'It’s Your Community': VP of Marketing and Research Discusses Marketing for Nonprofit Organizations in WJR Interview

Recently, Mark Gaskill, our vice president of research and marketing solutions, had the chance to sit down and chat with WJR’s Vanessa Denha Garmo. They discussed marketing strategy for nonprofits: how to make the most of your organization’s unique story, and how you can make your donors long-term partners in your organization’s mission. Below are some highlights from Mark and Vanessa’s conversation. 

It’s always about storytelling. 
Your donors are drawn to your organization because it fills a need that they connect with. Make sure that they take a part in the organization’s story: think about how you can make your donors the heroes in your nonprofit’s work. This will bolster engagement and make casual donors into passionate advocates for your cause. 

Know your database and know why they’re there.
It can take an initial investment but reviewing your database of donor contacts can help you shape your marketing message into better segments. Do you have a lot of contacts that have attended just one event, but aren’t otherwise engaged? Craft a campaign that will convert them into regular donors. How about long-term, even legacy donors? They should know how important they are to your work and should hear from you regularly. 

Ask your donors! 
A survey, while it can be daunting, is a tremendous asset in marketing strategy. Collect data on your donors, and you’ll be better able to figure out what they’re looking for in your organization. You may be surprised by the answers. Sometimes this can shift long-term communication strategy, which will lead to more engaged and ultimately more generous donors. This will also give you the knowledge you need to foster relationships with your donors, rather than just transactions. 

Plan to be nimble.
2020 has shown nonprofits the value of pivoting to meet new demands and circumstances. It is easier to pivot when you have all the data lined up, you know your audience segments, what key messages resonate and have planned out the channels of communication. This knowledge coupled with a strategic approach allows you to streamline where necessary.

Finally, Measure your success!
All that data segmentation, donor surveying and personalized storytelling will pay off, but you won’t know unless you have a plan to measure the results. Plan at least an annual review of your marketing strategy and make adjustments where necessary. You’ll find it easier to craft customized, targeted messages, and in turn will garner higher returns. 

Kirk Vercnocke
Kirk Vercnocke


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