Branding Influence – 3 Easy Steps for Nonprofit Success

We have talked a lot about different social media tools and how they can be used by nonprofits with limited resources. But this post will take a step back and consider how to select tools which will provide the most impact for your organization.

A Harvard Business Review by David Edelman provides some excellent insights for consumer products that can be adapted to a nonprofit mission or specific project.      The steps include:

  • Understanding the Donor’s Decision Journey
    source: augestad.blogspot
  • Prioritizing Touch Points – Plan a Guest Experience
  • Allocation of Resources

The Decision Journey

Have you ever talked with donors to ask why they support the organization? Do people donate to your cause in general, or do they like to support specific projects? What keeps them making regular donations or do they? Do they talk about the cause or projects with their friends, coworkers or at a party? What are they saying about the organization? Talk with different groups – first a group of dedicated supporters, then the annual/ occasional supporters and finally some one-time donors. Ask how they found your group, what they like about it, what type of social media tools they use and what kind of updates would they like to see?

Plan A Guest Experience

Thinking of our supporters as guests is an important part of the next step; if you take the money and run you have missed this marketing concept which is so important to repeat donations. The organization’s mission is important; in many cases even life changing, let your supporters be part of this energy and excitement. Plan an experience, or series of experiences, that open the organization; creating a transparency, sharing successes and challenges faced, sharing your projects and their progress, allowing volunteer to help, open your finances and know which are important to donors. Use the on-line tools your guest are using and share the culture of the organization online and at every event.

Allocate Resources

The greatest challenge for many nonprofits is resources and the coordination of volunteer resources. There are thousands of social media tools out there, many “free”, so listening to what our guests or potential supporters are using is so important to avoid an echo in empty cyber space. Resources need to make connections to supporters for both time and funding; our guests need to feel a connection to what we are doing and feel like they make a difference. Have a champion for each online tool, encourage volunteer contribution but set up the guidelines, the Red Cross provides a great example for this. Be sure to coordinate among champions to ensure a common message.

Most important have fun serving a cause greater than one!


About Debra Breed

Marketing Director focused on understanding the what and where of customer expectations.
This entry was posted in Marketing Concepts, Social Media Tools and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Branding Influence – 3 Easy Steps for Nonprofit Success

  1. Debra,

    Great post and insights. I concur that the resources for non-profits are always limited, but have read that many have found social media to alleviate much of the stress. The American red Cross (although Huge) is one of my favorite non-profit social media firms, they truly understand the space and respond in their brand voice.


  2. BernBabyBern says:

    Very insightful post! I think you may be interested in a fundraising platform that a friend showed me called Karma411. They are even having a contest in which you can win money for your favorite cause or even your own nonprofit. I think you should check it out

  3. donnersie says:

    You capture the essence of relationship marketing here – “supporters are guests” and the journey is shared. Great graphics, too.

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