Results from the 2007 Getting Attention Nonprofit Marketing Survey highlighted this striking gap – while more than 55% of nonprofits are frustrated by lack of resources and leadership support for marketing, only 37% do the tracking that generates increased budgets and confidence. Or, as fundraiser/blogger Jeff Brooks, puts it “63% of nonprofits intend to fail.”
My recommendation for your organization is to harvest the low-hanging fruit – the tracking data that’s inexpensive and easy to get and understand. And that’s what’s called analytics for your Web site, blogs, e-newsletters and mobile phone campaigns.
You probably have these tools already, if you communicate via any of these channels. In future issues and blog posts I’ll tell you how to put them to good use.
But first, here are just a few of the many compelling responses to this challenge:
- “It’s a Chicken-and-Egg Syndrome,” Comments Nonprofit Strategic Planning Consultant/Blogger, Kelly Kleiman. “If you can’t get money for marketing,” asks Kleiman, “how can you expect to get money for second-order activities like its evaluation? But it’s a salutary reminder that even in nonprofits one must demonstrate the value of what one wants. “Even in nonprofits? Kelly, I’d take it further to say *especially* in nonprofits.”
- Don’t Be One of the 63% of Nonprofits that Intend to Fail, Urges Fundraiser Jeff Brooks. Fundraising expert/blogger Jeff Brooks advocates that measuring marketing impact is the only responsible course. “You owe it to your mission, and your donors, not to fail,” says Brooks. As Brooks puts it, “If you’re not paying attention to what you’re doing in your marketing, only divine intervention is going to save you from wasting a ton of money and doing stupid, ineffective (or worse) things. In other words, you are going to fail. And you won’t even know it until it’s too late.”
- Just Ask, Urges R. Scott Graham, President & CEO of Valley Health System”For human service organizations, simply asking those referred to you about the referral source, and analyzing that data on a regular basis is one simple way to determine if your marketing is useful,” says Graham.It is amazing, once you take a step back from the day-to-day, how many nonprofits don’t put these elemental steps into play.
- Try Web Analytics for Cheap & Easy Tracking of Online Communications, Suggests Nonprofit Copywriter/Blogger Kivi Leroux Miller. “Most online marketing tools have tracking built into them – you are already paying for them. You just have to use them,” says Leroux Miller. Leroux Miller makes several possible-to-put-into-play-today suggestions for tracking Web site, e-news and blog impact. One caution – be aware of how you define impact. I call program registrations motivated (and clicked-through) an e-newsletter impact. E-news “opens” (how many on the list open the e-news) isn’t impact, just a step in the right direction.
- Probably Even less than 37% of Nonprofits Track Marketing Impact, Warns Michael Gilbert. Nonprofit journalist and information expert Michael Gilbert comments that “nonprofits are likely to over report what they think they should be doing.”Good point, Michael. His suggestion makes these findings even more critical.
Let me know what you think about these findings, and how your nonprofit plans to hurdle this challenge in a comment below.