Some nonprofits or churches don’t think they have enough work to merit a full-time marketing person, and no one wants to spend a penny more than they have to. But every organization has marketing needs, and a long wish list of things they can’t get around to or don’t have the skill set to accomplish.
Turning these marketing tasks over to an admin or volunteer sometimes works for a spell, but there are certain responsibilities that really must be guided by a pro in order to get the results you need.
Here are three areas in particular where having a marketing mind totally focused on your church or organization makes a huge difference.
1. Brand Management
Just like a business, Christian organizations need to clearly express who they are at their heart. That’s branding. Your brand can either help your organization soar or sink depending on how well it is managed.
It’s worth the investment to build a great brand. Having a compelling mission statement and nice-looking logo is only the beginning…everything you do must reflect the uniqueness of your brand: the tone of your words, the imagery you use, the way you express your unique value.
Who is thinking about your brand every day? Don’t leave this to chance or think “I’ll do it when I have time”.
Whether it is social media, Blogs, email campaigns, or traditional advertising, you have an incredible amount of options for communicating with your target audience. In fact, it is too many for most organizations to properly manage them all. So, you spread the love around, doing an OK job on the ones that seem the most important at the time.
Bad idea. How much of that spaghetti you are throwing is sticking to the wall? Make every single thing you do count, because you don’t have time to do everything, much less do it well.
Think about what you want to accomplish through your communications. Is it increased involvement, increased investment, new members, or greater impact? You need someone to research what methods work best to achieve those goals. Then think about the resources you have at your disposal to write and disseminate the communication. You’ll need someone who can allocate the resources properly to get the most return on your investment, over and over again as needs and priorities change.
Who is researching the best ways to communicate with your audience, and providing you with guidance and quality content that will get results?
I saved the most important one for last. Quite simply, if you don’t have a marketing strategy, you will never get the most out of what you do. Even giant organizations that give lip service to strategy spend a much higher percentage of their time on execution than they should. Both are important, but execution isn’t all that effective when you’re executing the wrong stuff, especially when you have limited resources.
You need to know where to invest your money and resources, and that’s not easy. Trusting your gut might work sometimes, but it isn’t a good long-term strategy; neither is doing nothing or limping along with a “when I have time” mentality. A marketing mind provides a unique and important perspective that complements business strategy and completes the picture.
Who is ensuring that you are investing your resources on the things that will bring the most return?
We’ve already established that some nonprofits and churches don’t think they have enough work to merit a full-time person, so what is the best plan to get the most out of your Brand Management, Communication, and Strategy plans for this situation? If you have the volunteer talent to do it well, great! For small needs, perhaps you can use typical freelance services that are meant to fill certain gaps (copywriting, video, design), but this must be closely managed by someone in your organization. A marketing agency can provide a broader variety of services at your direction, but the cost is typically high, and you will be one of many clients.
You may want to consider another solution; leveraging a small investment to control a much larger one. What if you had a marketing expert working for your business one day each week? For those hours, there is no other organization in the world. I’m talking about having a Chief Marketing Officer, but in an increment that makes sense for you.
You have many options to consider for your marketing and communications needs. This may be an approach that opens up new opportunities for you and your organization!
Candace Lynn Chapman is owner of Candace Lynn Chapman Marketing. She provides leveraged marketing leadership that makes sense to organizations based on needs.