January 10, 2014
When considering how to reach out to the donor pool, nonprofits may not throw around the term "marketing" a lot. Typically, fundraising serves the dual purpose of creating awareness surrounding the cause and then using that to leverage donor contributions.
However, consumers are interacting with brands in ways they never have before, and nonprofits can benefit from this as well. Thinking of consumers and donors, they are still turning over money to an organization. What they get in return will differ slightly for each individual. For some, it's the feeling of helping others, contributing to a passionate cause, or perhaps they just get a tax deduction.
Nonprofits need to market themselves much the same way that for-profits do. In fact, branding is really nothing more than declaring a promise. Due to their actions, most nonprofits probably slide by with a pretty high brand rating. Just the idea of no profits will raise their image quite a bit in the minds of many Americans.
However, nonprofits can quickly suffer from negative publicity, possibly more so than traditional businesses. For one thing, even a small decline in funding can cause serious budget shortfalls, so a minor PR problem is quickly amplified.
How nonprofits can improve their brand
According to Nonprofit Brand It, differentiation is one of the key reasons that nonprofits need to be conscious of branding. Just as companies compete for market share and profits, nonprofit organizations must show donors what they offer that others do not. One way to start, said the website, is to create a mission that is more quantitative.
For example, ending world hunger is clearly a daunting task that no single organization will ever be able fulfill. However, "providing families in Ghana access to clean water," is a mission that donors will see as attainable. The more specific a nonprofit is when designing its goals the more donors will be able to visualize the mission being accomplished.
Branding also improves a nonprofit's credibility. Marketing aspects as simple as an engaging logo can make an organization look more legitimate. When turning over money to a charity, donors want to believe that they it has gone to the group with best chance of using it to meet their personal goals.
Branding is becoming an increasingly complex concept
Make no mistake, while a good logo helps, branding is about much more than the sign in front of the building. Successful branding should encompass interaction with donors on social media, at community events and press in local news outlets when possible. Donors will want to feel like a part of an organization even when they are not contributing. That could lead to volunteering their time, or it could just mean they share social media updates from the group with their friends and family.
If nonprofits do not have a defined strategy for improving marketing and branding initiatives, board members should could consider developing one. Increasing awareness about the organization, its services and its needs throughout the year will improve the results of fundraisers.
Visually Impaired Preschool Services has been a client of First Non-Profit since it was first offered as a benefit of VisionServe Alliance. We completed a thorough evaluation of cash savings to our agency before taking advantage of this wonderful benefit and it has been a very wise decision. Our experience with the processes from accounting to claims have been professional, expeditious and easy.
The Ensight Skills Center has enjoyed working with First Nonprofit for several years. We are enrolled in their Unemployment Savings Program and although we have not required a lot of intervention, there have been a few times. I know others have dealt with the same problem of unemployment fraud over the last year and in our case, a call to First Nonprofit (they actually answer their phones) cleared up the issue. They also sent us a letter to send to all our employees telling them what they needed to do to prevent this in the future and protect themselves. What a relief! Over the years if I have questions or concerns, they are happy to listen, advise and help if they can. Another BIG advantage of using First Nonprofit is that all the money that is paid into the Unemployment Savings Program lives on my balance sheet as an asset. The money continues to be Ensight’s not the governments. First Nonprofit has certainly given me peace of mind.
In addition to their money-saving purpose on behalf of nonprofit organizations like AHS, First Nonprofit’s Nonprofit Unemployment Fund streamlines the information we need to efficiently manage unemployment claims. Our relationship with NU Fund gave us access to such things as advice on planning for what’s ahead and how to analyze cost scenarios when unexpected events occurred. Both experiences were very helpful.
We have had a great experience with FNP. During Covid, when there was the chance that reimbursable nonprofits would have to pay 50% of the unemployment costs, FNP went to bat for us. We would receive weekly information on the Unemployment claim and how they were working to reduce the costs to reimbursable nonprofits. They have a great service also working with [our claims administrator] to make sure all the paperwork is completed correctly for any unemployment claim.
PORT Health Services has had a great experience with the Unemployment Savings Program offered through First Nonprofit. Throughout the years we have been involved in the program, we have increased our reserve account significantly through this program and find the reporting we receive both timely and useful. We look forward to our continued involvement with this program and our connection with First Nonprofit for many years to come.
Job One was spending a lot of money on unemployment. Our insurance broker, Mark Simcosky, recommended that we switch over to First Nonprofit. We did just that! This switch has been a huge savings for us! This switch saved us over $10,000 in the first year. Their customer service is Superior! Any time we have a question, we get a response very quickly. Any time we send them a report and they have a question; they call rather than just assuming. They were very responsive during COVID, even when they were in crisis mode their selves. They also were always there when we needed during COVID and very helpful! We would 1,000% recommend First Nonprofit to anybody that could benefit from it!
My experience with FNP has always been positive. Every time I have had to contact them, I’m always put in contact with a friendly and knowledgeable person. If something is missing from our account, they reach out to us to request it. It’s nice to work with a company that makes sure our account is current. I would recommend them to any nonprofit looking to reduce their unemployment insurance costs.
We’ve saved tens of thousands of dollars PER YEAR by changing to become a reimbursing employer, freeing funds for much needed capital investment. FNP has been a valued partner in this process, providing assurance that we have stopgap coverage for extraordinary claims and keeping claims response painless and simple. It’s a huge Win/Win!