Category Archives: not-for-profit

Panning for Gold in Your Database

JBMG_5500aBy Jeff Bowman

A common question that we ask business owners and those in the not for profit world is “how do you utilize your database?” The answers range from “we use it for our newsletters and contacts regularly” to “database?”

The collection of customer information has become a hot topic with new privacy laws and spam legislation. Many customers have no reservations about providing an e-mail address for instance, while others would sooner poke themselves with sharp sticks than give that information.  And I can’t blame them, I attended a “trade show” a month ago, and I am still getting calls about winning all sorts of prizes and unsolicited e-mail galore! It is critical for any organization to maintain current contact information for primary and secondary contacts as well as warm and hot leads, however the real concern is how do you use the information.

E-newsletters sent to clients utilizing 3rd party organizations are good for relating industry or market news, advising about sales or new products and to share quality information. The fact is that maybe 25% of those you send it to will ever open it.  You may have between 5% to 10% bounce backs and others who will outright ask you to remove them from your list. Sending newsletters to prospects is a little like panning for gold. You are hoping that you may find one shining prospect in the slurry of potentials. There is potentially gold in your client and prospect contacts, but you need to be diligent to find it.Slurry

Here are some tips to assist you in separating the pyrite from the gold.

  1. Review e-bulletin results each time you send one.  Advise those who asked to be removed that regretfully you have done so, and perhaps in the future there may be a new opportunity to connect.
  2. Call the bounced back addresses to see if the e-mail address has changed, if that person is gone and if so who might be a new contact for you to meet. (be sure to remove the address from your list)
  3. Review and keep track of who reads the item.  Regular viewers will have good feedback on why they continue to read.  Don’t be shy about calling those who do not open the e-mail to ask them for feedback on why they don’t.  You may find it has somehow been re-directed to Junk mail or blocked.
  4. Use news, polls and articles to link readers back to your website or social media pages.
  5. Find out if more than one person in an organization should be on your list.
  6. Utilize your contacts to ask for referrals at every opportunity.
  7. Be brief and informative.  Today we get hundreds of e-mails daily, and time is always of the essence, it is a case of “grab my attention or lose me”

Your database is very important, and should be well maintained at all times. With the price of gold today, even gold dust is valuable!

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Filed under Communications, Customer Service, Jeff Bowman, Marketing, not-for-profit, Privacy

Event Marketing Leads to Greater Exposure

By Jeff Bowman

Having just completed the marketing of two very large events locally, Rotary Rib ‘n’ Roll and Carabram 2012, we can attest to the fact that the more eyes that see what you are promoting, the more ears that hear what you’re promoting and the more mouths that tell others about what you are promoting, puts more bums in seats at the event.  More butts means greater exposure (pardon the pun) and more opportunity for brand awareness and revenue creation.

More and more organizations are spending money to promote events that in turn promote a brand, product or service, and there are statistics to back that up. “The EventTrack 2012 study found that in a slowly rebounding economy, brands are expecting their event and experiential marketing budgets to grow by nearly eight percent (7.8%) in 2012, more than double last year’s rate of (3.6%).”

It has become very clear that with the myriad of options available to market your products or service, including traditional media, social media, viral marketing and the like, it has become increasing difficult to get your message to rise above the throng and be noticed. The trick is to target the message to the demographic sector you want to appeal to in the language and space they prefer to use for receiving news. Sounds easy enough. That may mean that for a large event meant to attract a large number of people from a diverse demographic, that you need to use 4, 5 or 6 different methods of marketing to ensure each segment not only gets the message, but passes it on as well. It is really about generating significant consumer engagement.

Smaller organizations may not see the value in celebrating a 50th Anniversary of being in business or an event to mark some other type of milestone.  Not- for- profits tend to balk at the cost of such marketing for a fundraising event. The time has come for a fully integrated strategy to marketing including event marketing (participatory advertising) in order to fully capture the eyes and ears of the client. Sponsorship dollars can easily offset the additional costs of the event; however that requires someone to sell sponsorships as well. Enter the event marketing company.  Someone who works with you well in advance of the event.  Someone who knows the mix required to generate buzz.  Someone with the ability to sell sponsorships. Someone experienced in media outreach and communications. Someone who can assist you in putting bums in seats and subsequently generating additional exposure through word of mouth for your event.

Marketing dollars need to be well spent in today’s market, knowing where to spend, where to save and where to shout out the message to get maximum return is critical to your strategy. Don’t rely on the same old tactics in today’s market, create an experience!

If you have an upcoming event, talk to us first! The Marketing Pad Inc.

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Filed under advertising, Jeff Bowman, Marketing, Media, not-for-profit, social media

Business needs to give back to the community

By Jeff Bowman

It’s getting colder outside, the hydro rates are climbing, the cost of fresh fruits and vegetables is on the rise and gas prices will soon climb as demand increases. Troublesome as they are, these things are not nearly as critical to me as they are for many people in our community.

As long as I have been in business, I have recognized the need for giving back. The term Corporate Responsibilitywasn’t even used 20 or 25 years ago, however taking care of the community was something that was just simply understood by business people, and many of us did it without thinking twice. Social and community organizations flourished, and everyone from grocery stores to kids canvassing door to door took it upon themselves to assist for those less fortunate.

I remember going to all my newspaper delivery customers as a 10-year-old to collect dimes and nickels for The Jerry Lewis Telethon, then throwing in my tips for the week to bump the donation up to $10.00. Yes, I considered myself a business person way back then with my paper route. It was sales and marketing on a small scale. I recognized that there was a need, so I contributed, and have continued to do so today. No doubt there are many of you out there reading the blog now saying to yourselves “the recession has hit my business, so I don’t have extra to give”, and I recognize that.  As a marketer, I’m urging you to think outside the box.  Responsibility does not simply lie in the giving of monetary support, although that is a large portion of the need.

As I see it, if you have a business that operates in the local community, there is an unwritten requirement to do what you can within your means to assist when you can. Assistance can be anything from purchasing from a company that donates a portion of sales to a charity, volunteering for a few hours to canvas, serve burgers or assist with a drive of some sort, giving useable office supplies or equipment to an organization rather than dumping them at the curb, joining a local service organization, or even holding a small event yourself to encourage other local businesses to join you in supporting a cause. There are many ways you can help.

The need for assistance in the community has never been greater, nor has the number of organizations looking for your help.  I understand that we can’t help everyone, however if every business person picked a local charity, branch organization or chapter to assist in some way with whatever they could, the need would certainly be decreased. Simply Google local charities in your area to see who you can help.  The choice between going to a movie or dinner is sometimes difficult for the majority of us, the choice between eating and heating is a more difficult choice for others in our community.

Give some exposure to a local charity by replying to this blog with the charity’s name and URL.

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Filed under Jeff Bowman, Marketing, not-for-profit

Sales and Charitable Fundraising

By Jeff Bowman

CBC News recently reported that “Charities paid $762M to private fundraisers”.  The number struck me as relatively insignificant given the fact that annual fundraising accounts for about $2.8 billion and over the time period that the report covered (5 years) the fundraising dollar value was over $8.2 billion.

The significant facts lay deeper in the story, where cases are outlined where fundraising costs were 75% and more of the funds raised, in fact some cost more than the donations brought in. Our government has rules governing fundraising activities (what don’t they have rules governing?) The rules say that 35% is a good measurement to use when comparing costs to revenue, and quite frankly, I agree. Consider that of 85,000 registered charities in Canada, only 651, less than 1 percent used external fundraisers.  The other 99% either used volunteers, internal employees or some variation, usually citing the high cost of external assistance as their reason for not using professionals.

In the world of sales we measure the value of an expert salesperson along the same lines, with revenue generation, potential development, building long term relationships and goodwill as items on the scorecard, all weighted against the cost of his or her services. It is not uncommon for companies to look to sales people to generate 2 or 3 times their cost in returned revenue. Say for instance a salesperson brings in $250,000.00 in revenue, not sales, hard dollars that go to the bank.  In doing so they are raising the reputation of the company, which in turn promotes long- term relationships, encourages client referrals and ensures future sales, sustainability. I think you would agree that compensation of $82,000.00 would be fair, considering the company is getting a 66% return for their investment.

The real comparison lies in the numbers of companies that don’t believe a skilled salesperson is worth the money they would have to spend. They scrimp and save, and make do with inadequate sales agents, pay them far below what they are worth, create targets too high and in turn decrease the commissionable compensation, and then are quite surprised when they bolt for the competition.

It is true, money doesn’t grow on trees.

Revenue, whether it is not for profit donations or B2B and B2C, profits  has to be earned, and it is the trained professionals that go out and earn it. When I speak to leaders of small and large companies, I hear the same song time and again “we can’t afford to pay a good salesperson”.  The “ afford” and “pay” mindset has to be relinquished in favour of viewing the money spent as an investment in generating revenue.  If a salesperson is not generating multiple times their compensation then there is either a problem with the territory, the skills of the salesperson or the mix of base and commission to drive performance.

If I told you that an investment of $30.00 right now will return $100.00 by the end of the year, and continue to pay dividends for years to come would you give me the money? (You’d have more money to give to charities then!)

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Filed under Jeff Bowman, not-for-profit, Sales, social capital, Sustainability

Trust in charitable brands

Rhodes croppedBy Stephen Rhodes

The big not- for- profit brands in our country have built a trust among their followers and supporters. The biggest brands, YMCA, Salvation Army and United Way have strong social capital.

I have manned a Salvation Army kettle at Christmas time and watched people fill it with money, and many without knowing precisely what the Sally Anne does in our community. Trust is powerful stuff. Trust is something most commercial brands would kill for. Of course, you have to earn it.

I was thinking about the challenges these organizations face in a slow economy and I had a chance recently to chat with fellow Rotarian David Fitzpatrick, chair of board of the Kitchener Waterloo United Way.

rainbow_logo_horizontalDave happened to mention that his board had adopted a more strategic approach to meeting its community obligations.  United Way is shifting from being an organization that waits for fundraising results to determine what needs can be met, to becoming an organization that first identifies the most pressing issues in the community, and then mobilizes the necessary resources to meet these needs.

Chief among the Kitchener-Waterloo  priorities:

  • Children and Youth reach their Potential
  • Families are Stronger
  • Neighbourhoods are Inclusive and Thriving
  • Newcomers are Welcomed and Supported
  • People are Economically Secure

It’s not surprising that community needs have grown beyond what the annual  campaign can raise. With the focus on building long-term change that meets local priorities, and investing where United Way can  have the greatest results in their community, the emphasis is placed on strategic goals and not annual fundraising results. Fundraising in fact becomes a longer term campaign over 3 years or even 5 years.

From a marketing perspective, it provides a set of priorities around which the community can rally, less reliant on one year’s campaign goal, particularly important in tough times.

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Filed under Branding, not-for-profit, social capital, Stephen Rhodes