How to Supplement Gifts & Grants w/Earned Income (Yes — Charge for It!)

How to Supplement Gifts & Grants wEarned Income Yes -- Charge for ItI’ll be joining two other communications experts — Hannah Kane from Idealist and reporter Carly Rothman from Newark’s Star Ledger (the daily newspaper) tomorrow in a panel (Nonprofits, Technology and Messaging) hosted by NJN, NJ’s public TV and radio station.

NJN is doing something really smart — building an earned income stream by marketing for-fee use of its production facilities and services to carefully-identified target audiences. That’s earned vs. unearned (income from donations and grants); a stabilizing source particularly in tough times. Always makes sense to diversify, including income-wise.

Here’s the strategy:

  • The folks at NJN are targeting nonprofits, government agencies and small biz/production centers/event planners — the folks they feel are mostly likely to need moderately-priced outside production help/facilities. Interest is there — 150 org staff members will be at tomorrow’s session.
  • They’re marketing facilities and expertise they already have — but aren’t fully needed by the station itself. Many public radio and/or TV stations do so; but not on so formalized (and effective) a basis.
  • They’re reaching out strategically to build awareness, interest AND relationships. The panel in which I’m participating is part of an open house series — one for each type of prospective customer — designed to introduce not only the facilities and services to prospects, but to build relationships and a deeper understanding of how NJN can help with their challenges.
  • They’re showing their understanding of the target audiences, and their respect for their time (and value of their contribution) by providing a free customized training component in each open house. That’s where our panel comes in.

What skills, products and/or facilities does your org have on tap and aren’t fully used by your own programs and operations? Look hard and inventory possibilities now. Winnow down the list by evaluating what fills a market need and is most feasible to deliver (e.g. of interest to audiences beyond the folks you already provides those services or products to, requires least additional work…). And go with it.

P.S. Don’t miss out on the in-depth articles, case studies and guides on fee-based services, branding, messages and more featured in the twice-monthly Getting Attention e-update. Subscribe today.

Nancy Schwartz on April 14, 2009 in Earned Income/Ventures, Nancy's Speaking Gigs, Nonprofit Communications, Unique Approaches | 1 comment
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