Monday, September 19, 2011

Keep Your Nonprofit Mind Open,But Don't Let It Slip Away

I listened in on a webinar a couple of weeks ago where the talk was about how owned media (blogs and websites), paid media (advertising and pr), and earned media (customer relations) were all coming together. There's been talk on other blogs about whether or not this is a good idea and how and why it might be implemented and some posts that address the shift as though it's a done deal and y'all better get onboard. Social media is the catalyst - it's given businesses and nonprofits unprecedented access to potential customers/donors and the independent PR, Marketing, and Customer Relations groups now find themselves overlapping. Yes, things are changing and I find myself in agreement with Todd Defren that it would be a good idea to take a careful look before combining them all - especially if you're a small business or nonprofit. But a micro nonprofit is different.

My Nonprofit Staff is Me, Myself, and I

The thing is, you've already combined those 'departments.' The head of marketing, advertising, and customer relations is you. There's probably no problem with overlap, you just have to be careful to choose the best avenue for the project at hand and not just the one you're most comfortable with. So why bring this up at all?

More Work?

I think it's a good idea to know what the pros are doing and talking about, what worries them and excites them. It's good to know what they're trying and there's always the possibility that what they're doing can be scaled down and find a use at your very small nonprofit.

It's also good to become familiar with industry terminology and how the pros set goals and measure success. When applying for a grant or talking with a possible partner or sponsor, knowing how to 'speak the language' can be an asset.

I know it's more work, but you didn't get involved with this nonprofit to take it easy, right?

However far you roam in search of new ideas though, please stay you.

Mind How You Go

I collect slang. I'm particularly fond of Soda Fountain slang from the 20s through the 50s. But it's not something one can inject into a modern conversation without appearing very strange. I don't think there's a great likelihood that you'll start talking about alignment and case studies and so forth. But ideas are powerful (like the idea for a very small nonprofit). All I'm saying is, don't get so caught up in new ideas for reaching out to the community that you separate yourself from that community. They aren't numbers, or data, or conversions, they're the people who care about what you care about. Use the new ideas to reach them, but always remember that the focus is relationship. If it doesn't further the relationship, then it's not worth your effort.

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