Marketing for non-profits: not a “one size fits all”

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You may believe that the same marketing approach will fit all non-profits regardless of size.

While there are similarities when developing marketing strategies, effective and efficient marketing depends on your marketing & fundraising spend as indicated in the table below.

Annual spend on marketing & fundraising (including staff time) Category
<$50,000Small non-profit with fairly predictable marketing needs
$50,000 - $499,000Mid-size non-profit that hires or would consider hiring part-time fundraising staff
$500,000+Large non-profit with a marketing team whose roles align with board members and volunteers
           

Marketing best practices for small non-profits

Common marketing challenge: “Help us, we have nothing!”

  • Communication touchpoints: Determine your communication touchpoints based on your target audience.
  • Website: Ensure your website is aligned with your brand, mission, values and strategic objectives.
    It should have plain language, images that align with your brand and simple navigation.
  • Consistent messaging: Align the content and design from your website with your communication materials.  This helps ensure your messages and look & feel are consistent across all your communications.
  • Annual audit: Audit your communication pieces each year and if required, update and clarify the content.

Marketing best practices for medium non-profits

Common marketing challenge: “Help us work smarter”

  • Communication touchpoints: Determine your communication touchpoints based on your target audience.
  • Website: Ensure your website is aligned with your brand, mission, values and strategic objectives. It should have plain language, images that align with your brand and simple navigation.
  • Consistent messaging: Align the content and design from your website with your communication materials.  This helps ensure your messages and look & feel are consistent across all your communications.
  • Revenue Efficiency Report: Customize your Revenue Efficiency Report template for your board to highlight the cost effectiveness of your revenue streams and methods for improving your fundraising ratio
    for the Canada Revenue Agency (CRA).
  • Donor Churn Report: Customize your Donor Churn Report template for your board to identify your effectiveness at acquiring new donors and retaining current donors.

Marketing best practices for large non-profits

Common marketing challenge: “Help us work better” 

  • Clarify and protect your brandThe art of marketing is the art of branding. Board members, executive directors and other management all have a role in championing your brand.
  •  Calculate your financial metrics

Prepare the following reports each year. These reports highlight your operating efficiency, the effectiveness of your marketing strategies and year-to-year changes in the efficiency of your marketing efforts.

Revenue Efficiency Report indicates the cost effectiveness of each revenue stream and methods for improving your fundraising ratio for the CRA.

Donor Churn Report measures your annual donor portfolio turnover and illustrates your effectiveness
at acquiring new donors and retaining current donors.

Marketing Effectiveness Report identifies marketing activities that are working well and those which
are not as effective.

  • Review your team

Make sure you have people with the skills and fit required for your team. Ensure you have the proper combination
of marketing generalists and specialists required for your marketing campaigns.

Resources

Not sure where to start? Contact MAS for help! 

Management Advisory Service (MAS) can help you market your non-profit effectively and enhance your ability to develop your brand, speak in a consistent voice and communicate effectively with donors, sponsors, clients, employees and stakeholders. Contact MAS today and put our expertise to work for you.

 

By Leila MacDonald and Brian Moran

 

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