How Fundraising Is Turning Into 'Fund Marketing'
You could say that these skills fall into the communications and marketing arena. So if you want to be successful at fundraising, you have to master some marketing skills.
When I asserted that marketing and branding can kill fundraising, some of my smart nonprofit communications friends took issue.
Let me make myself clear: Bad marketing and rigid branding can subvert fundraising.
What do bad marketing and rigid branding look like?
- Are organization-focused, not donor-focused (staff profiles for example)
- Are beautifully designed but difficult to read
- Are too wordy
- Promote board members or the CEO instead of donors and your work
- Talk about the gala instead of the kids helped this year
- Are full of statistics and data and short on pictures
- Are too formal and lofty
- Use jargon like "programs," "services" and "underserved"
- Are all about the branding, the look and the right colors … and thereby convey nothing
- Are completely missing the all-important call to action
Let's not waste our time and energy with bad marketing.
If you're fortunate enough to have a marketing and/or communications staff with skilled professionals, its expertise can often help you.
One nonprofit marketing professional I know says that so often, fundraisers "ruin" letters and other copy by inserting jargon, adding "flowery," unnecessary words or making changes upon changes. Don't be one of those folks.
But all fundraisers need to learn these skills!
Here's how to learn to do fund marketing correctly: Follow the smartest nonprofit communications people out there.
There are plenty of experts out there who have mastered fund marketing. You should follow them all and study their stuff. Take their classes too!
- Tom Ahern
- Kivi Leroux Miller of NonprofitMarketingGuide.com
- Nancy Schwartz of GettingAttention.org
- Jeff Brooks
- Sara Durham at Big Duck
Take the time to learn how to shape and deliver a message well. Ask if your marketing and communications colleagues follow any of the experts listed above. That's a great way to open a line of communication.