Marketing the Message: Chronicle of Philanthropy

The New American Dream has a reprint of a great article by Suzanne Perry from The Chronicle of Philanthropy on
the improvements needed in communications for charities. The article
has several facts from recent research, as well as tips for improvement.

When it comes to communication, many charities are
still in their “infancy,” says R. Christine Hershey, president of Cause
Communications. “They don’t look at it from a strategic standpoint.”

In addition to the tips already listed at the article, I would add a few of my own:

  1. Pay attention to what the “For Profit” world is doing
    Large
    marketing and communication budgets generate some great ideas each and
    every day. By looking critically at the tactics that advertisers and
    marketeers are using for large corporate brands, non-profits can
    sometimes create unique opportunities for communication and marketing
    in ways that had not considered. For example, if a unique email comes
    across your desk that causes you to act, understand what the offer was
    and how it caused you to treat it differently and apply that to your
    situation.
  2. Look for online services
    The
    web has changed considerably just in the past few years. There are now
    a number of online services that can provide a shared environment to
    leverage where just last year the infrastructure to create a custom
    tool would have kept many non-profits away. RegOnline
    is a great example. For a minimal cost, you can have a fully
    functioning registration tool for your next event that allows for
    online registration, payment, and fullfillment.
  3. Partner with creative people who believe in your cause and utilze their talents.
    The most effective communications come from those who are creative and passionate.
  4. Be cautious to dismiss something based upon the fact that “no one else has ever done it that way.”
    Creativity
    and marketing will often take you places that are uncomfortable.
    Understand your constiuents and creatively go as far as possible.

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