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Marketing 101 for Non-Profits

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Peter Cavrell, principal of New Haven marketing firm the Boost Group, offered a “Fall Marketing Tuneup” that specifically targeted non-profits at a Greater New Haven Chamber of Commerce seminar last month. He says that given the nature of a non-profit’s business, there are some specific tactics to keep its marketing efforts fresh and on-point. BNH caught up with Cavrell after the event for a chat.

How can non-profit organizations know if their marketing is successful?

There is a marketing perception, a marketing reality performance gap that people have. We’re sending out all of this stuff, contacting people, running an ad campaign, doing direct mail, and sending e-mail blasts. But are you talking to the right people? You have to find out ativan online hates you and who loves you. The people in the ambien generic are ambivalent. It takes a little bit of research and a bit of customer service, but those who love you become your advocates. Make sure you’re talking to the right audience in the right way. Surveying and trying to get to some emotional context will help you get the answer. Also, stay on top of social media. It takes a lot of work, but it’s an easy way to spread bad press.

Is marketing a non-profit any different from a for-profit business?

No. Small organizations face the same challenges as big organizations — just on a smaller scale.

After you make sure you’re reaching the right people, what do you recommend?

Take a look at your own identity, and from there examine your value proposition. For a non-profit, there is one outcome that you deliver: it’s a performance outcome of support or fundraising to benefit a population. Then it’s important to articulate to your other audience — the donors — what meaning you have to them. It’s the satisfaction that they’ll get, the fulfillment of the promise that a non-profit will make to support that population.

Is there a best way to get that point across?

The point needs to be sharpened. Think about it: The Gettysburg Address was 272 words. We don’t think enough about who the reader is, what the reader’s need is and how best to communicate. There’s so much information that we’re so excited about and we want to get all of this information out. Sometimes I think it’s just overwhelming. Sharpen the creative cheap valium.

Do non-profits have an emotional component to their marketing?

Yes. If you can spend the time to find the people who love you, you’re way better off. One size does not fit all. Everybody’s marketing effort is different. Everybody’s problem is different. A Twitter audience might be perfect for you, or it might not be. Facebook might be better for you. You have to find what’s really good for you, not simply what’s really cool. You can do this with your own resources internally. If everyone could look at one or more of these things in trying to figure out what they’re doing, how it’s working and how it can be tweaked.

How often do you recommend a non-profit perform this checkup?

It’s a regular process. Get into a habit of setting up a system. You have to have data, you have to have metrics. Once you’ve set up a program, everything will be revealed. Data doesn’t lie. If you’re doing an e-mail campaign, keep an eye on the results. Look at the elements that you need to get you a better result. You only have a little bit of time to capture someone’s interest and get them engaged in what you’re saying. It’s a constant process to look at the results of your rolling campaigns. Are you being bold enough? Are you being catchy enough? Look at what worked and make it better.

— Melissa Nicefaro