- Wed, June 27 2012
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
A common mistake in marketing (and fundraising, for that matter) is to organize your efforts according to your organization chart. You might have a webmaster, a direct mail department and a digital strategist—all communicating with the same audience but not necessarily to each other.
In an ideal world, we would be organized around our supporters. Our organization chart would put them at the center. Take donors, for example. People like to give in a variety of ways: email, direct mail, Facebook,etc. There are not pure “online donors” and “direct mail” donors - there are donors who choose to mix it up. So fundraisers need to mix it up too. We need to start allying internally so we are allied externally.
Of course, that’s easier said than done. Unless you wear all those hats for your organization. In which case you can for once be happy - at least you don’t have departmental siloes!
Awesome cartoon by Hugh McLeod for Marketing in the Round
I asked Geoff Livingston, co-author of the new book Marketing in the Round, how nonprofits can get started with organizing around their audiences rather than their job functions. His book is all about this idea of coordinated marketing. Here are his three tips.
1) Get everybody that communicates to your nonprofit’s external stakeholders in a room for a regular meeting. My co-author Gini Dietrich is adamant that this is the first step in getting people to work together, and based on what I’ve seen in organizations it helps a great deal in breaking down silos. Candidates include PR, social media, web, direct mail fundraising, event staff, and program managers who run advocacy campaigns. Extended parties include HR and of course, the executive director.
2) Look at how you incentivize individual disciplines to succeed. If incentives revolve around social media-based online fundraising success, and nothing else, then the social media person/team has little reason to integrate. The larger communications goals must be part of the overall team’s performance and reward metrics.
Consider that Google bases 25% of its bonuses on the success of Google+. While this is a public company and not a nonprofit, every employee is incentivized to make + a successful hit. Translate that to a nonprofit, and you can come up with incentives like performance review fore everyone in the department is contingent on a 30% increase in our house database.
3) Understand that resources, strengths and weaknesses often determine how you communicate. If you don’t have the capacity to garner Public Service Announcements (PSAs) or media buys, then you need to lead with a different discipline. Audit your capabilities across all outreach mechanisms so you know what’s realistic as far as execution. Build from there.