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2018 Trends Nonprofits Need to Know

April 18, 2018

Nonprofit professionals are experiencing some of the same trends as their colleagues in the business sector, but the way in which nonprofits interpret and react to these trends differs.

The Price of Technology

Technology is big, constant and changing. Nonprofits must stay abreast of what’s new and understand how technology can be applied to their situations. Some technologies can come with a hefty price tag so planning ahead and budgeting wisely will be your organization’s best bet for staying ahead of the curve.

It’s also important to consider the execution of your strategy and the ability of staff to troubleshoot any technical problems. For example, do you have internal resources that understand various social media platforms? Can they create and maintain your accounts on Twitter or Instagram or effectively blog? Oftentimes, nonprofits don’t have dedicated technical personnel so you must be able to support any marketing or fundraising channel that you adopt

Change the Channel

Your organization doesn’t need to blanket its message across the universe to be effective. In fact, the more you can target your audience the more effective your message—and budget—will be. Consider delivering your story through a digital marketing platform.

  • Solicit blog posts from your clients so the public can get a first-hand look at your organization and gain trust in your brand. Keep it short and let their passion shine through.
  • Build attendance at your upcoming special event with a series of Instagram posts that are fast and fun. Choose a business-friendly Instagram app like Flipagram that lets you put together a quick slideshow video from a series of photos. Instant excitement.
  • Paid media is changing, too, and nonprofits should explore the use of social advertising to augment other traditional methods like print or radio. Don’t let the headlines about Facebook advertising scare you off from thinking about cost-effective ad platforms that can integrate directly with user apps or websites.

Who is Carrying Your Message?

Nonprofits have long leaned on client success stories to engage their audience and there is no reason to abandon this tactic if its working for you, but diversification is important.

Many nonprofits have a local or regional footprint, so an effective tactic can be the engagement of a “micro influencer” with a typical reach of 10,000-100,000 engaged followers.

Although their followers may not rival Beyonce’s, a micro influencer in the right market can help you build your brand quickly.

According to the 2017 Cone Communications Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Report, three out of five American citizens look towards businesses to take the lead in positively affecting societal and environmental change. Your nonprofit can dial in to the CSR trend by seeking out corporate partners that share the same values or belief system. This type of partnership can boost brand, elevate funding support and increase volunteers, but choose your messenger wisely. Aligning with a corporate partner can be a double-edged sword and their actions and policies will reflect on your organization—positively or negatively.

There is Power in Data

While nonprofits have long understood the use of data as it relates to tracking and analyzing programmatic results, its application has not been universally applied to marketing and fundraising.

Purchasing or harnessing data can be both expensive and time-consuming, but it is extremely valuable and will serve as the key to unlocking greater market share. While the term “big data” is tossed around often in the media, nonprofits should focus on their own data and easy big data, which addresses methods to integrate your data all in one place.

At The Martin Group, we stay ahead of the trends and help our nonprofit clients right-size every idea to fit their budget and bandwidth. We’ve got your back so you can keep moving forward.


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