Effective marketing boosts nonprofit relations during holidays
Hope, goodwill and appreciation fill the sabbatical air of the holiday season, creating an abundance of opportunities to secure enduring relationships. This is especially true for nonprofit organizations, which rely exclusively upon the goodwill of others. According to Sherry Cook, senior marketing instructor at Missouri State University, the holiday season is the optimal time for nonprofits to cultivate lasting relationships.
“The holiday season is perceived as a time of giving, so many people are simply more receptive to both donating and volunteering,” said Cook, who studies marketing within nonprofits. She has also found that the yearend tax planning of potential donors plays a major role in public involvement with nonprofits during the holiday season.
The choices of who to give to are often overwhelming. Cook believes that many nonprofits often get lost in the clutter of holiday promotions, falling short of communicating unique messages despite the goodwill tendencies associated with the holidays.
“Since these organizations generally have very limited funds to spend on marketing or communicating their message, one must be creative and very effective in telling the story,” said Cook.
Regardless of the challenges associated with nonprofit marketing, there are several thrifty ways for nonprofits to successfully market themselves. Cook offers some marketing strategies to use during the holidays:
- Use social media to your advantage. “Create brand personality and tell your story,” Cook explains. “So many nonprofits use their social networking sites sparsely at best, and then only to ask for something or to use as a calendar…instead offer helpful tidbits; tell stories that makes the organization and the cause come alive.”
- Stand out. “If everyone is sending out a Christmas appeal, maybe yours should be a Thanksgiving one,” Cook said. “Also, good creative pieces that fight through the clutter don’t have to cost an arm and a leg with today’s technology and can invoke an image of professionalism. Who wants to donate to a group that doesn’t appear professional?”
- Stay in touch. “Last and very important…keep up with your donors, or potential donors, throughout the year,” Cook said. “Most people give only once to a given organization, and I believe that’s more about the nonprofit’s inability to foster relationship and keep up with their database than it is the donor.”
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