Written by John Kraps for Echo Analytics Group and reposted with permission
Our newest NLC Key Partner, Echo Analytics Group is sharing some common marketing problems nonprofits are facing today. Read on to find the solutions you're looking for!
Problem 1: Poor donor relations
Social media is an incredible tool for engaging, retaining and attracting donors. However, it can also be a place where donors turn on you if your values don't perfectly align with theirs. [Such was the case when the Susan G. Komen Foundation did not anticipate a stakeholder’s response to an organizational decision.] Failure to address criticism in a timely, respectful manner can result in a massive drop in support. So how do you get donor relations to where you’d like them to be?
Solution 1: Get to know them
Dan Gross, Director of Partner Development at BidPal Technology for Good encourages nonprofits to treat fundraising like political fundraising. Political parties spend a lot of time and money heavily researching its potential base. The immediacy of social media requires nonprofits to respond quickly to dissent lest it evolves into a full-blown crisis; therefore, learning more about your donors and paying attention to their feedback has never been more important. After all, it is cheaper to retain current donors than find new ones.
Problem 2: Boring Content
This is a common problem that is relatively easy to solve. People choose to consume content because it provides value to them. The struggle to put out content on a regular basis can lower its quality negatively affect your perception. In fact, 72% of donors report that content affects whether they donate to a cause, and 24% said that dull/boring content would cause them to stop donating. Facebook and other social sites allow for direct donating, and with the rise of mobile giving, nonprofits need to pay greater attention to the content they publish. If you are not involved in content creation or believe it will just go away, it won’t. But creating valuable, entertaining content doesn't have to be difficult.
Solution 2: Create a monthly content calendar and regularly reevaluate it
Nonprofits that create a social media content calendar are more likely to get better results than those who don’t. It might initially seem like this solution will take up even more time, but it will save time on the back end. Have monthly meetings to determine topics to highlight that month. Informal gatherings in a comfortable setting can take some of the pressure off the content producers and make it an enjoyable experience. Just make sure to run an analytics report each month to see if your content is resonating best with stakeholders and adjust accordingly.
Problem 3: A sensitive issue
Certain types of content naturally make people feel uncomfortable. Even within an organization, dealing with depressing material on a daily basis can lead to burnout. So how do you create relevant, valuable content without being a “Debbie Downer?"
Solution 3: Acknowledge the elephant in the room
For a long time, post-traumatic stress disorder was widely ignored, even criticized, in the United States. The stigma made it hard for many to seek treatment. It took a national campaign to convince people that by not addressing the issue we're doing a disservice to those suffering. Organizations like the PTSD Foundation of America continue to help convince many that "supporting the troops" means more than waving a flag and saying “thank you for your service.”
Taking ownership of the current attitude towards an issue can help change it or use it to your advantage. Almost every cause right now has a day, week, or month (or hashtag!) devoted to it. These days/hashtags are perfect opportunities to talk about the issue online but also to see what others are saying about it.
Problem 4: Irrelevant ROI measurements
Likes, shares, retweets and comments are good, but they don’t tell the whole story. Increasing engagement without setting specific benchmarks to determine success leads to misunderstanding and frustration. How do you go deeper with the numbers and effectively explain what they mean to your board?
Solution 4: Hire or train someone to make sense of the data
The competition for donor dollars is fierce, and the need to stand out online has never been greater. Whether or not it is with us, every nonprofit should regularly obtain an audit of its social media accounts to learn what its strengths and weaknesses are.