Unfortunately, although both the marketing and development teams in many nonprofit organizations (NPOs) are communicating about the same benefits, they rarely act in concert. While some high-functioning NPOs are the exception, marketing and development working hand-in-hand is rare when it should be the rule.
One area of collaboration that can have immediate benefit for both teams and the NPO overall is in the area of audience insights – literally, knowledge about important audiences. These insights – formal and informal – are a core part of both functions, and knowledge must be shared effectively between them. We encourage every NPO – and every for profit, too – to explore the opportunity to expand and better stratify knowledge about key audiences, particularly those with influence to important circles.
The following four areas will provide a strong starting place for creating a consistent and actionable base of knowledge for improving the effectiveness of all outreach, regardless of department or purpose. While these are activities typically associated with marketing, most development teams also use them. Collaboration will increase the value to the organization and improve the quality and impact of each approach.
- Audience Surveys. Do a quick survey of your organization’s surveys. Are you asking the same qualifying questions in order to properly segment your entire database, or are different groups collecting only fragments of what you need? Your goals must be to understand the needs and interests of new prospects as well as complete a holistic view of your key audiences’ interests, motivations and needs. Ensuring that everyone – executives, development, marketing, program managers and HR – are working from the same understanding and foundation of knowledge about your audience profile and behavior is essential to growth and the most efficient achievement of mission.
- Segmentation strategy. Segmentation is an essential recognition that not all people are alike, act alike or feel alike. Even the most basic of CRM database solutions allows records to be segmented according to important criteria like demographics, geography, welcome date, last action, and commitment level and status. Take a look at your segmentation strategy and ensure that everyone understands why audiences behave or are motivated in different ways.
- Highest Value Audience Members. Not all donors, participants or partners have the same value to the organization. Does everyone in the organization know which are indeed most valuable, and how to find more people like them? Identifying highest value people doesn’t mean that every other member of each audience is neglected. It only means that messaging and outreach can be better tailored to engage those who will make the most difference to the cause and mission of the organization.
- Social Marketing. Social marketing is a very visible and personal way to connect with people, and all those in your organization who are active on social networks, or wish to promote activities through owned social accounts, need to collaborate. A consistent and knowledgeable voice is required, and support from various departments to ensure rapid response and engagement is essential. Both marketing and development insights are necessary to guide and celebrate these personal stories, especially because they are often perceived by others as more reliable than what comes from the organization itself.
Learn more about these four areas of opportunity, and how to align your goals, insights and brand story for higher success by downloading our new Striking the Right Balance Between Marketing & Fundraising” whitepaper.
Operating in marketing and development silos is a financial risk. In the best case, you may be double investing in audience insights, messaging concepts, outreach campaigns and communications channels. In the worst case, you create dissonance and confusion in the market by not aligning these efforts.