28 March 2016

Communication Solutions for Non-Profits

Non-profits need to be much focused while communicating with their donors for fundraising or for supporter engagement.According to the Nonprofit Communications Trends Report 2014, Social Media, e-newsletters and event marketing are the most popular communication channels. Facebook is the most important Social Media tool at 95% respondents vouching for it. This is followed by Twitter (64%), YouTube (38%) and LinkedIn (26%). The report also revealed that 59% of non-profits send an e-newsletter at least once a month. It can be concluded that websites, email marketing and social media are the most popular as well as effective communication channels for Non-Profits.

Two of the biggest issues seen in nonprofit communications are:

  1. Lack of Clear Strategy
  2. Lack of Time to product quality content

We will discuss on how to overcome these 2 hurdles but let us first understand the styles of communication that should be used by non-profits for communicating with supporters or donors.

  1. Storytelling

    Communicating the stories of your nonprofit is the most powerful way of influencing your donors and supporters. Most individuals who follow nonprofits on mobile and social networks take further action, the number one action being making a donation, after they have read a compelling story published by a nonprofit.

  2. Marketing

    In the nonprofit sector marketing is about securing more donors, e-newsletter subscribers, event attendees and so on. Marketing on mobile and social media in the nonprofit sector needs to be subtle because most donors and supporters don’t like being marketed to. Direct asks and calls to action are powerful online, but only in moderation and when balanced with storytelling.

  3. Engagement

    Many nonprofits mass thank their Twitterfollowers for retweets and their Facebook fans for every comment posted on their Facebook Page. This is both ineffective and a poor investment of time. For effectively engaging you have to respond genuinely to questions and comments and facilitate the discussions that your followers are having with each other.

  4. Curation

    If you do not have time to create content on a regular basis, content curation can help you fill in this gap. If you can’t hire a designer to create an infographic but a nonprofit similar to yours in mission can, then re-tweet, re-pin, and share the infographic. It is the same with video, branded images, cases studies, and so forth. There is a never-ending reservoir of top-notch content you can use to inspire your donors and supporters.

    Now, let us see how to overcome the challenges faced by non-profits in their communication activities by using the above styles.

Lack of Clear Strategy – The communication strategy should be more than just a to-do list. Our communication plan can be a list of things to be done but a strategy should have the rationale behind the communication. We should also incorporate storytelling into our communication strategy. During marketing, the stories that we tell can be enhanced to impact various target market segments. It can help us retain donors as well as attract new ones. There should be a harmony between communication goals of different departments. Someone responsible for communication is more interested in engaging communities while someone responsible for development is inclined towards donor acquisition. This can be achieved through consistent messaging.

Lack of Time to Produce Quality Content–We can use content curation to understand content from other sources. Then we can use this same curated content for our own communication goals. This will help save both time and cost. Use of content calendar for effectively scheduling our posts is also a good idea. For social media, instead of using diluted, inconsistent messaging across all channels, it is better to focus on few channels with a more consistent messaging.

Amar Trivedi

President and founder of AmDee, Amar provides insight of nonprofit technology through occasional guest blogs for AmDee and others