Marketing: The cost of not focusing on it. You need to be where your donors are.

Ask yourself this: as a nonprofit organisation, who is your real competition? Your technology transformations must consider your marketing strategy or you are at risk of missing your donors.

Here is a common question…how much resource and time should I invest in my marketing tools and strategies?

We like to look at it the other way around and ask what’s the cost of not doing it?

Ask yourself this: as a nonprofit organisation, who is your real competition?

Who are you really competing with?

The historically typical answer has been other nonprofit organisations, specifically in the same area of concern as you are, for example mental health, child safety, or environmental concerns.

The real answer however is that you are competing with everybody for the donor dollar; this includes mortgages, household spending, school fees, discretionary spending, as well as unique and infrequent luxury items. You are competing with the efforts made by organisations such as Nike, Apple, Amazon, and many others.

You are not just competing with other nonprofit organisations but with every commercial organisation.

This is important to understand, as it changes the mindset with which you approach your engagement strategies and technology transformation programs.

Your technology transformations must consider your marketing strategy or you are at risk of missing your donors.

We regularly implement Salesforce as an operational backend platform to perform commoditised functions, such as payment processing, volunteer management, event management and many others. This is of course critical to making your nonprofit organisation more efficient and operationally more sophisticated but is only part of the solution.

Here are the numbers to substantiate what we are saying…

Average Household Spending Patterns

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The average Australian income across all work types is $62,128.00 per year; that’s a post-tax income of $4,094.33 per month per person.

The average household has 1.8 people financially contributing which results in an average household income of $7,369.79.

The average household mortgage payment is $2,586.00 per month which represents 35% of household income.

This chart shows you the spending patterns per household, as you can see not a lot of money is left over by the time a potential donor might think about making a contribution to your organisation.

Connecting on shared values is more critical than ever to build donor loyalty.

33% of the population are donors with an average annual donation amount of $533.92.

Your organisation’s stakeholders (donors, volunteers, prospects, clients, supporters) don’t care about your backend systems. They care about the way you interact with them, the way you speak to them, the channels you use, the message you portray and focus on.

The way you engage is determined by your marketing strategy and tools, supported by your backend systems, not driven by them.

Be specific in your engagement strategy

Everybody you are competing with is looking at better ways to communicate with your potential donors or clients.

If you don’t do this, you are going to miss out. There is no question about it.

Here is our conclusion and strong advice when planning a digital transformation for your nonprofit organisation.

Don’t think about anything without the context of how you will deliver on your marketing strategies. This starts with your team’s mindset of being externally focused (rather than being focused on your internal operational systems).

Let the experts take care of your operational systems, focus on how you want to engage, who you are competing with, what your stakeholder are going to want to speak to you about and what content they are likely to respond to.

Marketing within the nonprofit sector is not about getting donations (and therefore building revenue through a sales model), it is primarily about connecting on shared values and building the willingness to donate by sharing those values with your donors.

So, coming back to the title of this article, think about the cost of not investing thought and resource into your marketing strategy and execution plans…can you really afford not to?

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