The ultimate goal for charity and nonprofits when it comes to fundraising is to convince anyone who can support the cause of an organization, i.e. the stakeholders, to engage in a relationship that is, above all, based on trust.
To establish and maintain public relations with nonprofit stakeholders over time, the fundraiser must, today more than ever, master the tools of Charity PR, in particular by learning to exploit the opportunities for personalization and omnichannel marketing that digital offers nonprofit marketing.
Who are nonprofit stakeholders?
“Stakeholder” refers to anyone, individual or group, who has an interest in a particular organization. The term, in the specific case of the nonprofit world, refers to:
- the people directly involved, such as board members
- people who benefit from services
- foundations that provide grants
Although they intervene more indirectly, other individuals or groups, in addition to those named above, can be nonprofit stakeholders:
- suppliers from whom you purchase products or services
- companies that sponsor one of the organization’s events
Specifically, “typical” nonprofit Stakeholders are:
- Employees (paid or unpaid volunteers)
- Members (some nonprofits have paid or honorary members)
- Volunteers, board members, or people who help keep the organization running
- Beneficiaries of services. For the nonprofit sector, as well as for commercial activities, excellent customer service is fundamental to succeeding not only in honoring a commitment to those most in need, but also in promoting an authentic, healthy and vital image of the organization. Word of mouth, again, is a powerful engine
- Donors, such as local, state, or international institutions, who provide funding as interested third parties. To succeed in achieving its goals, every charity should be able to rely on a diverse revenue stream. Each source of funding corresponds to as many stakeholders who must be retained, each in a specially designed way
- Local communities. Every nonprofit organization is part of a broader social context where economic and cultural dimensions are intertwined and where the users to whom the organization addresses belong to multiple segments at the same time, each with different characteristics. Participating in the life of local communities means being able to cultivate relationships with their leaders, institutions, and agencies. This is an extremely delicate step because it makes it possible to capitalize on involvement and to utilize it toward achieving medium- or long-term goals
- Other nonprofit organizations. Today, in a “new normal” made exceptional by COVID-19, most charities realize that they do not have sufficient strength to act alone in fundraising. The solution then seems to increasingly come through collaboration. Resources are invested less in strategies aimed at taking “space” from other charities and more in competing for wide-ranging visibility in an extremely complex and dispersed information and media context. Competition takes place against content that is produced and distributed by entities whose goals are very different: Brands in their respective sectors must become skilled storytellers in order to offer stories where consumers can recognize themselves, and companies that produce entertainment are called upon to refine their ability to intercept increasingly profiled audiences. For this reason, in order to gain valuable contacts and mature meaningful relationships in an extremely crowded context, the Charity PR (Public Relations) are destined to play a leading role (source: thebalancesmb.com)
Importance of the fundraiser for relations with nonprofit stakeholders
The relationship between stakeholders and nonprofit organizations is reciprocal. The influence exerted by the latter on the former, who are informed, trained, and eventually take concrete action, also proceeds in the opposite direction, with non-profit stakeholders who contribute, through their own participation, to defining the meaning of the organization’s initiatives, even going so far as to enrich its mission and make a decisive contribution in terms of awareness. The pivot that connects the producer and the recipients of the message is the fundraiser, an increasingly indispensable professional figure who has acquired the necessary skills to offer qualified support to nonprofit organizations, both in fundraising consulting and in the direct implementation of specific activities. The fundraiser must:
- Know how to build loyalty in the relationship with the donor
- Be familiar with the IT tools for managing the database of contacts
- Have broad knowledge of fundraising methods: From drafting the strategic plan to the operational side of fundraising, through all available methods, both online and offline. We talked about the best fundraising tools in a recent post, where we focused on the online tools that have become invaluable during the recent healthcare crisis
The fundraiser is therefore primarily concerned with finding resources. To do so, they must first build relationships that allow access to the resources themselves. According to a definition by italianonprofit.it, (resource for nonprofit organizations in Italy) the donation is “a philanthropic gesture that requires a relationship based on trust.” The fundraiser, who may eventually be the head of an office with a permanent function, “is committed with continuity, method, and skills to deal with the activation and loyalty of relationships with donors,” cultivating them to make them long-lasting. In this way, “he contributes to giving citizenship to the culture of giving within the institution.” (source: italianonprofit.it)
Cultivating and maintaining public relations with nonprofit stakeholders (charity public relations) is therefore to all intents and purposes one of the main competencies of those who are responsible for organizing and managing nonprofit marketing assets. Let’s go a little deeper into this aspect.
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Charity public relations: How to use Public Relations to promote non-profit organizations
Nonprofit organizations can use marketing tools to pursue a variety of goals:
- to build awareness of an organization or event
- to promote the organization and its message
- to raise funds
- to encourage donations and support for the cause
- to clarify the voice of the organization (its “brand”)
- communicate effectively to a target audience
- grow support
Charity public relations must be part of any marketing plan developed by the fundraiser: it is an essential resource for reaching potential donors and volunteers and convincing them to donate money, time, services, or useful contacts without necessarily getting “something concrete” in return, except the contribution itself. Since the very existence of a non-profit organization depends substantially on its ability to be credible and to present itself as reliable, the emphasis must be placed on the relational dimension of its communication. What are the best ways for nonprofits to deploy a PR strategy today?
Case studies tell the story of how a specific critical issue was successfully addressed. They describe a problem, show a solution that proved effective, and detail the results. Case studies are an effective tool for:
- Showcasing and promoting the organization’s work
- Encouraging people to donate to or support the charity
- Explaining how donations are used
- Obtaining new sponsors
Case studies can be distributed on the organization’s website and social media and used during presentations and events.
They embody the values of the charity and help promote its cause. If the ambassador or ambassadress is a celebrity as an ambassador you can leverage their fame to:
- Generate awareness and become newsworthy
- Reach a wider audience
Although a message shared by a celebrity often has great penetration power, the best ambassadors are people who actually live out the organization’s value system and share its mission in a profound way.
Because the starting point of a broader content marketing strategy is typically inbound, the organization’s blog is where you can provide complete information or updates about the most current topics, or share insights with a target audience. The blog is an excellent way to:
- Communicate messages
- Engage the audience through inspiring stories
- Share experiences
- Encourage donations
We have seen that non-profit organizations deal with different types of potential stakeholders on a daily basis. In order to engage them properly without jeopardizing their trust and losing the opportunity to build valuable relationships, it is necessary to find the most appropriate technological and narrative solution, which effectively translates a request for profiling, incorporates interactive elements, and can be easily distributed on multiple channels. Personalized videos represent the answer to all these needs because they allow you to:
- Attract the attention of different recipients through the wide margin of customization of the content
- Acquire data on the recipients, in particular all the useful information to enrich their profile, dynamically adapt the proposed service (assistance, information request, donation mode) launch surveys, measure the effectiveness of the marketing initiatives activated
- Create a unique narrative for each recipient (stakeholders or beneficiaries of the service), exploiting personalization to focus on the most relevant information and change the narrative path in real time, according to the different choices and interactions
- Distribute content in multichannel, through any digital channel such as social media, SMS, email, app notifications, and chatbots
- Drive users to action through dedicated interactivity and conversion features, using calls to action designed to convert on multiple targets
Doxee Pvideo®: Create, Maintain, and Value Relationships
Doxee Pvideo® personalized videos have been chosen by hundreds of companies and government institutions who have chosen to rely on Doxee technologies to communicate effectively with millions of users. These videos are truly unique because they are composed of scenes selected on the basis of the data of each individual recipient, rich in personalized texts and banners, ad-hoc images, and personalized voice thanks to the text-to-speech and audio library.
They have an exceptional communicative potential that can help non-profit organizations, whether it’s to facilitate conversions (for example, along the fundraising funnel), or to offer engaging stories for the individual recipient who can then delve into the topic of his or her interest at will, in a perspective of maximum transparency and security.
Doxee Pvideo® offers a comprehensive set of personalization features that make it possible to create individual videos based on each recipient’s data. Video content can be personalized in all its components according to the recipient’s data, dynamically modifying scenes to compose a unique narrative, influencing the content and components of the scenes, or inserting personalized text elements that are perfectly integrated with the video content.
It is also possible to customize all the audio parts thanks to the text-to-speech feature and the voice catalog, which are useful for narrating complex information included in personal scripts, which makes the video even more engaging.
In order to strengthen relations with the main nonprofit stakeholders and grow this target audience over time, nonprofit organizations will increasingly need flexible digital tools that will allow them to create videos quickly (especially in the face of emergency situations) and, at the same time, to enable wide-ranging planning. Marketing, in its digital and automated evolution, can already offer the answer to a growing need for authenticity, listening, and responsiveness.
The trend towards personalization, interactivity, and multi-channel marketing – we see it at work especially with personalized videos – seems destined to become a distinctive feature of the most advanced solutions at the service of charity public relations.