Not a week goes by at Dooley & Associates that we aren’t collaborating with a nonprofit client to strategize how to communicate their impact via channels that create the most amount of support with the least amount of investment. It’s among the most challenging parts of our job day in and day out because nonprofits are continually expected by donors and boards to do more with less.
So, hopefully, you don’t mind if we get on our soapbox for a moment to recognize how truly monumental the success of the #IceBucketChallenge campaign is to The ALS Foundation.
Why is non-profit marketing tremendously harder than most other industries?
According to the NCCS, there are over 1.5 million nonprofit organizations in the United States. A reputable source stated the last audit she saw listed nearly 700 different nonprofit entities in Racine and Kenosha Counties.
Donors have been trained to give to the nonprofit that spends the least amount on overhead and can show the greatest portion of every dollar you give going straight to the cause you’re providing support.
If this is your perspective on how you determine donations, we would recommend watching activist and fundraiser Dan Pallotta.
The average nonprofit organization spends no more than 10% on marketing, but based on our experience with the Kenosha and Racine market budgets, that percentage is closer to only 3 – 5% annually – if not lower.
Beyond practically non-existent budgets, what makes marketers jobs even harder?
- Many nonprofits don’t have a marketing professional on staff and are often forced to rely on a temporary intern or volunteer who is not necessarily educated on best practices to implement strategies. During this process the “keys” to graphic files, websites, and social media pages often get “lost” — forcing the nonprofit to continually start from scratch.
- Nonprofits are responsible to market programs and services while simultaneously soliciting donations and managing special events that need to be marketed on a regular basis. Special events are necessary to create awareness for their cause, hopefully raise funds, and convert attendees to supporters. However, these events often absorb a tremendous amount of staff and volunteer time.
- Unfortunately, nonprofit marketing decision making is often driven by budget and not long-term brand building or strategy.
- Nonprofits are often at the mercy of sponsors, committees, and stakeholders which can create unforeseen delays in promotion and workflow.
We’re pretty awestruck by the negativity regarding the Ice Bucket Challenge, which seems to have finally started to quiet down. Last we checked, no one had a problem supporting Jen or anyone else who took the Polar Plunge to support the Special Olympics. How is the Ice Bucket Challenge any different?
The team at Dooley & Associates is proud to embrace The ALS Foundation #IceBucketChallenge. This $30-million-dollar and growing fundraiser going viral is truly a dream come true for any nonprofit organization that is trying to be heard through all of the clutter in a meaningful manner. We hope our perspective helps enlighten you as to the challenges nonprofit organizations, boards, and volunteers nationwide face on a daily basis.
Help #StrikeOutALS by making a donation here.