Nonprofits: Maximize your Marketing Money

Hey, nonprofit friends (note: this can definitely apply to our for-profits friends, too!), we have a challenge for you. It’s bold. It’s daring. It may seem risky, but we’re confident that if you take this challenge, the benefits will be huge. Here’s our challenge to you: try cutting your direct mail budget in half and spending the additional money on inbound marketing and content creation.

Gasp! But how will we reach our older supporters who aren’t online? How will we follow up with our donors to make sure we stay funded? We’re not ready or equipped for inbound marketing/content creation!

We know what you’re thinking. We know this isn’t how things are typically done in the realm of nonprofit marketing. But marketing trends for 2015 reveal that the general population is shutting out traditional forms of outbound marketing (specifically, trashing anything that even smells of “junk mail”). Pouring your limited time and money into one direct mail campaign after another is probably not the most effective use of your resources. So we challenge you to trim down your direct mail budget and invest the extra funds in the type of marketing that will reach people right where they really live–social media, blogs, and websites. In case you still aren’t convinced, we’ll address some of those misgivings that may be holding you back from reaping the rewards of inbound marketing.

How will we reach our older supporters who aren’t online?

It’s certainly true that some of your senior constituents simply aren’t computer-savvy, and they probably never will be. But let’s debunk this myth about senior citizens once and for all: according to the Pew Research Center, 59% of adults over 65 use the internet regularly, and many of them are also using social media. Statistically speaking, the majority of your older supporters are visiting your website, liking your Facebook page, and/or  following you on Twitter. They’re paying attention to your online content. Inbound marketing campaigns will not be completely lost on this demographic!

On the other hand, your senior demographic is the most likely to actually read and respond to direct mailers, so focusing your direct mail campaigns to this specific group of constituents will get you the most “bang for your buck” out of your (smaller) direct mail budget.

How will we follow up with our donors to make sure we stay funded?

Direct mail is great for directing traffic to your website, and it does elicit some online donations. But your mailings can only reach so many people. With inbound marketing, you gain access to a much larger audience filled with people who are looking for an organization just like yours to support. If you are using inbound marketing strategies correctly, you’ll be providing the right information at just the right time along each potential donor’s life cycle with your organization. You will be educating and informing your new constituents at first, and providing them with the information they need to start giving or fundraising on their own after they’ve connected and been inspired by your cause.

We aren’t ready or equipped for inbound marketing/content creation!  

You are more ready than you think. Got a website and a twitter account? Do you send email? If you answered “yes” to these questions, you’re ready for inbound marketing! In order to make inbound marketing effective for your organization, you will need to start blogging and creating high-quality content that you can share through your social media outlets.

Creating great content can seem intimidating at first, but your nonprofit has a huge advantage here: you have a wealth of inspiring personal stories to tell! Start by telling the stories of the people whose lives have been changed through your nonprofit. Tell the stories of the volunteers whose lives have been enriched by their service with your organization. Tell the stories of your employees and the reasons why they choose to devote their lives to your cause. You’ll be amazed how quickly you become a really good storyteller (and blogger)! Keep in mind, you can always enlist your volunteers and staff to help you write stories and articles to educate or inspire your audience.

In addition, you can hire out all or part of your marketing tasks to freelancers or agencies. You might be surprised at how far your budget can stretch. Often for less than the price of a part-time employee you can hire the full capabilities (and many brains!) of an inbound marketing agency.

So, nonprofits: your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to make room in your marketing budget for inbound marketing. If you are ready to take the leap, or you just want more information about how inbound marketing would work for your organization–we are here to help!

Writing profile stories for your organization? Download our free Story Map template below. It’s a simple checklist to help you organize your story and optimize the emotional power of your story!

The Story Map: Click Here!