Yesterday, I attended the Yates County Non-Profit Marketing Summit hosted and put on by the Ad Council of Rochester. It was great to see so many local, non-profit faces in the crowded room! Nearly every bit of information presented to us was valuable and relavent. The topics covered included what marketing is, what your brand is, social marketing (not social media marketing), web analytics, direct mailing, and developing a marketing plan.
I feel like small non profits locally tend to see all these things as too time consuming to even consider. They are busy doing so many things to run the organization, they hope that the work they are doing is enough. What we learned yesterday is that you must have a strong program (your service, your goods) and you must have a strong message (your marketing). One without the other will greatly minimize your impact.
We also learned that all these marketing tools are do-able. You can do a marketing plan. You can have effective direct mail pieces and generate a larger return of donations. You can build a brand. You can track hits to you site and tailor your website’s content to what people are looking for. You can do social media – it’s not just for kids!
One of the presenters, Susan Gilchrist, told us she wanted us to look around and see marketing everywhere. That is great advice for small non profits. Everywhere you are, everywhere your product is, everywhere your service is, every person you help, every bag of food a child takes home from school on Friday, all of it is your marketing.
For me (a for profit, of course), I took away all the same information and learned a lot about how to apply it to my business and my clients’ businesses and organizations. While I am a web geek, I do love learning about marketing and find it rather fascinating. I would love to get more involved in the marketing side of thing with non profits. I enjoy working with non profits, and I love showing them hands on what they can do with web based marketing tools like social media, email newsletters, and website content strategy. It’s so much fun for me!