The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

4 Things Nonprofits Can Learn from the NBA Playoffs

The Playoffs are like the year-end giving season for NBA players. Just like your nonprofit’s staff in December, during Playoffs, athletes are busy, tired, and they have their eye on the prize. What can nonprofits learn from the 16 teams that are competing for the championship title? Here are 4 takeaways you can share with your colleagues:

Every little victory matters.

In the Playoffs: The Charlotte Bobcats went from having the second-worst record last season to playing the two-time defending champion in the first round of the playoffs this season. Talk about improvement!

Takeaway: You may be disappointed because you came so close to hitting your big fundraising goal. However, there are definitely some small wins that you can celebrate. Were email open rates better than last year? Did you have a higher percentage of recurring gifts? Use this as an opportunity to analyze what worked and what didn’t. Learn from it and leverage that knowledge to improve future campaigns.

That amazing jaw-dropping campaign element needs to fit in with your overall strategy.

In the Playoffs: There were seconds left in the fourth quarter of game 2 against the Grizzlies. Kevin Durant gets the ball, loses his balance, and shoots mid-fall. Those three points got everyone excited! But, the Thunder lost. It sure was a memorable shot, but in the end, it didn’t earn the points they needed to win.

Takeaway: Does your professionally produced video with a local celebrity or that beautiful photo shoot of your new facility enhance the story you’re telling in your fundraising appeal or confuse it? Even though you might want to share those “wow” elements as many times as possible, consider saving your snazzy elements for a campaign that makes sense and use it when it fits in with your overall strategy.

Let your personality shine.

In the Playoffs: The Wizards’ Bradley Beal makes 79% of his free throws. But during game 1 against the Pacers, he shot an air ball. How did he react? He showed that he was human and laughed it off.

Takeaway: Donors like a little personality in the communications they receive from your nonprofit. You’re human, your organization helps humans (or animals) and donors are human. Humans like to laugh and they want to feel connected to your cause through stories. Step away from the standard writing format for a few moments and inject some personality into your writing.

Say thank you.

In the Playoffs: This year’s NBA MVP was Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant. His acceptance speech was a big thank you to his entire team, his coaches, his mom, and so many others. You could tell his teammates were touched by his gratitude.

Takeaway: The work your nonprofit does is amazing. It changes peoples’ lives. But don’t forget who helped you accomplish the work: donors. Your donors are the superheroes. Make them feel special by saying thank you early and often.

Are you rooting for a team in the Playoffs this year? Have you noticed anything about your team’s performance that could apply to fundraising? Share in the comments below.

(Image source: MVGL /Tumblr)

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About This Blog

Carrie Saracini
Content Marketing Manager

We’re here to help you win hearts and minds—and donations.

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