I’ve been following Kivi Leroux Miller’s posts on Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog for about a year, and she always adds value. So, when her new book The Nonprofit Marketing Guide: High-impact, Low-Cost Ways to Build Support for Your Good Cause was released last Spring I was ready to buy. It’s bound to become a classic.
The Guide includes plenty of smart, timely, and fresh advice from someone who clearly understands nonprofit realities. Recognizing the limitations we face, Miller includes not only the Elements of a Comprehensive Nonprofit Marketing Plan, but also adds a section on Nonprofit Marketing the Quick-And-Dirty Way. If you’re new to marketing, this book will help you get started off on the right foot. If you’re an old hand at it, I guarantee you’ll find new ideas you haven’t tried before.
The first chapter, Ten New Realities for NonProfits, is straight talk that is relevant, on point, and a great primer on how things have changed over the last few years. If you're getting crazy marketing requests from your boss, lend them your copy for a quick read. It'll be an education.
Here are four tactics from the Guide you can use right away:
1) When defining your audience, use personas. If your audience is still "the general public," it's time to make a change. Build representative characters for each target audience; find photos that represent them and describe their age, educational level, hobbies, motivations, values, etc. in detail. Then, match your messages and communication channels to these personas.
2) Develop your storytelling skills. Nothing convinces an audience more than stories of real life struggle and achievement. Miller describes three plot lines -- the challenge plot, the creativity plot, and the connection plot -- you can use to put a human face on the work you do and gives a list of story ideas to help you get started.
3) Focus on the plight of one person instead of many. When asking for support, describe the needs of one person who represents your cause. Research shows that people are more likely to feel an emotional connection to one person, and be compelled to act because of that connection. A crowd, no matter how needy, just doesn’t have the same power.
4) Think of your organization as a media mogul. It’s time to think beyond the mainstream media. Let’s face it, they’re not that helpful anyway. The good news is that the technology exists to create and distribute your own brilliant content. Miller gives plenty of advice on how to use social media to engage supporters and give tips on how to create an editorial calendar that reduces the social media time suck.
The book also includes a password so that you can access the book’s companion website to keep the ideas flowing. If you're ready for a marketing makeover or just want to take your game up a notch, check out The Nonprofit Marketing Guide.
What books do you recommend? Don't be shy! Add them in the comments link below.