When deciding on a marketing agency, nonprofits have more choices than ever before. As a result, agencies have a lot of work to do to differentiate themselves from the competition.
Standing out among a crowded field requires an agency to build success with the nonprofits it has now, and that can mean working with lots of limitations, especially budgetarily. A focus on creativity, relationship building, and customization can help propel an agency to the next level.
Just because a client is a nonprofit doesn’t preclude agencies from crafting big, creative campaigns on its behalf. Wildly successful marketing initiatives, such as Coke’s Share a Coke campaign, have a few factors in common. One is a strong core idea. This is, of course, one of the toughest parts, but it’s one at which marketing agencies excel.
Implementing the core idea of the campaign successfully requires all the pieces of the agency to work together and stay on target. Campaigns should be unified across channels in order to achieve saturation, which brings in donors.
Of course, nonprofit agencies are often working with a much smaller budget than agencies in the for-profit sector. One way to implement a big-idea campaign with limited funds is to simplify. If the brainstorming session is leading to an idea that will require a massive photo shoot with an equally massive budget, start over and think of a way to get the same idea across but with simplified visuals. Another option is to consider the brand evangelism model. Charity: Water is a great example of a nonprofit getting its supporters to market on its behalf.
Getting a donation in a nonprofit setting is fundamentally different from making a sale in the for-profit sector because it’s more personal and requires a higher level of trust from the donor. An agency’s goal is to get potential and previous donors to trust and feel involved with the nonprofits it represents. Content marketing is a great way to do this.
The nonprofits’ websites should have blogs that are current and full of the type of information their donors might be interested in. To set your agency apart from other nonprofit agencies, really dig in deep and get specific with your editorial mission.
In addition to a blog, be sure to reach new donors where they are. To reach millennials, especially, the nonprofits you represent should be sending out clear, consistent messaging on social media as well as through the email campaigns you’re crafting. This can also involve setting up a variety of payment options. Anything an agency can do to make the transaction painless for the donor will help build trust.
Another important way for an agency to differentiate itself from the competition is by customizing every single communication. ExactAsk’s marketing campaigns are set up to use census data combined with the data your client provides in order to create personalized unique communications for every donor on the nonprofit’s list. No two people are alike, and the most effective marketing strategy for one won’t be as effective on someone else. ExactAsk personalizes ask amounts as well as distribution in order to achieve the highest conversion rate for each donor.
Customizing campaigns in this way can be a secret weapon for nonprofit marketing agencies. Most agencies are sending out the same email or direct mail piece to every person on their nonprofits’ lists. At the very most, they may be segmenting in a basic way, like by age or geographic area. Customization is the best way to make campaigns as effective as possible for each person, boosting your results and setting your agency apart in a major way.
Looking for a quick way to boost donations that don’t require significant resources? Download our newest guide “5 Steps to Growth-Hack Your Nonprofit Clients' Fundraising".