Monday, March 2, 2009

Four Pillars of Communication for Non-Profits

How are you using your marketing tools to communicate with donors?

We do a lot of design work for non-profit organizations. It's funny how many seem to subscribe to the myth that because they are a non-profit, producing well-designed professional fundraising materials is out of the question. As a result, important pieces like annual reports are run off on copy machines and business cards sent through ink jet printers.

It's not wrong for non-profits to save money on these things, but it is not inspiring design either and too few are moved to write a check in response.

Each year, bland design and writing for non-profits costs organizations mountains of revenue:

• For one, there’s the expense of producing the materials–the printing, production, not to mention any associated postage costs.

• There is also the lost revenue–the money not raised when these homogenized materials fail to connect with the very people who would donate if they were moved by what they saw and read.

Getting inside the mind of donors and communicating through color, words and imagery in a way that inspires their loyalty and generosity requires an understanding of what interests donors.

For the most part, donors are interested in answering one of four basic questions:

What did you do with the money?
Several statistics show that donors want to receive newsletters from the organizarions they give to. This is an ideal platform to demonstrate how the donor's money has made a difference for the cause you promote.

What could you do with my money?
Avoid messages and imagery that communicate doom and gloom or shock donors into giving. Instead, consider a capital campaign that would take your organization to a new level. What tools would you need to communcate the opportunity to make a difference?

Did my support matter? Am I important?
A thank you can go a long way to securing ongoing giving. No matter how small the donation, a personalized letter on nice stationery or listing a donor's name in the next newsletter can go a long way to receiving the next gift.

Can I trust you with my donation?
Whether online or printed versions are used, a well-designed annual report can do wonders to inspire donors and potential donors alike while demonstrating your organization’s fiscal responsibility. Registering with sites like Charity Navigator, Network for Good and Guidestar, and linking them to your organization's website are also excellent tools for donors to view reports on your organization and encourage charitable giving.

Organizations that continue to focus on answering these questions for donors can help build a strong relationship with their audience. A good design team can do a lot to help generate interest from your donors.

If you are a FOR profit company, consider how addressing the questions above could alter your customer's perception of your company within your own marketing.

©2009 David Scott | Cosmic: Advertising & Design

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