6 questions for NH nonprofits

When it comes to marketing, New Hampshire organizations should have answers


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Every nonprofit engages in some sort of marketing, from an annual report to a newsletter to a website, but not all nonprofits are created equal. In terms of how they present and manage their image, some do great work, others have a way to go to get to where they need to be.

Here are six simple questions that every nonprofit needs to ask about their marketing.

1. What is you brand? You hear “brand,” and you tend to think of commercial products. But if someone asks you what your organization does, how do you reply? Is it consistent? Does everyone in the organization reply the same way? Would I get the same message on your website, or in a brochure, or from your social media? If not, then you have a brand problem – and to fix it, you need to get clear, speak with consistency, and make sure everything you do and say is true to your brand. And that brand is your vision, and your values. It is short, sweet and easy to say and repeat.

2. Who is listening on social media? I sometimes see a nonprofit Facebook or Twitter feed with 140 people following it. And there are daily posts. But no one is looking. There has to be ROI on a social media feed — and to get that you need a plan, with defined voice and messaging, as well as clear objectives. Does everyone in your organization and on your board like and share your posts? Does anyone like or share your posts? Have a plan, put some ad money into the mix to break out and reach new people, but don’t confuse a website for Facebook.

3. Does your website work on a tablet or a smartphone? Some 70 percent of people today use tablets and smartphones to access the web. Now, if your site is stuck in 2003, then you have a real problem. With great alternatives such as Squarespace out there, there’s really no excuse to struggle on with a legacy site, and if your audiences can’t access your site, what good is it to you?

4. How engaged is your board and staff in other boards? Doesn’t sound like marketing? Well, think again. No one is an island, and having your people serve on other boards not only gets your name out there, but it lets you build relationships that you leverage down the road. Every nonprofit needs a board service plan that mirrors its goals and builds coalitions.

5. Who is your audience? Who do you communicate with? And what do they know about you and what do you want them to do?

6. Who reads your e-newsletter? How big is the open rate? Ten percent is good, and 18 percent is terrific (anything higher is the best ever). But if it is less than 10 percent are you sending a newsletter out to spam filters? And then, do you have a blog? Would it make sense to post news to a blog and send out simple alerts with links back, versus a big newsletter that is not getting read? 

Jayme Simões, president of Concord-based Louis Karno & Company, can be reached at 603-224-5566 or js@lkarno.com.

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