Increasing Awareness & Reach: How to Improve Your Nonprofit’s Marketing & PR Approach

Yesterday, we hosted over 60 nonprofits for a discussion on Marketing & PR for Nonprofits featuring special guests, Brianna McKinney of Bloom Communications and Dave Shaw from Arrow.

Part of the NotleyEDU #RiseImpact Breakfast Series, Notley founder Dan Graham sat down with Brianna and Dave to explore how nonprofits today can make effective decisions when it comes to marketing and promoting their organization.

Here are just a few of the highlights from the panel that you and your nonprofit can use to amplify your impact.

Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Great Story

Brianna and Dave emphasized the importance of telling a great story targeted to your audience. With the marketing budget to bolster your content, it’s important for nonprofits to dive deep in the stories that matter most to their community of volunteers, donors, and recipients. Make sure you consider all forms of content too. Video can have an incredible power to convert new supporters to your cause.

It’s also worth planning to hire or contract with a content marketer if your budget allows,  rather than spending large amounts of money with an advertising or PR firm. “Often the best advice we give nonprofits is not to invest in PR, but instead reinvest those dollars back into their mission and organization,” Brianna McKinney, Bloom Communications.

Marketing on a Shoestring Budget

Of course, most nonprofits don’t have large budgets dedicated to marketing. Brianna and Dave explored how nonprofit can be strategic in putting your marketing dollars to good use.  

Organizations can capture video content on an iPhone for social media (boost it, if possible!) or use surveys (SurveyMonkey is an affordable option) as a powerful tool for understanding what stories are most compelling for their audience. Capturing and utilizing your organization’s own data can help tell more robust stories.

Dave suggested that organizations should think creatively when hiring! There is a breadth of talent in universities who are looking to build a portfolio of content and can be hired at a fraction of the cost. Students interested in writing, public relation, digital media, and video production can be a great asset for content generation. Local universities have internship placement programs and can be a great resource when building your marketing and content team.

Engaging with the Media for the Biggest Benefit

A relationship with the media can be a big advantage to an organization, so long as it is fostered in the right way. Reporters often have a specialized area of interest and have the responsibility of publishing the most relevant stories.  Brianna and Dave both remarked that having close relationships with members of the media can be very lucrative, however it won’t always guarantee publication. Make sure your pitch is pertinent and avoid asking for favors.

When you are ready to pitch a story it is important to ask the deadline. This simple question creates trust with the writer and establishes the next point of contact, making your inclusion more likely. Even more important than getting the deadline is meeting it! Failing to do so will label you unreliable and make it less likely that they come to you in the future.

Towards the end of the discussion, a few engaged audience members used their specific anecdotes as examples for the discussion, and when the conversation came to a close, Brianna, Dave, and Dan put down their microphones and mingled with the attendees.

Join us for the Scalable Nonprofit Workshop hosted by NotleyEDU on September 12 from 8:00 - 11:30 am. Learn how to create a sustainable and scalable nonprofit and leave knowing how to calculate your organization's unit economics, structure your pro forma financial statements, and measure scalable growth and revenue. Secure your tickets now!

Save the date for the next NotleyEDY #RiseImpact Breakfast on September 19th! Subscribe to the NotleyEDU Newsletter to stay in-the-know about upcoming workshops, videos, and podcast episodes!

Have you toured the Center for Social Innovation yet? Tenants are moving in this month and the 5050sf meeting space is now open! Signup for a tour and check out the special pre-opening prices for Relay Coworking, coming to the Center for the Social Innovation this fall!