Full opening message of FundClass Topic #09, January 1998
Hello, I am Marty Baird, and I will be your Topic Facilitator and marketing partner for the next couple of weeks.
FYI: I am a marketing person, not a non-profit person. My experience is in getting people to get off of the couch and do something in response to the client's pitch. It could be call, come in, or mail in. I see this as very similar to what you are doing as well.
Most of you have years of training in a wide variety of areas. Unfortunately it is not usually in marketing. And although the nasty word *marketing* makes some people uncomfortable, it can have a huge impact on the success of your fund raising or volunteer drive. Some large non-profit organizations are marketing machines and have the big results to show for it. Small organizations, though, don't have a marketing staff or money for consultants to advise them. That's why we're here--I would like to help each of you improve your marketing skills.
How do you get people to respond to your requests? How do you get them to open your letter and then send you a check or volunteer their time? This is what we will discuss in this topic. We are going to look at things you can do to improve your response rate without adding to your costs. It is all about doing more with less.
As a framework for this I would like to focus on the areas of direct mail, telemarketing, and public relations. This will provide some great areas for discussion. Also this is not only a time for questions, we would also like to hear what has worked for you!
I want to make sure everyone uses the term "Marketing" the same way. "Marketing" is concerned with defining how your product is perceived. This is more than just advertising. Advertising comes only after you have clearly defined how you want people to think of your product. A good example is to compare how Coke and Pepsi are marketed. Coke wants you to think of "feeling good" when you see Coke products, and Pepsi wants you to think "youth" when you see Pepsi products. The actual commercials change over the years, but the overall message, the "image", remains the same.
Let's get started with a marketing fundamental: "Features tell, benefits sell." The features of your product, whether it is a cola or a support organization for injured animals, are what make your product special. But you must communicate the *benefits* of your product before anyone will make that donation. And before you can communicate those benefits, you must understand them yourself. I am always surprised at the number of organizations that can't clearly describe the benefits of their own product.
So here's your first question: Have you created a list of the top five or so benefits of your product to a potential donor or volunteer? How did you create the list? If you have such a list, please share it with the Class as an example to other just starting.
I am looking forward to your input!
CEO of Robinson & Associates, a marketing firm located in Phoenix, Arizona, USA
This opening message was originally posted by Marty Baird on January 14, 1998