Lessons from #MarketingUnited: Nonprofit Engagement

While at the Marketing United Conference last week, I attended the “Sustainable Engagement Tactics for the Not-for-Profit Marketer.” I was drawn to this discussion for two reasons: 1. Keystone has a lot of nonprofit clients and 2. David Greider from the Center for Nonprofit Management – a favorite Keystone client – was moderating.
 
Along with David, the panel included:
  • Marc Apple from San Francisco AMA
  • Shawn Sweeney from the Jane Goodall Institute
  • Suzannah Green from the Forte Foundation
 
I felt the panel discussion kept coming back on one main point, and it's one I say over and over to nonprofits - Tell Your Story! Here are a few helpful tips mentioned by the panel:
 
  • Try to keep people engaged. Keep them connected with the mission by giving them stories and let them know how their donations of time and money are making a difference. 
  • Capture, capture, capture. You might not know when you are going to use it, but capture the content.
  • Your donors love talking about why they gave. Capture those stories, too.
  • Be experts for your cause. 
  • Send messages from trusted sources. This can make the message more powerful. For example, try sending email marketing campaigns from your executive director.
  • Stay consistent and make sure you are providing relevance to the audience you are targeting and what you are delivering is what they want.
Shawn Sweeney from The Jane Goodall Institute mentioned a concept I love for any organization – develop story templates. Give all departments a list of questions – even just Who, What, When, Where, Why and How – and ask them to document stories as they hear them. Not everyone in your organization is a writer, but employees and volunteers should know an interesting story when they hear one. This idea allows everyone in the organization to capture basic details with little stress. And it makes gathering stories easier on the marketing department!