Most non-profits realize the value of good online marketing and social media integration. The benefits are stupendous to an organization’s branding, mission, culture, and fundraising. Where many fall short is in the delivery. Many organizations skimp on budget allocated toward marketing and have volunteers with little or no experience running the online and social media marketing. The result is amateurish social media accounts that don’t reflect the integrity of the organization, and the brunt of the marketing is done by simple posts to the accounts. Ineffective logos, typos, and grammatical errors run rampant. A true online marketing plan handled by a professional starts with clean professionally designed social accounts, properly curated and meaningful content free of errors, and a percentage of social posts, website updates, and email blasts, all of which are tied into in-person grassroots events. The “results of this “cross-pollination” between online marketing and grassroots marketing is exponential.

Many non-profits struggle in allocating money to online marketing because of “bureaucratic creep”. Bureaucratic creep is the slow growth of bureaucracy, referring to how processes and systems tend to generate more and more rules and paperwork until that process itself takes up all of the time and no time is left to actually accomplish the goal. It comes from the verb ‘to creep’ meaning to move very slowly and quietly. This over-planning, over-analyzing behavior causes organizations to spend excessive lengths of time deliberating on the details and conceptualization of their websites and social media plans to their own detriment. Most non-profits are not rolling out “Steve Jobs like” technologies and software, therefore there is no need to go overboard with conceptualizing your online marketing. Get your ideas together, and let a professional handle the planning and execution. Lean on your internal team to contribute content and do what they do best in their natural positions, not to waste 3 months deliberating on the website setup.

Some common mistakes non-profits make in their marketing:

  • They do not have social media accounts, they don’t list them on their website or leverage them properly.
  • On the opposite extreme they rely only on social media posts to drive their marketing, and do not use press releases, email marketing, or any of the other powerful marketing tools available today.
  • They don’t have a solid online brand identity: Brands are Psychology, Art, and Science brought together. Brands convey a uniform quality, credibility and experience. Brands are valuable. A brand is a nonprofit’s face to the world, and we maximize it by harnessing the power of social media and technology. It is the organization’s name, how it is visually expressed, and how it is extended through communications. A brand is also how the company is perceived by its customers including the associations and inherent value they place on it. It is a kind of promise. It is a set of fundamental principles as understood by anyone who comes into contact with it.
  • They do not leverage the power of web video.
  • Their site, and social accounts are not designed well. They are amateurish.
  • They are not employing “viral” marketing strategies in their affairs.