Jeremy Bartley

How to turn your nonprofit’s marketing efforts from boring to engaging

Your organization is serious, and it has an important message to share, but often its marketing efforts cause it to seem unrelatable, overwhelming or boring. Assessing how your organization connects with its audience is vital to its success.

Evaluate your marketing efforts.

What do people think when they interact with your organization for the first time? The content your organization posts on Facebook or the flyers it hangs up around town could be the first interaction potential donors have with it. If those tiny snippets of your organization don’t grab the viewer's attention right away, you may not get another chance to do so.

So how do you know if your organization is making a bad first impression? First, ask both donors and people in the community who have never interacted with your organization what they think of your marketing efforts. Make sure the questions you ask aren’t leading. This could be a simple as asking what first comes to mind when they hear your organization’s name. Second, analyze the rate of donations or volunteer sign-ups compared to your marketing efforts. If the content you've created does not lead to action, your content isn’t working. Lastly, ask yourself if the way you communicate is boring to you. If so, it’s boring to your potential donors as well.

My organization comes across as boring, now what?

1) Start by getting your organization’s team together to assess your mission statement. What does the public understand about your mission statement based on your current marketing efforts? Where is there lack of understanding? For example, your radio commercial may let people know that you provide food for the homeless, but it doesn’t accurately share the education, housing, job and other resources it provides. These additional resources make your organization more appealing to donors, but because your donor doesn’t understand what you fully do, he or she doesn’t donate.

2)Discuss the biggest objections you hear about your nonprofit. What part of your message is boring or too deep for people to stay interested? Be honest with yourselves; write down as many objections as you can.

3) Make a list of the stories or parts of your message that receive the most positive feedback.

4)Take the list you compiled from the last three points and get feedback. Ask your target audience, donors and people that have never interacted with your nonprofit to fill in the gaps in your data. Ask them to critique it, add more misunderstandings, objections and positive feedback. In the process, be sure to get their feedback on your organization's website, marketing material and social media.

5) With the data you compiled, tell your story. Your nonprofit has amazing stories, so share them with the public. Use the data to tell the stories that matter; a good message gives donors a reason to connect and care about your nonprofit’s mission. When creating your story, your goal should be to connect with your audience instead of convincing them to give to you.

6) Research the kind of content that engages your target demographic. From there, create content that matches that while telling your story.

Very few of us take the steps to manage our brand and tell a good story. If you want to grow your nonprofit, be intentional with the way you market your organization.