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We've all been guilty of it at some point: in soliciting participation and fundraising for our event, we rely on a single communications approach, casting as wide a net as we can, seeking to win “everyone” to our cause. Deep down, we know the truth: this one-size-fits-all approach may be simple to execute, but it wastes marketing dollars, misses opportunities, and generally results in poor alignment between what an organization needs and the kinds of support it gets.
A “nonprofit thought leader” is basically a trendy label that refers to “an organization that is recognized for having ideas, programs, services or research that are valuable.” For example, Malaria No More is considered by many to be a thought leader, because they were one of the first nonprofits applying business principles to the fight against malaria. Once an individual or organization is recognized as a thought leader, they are also thought to have influence over a specific group of people by becoming a conduit for ideas and conversation.
Though that definition is rather straightforward, there is one key consideration necessary as you consider developing thought leadership: Thought leadership can be either intentional or unintentional. Some organizations stumble upon the position as a thought leader through sheer luck, while others arrive there through careful planning and execution. The latter is decidedly more effective than the former for achieving your organization’s stated strategic goals.
As a field coordinator, I have the honor of working with passionate and dedicated individuals who want to fundraise everyday. The work I do is rewarding and makes me feel like I really have the chance to make a difference in the world. The fact that I get to interact with the people we’re trying to help is a beautiful gift, but at the same time, it can also be a challenge. It can be hard to continually come into contact with people who are sick or their loved ones. These people are so much more than just “customers” or “constituents.” They become friends, and the mission to help them becomes more than just a job -- it is a passion.
Lately, the news has been flooded with instances of malfunctioning planes and emergency landings. Just last week, a Southwest plane lost part of its roof mid-flight. Instances such as these often leave passengers extremely frightened.
Delays also seem to be at an all time high. While they pale in comparison to emergency landings, delays leave customers disgruntled.
In either case, communication goes a long way.
Recently I was reminded of this as a passenger on a plane that was prepared for an emergency crash landing. I travel a lot, and I’ve never heard a noise so unusual upon take off – I knew there was something wrong.
We all have something that we can’t bear to part with. A pair of acid-washed jeans from college that haven’t fit for a decade, or a cassette tape of Madonna’s True Blue that is useless because you only own a cd player. While nostalgia is natural and even good in our personal lives it can be an expensive mistake to make in event fundraising.
On Friday I discussed how the internet has changed the landscape of giving, and today I’ll follow up with a look at two organizations who successfully adapted to these changes.
Social networking offers fantastic opportunities for non-profits to expand their reach amongst virtual groups of interconnected friends, family and co-workers (Facebook currently has more than 200 million active users!) but the most successful campaigns are about quality leading to quantity. The most successful marketing, fundraising, and awareness campaigns are those that have a strong connection to the heart of the non-profit’s mission. Let’s look at Jumpstart’s Read for the Record or the American Cancer Society's Relay for Life of Second Life as examples.
When Phil Knight founded Nike, one thing he understood very well is that different groups of consumers (market segments) have different wants and needs. He knew that in virtually any market, if different segments can be clearly identified, specific products with specific marketing programs can be developed meet both the physical and emotional needs of the consumer. These are probably the most important and fundamental tools in every nonprofit and event marketer's toolkit: market segmentation and target marketing.
A funny thing happened as I enjoyed my coffee this morning. Actually two funny things happened this morning: I heard a piece on NPR about non-profits looking for new ways to inspire giving and, at the same time, my mother called to tell me she was proud of herself. My 60 year old mother was searching online for the best gas price in her neighborhood.
Clean, safe drinking water for everyone on the planet -- that’s the goal of mycharity: water. The nonprofit has a clear, but extremely ambitious goal: to bring safe drinking water to people in developing nations. So how have they raised funds for their mission? They've used inbound marketing. Inbound marketing allows your organization to generate inbound leads by enabling potential donors to find you through search.
Last month, we attended the Nonprofit Technology Conference in Washington, D.C. and sat in on a presentation titled “What Donors Really Do Online: Nine Years of Data from 1.9 Million Donors” by Katya Andresen. Some highlights from her talk are featured below.