I was asked an important question the other day. "What 1-2 things do you want nonprofits to know or wish they knew in regards to design, marketing, and PR?" I immediately knew those 1-2 things because it is something I witness often with the nonprofit community. I work with nonprofits and by the time they have reached 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 crisis means planning for success. The key word being "planning."
So here is what I wrote when asked the above 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 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 them, and relationships are work so you need to invest time. Often, it's time they don't have, or maybe they are spending their time on the wrong things? So, relating it back to number 1...If a marketing plan is in place, they would know EXACTLY where to spend their time.
Marketing is about relationships so you need to work them. Finding time for this is essential. As a nonprofits leader part of your job description should be to network. This is something that cannot be hired out. People need to know your face and need to know they have access to you. Hire someone to do the other stuff, but not this part. Same with PR. The writers, reporters, etc. want to know they have direct access to you. You or someone who has A LOT of knowledge about the organization and can do an impeccable job at representing the organization should be in direct contact with the media.
3. BONUS - Summing it up. If non profits invested time, money and energy to devise and implement a strategic marketing plan and to build relationships that grow into a larger community or network of supporters, they can succeed beyond what they thought was possible.
Just wanted to make it crystal clear. I think you get the point. Go build your relationships and develop those plans.
Here's to your illumination!