As a nonprofit leader, you should always be attempting to optimize your staff’s behavior so that you can maximize your impact while keeping your costs low.
However, doing so is not always easy. Although your staff is likely emotionally attached to your cause, it’s easy for them to get into the groove of their roles. If left unchecked, this can eventually alter behavior, making the person reluctant to do anything above and beyond their responsibilities and that can make garnering extra work incredibly difficult.
Depending on your organization and mission, marketing is often one of the most significant costs outside of a nonprofit or businesses day-to-day operations. If on the other hand, your organization does little to no marketing, you are likely missing out on valuable exposure to donors, volunteers, and partners. By creating a culture where every employee is encouraged to play a role in marketing, you can create a highly efficient and effective way to maximize your marketing while minimizing the cost.
Marketing often is labor intensive, difficult to automate, and the majority of the work requires hundreds of hours of relatively dull admin work. There is still a place for traditional advertising, but there is a massive trend in marketing that creates an opportunity to turn everyone on your team into marketing employees.
Content marketing is the process of making articles, videos, and other materials for your purposes of bringing awareness to your organization. Content marketing doesn’t need to ask for someone to take the next step directly – but may be part of a broader effort to educate, entertain, or thoughtfully share useful information with people that may be interested in you, and people that could benefit from the information you’re sharing.
According to the Content Marketing Institute – content marketing generates over three times as many leads as outbound marketing and costs 62% less. This means more awareness, more donations, and more volunteers – for less.
But, of course, this approach is more of a long-term play that requires effort and consistency to work.
In this era of the digital world content marketing is perhaps the best method for nonprofit organizations to use. Not only is it arguably the best from the standpoint of an ROI, but it’s also relatively easy to crowdsource among your existing staff members in a way that keeps the effort required for a single individual relatively small.
Content marketing consists of two parts;
Perhaps the most straightforward part is crowdsourcing content production from across your staff and volunteers. Every one of your employees has detailed knowledge of your industry and the problems you are solving, allowing everybody to create useful and informative posts.
If able, look for ways to incentivize quality content creation. It could be that you offer a gift card or some other bonus perk for each article. For the content that does especially well, also consider ways to further reward the contributor or their team.
When it comes to marketing, you should attempt to leverage the existing networks of your employees. Most of your staff will be active on social media networks like Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. By encouraging them to share interesting and value-adding blog content on their social networks, you can spread awareness through social marketing and word-of-mouth.
An optional method you might also want to consider is looking for ways to cultivate friendly competition in your office so that your employees work as efficiently as possible. Such a tactic works great with methods like content marketing; it would be easy to create a weekly and annual league, with the staff members publishing the most content getting rewarded.
Similarly, to incentivize your staff to share content on their social media you can track the number of shares, likes, and comments they get, rewarding those that get the most. Both of these tactics are simple, create a fun competition and incentivize optimal behavior.
To avoid competition becoming unfriendly it would be wise to reward all employees towards the end of the year, or for prizes to be somewhat collective.
Anyone that has tried to introduce a new concept knows that there is always a change that some people will be resistant. To combat this, you should constantly be looking for ways to reduce the effort and friction involved in this process.
Consider creating content templates, create and maintain a collaborative list of creative inspiration and potential article topics, have teams internally brainstorm ideas and delegate execution, or even give someone an outline and guidance.
In summary, content marketing needs to become part of your organization’s marketing and fundraising strategy, and the best way to do this is to leverage all of the experienced professionals from your staff, partners, clients, board, and volunteers to spread the load.