Encarta killed the Encyclopedia…iTunes killed the Music Store…Amazon killed the Bookstore…and Beyoncé slayed the Music Video. Aside from the death of musical icon/genius Prince Nelson, her newest project (Lemonade’s debut on HBO) is trending all over the internets. Her creative team has mastered genius ways for Beyoncé to tell stories through music and video in ways that still keep audiences engaged, interested and obsessed. The Beyoncé team sees where the world isn’t, maps out a plan to go there, and then swiftly moves on, leaving people scratching their heads and wondering if that’s where they should go next…or is Beyoncé in a lane all her own?
What’s really important about the way in which the Beyoncé team manages the artist and her brand, is that they are not afraid to mix the old with the future to create the new. This is the magic in the brand—a sort of classic futurism. At Jali, we love the saying “be where the world is going,” and the world is always going somewhere! Since the 1970s the world has been going further and further into The Digital Age.
So what does The Digital Age mean for those who run small charities? What does Beyoncé’s creative team have to do with serving your target population? What does futurism have to do with running a nonprofit that is struggling to serve their target population, while working to make payroll and keep the lights on?
The answer to that question is—EVERYTHING.
As with any industry, adaptability and innovation are important to maintaining relevance, as relevance is key to driving revenue. Across the country small Nonprofits, regardless of their mission, have begun to actively step into the digital marketing arena to drive interest and donor acquisition. No longer are they chaining themselves to fancy pants events and direct mail. This is not to disregard the power of live events and direct mail—they have their place and are most certainly powerful tools depending on your donor base.
In a recent collaborative study, industry leaders came together to review digital trends in the sector, and present a call to action to nonprofits with limited resources, to shift their focus toward creating a stronger digital presence. The study found that many nonprofits have combined their Marketing and Development efforts into one department, and depending on the size of the organization, in many cases that department is 1-2 people. The report offers insight on developing a digital strategy, and dives into the type of content nonprofits should be disseminating in order to build better relationships with their audience.
Relationship fundraising is a donor-centric method in which charities effectively draw the connection between their supporters and their mission. This same ideology must carry over into the digital space, as a nonprofit organization, your social media profiles, e-blasts, and website must be interesting and engaging to current and potential donors. When developing your strategy, it’s important to properly profile your donor base and determine what content would appeal to them, while being sure to stay mission focused.
You may be reading this and thinking, OK having a strategy makes sense…
OK, beefing up our social media with more strategic content makes sense…
BUT, we still have the problem of a one or two-man show!
It is important as leaders in the sector, that you remember that there are times when you will have to allocate resources to an idea. Growth cannot happen without change. If you wish to maintain and expand your donor base you cannot shy away from “something different.” It’s important to review your team’s current workload and figure out where there is room to innovate, but not inundate. You will see the timeline to results (donations) take longer if your digital strategist is your event planner is your marketer who handles donor relations and acquisition and also focuses on special campaigns. Unburden your staff, collaboration is without a doubt instrumental in your organization’s success, but you will set your staff and ultimately your organization up to underperform if you do not revisit your methodology as your embrace going digital.
Like Queen B’s creative team, nonprofits cannot be afraid to innovate and see what happens when you spin the old with the future to create the new.
We highly recommend that you check out the study referenced in this post. Care2, hjc, NTEN, and The Resource Alliance deliver insight, advice, stats, great case studies, and much more in “Ready Set Go: 2016 Digital Outlook Report.”