What (image) are you communicating to your constituents?
While all nonprofits seem to operate on a shoestring budget, it is important to consider how you are presenting your organization to your constituents. And while you don’t want anyone to get the idea that you have an unlimited budget, there are ways to make a positive impression without breaking the bank. In addition, it is important to keep all of your constituents in mind by identifying a number of different strategies to reach each audience.
I have been working with one of my clients on developing their spring appeal. The organization is preparing to launch a new marketing campaign, aimed at potential clients, and the team decided to take advantage of this opportunity to align the donor-facing materials with the newly created client materials. This approach represents a complete “new look” for the agency – one that is fresh, clean and – dare I say – modern.
Here are a few of the many reasons I am excited about this approach:
- It is eye-catching. The colors and font are contemporary and consistent. The photographs are beautiful. The graphics are dynamic.
- It is easy to read. It represents a departure from the traditional 2-3 page letter but still provides the reader with an emotional connection.
- It makes donating easy. In addition to the perforated response card, the appeal provides clear and easy direction on how to donate online.
My client plans to send a follow-up email reminder with the same “look and feel”. Going forward, all of the marketing materials will be consistent, creating brand awareness and recognition.
What does your website say about your organization? First and foremost, be sure your website is easy to find. If your organization is not showing up at the top of a search, you may want to do some research to ensure you have the right key words to elevate your position within a search.
What is the look of your website? Be objective…does it look sophisticated or sophomoric? Is it easy to navigate and comprehensive, or is it cumbersome and inadequate? What does it look like on your smart phone?
Technology has quickly become a necessary tool to obtain information and often times the web is a person’s first “introduction” to your organization. Is it interactive or static? Is information up-to-date or outdated? Are pictures and events clearly labeled and posted soon after an event? It may be worth investing in a web developer to ensure your look represents the organization in the best possible way. In addition, be sure you have someone on staff who is trained to post pictures and make minor modifications so you don’t have to pay each time you want to make updates.
Does your organization use social media to reach donors and other constituents? If so, how often are you posting updates on Facebook? How often are you Tweeting? Are you leveraging social media to “spread the word” about upcoming events and to share photos and other important details following an event? Do you offer incentives to those who “Like” your organization or share information?
Social media will continue to take a more prominent role in connecting with constituents going forward. In addition to being cost-effective (sending evites in lieu of mailed invitations), younger generations are much more tech savvy in their approach to supporting organizations. It is imperative to keep this audience in mind for event planning, appeals, etc.
In the long run, the “face” of the organization is worth the investment of both time and money. Be thoughtful and invest wisely, and you will ultimately see a strong return on your investment.
by: Susan Bottum Matejka, Vice President, HUB Philanthropic Solutions