Nonprofit marketing is, without question, a growing field. But it’s still very much a young field too. There is no single job description for a nonprofit marketer. I’m not even sure we’d have it covered if we came up with 10 different job descriptions.
While there’s a lot of fun to be had working in such a diverse field with so much pioneering going on right before our eyes, that also means it can be tough to gauge how well you are doing. Are you any good at this? If you really want to measure your success, you have to cobble together a performance review that matches your cobbled-together, and frequently changing, job description.
While it’s relatively easy to measure the effectiveness of many of the specific tactics that you will use in marketing, it’s harder to measure some of the big picture changes we are seeking when we market our good causes. You market your organization and its programs and services, but to what end?
How does your marketing strategy make you stand out from the crowd?
Are you conveying what is unique and valuable about your organization and programs? Is it clear to the people who matter most to your success who you are and what you do? Is your marketing different enough from other organizations working in the same space?
Is your organization perceived as a leader or expert?
What’s your status or reputation within your field? How does your marketing strategy help you position yourself or your nonprofit as a leader or expert? How trusted is your organization, and how does your marketing plan maintain and build trust with your supporters?
Do your current supporters remember who you are?
You might be surprised how many donors forget that they’ve made gifts to a nonprofit organization. And why would they remember, if the nonprofit doesn’t work on maintaining those open lines of communication? Are you keeping those good feelings you worked to create through your initial outreach going strong? Are you communicating regularly with supporters? Are you reminding them what you do?
Do your current supporters think of you favorably?
Does your strategy include multiple ways to foster good feelings about your cause and your organization among your supporters? Or are your supporters feeling overlooked, forgotten, or used? Are you repeatedly thanking them for their support? Are you explaining the results you created using their last gift of time, money, or talent? Are you sharing stories with them about why they matter so much to your success? Do you make your supporters, especially your biggest fans, feel like part of your team?
Are you connecting with new people?
Unless your target audience is a very well-defined and limited group of people without much turnover, your marketing programs should be bringing new people into your community of participants and supporters. This will often require trying entirely new approaches to tap into those networks where you don’t have a presence now. Have you identified who your newest supporters will be? Are you listening to them and learning what’s important to them?
Perhaps most importantly, do you love your job?
Your nonprofit marketing work is about making the world a better place. It’s important. It matters. Thanks for taking it on.
This is an excerpt from my book, The Nonprofit Marketing Guide: High-Impact, Low-Cost Ways to Build Support for Your Good Cause. I'm also excited about Beth Kanter's new book, Measuring the Networked Nonprofit: Using Data to Change the World. (These are Amazon links.) To learn more, join us for the webinar, Measuring Your Nonprofit Marketing Success.