Marketing for Non-profits: Do the Unexpected

marketing for nonprofitsWhen most people hear from a non-profit organization—whether it’s a phone call, a piece of direct mail, or an email—they have a certain expectation. They expect to be asked for something. People know they are going to be asked to make a financial contribution or that they are going to be asked to volunteer their time. And there’s nothing wrong with a non-profit organization doing that.

Except that it’s expected.

What would happen if your non-profit organization occasionally did the unexpected? What if, instead of asking for something, you gave something away? We’re not talking about a “premium” that you give in exchange for a donation. We’re talking no strings attached.

You may be thinking: “Our organization needs funds. We can’t afford to be giving stuff away!” That’s an understandable concern, but a gift doesn’t have to be expensive to be valuable.

Most non-profit organizations have a specific area of expertise. They are really good at something. Is there a way you could harness some of your organization’s expertise and turn it into an inexpensive tool that would benefit your constituents?

Let’s say your organization builds houses for economically disadvantaged families. You’ve built thousands of houses. You know how it’s done. You know all the pitfalls and shortcuts about building.  You could easily put together a report called Five Must-Have Tools for Any Building Project and make it available as a free downloadable PDF if they fill out a simple form (Name/Email).

What’s in it for you? First of all, you’ve done something good for your constituents. You’ve shared some of your expertise and helped them with a need they may have. You’ve probably bolstered their trust in you as well. But you’ve also collected the names of people who like to work with tools. Later, when you need volunteers for a building project in their area you could contact them and see if they would be interested in helping. They are under no obligation to help, but when you ask, you’re at least talking to people who enjoy working with tools—and probably are fans of your organization.

What’s your organization good at? What could you give away—no strings attached—that would help your constituents?