Are assumptions driving your content strategy?

A teen employee at one of Goodwill’s Florida outlets was charged recently with theft and jailed for giving discounts to the store’s poorest patrons. Andrew Anderson explained Goodwill “is a giving and helping company” so he wanted to extend that philosophy to customers with the greatest need. Four days later, after determining Anderson’s actions were not for personal gain, Goodwill dropped its charges.

Life is full of decisions made without all the facts. On the surface, Goodwill saw an employee taking money from the store. After talking with Anderson and learning more, they realized his methods, although unusual, were done with a good motive and ultimately consistent with Goodwill’s mission.

While not as dramatic as this Goodwill story, the same can be said of our decisions about communicating with donors and friends. We don’t always consider all the pertinent facts. Too often, nonprofits base their communications efforts on dated assumptions about the market, preferred channels, donor preferences and content relevancy. This can turn away donors and supporters central to your cause.

Kivi Leroux Miller addresses this issue in her new book, Content Marketing for Nonprofits: A Communications Map for Engaging Your Community, Becoming a Favorite Cause, and Raising More Money.

Today as nonprofit leaders and communicators, we have four divergent generations to connect and contend with appropriately. We’ve experienced dramatic marketing shifts in the way our constituents consume information. Our inboxes, social media networks, screens and mailboxes are exploding with marketing messages so that it’s become necessary to do what we should have done to begin with: share relevant and valuable information so we attract versus target people who care about our causes.

Without the benefit of a multichannel communications plan like Leroux Miller’s, your organization becomes one of those causes that pushes out mass-messaging in a variety of unplanned channels and hopes that a few calls to action land in receptive hands.

We can no longer afford to repel our audiences with a one-size-fits-all messaging. Leroux Miller defines superior content marketing as:

“Creating and sharing relevant and valuable content that attracts, motivates, engages, and inspires your participants, supporters, and influencers to help you achieve your mission.”

We found Kivi’s last section in her book particularly helpful: “What You Need to Know About the Channels You Choose.” Leroux Miller provides you with an incredible service in this part by analyzing each communication channel: how it’s different from others, how to use it well and how to avoid pitfalls.

Her recommendations are so specific that only reading them can do them justice. However, some overarching themes emerge. Some of the do’s include:

using enticing subject lines/hooks

making your content skimmable

researching the right amount for your audience and the channel

testing/experimenting with each channel

We asked Kivi to introduce her book to you so you can learn more about how it can help your cause:

CausePlanet: Hi, Kivi. Many thanks for the much-anticipated book about content management. What would you most like readers to know about how your book uniquely adds to the body of work on this topic?

Leroux Miller: Nonprofits are trying to change the world–and that’s hard! That’s why I believe content marketing in the nonprofit world is much harder than in the for-profit world but also potentially more powerful, too. It’s all about making strong connections with participants, supporters and influencers and showing how relevant your organization is to their lives so they’ll help you change the world. This book is for and about nonprofits and how they use content; it’s not just slapping business advice on to the nonprofit world.

See also:

The Nonprofit Marketing Guide

Seeing Through A Donor’s Eyes

Breakthrough Nonprofit Branding



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