Using Context Marketing To Grow Your Nonprofit Organization

Tim Ahlenius | July 14, 2016 Comments
Not for profit
To put it simply, Context Marketing begins with knowing what’s relevant to customers, or in the case of a nonprofit organization, potential volunteers, donors, and board members. The content you deliver today can only be relevant if it takes into account the context of how your customers (potential volunteers/donors/board members) interacted with your brand (organization) last week, yesterday, or right now - on any channel.

Knowing the needs and motivations of your target audiences is the starting point for building a real relationship with them. With this knowledge, you will be able to build a steady stream of engagement and personalized experiences through Context Marketing. These one-to-one interactions consist of giving the right content at the right time on the right channel. Gone are data silos, missed opportunities for integration, and inconsistent channel experiences. They are replaced by collaborative teams, integrated data, consistent experiences, and omnichannel automation.

So how can we apply Context Marketing to the sometimes difficult task of growing a nonprofit organization? It can be applied using the same steps that a marketer would use to create a relationship between their brand and a customer. All efforts are focused on individual, unique communications where you are listening and responding to someone with human-like intelligence, again saying the right thing at the right time using the right means.

  1. The first step is to understand the needs and motivations of your potential volunteers, donors, and board members in order to initiate a conversation about your organization. What are their motivations and passions? How do they perceive your organization? What are the possible connections between them and your organization?

  2. The next step is identify milestones or key activities in regards to their interactions with your organization. Is it requesting general information, donating money, visiting your website, cheerleading your activities on social media, helping to raise awareness and funds through attending an event, actively volunteering, or becoming a board member? You need to identify these points in time and their individual efforts to connect with your organization.

  3. It is important to respond with considered content, meaning create specific and helpful content to further the relationship. If they visited your website and spent time on your volunteer page, then customize their future experiences towards that topic. Or if they are actively raising funds for your organization, then tailor your mailings to keep them informed and motivated. Track their social media engagements and interact with them on a personal basis instead of a one-size-fits-all marketing mentality.

  4. Disrupt organizational norms and communicate with them on their terms. Discover what are the best times for the contact, how to contact them, and in what circumstances is it appropriate to contact them. Show them you are truly listening by respectfully initiating further relationship building within the context of their lives.

  5. Generate a clear business case for context and get everyone behind the scenes onboard to accomplish your stated goals. It is imperative that your current volunteers, donors, and board members work together and be in sync. Your goals of increasing the number of volunteers, creating a larger donor base, holding a new campaign event, or refreshing the board with new members will not happen if there is not a cohesive effort from all the key players.

  6. Create achievable targets and use metrics that deliver real results. By measuring the success of your organization’s efforts to engage more volunteers, recruit new board members, or motivate donors to give, you are able to acknowledge and build upon real organizational growth. You will be able to track engagement and at what stage your potential volunteers, donors, or board members are in their relationship with your organization, through real time reporting.

  7. And lastly, keep everything integrated and look at your efforts as a whole. Customer (potential volunteers/donors/board members) and campaign data should always be reviewed together. Integration is key to understanding your potential opportunities and successes. Make every effort to work as committee teams, and not as a lone wolf.
Providing content that really hits the mark—every time—requires nonprofit organizations to develop a whole new mindset. One that begins and ends with a potential volunteer’s, donor’s, or board member’s journey in connecting with your organization’s values and mission. The technology is here to support your exploration into Context Marketing. Let Americaneagle.com and Sitecore help you provide context-driven experiences to grow your organization today.

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