Discover 4 ideas that may help your nonprofit grow in 2019!

Episode 0336


4 Marketing Ideas for Nonprofit Organizations in 2019

Sandro: [00:00:03] Welcome back to Liz and Sandro’s Marketing Podcast. We’re the podcast that gives digital marketing news, advice, tips and ideas to help your small business grow. Today we’re giving you four marketing tips for your nonprofit. And I threw this idea out to Liz because last night our cinema client had a free screening of a film called ‘The Hate U Give.’ A recent film dealing with race and socioeconomic relations. We had three nonprofit organizations there as cohosts and one of them stopped me and said, “Oh my gosh, you guys did the social media promotion for this so well. You guys were all over it.” And it was just a lot of praise for the work we did for it. And I thought to myself, we really didn’t do that much to be honest with you. I literally wrote one tweet and just scheduled it.

Sandro: [00:00:50] We wrote it differently so Twitter wouldn’t think we were doing the same tweet over and over. But it wasn’t that much work and I thought, holy cow what are YOU doing? And I looked at their Twitter account, the nonprofit’s, and they were literally going weeks and weeks without posting anything. So I thought, what are some simple things we can do, that a nonprofit could do to help with their marketing. And I threw it out to Liz.


Invest in (FREE) Third-Party Scheduling Tools


Liz: [00:01:11] Yeah, so we put our heads together and came up with four ideas. Some of them are pretty basic, some are a little bit more advanced. They certainly apply to for-profit companies as well. But I think this would be a great starting point if you’re a small nonprofit. So our first tip is building on what Sandro just talked about, how they’re silent on social media for weeks at a time. Invest in a third party scheduling tool. And actually, now that I’m looking at our notes I don’t even say, we won’t even have to say invest because Hootsuite offers a free version.

Sandro: [00:01:45] Completely free, 30 free posts.

Liz: [00:01:48] Buffer offers a free version. Yeah, so. It’s more a matter of creating the account, tasking or delegating someone in your organization to own, to own this project and run with it. But yeah, you don’t even have to…

Sandro: [00:02:02] It doesn’t cost anything.

Liz: [00:02:03] Right. Right. But at any rate, a third party scheduling tool is by far the way to go and we’ll with, when we get to our fourth tip you’ll, you’ll see why. But it just, it’s going to take so much stress and pressure off of you knowing that… Well, let’s actually, let’s just jump to the fourth tip then because it’ll build on this. So we’re also suggesting that…


Scheduling Tools?


Sandro: [00:02:25] And let me just say quickly, I think people still don’t realize there are scheduling software out there.

Liz: [00:02:33] Good point.

Sandro: [00:02:33] So scheduling software is great. On Mondays, you could sit down, or on Tuesdays or whatever day of the week, sit down for an hour and just write out or create your posts and just schedule them, they’ll just keep pushing out throughout the week. You’ll forget about them. Just set it and forget it kind of thing.

Liz: [00:02:48] That is a good point. I forget that.

Sandro: [00:02:49] Yeah. So just realize there are scheduling tools out there.


Create Evergreen Content


Liz: [00:02:52] That’s our first first tip. And to build on this, on our next tip would be to create a bank or a repository of evergreen content. Content that is always going to be relevant. Maybe it’s about your mission or the work that you do, that’s, that’s applicable to share at any point at any time during the year. Sit down. Yes, it’s going to take a couple hours, maybe even a day when you consider the fact that you need to draft everything, create graphics, hashtags, proofread it. Yeah, that’s gonna take some time. But if you have 30, 40, maybe even 50 evergreen posts that you can send out, you can schedule at any point in time, I think it’s going to make a tremendous difference because so many nonprofits are event and fundraiser driven. And I know how this goes.

Liz: [00:03:42] The weeks leading up to any event are crazy. The last thing you’re worried about is what’s going out on my Facebook page. You’re so focused on the event and if you can have that scheduled ready to go, you’re going to avoid that 3 week deadzone of nothing going out to your fans and followers. So I’m a huge fan of evergreen content. We have this for every client. We go back to it again and again. And yes, every couple of years it needs updated. You know, maybe with new stats or new info but I think it’s really important.

Sandro: [00:04:13] So many nonprofits help people. Maybe you can use pictures of those people. I know were helping an orphanage, and this will go to our next tip, but we got pictures of the kids in smiling or some of the kids playing. Those are things that pull at your heartstrings, our donors, potential donors heartstrings. Evergreen content is pictures of these kids. Evergreen content would be saying how much every dollar goes towards a meal or helping four kid’s meals or their education buys a book.


Tell a Story


Liz: [00:04:42] You’re helping so many puppies or cats, whatever it is, for sure. So to build on this thought of evergreen content, our next tip is to invest in someone who can help tell your story, someone outside of your organization. Actually one of our listeners, Jim, a longtime friend and listener of the show told me years ago, he or he kept saying to me, “Liz, you know every nonprofit could use you. You know, they really need help with storytelling.”.

Liz: [00:05:08] And that was like a, kind of a new buzzword at the time and I’m like, “Oh yeah, yeah, yeah, right.” But the more I work with nonprofits, the more I see that to be true. I see them doing work on social, putting out content. I see them throwing together an email newsletter. Couple paragraphs, sending it out to their subscriber list. And that’s great. Don’t get me wrong. But sometimes you step back and you’re like, wow that is such a missed opportunity to really tell an exciting story that’s going to engage people, and it’s really hard to do that yourself. I’m not necessarily saying you need to invest in the most expensive agency or consultant in town. Your budget may not accommodate that, but someone outside of your organization.


Find a Third-Party to Tell Your Story


Liz: [00:05:52] Truthfully, I’m not a huge fan of interns unless you get a really good journalism or English intern who’s an amazing writer and can help tell the story. I would lean towards someone who has professional experience. I’m OK if it’s a volunteer. You know maybe it’s, maybe it’s someone in the marketing space that wants to, to, you know that has a passion for your organization’s mission and give a little bit of time to help tell your story. Certainly if you can compensate the individual, I think you’re going to get a little bit, a better story potentially. So just keep that in mind. But yeah, I’m a big believer in working with someone outside because you’re so close to what you do every day. Sometimes you just can’t step back and see the bigger picture.

Sandro: [00:06:35] I was gonna say, you can’t see through trees for the forests or whatever that is.

Liz: [00:06:39] Whatever that stupid phrase is, I can never get it right.

Sandro: [00:06:43] And I was telling Liz, we’re working with an orphanage. They don’t have anywhere on their website the word ‘orphanage’ but everything they do pointed to that word and I know they were. I asked them straight out. “Are you guys an orphanage?” And they finally admitted, yes, we are. And Liz pointed out maybe there’s some negative connotations to it.

Liz: [00:06:59] There could be, yeah.

Sandro: [00:07:00] But when you’re looking for money from donors or you’re looking for donations…

Liz: [00:07:06] Sometimes you have to just use language…

Sandro: [00:07:09] Get to the point.

Liz: [00:07:09] Yeah, get to the point. Use language that people know.

Sandro: [00:07:11] Can relate to.

Liz: [00:07:12] And you know, I hate to use maybe a word that some people have an icky association with, but you know, spin it how, spin it how you want to or how you need to. And again, I’m not saying be deceptive. You know, we could, you know say something like, ‘We are a forward-thinking orphanage that works with children ages 5 to 10 to do this, this and this.’ Like, there’s nothing icky about that. I actually think it’s much more clear.


You May Forget How Awesome Your Nonprofit Is


Sandro: [00:07:37] Yeah, and this organization’s goal is to get their kids into college. That’s something a lot of orphanages that I know of, or that I’ve heard of, or when I think of orphanages, that’s not a goal of their’s. But this one, that’s their goal. You know, so. And they don’t even, they didn’t even realize that that’s the way to spin it or to sell themselves. Sometimes you do need somebody from the outside to think, hey, here’s a way to look at it.

Liz: [00:08:00] Definitely. I remember when I was updating my, well it ultimately ended up being my resume and LinkedIn profile. And I was like, you know, let me hire someone to do this. One, so I have the accountability that it actually gets done. But I had several conversations with her. And you know, in my mind I’m just telling her you know, I’m telling her my story through my lens, which doesn’t seem all that impressive. And then she came back with, with all of this great stuff.

Liz: [00:08:28] It wasn’t groundbreaking and you know, she didn’t spin it terribly. She wasn’t grossly over exaggerating everything that I’d done. But just that outside, the outside perspective, the outside just maybe, touch. Whatever little touches she added to it just, I was like, whoa! This is me? And this is my story. And I’m really not that impressive. But yeah it was, it was a tremendous help to have that outside perspective.


Be Creative in Your Story & How You Promote Yourself


Sandro: [00:08:53] Side note, when I was 18 writing my first resume, I worked at a gas station and my buddy’s like, “You should put ‘petroleum sales and reengineering’.” I was like, oh yeah.

Liz: [00:09:01] That is a great spin!

Sandro: [00:09:01] I’m gonna put ‘petroleum sales and redistribution,’ ‘petroleum sales and redistribution.’

Liz: [00:09:08] Like, that’s what you put as your job title?

Sandro: [00:09:10] Yeah. My Freshman year of college. And my counselor loved it. She’s like, “That’s great!” She’s like, “What does this mean?” And I was like, “Oh, I pumped gas. I redistributed gas from this…”.

Liz: [00:09:19] From the pump to the car.

Sandro: [00:09:21] Yeah.

Liz: [00:09:22] I love it. Well but that, I mean that’s, that’s how you gotta get noticed.

Sandro: [00:09:26] Creativity. Thinking outside the box. Somebody else here can write.

Liz: [00:09:29] Yeah.


Make Friends w Local Media


Sandro: [00:09:30] And our fourth tip is something that I’ve seen more and more. And I love it. But Liz has much more experience with it, so I’ll let her take it from here.

Liz: [00:09:38] Make friends with the media. When you have a good story to tell, you want to be prepared to capitalize on that. It’s certainly not going to be every week, every month. Maybe it’s only a couple times a year.

Sandro: [00:09:49] When you have your event or something.

Liz: [00:09:50] Exactly. But yeah, when you have that piece that is newsworthy, you want to get the most out of it. And that doesn’t happen by just contacting someone once.

Sandro: [00:10:02] Press release.

Liz: [00:10:03] Yeah. This is not a press release maybe three weeks before your event. You have to build a relationship with them. And that sounds you know, nebulous and what does that even mean? And I think, I’ll really quickly run through some tips. You know, first of all, figure out who’s, who’s relevant, who’s applicable, what, what bloggers, what reporters, what editors are writing about your space and start to build a relationship with them. Follow them on Twitter. Connect with them on LinkedIn, Instagram, you know, whatever channels you’re using. When they are writing, just every day, they’re writing, feel free to jump in and comment, send them an email.

Liz: [00:10:39] Be like, “Hey I really liked the story you wrote about how the nonprofit landscape is changing in Cleveland.” You know, whatever it is. Jump in so they start to recognize your name and start to associate you with whatever nonprofit you’re working with. And then when you do have your story to tell, your email comes across their inbox and they’re not scratching their head thinking, ‘Well, who is this?’ You’ve already built some rapport with them. They recognize your name. That’s going to go a long way in getting the coverage you need to again, over the course of many, many years. It’s not going to happen overnight. And again, it’s not going to be coverage every day, every week, every month. But when the opportunity presents itself, you need to be ready.


Use Twitter to Find & Communicate with Local Media


Sandro: [00:11:24] And let me just jump in and reiterate what you said earlier Liz, one of my favorite ways to reach reporters on behalf of some clients or any nonproft that I’ve worked with, is through Twitter. They check their Twitter messages. Those morning shows in your local TV station, the local ones, they love to tweet starting at 4:00 a.m. and they’ll check their messages. Nobody else is DMing them at 4:00 a.m., 5:00 a.m., 6:00 a.m., so you might as well shoot them a message, say, “Hey, I love what you do. We’ve got this event coming up.” Or, “This is what we do. If you need a story idea, here’s one.” Because they’re always looking for story ideas. There are slow days. Even the sports talk show I listen to it’s, Super Bowl’s over…

Liz: [00:12:03] What are they going to talk about now?

Sandro: [00:12:05] Nothing to talk about. So they’ve got people coming in promoting movies and doing all these other things. Nothing to do with sports.

Liz: [00:12:11] Yeah I’ve found that journalists and reporters, they, they love Twitter. It’s, it’s a great… And when you look at the platform as a whole, that, that’s where a lot of breaking news really comes out quickly. So yeah, and that’s not to say you don’t also want to reach out through official channels, have the press release. Yeah, you don’t want to ignore that. But yeah, build the relationship through Twitter. I think, I think you’ll find that to be pretty helpful.

Sandro: [00:12:38] It’s a great first step. If you’re looking for a first step to start this.

Liz: [00:12:41] Yeah. Yeah. So I think, yeah that was, those were our four tips. So scheduling tool, evergreen content, work with someone who can help tell your story, and make friends with the media.

Sandro: [00:12:52] So if you’re a nonprofit and you have questions, we’d love to hear them. We don’t work in the nonprofit world completely. We’re not…

Liz: [00:12:59] No, I think we each have clients in this space. And there are some unique challenges in the nonprofit. You know when you think of for profit and nonprofit that you know, they do have some unique challenges.

Sandro: [00:13:12] Right. So we’d love to hear your story. We’d love to hear your challenges. And maybe we’ll address them here on the show.

Liz: [00:13:19] Yeah, we’d love to hear from you.

Sandro: [00:13:22] You’ll find us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. We’ll also have our email address in the show notes. Drop us a line. If you like what you hear, we’d love a review on iTunes. Thanks again for joining us. We’ll see you next time.