In a previous blog, I wrote a Marketing Manifesto consisting of ten concepts. This is an expansion on Point # 1.

Is your organization giving marketing the highest priority? If not, then you get exactly what you deserve.

It’s been said that organizations, including nonprofits, are finance-driven or sales-oriented or customer-centric—and that they often reflect the strengths of the leadership. We often get calls from organizations who have not been marketing-focused and who belatedly realize the error of their ways. We then have to play catch-up. When is the best time to give marketing the highest priority? Answer: at the beginning. Second best: now. It’s never too late to start.

If your nonprofit is doing good work for a worthy cause, then it is incumbent on you to inform and engage as many people as possible. If we had a dollar for every nonprofit who said to us that their donor base was ageing and that they needed to reach a younger demographic, we’d be rich! That’s where audience segmentation comes in. What works for a 65 year-old doesn’t necessarily move a 40 year-old. Which is why you should constantly evaluate your channels and messaging for different audience segments.

Start with an audience survey. A fairly simple online survey of donors or members can reveal what you’re missing in terms of communications. Interview other key stakeholders as well. Write up your findings and share it with your leadership. Develop that Core Narrative of the organization that contains both the logic and the emotion that describes your mission. And don’t forget to note the differences in your different audience segments. Now, you’re ready for a communications plan.

If you don’t have the time for such an effort or feel you need help, call us. It’s one of our core competencies. We’ve done rebrands for dozens of nonprofits and associations. Many times, they need to expand into new, younger audiences.