The Communication Journey

Marketing expert Seth Godin recently blogged Communication is a path, not an event 

In short, it’s not a one-time thing.  While he focuses more on sales, this also applies to all your nonprofit fundraising and marketing.  You don’t just send a fundraising letter or even a thank you letter and not communicate again for awhile.  It’s an ongoing process. 

Here are few ways to ensure a successful communication journey.

Lots of drops will help your garden grow
Godin ends his post by saying “Drip, drip, drip.”  Drip marketing is a strategy where you send a series of messages to prospects.  An example would be sending welcoming messages to prospective donors before making an ask.  The term’s origin is thought to have come from a gardening technique in which small amounts of water are fed to plants over a long period of time. 

This is a helpful analogy to consider when you communicate with your donors and other supporters.  Read on for more information about drip campaigns. How to Create an Email Drip Campaign for Your Nonprofit 

Consistency is key
Be consistent in your fundraising and marketing.  This means your messages and look must be consistent, as well as how often you send out your messages.  If you send out a monthly newsletter, make sure it goes out around the same time each month.  Don’t skip a month. 

Don’t start your journey without a map
Creating a strategy and putting together an editorial calendar can serve as a road map for your communication journey.  Here’s more information, as well as an editorial calendar link. 
The LightBox Collaborative 2013 Editorial Calendar
Communication is a two way street
Listen to your audience.  Ask questions on social media, respond to comments, and send out surveys or polls.

Take your supporters’ feedback into account and give them information they want.

Communication takes different paths
Most of us communicate through more than one channel – email, social media, direct mail, phone. Different modes work for different audiences, but often you use a combination of channels.

This is very helpful during fundraising campaigns. A multi-channel approach gives you more than one opportunity to reach your audience, in case they miss your first message.

Be known but don’t be annoying
Communicate often enough so your supporters will remember you, but not too much so that you are bothering them.  Most organizations don’t communicate enough.  Remember to be consistent.  Don’t send three email messages in one day and not communicate again for three weeks.

As a general rule, send email once a week and post on social media once a day.

In your quest not to annoy your supporters, share content where you show gratitude and demonstrate how you are making a difference for the people you serve.  Keep your supporters engaged.

One of the benefits of communicating weekly is that your messages can be short.  Shorter more frequent communication usually works better for getting your message across.

Don’t get derailed
It may seem daunting to keep up this ongoing communication journey, but good relationships, like gardens, need lots of attention.  It’s not as difficult as you might think.  Having an editorial calendar and strategy will help.  And your messages don’t need to be long.  Also, it can be fun to thank donors and share success.   

Make it a worthwhile journey for your supporters.

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