Grow Your Audience, Align Your Marketing and Fundraising Teams

Grow Your Audience, Align Your Marketing and Fundraising Teams

You might not believe it, but where people sit in your office can improve or hurt your ability to grow your audience and direct response success.

Think about it.

Who sits where in your organization’s office?

Most organizations look something like this…

The social media guru sits in the far corner, perhaps on a Mac, growing your digital footprint and listening to the latest episode of the Serial podcast. The direct mail team has their bullpen on the opposite side, PCs only, and certainly no discussion of Instagram. And last but certainly not least, somewhere in between is the gal who fixes all the bugs and keeps the website up to date.

These parts of a nonprofit marketing team may be united for a single cause, but their differing objectives often lead to one of the most common nonprofit growing pains – silos. These silos of knowledge, planning, and behavior can be a detriment to your nonprofit’s greater marketing program in terms of resource investment, clarity of message, and public confusion about your brand.

One way to spot a divide between departments is to group objectives into one of two buckets: marketing, focused on building awareness for your cause, and fundraising, measured to the very last cent.

When this divide happens, programmatic successes take center stage for the marketing team. And they should. Great work deserves to be celebrated and championed for your organization.

However, the marketing department can provide a huge boost to your fundraising goals by turning their attention on your organization’s supporters. As much as your supporters love hearing about the great strides you’re making for your cause, sometimes they want some of that attention too.

Silo Free: Value First Marketing in Action at The Seeing Eye

As an organization, you likely sit on some type of interesting resource or information that your supporters would value. For example, we recently worked with The Seeing Eye, an organization that supports people with visual disabilities through the use of Seeing Eye® dogs.

Cause marketing for them involves championing their wins – people whose lives they have improved through a Seeing Eye® dog. And, there are a lot of those stories. In fact, they, and you, should absolutely leverage those stories.

But in order to attract potential supporters (or leads) to the organization, they employed a Value First marketing approach, which prompted the team to ask, “what do we have to offer our supporters that could make their lives better right now?”

Unsurprisingly, most of their supporters are not blind. In fact, they need to figure out how to expand their audience beyond those who are directly affected by blindness. It turns out, up to 47% of Americans are dog-owners. And, I bet these ~141 million Americans would really appreciate TSE’s expertise on training dogs.

As a result, The Seeing Eye, with a bit of our help, produced a piece of value first marketing content: 10 Steps to Training Your Dog The Seeing Eye Way. This simple PDF, available for download in exchange for an audience member’s email address, was a great success for both the marketing and fundraising departments.

The marketing department has made TSE’s cause relevant well-beyond those directly affected by blindness.

And the fundraising department has attracted thousands of new supporters, and already provided them with real value. In the coming months, we hope testing will prove that they will make great donors, too!

Last but not least, TSE now has a great cross-departmental campaign in Value First Marketing. With each day of this campaign, TSE is actively avoiding one of the most common and hard to fix nonprofit growing pains – organizational silos.

How to Employ the Value First Approach at Your Organization

  1. Identify opportunities to provide value to your supporters.
    • What are 10 tips you can provide to a broader audience?
    • What are some everyday steps we can all take to help your cause?
    • Environmental/Conservation organizations – how about a guide to help us enjoy the places you protect?
  2. Estimate how many people may be interested in this.
    • Use the Google Keyword Planner to estimate the demand. Look up how much monthly traffic the keywords relating to your value proposition (ie “dog training tips, how to train a puppy, teaching dogs, dog commands”). Think of these results as the first test, and compare them to what you consider your total addressable audience (All americans? Yearly visitors?).  Of course, the more monthly searches, the higher the demand for this resource.
    • Don’t forget, your current audience will appreciate this too. Make sure you announce this great new resource to your house email list and on social.
  3. Get both the fundraising and marketing teams together and explain how this will help them both achieve their goals. Regardless of which department you work for, you need buy-in from both sides (LeadPup is happy to help you with this conversation).
  4. Create your Value First program. Write your copy, design it to shine, iterate, and publish!
  5. Build your audience with valuable supporters. Ask for an email address in order to download your resource.
  6. Celebrate your cross-department success!


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