As the marketplace, influenced by new technologies, continues to grow and fragment, the rules of engagement for marketers are also changing. I’ve seen significant shifts in the way nonprofit marketing is done over time and would like to offer up a few predictions on where the field is heading as we get smarter and savvier about how we communicate our messages.
- Mini-TV Channels
Nonprofits have amazing stories, and with the growing ease of video production, nonprofits will become like mini-television channels broadcasting online. These videos will often be created by volunteers, or even clients.
- Board Engagement
As reputation management becomes more valued and understood, as well as easier to track, boards will begin to proactively monitor the organization’s reputation in the community. Marketing professionals will be asked to join boards to lead this emerging aspect of governance.
- Social Media and Networking 2.0
The current social media tools don’t deliver meaningful results for the vast majority of nonprofits. The quantity of social media and networking content is turning much of it into noise. A new generation of social media and networking tools will take lessons from the success of the early tools that will enable them to deliver real results.
- Issue Placement
As commercial advertising becomes increasingly integrated into content, nonprofits will begin working more closely with the entertainment and media industry to make issues and nonprofits integrated into story lines.
- Experiential Marketing
Nonprofits are already far more skilled at experiential marketing than companies. Creating volunteer experiences that give donors first-hand exposure to issues in the community has been a trick of the trade for decades. Nonprofits will increase investment in this area to build public support for continued government funding and to expand their individual donor base. As this strategy continues to grow, the science behind this best practice will become better understood and lead to greater professionalization of the function.
- PR Alliances
Nonprofit messaging and public relations is highly fragmented, which hurts the sector’s ability to impact public opinion and perception of issues. As the stakes grow, nonprofits will start to put aside competitive fears and begin to work in issue coalitions to align their messaging and pool their dollars to build stronger PR muscle.
- Increased Advocacy
Nonprofits historically have misunderstood the rules governing their role in advocacy and have shied away from such activities. At the same time, corporations have pushed their own role to the limit and now have Supreme Court backing to have de facto unchecked lobbying and campaigning roles. Nonprofits will respond by seeking the same rights while at the same time building capacity to do what they can under the current rules of the game.
Aaron Hurst is the President & CEO at the Taproot Foundation.