I’ve advised you to piggyback your nonprofit content on headlines and notable days to catch your target audiences in their open-minded moments. It’s an easy and reliable way to connect with your base and increase engagement.
Not surprisingly, the converse is also true. Here’s a dramatic example of how a messaging disconnect alienates the very folks you need to engage to move your mission forward:
Boomers, retirees, and those hoping to be able to retire one day are scared stiff right now as cuts to Medicare and Social Security are on the table. That’s an ideal top-of-mind news story for an organization like AARP to piggyback on, linking its advocacy agenda and the advantages of membership to maintaining quality of life for these audience segments (all of whom are potential members).
So I was shocked when a friend forwarded this recent AARP membership recruitment email, 100% focused on the organization’s Fun Food Challenge while completely ignoring these crucial issues (and this huge opportunity).
But this list-building campaign (you provide your email to participate in the challenge) doesn’t simply fail to take advantage of a powerful opportunity to show the organization’s value at a worrisome time. It’s far worse that that.
AARP’s focus on this frothy topic doubled with its failure to address the very real concerns among prospective and current members shouts of not knowing (or caring?) what’s important to its base. The contest is all about AARP, not about its audiences — the cardinal communications sin. This kind of messaging disconnect is bound to alienate prospects for the long term.
How do you ensure your organization’s messages connect with your audiences? Please share your strategies here.
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