Pulse: Communication Is King
Communication is a critical aspect to move donors to action in any fundraising campaign, yet many nonprofits admittedly struggle to connect with their key audiences. That was a major finding in a recent survey conducted by Nancy Schwartz, blogger at Getting Attention (GettingAttention.org) and president of nonprofit marketing and communications firm Nancy Schwartz & Co.
FundRaising Success spoke with Schwartz about the struggles fundraising organizations face in their communications and ways to overcome them.
FundRaising Success: Why do you think so many nonprofits struggle in communicating
Nancy Schwartz: There are four main reasons. [First,] many organizations wear blinders: They see and think only about what they want and need to meet their missions, without any recognition of the fact that these wants and needs have to intersect with those of their target audiences if they want those targets to give. The blinders ensure that staff members and leaders maintain an internal perspective. Unfortunately, that means such organizations are like two ships passing in the night with target audiences.
Another key reason is that so many nonprofit leaders don't see communications as a crucial organizational strategy. As a matter of fact, in some organizations, "marketing" is still a dirty word. So leaders don't invest in or support it — staff aren't given the time or resources to make it happen right.
As one survey respondent said, "Funds are prioritized for fundraising, not marketing. Our leadership doesn't understand how the two are halves of a whole."
Unfortunately, that kind of thinking prevents nonprofits from making and strengthening the relationships they need to succeed. The only way anyone or any organization can shape messages that work as conversation starters, much less keepers, is to have a good sense of who they're talking to (aka audience research). But most nonprofits don't know much about their audiences, so their messages miss and the conversation never gets off the ground.