A recipe for nonprofit marketing success

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A recipe for nonprofit marketing success
A recipe for nonprofit marketing success

The nonprofit arena remains challenging due to the economic environment and pressure that many donors are facing with their finances. Therefore, it is critical that organizations maintain contact with their constituents, spreading good news of their successes and stewardship of donations. The most effective marketing strategy for nonprofits to accomplish this is to focus on solid supporters and reach out to them using a mix of direct mail and electronic communications.

Nonprofits should start communications through electronic channels and follow up through direct mail. Electronic channels have their own strengths, which are balanced by the complementary strengths of direct mail. For example, while electronic communication is strong on speed and cost-effectiveness, direct mail is strong on targeted messaging and measurable ROI. In addition, data show that donors found or maintained through direct mail channels are more loyal in giving and easier to find for future campaigns compared with electronic media channels. When used effectively, direct mail can help with fundraising, as well as help drive donors to online channels.

Continuous communication is essential. A national study by Cygnus Applied Research showed that almost one-half of respondents stopped giving to a charity they donated to once before because they did not receive enough information about what was going on after they donated. As a result, it's important to share interesting stories with wonderful, heartwarming examples of where donations have made a difference in the world and use emotionally evocative copy to illustrate this. Social media should also be considered to help maintain contact with constituents and to tell these "success stories."

Finally, fundraising campaigns need to be conducted thoughtfully, with well-maintained lists and carefully managed databases that allow tracking of donations. Remember, mailers that do not comply with the Move Update Standard are now subject to additional postage per assessed piece. That means having valid addresses is more important now than ever.



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