Here’s the NY Times headline that caught my attention: To Sell Themselves to Donors, Nonprofits Are Turning to the Pros.

Wow! I thought … I’m about to find some real breakthrough thinking. Can’t wait to see who are these “pros” are?

Don’t get me wrong, I do agree that nonprofits can communicate in ways that obscure their missions, accomplishments and stories.

But really, the examples of advice given by the new “pros” is old-hat for experienced fundraisers … such innovative insights as:

“…nonprofits [should] more clearly explain their purpose in simple but powerful ways that connect emotionally with the public.

“[Using] storytelling ability — along with the sophisticated use of data to identify donors and maintain a digital connection with them.

“[Avoid] bland mission and vision statements that are vague, inflated and indistinguishable from one another.

“A nonprofit needs to use data to connect with donors early — and often — through emails, phone calls, letters and other communications in a way that addresses their particular interests.”

“Nonprofits need to constantly monitor the competition.”

To say nothing of “coordinate [their] message across the digital landscape”.

And where can fundraisers get shrewd, ground-breaking advice like this?

According to the article, from marketers … “the pros”.

Here’s the capper quote, from a “marketing expert”:

“It’s no longer business as usual like it was five or 10 years ago, where fund-raisers handled marketing.”

And, if you’re not sure whether or not your nonprofit needs to be rescued by a marketing pro, this observation by another marketing pro regarding the need to hire “branding and marketing experts” might convince you:

“They can’t afford not to … There is definitely a risk for nonprofits that don’t morph with the changing consumer psyche. They run the risk of losing their member base because they don’t feel as relevant to the consumer.”

Rest in peace, all you fundraising amateurs, all is not lost, marketing pros are on the way.


P.S. I’ve always thought all fundraisers were marketers, but few marketers are fundraisers. What about you?



This article was posted in: Communications, Copywriting / creative, Donor acquisition, Donor retention / loyalty / commitment, Integrated fundraising and marketing, Nonprofit branding.
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