Monday, January 5, 2009

Doing More With Less: 10 Success Tips for Non-Profits During Economic Uncertainty

At non-profits across America, Boards of Directors are asking their Executive Directors how they can do more with less. Conventional thinking tends to contract rather than expand around economic uncertainty; slashing budgets, downsizing people and limiting services. However, Americans are witness to a phenomenal challenge to convention. In a sea of information, for both not-for-profits and for-profits alike, it’s all about branding.

Q: When is the time ripest for getting your brand recognized and your message heard?
A: When everyone else is tightening their belts.

It takes courage and foresight to increase your visibility and services when everyone else is doing the opposite, but like all cycles, the ones who step it up now will be in a stronger position when the economy rebounds.

Your “Do More With Less” Game Plan:
  1. Manage your email list via an email newsletter service provider such as Constant Contact, iContact or Email Now. The $30-$50 per month will more than pay for itself by improving your image and learning more about your target audience.
  2. Make it really easy for people to; sign up for your eNewsletter, forward it to their friends and “donate now.”
  3. Create an editorial calendar so that your message is delivered consistently.
  4. Create a Blog so you have a searchable archive of articles that celebrate how your social services impact your community. Feature the first 2 paragraphs of your latest Blog on your eNewsletter with a link to the whole article. Link to your website from your blog and newsletter.
  5. Monetize your Blog with contextual links to books and/or other relevant products with an Amazon “A-Store”. Earn referral fees.
  6. Optimize your website. Cross promote all of the above outreach programs and place a donate now button on each page.
  7. Choose a consistent voice for your marketing campaign. It’s important to have a website, eNewsletter and blog all cross-linking to each other. The voice of the writer is critical because your communication campaign is one continuous contextual message. Choose a professional.
  8. Stream your message to the world. The proliferation of free online video streaming platforms like YouTube, Revver, Metacafe and (locally) HawaiiTVNetwork has removed the financial barrier for distributing video, which is the best medium for delivering an emotion message.
  9. Embrace Social Networking. Join LinkedIn and/or Facebook. These are social net-works for professional people and will expand your connections, giving you more opportunities to promote your brand and link back to your organization.
  10. Supercharge your volunteer program. Your volunteer base represents regular deposits to your organization’s social capital account. It’s potential to assure sustainability of your programs and services is unlimited and yet rarely optimized.
Begin your success strategy now with a strategic consultation evaluating your volunteer programs and communications strategies. Be sure you are connecting the dots between your services and potential supporters by engaging the vision, experience and technical resources of a communications professional that’s wired for success. Engage the services of Keith Ranney Solutions to assure sustainable achievement of targeted benchmarks.

Keith Ranney is founder & president of Art of Volunteering, LLC, an extension of his media and marketing company, Keith Ranney Solutions.

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