Sharing stories is a central component of running a nonprofit.
How and when you convey your mission to potential donors and volunteers can have a substantial impact on the overall success of your communication. In July, Doug Scott, the founder & CEO of Tectonic Video, was joined by Dana North of Grenzebach, Glier, & Associates and Jon McGrath of Advocate Creative for NXUnite’s “Shareable Stories: Creating Marketing Materials That Showcase Your Nonprofit” panel. This conversation resulted in the illumination of several keys to ensure that your nonprofit marketing efforts flourish:
- Gather feedback
- Repetition is key
- Consider the purpose of your medium
Feedback is your friend. The more input your nonprofit has on its materials, the better. During the panel, Doug Scott suggested that organizations “take a couple of weeks and just figure out how to get as much feedback from your audiences as possible about how you communicate and what they care about. It could be a survey, it could be focus groups, it could be a bunch of phone calls, or
it could be an email to say ‘email me back with your thoughts about how we communicate.’” Taking these steps can help optimize your organization’s storytelling strategies.
Your knowledge of your audience is often based on scattered anecdotal information and it helps to have more data points. This approach might end up producing some valuable, unexpected insights. Carve out time in your nonprofit’s content production process for feedback and gather more as often as needed. Feedback doesn’t have to take a long time or cause an internal slowdown either. Taking the time to figure out how to reach your audience with materials that will engage them more effectively will save you energy in the long run.
Repetition is key
People often need to see and hear a message multiple times before they take action, especially in our current online landscape. As Dana North pointed out, “This is the beauty of the digital age…we have so many different channels and avenues through which we can communicate. And so I can have a team create content—whether it’s words or graphics, images, videos, whatever it is—and we can kind of tell the same story, but maybe different clips of that same story.” Having a multi-layered approach like this will help you reach your audience where they are and invite them to connect with your organization. Repetition is a powerful tool for effective storytelling. In addition, think of ways you can combine different content types and how you can tweak your approach for each medium.
Consider the purpose of your medium
Think about different ways to produce content and consider the value of each. As Doug said, “Another best practice I would encourage people to do is to really think about where you are going to invest marketing dollars and where it’s okay to have do-it-yourself or selfie-style content. There’s definitely a need for both. It’s not just that one or the other should always be the thing you go to.” Consider the advantages of different production modes. In some cases, materials created internally will speak to your intended audiences. For other audiences, however, your organization might need help establishing a professional appearance. Investing in content creation services, such as Tectonic Video’s nonprofit video production services, can be a meaningful addition to your marketing strategy.
Communicating your organization’s mission to the world should be done intentionally. Taking these tips into account can help you formulate an effective content strategy that’s tailored to your nonprofit. Be sure to tap into all the educational resources available to you, like nonprofit marketing podcasts, to help you further your goals as you move forward. Gathering feedback, repeating messages, and considering your organization’s use of different mediums are great places to begin when evaluating your nonprofit marketing strategy.