At Angel Oak, we measure success in many ways. Analytics don’t lie. For example, if we’ve been hired to improve a nonprofit’s digital presence, success is determined by an increase in following or engagement on social platforms – or a spike in web traffic. If we’ve been hired to promote an event, with the end goal being 100 attendees, success is determined by the number of attendees who show up.
But our top measurable for whether or not we’ve successfully impacted a nonprofit, has and always will be…
Does our client truly understand the value of and need for marketing?
Oftentimes, this is more difficult to measure because it doesn’t have hard analytics attached to its success. Sure, a client can say they get it, but is there action behind their words? The kind of “action” we look for is a continued investment in marketing (whether outsourced or in-house). To us, an internal marketing hire is the ultimate measurement of a job well done (on our end). And for those who can’t afford to add a marketing hire to their overhead, the simple act of continuing to invest in marketing efforts is enough proof in the pudding. Why? Because if, through working with us, our clients have come to believe in the power of marketing so strongly that they bring marketing in-house or make an intentional decision to invest in ongoing marketing efforts, well friends, we’ve gotten our point across.
We’ve achieved success.
Just this past weekend, I attended an annual fundraiser for SuNica, a locally founded nonprofit focused on poverty alleviation in Nicaragua. These guys strive to make disciples of Jesus through clean water, education and mentorship, and they’re killing it! Attending their event on Saturday reminded me of just how far they’ve come.
I like to refer to them as the Little Engine that Could.
SuNica was one of our flagship clients back in 2012 when Angel Oak was founded. We, more or less, kicked off our organizations around the same time and, together, have watched in awe as the Lord has faithfully blessed our work. In a matter of years, what started off as just another small nonprofit trying to figure out how to help alleviate poverty has turned into a $650k+ fully functioning ministry that has impacted hundreds of Nicaraguans through the Gospel, employment, clean water and education…the list could go on.
We all know that poverty is a worldwide epidemic, and as a result, the number of nonprofits currently focusing on poverty alleviation is overwhelming. Not only does this mean that SuNica’s market is incredibly competitive, but it also makes their fundraising efforts more difficult. How can they set themselves apart? What makes their work more “donation-worthy” than other organizations doing the same thing? This is where the value of marketing comes in, and SuNica gets it! They’ve gotten it from the beginning.
Here are the top three things that SuNica has done exceptionally well (from a marketing perspective), all of which attribute to their ongoing success:
- Design: From the beginning, SuNica has invested in design. Yes, this investment has come at a cost, but it’s one that has more than paid for itself. As we learned from Anna in her recent blog, A Case for Design, design helps you connect with your audience in a way that other efforts simply can’t. Creating visuals that complement your words will launch your mission forward in ways you can’t imagine.
- Video: SuNica is no stranger to rich media. Again, another effort that requires a significant investment up front, but it’s one that is well worth it. When you give your mission an actual face and voice, there’s no comparison. Stats show that more than 80% of organizations are using video in their marketing efforts today, 97% of whom claim video has helped increase understanding of their work and 76% of whom claim video has helped increase their donations.
- Quantifying donations: SuNica has done an excellent job making their fundraising efforts palatable. Donors have a clear understanding of where their money is going because it’s broken down effort by effort and dollar for dollar. Instead of launching a campaign with a goal of raising $175,000, SuNica breaks their overall goal up into phases (i.e. $25k funds drilling, $50k funds electrical, $75k funds tanks, etc.). These phases are more digestible for a donor and therefore, more effective.
Moral of the story?
There is truth behind the “spend money to make money” mentality just like there’s proven value and power behind marketing. If done well, marketing will move the dial for your organization. And who knows…one day, you could be the next Little Engine that Could.
We’d love to help your organization ignite your mission with the power of marketing. Let us know how we can help.
– Daphne Thompson, Senior Marketing Strategist