I was asked an important question the other day. "What 1-2 things do you want nonprofits to know about design, marketing, and PR?" I immediately knew what those things are because it is something I witness often with the nonprofit community. I do a lot of work with nonprofits, and by the time they reach out to me for marketing help, sometimes it is too late. I hate when that happens because avoiding crisis, don't hate me for saying this, is simple. Avoiding crises requires planning for success. Keyword: "planning."
So here is my answer to the question...
1. Non-profits NEED to design and implement a strategic marketing plan so that they do not live in a perpetual state of reactions. One day the reaction will be too late and to their detriment. They need to know that this is NOT optional. If this does not happen, they will fail.
A good strategy can be developed within a month. You can also make sure the person developing the strategy has some accountability built into the process, meaning they work on keeping YOU accountable in hitting all of your deadlines and milestones. They should be invested in your success and they should be HIGHLY confident in your success because they built a plan that only leads to your success.
2. PR is all about relationships so you need to start building and investing time in those relationships. Time is scarce, so spend it wisely. And going back to point 1...If a marketing plan is in place, time management is far easier.
Marketing is about relationships so you need to work them. Finding time for this is essential. As a non-profit leader, part of your job description is networking. This is something that cannot be hired out. People need to know your face and know they have access to you. Hire someone to do the other stuff, but not this part. And the same goes for PR. Writers and reporters want to know they have direct access to you. The person who has A LOT of knowledge about the organization and can do an impeccable job representing the organization should be in direct contact with the media.
BONUS - To sum it up, if non-profits invested time, money, and energy to devise and implement a strategic marketing plan, building relationships that grow into a larger network of supporters, they can succeed beyond what they thought was possible.
I hope I've made it crystal clear. I think you get the point. Go build your relationships and develop those plans.
Here's to your illumination!