire list? Is the list still accurate? How is the list segmented? Can you add more fields or capture information in your database that will help you to send out more targeted messages to your constituents? Spending time learning as much as you can about your database is time wisely spent.
What other treasures will you find when you take inventory? More on my next post!