Back to the Basics—Bucking the Nonprofit Trends of 2015 to Benefit Your Nonprofit Brand

“5 Marketing Trends for 2015 That You Can’t Ignore”

“5 Social Media Trends That Could Impact Nonprofits In 2015”

“20 Marketing Stats on the Trends of 2015”

“15 Puppy Photos That Will Make You Just Die”

This is what’s filling up all of our social feeds—and we click on them. Maybe not (or especially) the last one. We make a pop culture or fashion reference to the 90s, talk about those trends and agree how crazy those times were. Oh, and don’t forget that 2015 is the year Marty McFly traveled to in Back to the Future Part II. But you probably haven’t heard that yet.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s important for your organization to pay attention to some trends—hell, we even published two of those headlines above (not the puppy one). But what if your NPO isn’t ready to tackle the nonprofit trends of 2015? What if your organization needs to take a good, hard look at itself in the mirror first?

Sometimes I think nonprofit organizations lose their focus with this stuff. Don’t get me wrong—I love talking about nonprofit trends, but I also want to make sure your NPO is ready to face them. The beginning of a new year is the perfect time to go back to the basics of what nonprofits should be doing with marketing and fundraising to further their brand. Once you have the fundamentals in place, then you can tackle the big, bad nonprofit trends of 2015.

Start 2015 off right by making sure you go back to the basics—and maybe I’ll throw in a Part II and Part III someday.

Have a Plan

What’s more basic than writing out a plan? To get you in order for the year, it’s important to have a plan in place so that we—as an organization—are doing a marketing or fundraising activity every month. Yes, every month. But don’t fret, because this can be anything from sending a direct mail piece, email, newsletter or even making 100 calls in a particular month. Whatever it is, every month purposefully make sure it’s set on paper, so that you’re doing activities around your nonprofit brand throughout the year.

Treat Yourself Like a Big Brand

You’re going to have an unrecognizable nonprofit brand if you keep treating it that way. It’s time to start thinking about your daily interactions from a branding perspective, and always putting your organization’s special touch on everything. Whatever your special touch may be, that is.

Consider Disney and Target as great branding examples. If you’ve been on Disney property, the mouse ears are ubiquitous on everything. In the same manner, when you see red, you see Target. And you can do this with your nonprofit brand without costing a fortune—just think of every activity as an opportunity to further your brand.

Secrets are Stupid

“We’re kind of the best kept secret in our community.”

Stop that right now. What good is that doing, and what good is that accomplishing for your mission if your community isn’t familiar with your brand? You shouldn’t be a secret—you should be out there making a name for yourself. I understand that sometimes we’re modest about what we do though. Realize right now that what you do is important to the community, and you need to let people know your story.

And I love how Bill McKendry of DoMoreGood puts it:

“Not only are these words [“we’re the best-kept secret”] a sign of failure, they’re a badge of irresponsibility. Because of a nonprofit’s need to continually serve more, it’s critical not to be ‘the best kept-secret.’”

So that’s it. Forgo the ‘best nonprofit trends of 2015’ (for now) and revisit the basics. Not only will they make your nonprofit brand stronger, but they’ll actually put your organization in a place where it’s ready to successfully tackle today’s nonprofit trends.

What other basics do you plan on revisiting and revamping this year?

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Back to the Basics—Bucking the Nonprofit Trends of 2015 to Benefit Your Nonprofit Brand

Randy Hawthorne

As the former Executive Director and Editor for Nonprofit Hub and a Professional Certified Marketer, Randy shares his passions of marketing and education with nonprofits to help them implement marketing and organizational leadership principles so they can grow their organizations. Randy lends his marketing and organizational leadership expertise to a number of nonprofits in his community. Outside the office, Randy works with high school and college students and mentors young professionals to develop their leadership and entrepreneurial skills.

January 9, 2015

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