We often are approached to provide our services pro bono, and more times than not we accommodate the request. This blog isn’t about an unwillingness to provide services for free, it is about the need for organizations to understand the value of paying for communication services.
As a marketer, I understand the value of public relations, social media, blogging and more. I also understand as someone that worked in the nonprofit sector, that resources are tight, time is often nonexistent and stress is always at an all-time high. I started 834 Design & Marketing to work with organizations of all sizes to provide communication services that are affordable and show a clear return. As a nonprofit leader, investing in communication services or creating a budget to pay for these services is imperative to your success. How will you get the word out about your latest fundraiser? How will you educate the community and potential donors about your mission and the need you fill in the community? How will you recruit new donors?
Below are the top services, we recommend that all organizations invest in:
- Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more can assist any organization in growing a donor base, sharing upcoming events, recruiting volunteers and board members, educating on mission/services and more. What is the key to success in this realm? Frequency, engagement with your audience and listening – what do your followers want to hear? What do they want to see?
- Public Relations: All nonprofits have success stories. Whatever your mission, you have clear examples of the needs you have filled within the community. How are you informing people? Investing in media relations is a way to tell your story to a broader audience to have a wider reach. PR is far more than writing a press release and spamming whatever reporter you have an email for. Working with an agency that has spent years cultivating relationships, building a process that delivers results and is willing to do all the heavy lifting is worth the investment.
- Email Marketing: Are you communicating with donors? Reminding them of upcoming events? Sharing latest news, published or internal? Email marketing is something that can be hugely beneficial if used correctly. Remember, your time is valuable and just because you are a nonprofit, does not mean communication should be random with sloppy design. An agency will create a schedule, develop a content calendar, design the format, analyze the analytics and ensure all communication tools interconnect – social media, website and blogging.
- Design: Maybe because I am a self-taught designer, this service seems exceedingly crucial to organizations. What do you think clip art says to your constituents? Poor design will turn people off and is unprofessional. Again, invest! See the value of presenting a polished, brand consistent design and look to the community.
- Blogging: This is another great way to tell your stories. Sometimes, you need to create your own portal to talk about successes, employees, donors, events and more. Blogging is a critical part of a comprehensive inbound marketing strategy. Did you know that an average company will see a 45% growth in traffic when increasing total blog articles from 11-20 to 21-50 articles. Say you just blog once or twice a month? You will still generate 70% more leads than those that don’t blog at all. Check out the article that backs up these statistics on HubSpot.
- Integrating it all: All of these tools are great, but if you don’t understand how to tie them all together or create a strategy that incorporates all of these mediums and deliver results…well then, don’t do it. This is what the experts are for! We live for this stuff!
- Support: When we gain a client, we likewise gain a mission, your mission. We are your employee, your cheerleader, your council [sometimes your therapist] and mini army at the ready and waiting for your command. Don’t you deserve and NEED a human on the outside to drive your passion forward? We have that fresh reserve of energy for you.
As an executive director, it is your job to lead, build donor relationships, manage the board (a job in itself) and guide the organization through ups, downs and opportunities. Do you really want to put marketing on your plate as well? There is value in hiring an expert to assist in managing your image, communications and tying it all together. If you don’t see the value, then by all means continue to ask for pro bono services, just understand that you get what you pay for.