Leadership Tuesday…Is Your Nonprofit “On” 24/7?

Annual Fund Consultation  

You’ve read about the importance of “relevance”often, at least as it pertains to the nonprofit arena.  Why is relevance so important?  Plain and simple, it’s your passage way to your donors.  The days of barging in on them with what you think is important are gone forever.

The donor is the one who should be defining what is important–relevant, not what you and not your nonprofit believe to be important.  Your responsibility is to be ready to respond with content “relevant” to their concerns.

When I brought this subject up to one of the executive directors we work with the other day, he said, “But we’re telling stories now.  Stories that speak to the impact of the work we do.”  My response to him was, “Great, I know you are, but that’s just a part of being relevant.”

You see, what we’re finding is that, increasingly, donors, are always on (social media, mobile).  From a marketing standpoint, your organization needs to be always be “on” too, especially when it comes to creating and disseminating fresh, relevant content.

Something I read the other day in this regard really caught my attention.  It’s from the One to One Group.  They suggest that fundrasing and marketing offices need to think and function “like a newsroom.”  I like that notion.

Let’s take it even a step further.  What if we did away with the notion of long-term campaigns where a message or theme was created a year in advance with all the creative already prepared and ready to go at pre-assigned times?  Instead, what if we thought of our fundraising or marketing office as a 10:00 pm newsroom.  Think about it.

We’ve all seen the newsroom with the anchor and co-anchor standing in front of a working newsroom with field reporters, writers and various others in the background gathering information, writing stories, making telephone calls and doing research.  What is it that is changing constantly?  The content, that’s what.  It must stay relevant and current 24/7.

For your brand to be relevant in today’s marketplace, encourage your staff must be able to create lots of useful, appealing, and timely content.  Creating a model of real-time, data driven communications–just like a newsroom will make your nonprofit audience, not organization, centered.

If your nonprofit fails to keep pace with the steady stream of relevant content available on demand, you’re in trouble.

Have you already begun to transition into a newsroom set-up?  Let us know how it’s going right here.

 

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Moments of Inspiration

iStock_000006758011Small  

You are going to love the newest way RMC is going to inspire in 2014. “A Moment to Inspire” is RMC’s newest web-series, focusing on teaching and inspiring you to retain your donors, and keep them loyal, in new, creative ways! Once a month, check back on our YouTube page for the latest episodes. You don’t want to miss any of these brief, easy to watch, informational moments! Our first episode is below! Let us know what you think!

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Mail: Then & Now

Measure-Success1  

Years ago, I watched millions of pieces of mail being sent out every month. This was for a variety of things. For example, new products being sold, various club memberships, and, of course, nonprofit organizations asking for donations.

Today, this volume has dwindled drastically because of the rising costs of direct mail and the use of email in its place.

More and more, however, we have come to see that email as a stand-alone solution to combat rising direct mail costs is ineffective. After all, it isn’t free. Time is needed to write, edit, and send out email communications and time is money. People are being paid to do email communications.

What about people who don’t have email? They are missed or worse, lost. And there are those who look at an email address and immediately hit the “delete” button because of a lack of interest.

Last, but not least, what about tracking? If emails are being deleted but not tagged as spam, you can be thinking that there still is a relationship; in reality, there isn’t. Those individuals are lost.

Through it all, direct mail still has a “Made You Look” appeal to it. Most people want to know who they’re getting mail from. This creates interest which causes the recipient to find out what is being asked of them (at least as far as nonprofits are concerned).

Lately, our customers have been coming back to us with really outstanding feedback regarding how much they raised in their last direct mail appeal. Yes, it’s true. People are returning to direct mail. It helps to build relationships with existing donors and create new ones with 1st time supporters in so many more ways than email can.

That does not, however, mean that we are suggesting that email be ignored as a communication channel. On the contrary, email when wrapped around a direct mail piece as a primer before the piece is delivered and as a reminder after it has been delivered is a very potent communication cocktail. Try it!

Do you agree? What are you seeing at your nonprofit?

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Traditional & Social…Living & Working Together Quite Nicely, Thank You

Social Media Banner  

We’ve been spending some time looking into best practices and strategies of both product and service offerings via direct mail and social media.  What did we find out?  When using both in an integrated fashion, your message reaches further than if you were to send it separately.

There is little doubt that your donors and prospects are active on social media.  After all, there are over 1 billion Facebook users, 200 million on LinkedIn and Twitter and 343 million using Google+ (Digital Marketing Ramblings [http://expandedramblings.com/index.php/resource-how-many-peoople-use-the-top-social-media/]

In fact, a recent IBM study (http://www-03.ibm.com/press/us/en/presskit/35631.wss) found that 82% of CMOs are planning on increasing their use of social media over the next 3-5 years.  Yet, with all of this social media usage, you know what?  more and more consumers, and, therefore, more and more of your donors and prospects, prefer to receive information from direct mail.

By including direct mail marketing into your social media strategy, you stand the chance of  being uppermost in the minds and hearts of those you want to reach – your target audience.

First step:  take inventory of your customer data.  While it is true that not everyone who connects with you socially will be on your mailing list or vice versa, for sure some, perhaps even many, will be in both categories.

Here are 4 easy ways to gather this information:

  1. When you ask for a mailing address, ask for the individual’s Twitter handle also.  That enables you to send out both personal tweets and direct messages while gathering valuable information on that particular donor or prospect.
  2. Monitor your social interactions.  The data you receive will let you segment your content to the needs of your supporters resulting in them seeing value in what you offer.
  3. When you send out direct mail always include social information to tease any social promotions you have going on.  You can then measure the results of different campaigns and get a better idea of what your supporters respond to from a campaign  point of view.
  4. Tweet and post status updates that encourage your social media fans to sign up for your mailing list.  Make sure you add a direct mail only value, otherwise they won’t see how signing up is of benefit to them personally.

When you do this, you will begin to have a basic understanding of what media your contacts are most comfortable using.  You can then begin to plan your messaging and strategy.  Be creative!  Offer incentives for them to get involved – a coupon, a freebie, or anything of perceived value.

Drawing a blank?  Here are some tips for integrating direct mail and social media messaging for greater response:

  • host a contest and cross-promote it all of your social media sites as you announce the contest to those on your mailing list with a postcard;
  • send a direct mail piece that announces a deal only for those who “like” you on Facebook.  Keep track of the “likes.”  Allow those “likers” to print the coupon or use the coupon code you have provided.  Allow the coupon owner to share it.
  • think about using a QR Code with your direct mail piece to take the recipient to your landing page offer.  Then give an incentive such as 10% off on your offer.

Remember, multi-channel marketing like this is impactful.  Making multiple social appeals along with a direct mail approach will bring results.

 

 

 

 

 

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Attention! Attention! Tweet All About It!

Twitter Bird  

We live in a digital world and have the ability to be updated with news in real time. Journalists report on the front lines of war. New information about a crisis can be up to the minute coverage. With the world news at our finger tips, the internet is taking the place of the traditional newspaper. By the time the morning paper comes to press, it is old news.

 

Going a step further, even with the constant news outlets updating their news stream online, who has time to read an entire article? With the hectic pace of everyday life, people want their news to be concise. What happened, where did it happen, to who did it happen to, and how will it affect me? All these questions need to be answered, preferably in one sentence. This is where Twitter comes in.

 

Twitter has come to be a viable source for many journalists, celebrities, athletes and ordinary people to share their thoughts, opinions and cold hard facts on a variety of topics.

  • ‘WeGotBinLaden’ was the Tweet which was reported on Twitter before any other source reported the death of Osama Bin Laden. To date, this is Twitter’s biggest story.
  • Thirty minutes before mainstream news reported the death of Whitney Houston, the story broke on Twitter.
  • Tweets by ordinary people often are the first witnesses to breaking news.

 

My advice to you, join Twitter if you haven’t already. Use it as a source of news for yourself or create it as a business tool for your organization. The days of people relying on longer forms of media are close to extinct. If you can generate a following of clients, prospects or people who are simply interested in what you have to say, you have utilized Twitter effectively.

 

Perhaps the “breaking news” you Tweet about won’t be as extreme as capturing and killing the world’s most wanted terrorist, but if you can be the first in your industry to introduce a new thought, idea or opinion which gets others talking, you have greatly succeeded in the world of Tweets.

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