To the Point: Get Ready to Rummage
We're calling a new rector for my church. This entails creating a detailed profile of our institution, assessing our ministries, analyzing our finances, and praying and reflecting on our next "calling." It also entails letting some ministries go.
It's like a big rummage sale. We're giving away some programs (on the cheap!) because they no longer work. At the same time, old dreams, long forgotten, have reappeared at the bottom of the rubbish pile.
The hardest part about holding a rummage sale is that it challenges us to change — to realize that we can't do it all and must make tough decisions about what to give away going forward. Here are my six suggestions for stepping up your marketing game in 2010. All of these require you first to let go, so you can make space for new miracles to take place. Good luck, and get ready to rummage!
1. Stop thinking tactics.
You wouldn't start to build a house by picking up a hammer; why start your marketing plan by creating a Facebook page? Stop thinking tactics. Develop a strategy before choosing which fundraising tools to use. Strategic planning sounds intimidating, but it doesn't have to be. All it means is putting goals and objectives ahead of techniques or tools.
2. Stop being passive about press coverage.
Wes "Scoop" Nisker is famous for his book, "If You Don't Like the News … Go Out and Make Some of Your Own." This is great advice in the "connected age." I'm not saying you should start a blog tomorrow (that would contradict point No. 1), but you should stop waiting for The Times to come knocking on your door. Invest now in creating and showcasing your own content online, and dive into the discourse around your issue. There are myriad services you can use to highlight your organizational research, reports, articles, white papers, photos, webinars, speaking ?engagements and videos. And who knows, that could lead to mainstream coverage.
3. Stop debating which channel is best.
Is direct mail dying? Will social media kill e-mail? Should we add mobile into our marketing mix? These are all bad questions when asked outside the context of your particular marketing program, campaign or ?organization. Instead, let your decisions regarding which marketing channels to use be driven by your audience requirements and your internal capacity to create ?content, use technology and manage staff.
4. Stop worrying about losing control.
Every time I do a workshop on social media, I get this question, "If we let our stakeholders speak for us, how can we make sure that they stay on message?" This is the wrong question, and here's why. If you search Google for your issue or organization, you'll see that your prospective (and current) donors, members, advocates and volunteers are already talking about you. In other words, "The train has already left the station." You don't get to keep people on message. However, you do get to decide if you want to join the conversation.
5. Stop saying you're not tech-savvy.
Like any other discipline, online fundraising, organizing and marketing are learned skills. No one is all-knowing about how to use social media or run an online ?campaign. Take a course. Start your own Facebook page. Jump onto Twitter. The best way to understand online tools is to use them. Just be sure to experiment via your personal versus your organizational brand.
6. Stop flying blind.
Finally, one of the beauties of online marketing and fundraising is that you can test just about anything. For example, when doing an e-mail campaign, you can test the effectiveness of subject lines, from lines, copy, video, etc. Similarly, analytics on your Web site can tell you who visits, as well as when and where they come from. Use this empirical data to drive your marketing effort instead of flying blind.