Your organization’s mission is important, but how do you get your message out ahead of the other 1 million nonprofits in the United States? There are about 300 million individuals who give approximately $300 billion a year, and your organization is competing to get that $1,000 from each potential donor. Your fundraising is not just about raising funds; you must also increase awareness of your mission and get your message out to a broader constituent group.You need to put yourself as the donor and determine ways that will position you in the donor’s mind. As you and your organization work to better position your brand, you need to consider the following points:
1. What is your market?
Are you in education? Are you in health care? You need to know what market you are in and you need to know the ins and outs of the market. Be knowledgeable about the trends and what is happening in the market.
2. What is your organization’s position in the market?
Is your organizational brand known? How would your brand be ranked by the general population? Are you a first tiered non-profit that everyone knows, such as Salvation Army and Goodwill? Are you well known within your local community, even though you are not known nationally? Knowing how you rank is important as you begin to develop your strategy in marketing your position.
3. What position do you want to have (be realistic)?
Where would you like to position your organization? Remember to be realistic, keep in mind your financial and staff resources.
4. Who is your competition?
Again, it is important to be realistic. Chances are you are not going to outrun a competitor with a large staff and large budget. However, you can be smart with your strategy on how you innovatively market yourself in comparison to the larger competitor while battling the smaller ones.
5. What are your financial resources?
It is difficult to position your organization without a budget. If you are serious about getting your message out, you need to invest in a budget that will enable you to market your organization.
6. Can you do this for the long haul?
There is no quick fix in establishing your brand. It takes time and resources. You have to continually invest and stick with it. As a smaller organization, you will have to fight harder than the larger nonprofits.
7. Will your ideal brand position, match the actual product?
Once you determine what position you want, make sure it matches up with your product. Don’t try to be a tier one, if your product is a tier three. Your constituents will discover quickly that your marketing was not accurate and you will not develop loyalty.
Before you can formulate a marketing and communications strategy, it is necessary to understand your brand, where it is positioned, and where you want it to be. Once you have that figured out, formulate your strategy, be courageous, and stick with it. Patience, as well as innovation will get you the brand position that your organization is striving towards.