The Nonprofit Marketing Blog

Cultivating a garden of supporters

Youtility bookJay Baer’s Youtility truly puts smart marketing to the test.

The book’s premise is that marketing should be ‘about help not hype.’ Instead of the now-antiquated push marketing (Think: The earth is polluted! Children are starving! Our nonprofit is remedying these problems!), Baer argues the collaborative economy and nature of social media leaves consumers wanting help from nonprofit and corporate brands, not more marketing speak.

Your cause is important. If it’s important enough to dedicate a staff to, it’s important enough for people to support your cause. It’s entirely reasonable—and advisable—to share all the great work you’re doing with current and potential donors.

That said, there are certain factors worth considering as you’re crafting any external communication (either to gain new supporters, or retain past donors).

To do that, ask yourself and your team, what is the audience you want to cultivate?

When you have an answer, consider Baer’s three questions below, and apply them to your marketing efforts.

1) How does your audience discover information? Are they using a search engine? Personal referrals? Perhaps they rely on social networks?

Focus your marketing in the areas in which your audience already resides. There’s no need to create communities if yours already exists somewhere! Tap into those networks (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) to share relevant, timely, and helpful information.

2) What are their preferences for communication? Are they big on personalized communication? Use the preferred tools to connect deeply with your audience.

Let’s say your audience prefers personalized emails. If your staff doesn’t have the bandwidth to drop their day-to-day work and e-penning notes, consider dedicating one hour a week to meeting your targets’ preferred communication needs. When you connect with a prospective audience in the way they want to hear from you, you open up the possibility of transforming passive supporters into active cause ambassadors.

3) What motivates them to take action? It’s likely something personal. If your audience doesn’t have a personal connection to your cause, how can you make it personal? Can you relate it to a local event?

A deluge of images relating to your cause may not be the best way to communicate your cause. Consider getting more personal, and explain how individuals can get involved to make a true difference. Demonstrate the impact of donations—you may be surprised at how compelling of a case you’ve now made!

Question for discussion: When have you used a personal appeal successfully? Did it surprise you?

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About This Blog

Amanda Khoury
Marketing Manager

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

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