Tracking trends (Yes, I mean consumer trends. Because nonprofit markets ARE individuals ARE consumers.) is a must for nonprofit marketers striving to engage. But trend tracking is hard to do, on top of everything else.
Here’s what Trend Briefing outlines as the key trends for this year:
Status Spheres — Look at your markets by what drives them. The drivers are mix and match in 2008, which means it’s not as easy to pinpoint what motivates your key customers. Consider these possibilities:
- Transient sphere: Focused on the right here, right now. Catch ’em with succinct, focused communications
- Online sphere: Nothing matters more here than relationships. Find ways to integrate your org into those relationships.
- Eco sphere: Most composters couldn’t be prouder of themselves. Even if the environment isn’t your issue area, find a way to celebrate your supporters and staff who do green.
- Giving sphere: Now that giving gets news (think ProductRed, Hilton Foundation and more), it’s gained some long-deserved status. While your org goes after folks getting a toe in the water, don’t forget to nurture your long-time supporters.
Premiumization — Excuse the English (or lack thereof). We’re talking best in class, right down to luxury marshmallows. Extend the concept to your nonprofit’s value to the community. Best in class community center, after-school programs or healthy lunches?
Snack Culture — Going beyond between-meal eats to encompass a way of living via transient, short-term experiences. Instant gratification is the name of the game. Marketing-wise that means shooting straight from the hip, in a timely way, and in as few words as possible. Your challenge is keeping your audiences coming back for more.
Online Oxygen — Continued pumping of online communications. For your organization, that means diving into mobile fundraising and advocacy and maybe an online community (like Facebook) for your supporters, especially if they fall into a niche, ala animal rights advocates.
Eco-Iconic — Make sure your nonprofit makes operational decisions to support a healthy environment (with choices in paper and printing, cleaning products and more), even if you don’t focus on environmental issues.
Brand Butlers — Rather than push your cause on your markets, provide them with something they need or want. Austrian Airlines includes passes to Vienna attractions in passengers’ boarding passes. How can your organization be relevant and useful to your supporters?
Make it Yourself — Find a way (better yet, wayS) for your supporters to create content for and about your organization (blog comments and posts, videos, music). Trendwatching points to the next step as enabling your supporters to make a product themselves (custom Sierra Club t-shirts, anyone?).
Crowd-Mining — Crowd-sourcing evolves to having your markets solve your problems for you. Crossroads Community Foundation counts on its corps of 100 teenagers in nine schools to, with guidance, select grantees for $1.5 million/annually. Netflix promises $1 million to the person who can significantly improve its system for predicting what movies its subscribers will like based on their views and preferences. What problem can your supporters solve for your nonprofit?
Sit down with your colleagues today to assess which trends are most relevant to your nonprofit, and how you should respond to them.
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