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Listen: The Key to a Successful Non-Profit Marketing Campaign

We recently sat down with Sara from the Agency Spark podcast to talk about non-profit marketing campaigns and the importance of storytelling. Take a listen!

Episode Transcript:

Sara Nay (00:00): This episode of the agency, spark podcast is brought to you by pod match a platform that automatically matches ideal podcast hosts and guests for interviews. Learn more at pod spark.

Sara Nay (00:20): Welcome to the agency spark podcast. This is your host Sara nay and I have challenged my guests to come prepared with impactful, actionable insights that they can share in just about 10 minutes. So you can walk away, take action and get back to your busy day. Today. I have Emily heck owner of evergreen strategic communications from content management to audience engagement. She is passionate about crafting personalized marketing strategies for nonprofit organizations that don't always have the resources they need. So welcome to the show, Emily,

Emily Heck (00:54): Thank you very much. I'm excited to be here.

Sara Nay (00:56): I am excited. You're here. And the topic that I wanna impact with you today is what is the key to a successful non-profit marketing campaign? So let's hear it. What, what insights do you have on that specific topic?

Emily Heck (01:09): Yeah. So when I, um, sit down with clients or have this conversation, the first question I have is what are your stories? What are your nonprofit stories? And that is the base of every non profit marketing campaign. That is what we use throughout the entirety of the campaign. It's about storytelling and really sharing. What are the impactful things happening in your nonprofit and in your organization and getting that information out there, not only to connect with donors and pull up their heartstrings, but connect with the community at large and build brand awareness out in the community. And then if you're a membership based organization, it's also important to use those stories, to potentially recruit new members and generate interests among new members. So storytelling is always the first conversation I wanna have of what is your story bank look like? Or what stories can we go out and capture?

Sara Nay (02:09): Yeah, I think that's so important. I've actually worked with a nonprofit recently and their donations page was just basically a form that people could submit to donate money. And so they were missing a lot of the storytelling, like how is the money gonna make an impact of some one donates and how has it made an impact previously? And so we went out, one of the first things we did with them is we went out and we actually captured stories of, they work with children of children's lives that they impacted and how they impacted and how future donations can continue to make an impact moving forward. So I think that's such an important piece in all of marketing, but especially in the nonprofit space.

Emily Heck (02:44): Yeah, absolutely nonprofit marketing at its base is not different from, you know, if you're marketing to consumers or marketing to another business, the basics are still the same and the foundation is still there. It's just in nonprofit. We're trying to pull up that heartstring a little bit more than you may see in other types of, um, avenues. And so you've gotta do that through stories. And a, a lot of nonprofits are exactly like what you said, you go to their donation page and it's just a form of here's how you can make a gift, but there's really no impactful stories on there. And I think sometimes it's an afterthought and it, it takes a little bit of when you're sitting there saying, okay, let's brainstorm some impact stories, but once you get a group going from that organization, they just start to roll out these stories that are so awesome.

Emily Heck (03:35): And they're so impactful and it's, we need to capture that. And what I try to do is not only capture those stories, but then also try to come up with a process for them to capture that after I may depart from their organization or, or my time with them is done because you don't wanna, you don't wanna hire a consultant to come in. And I gather three to five stories and we have a feature story around it and we have a video and photo and maybe some audio around it and then that's it. You're done. And it's okay. What do we do with these stories afterwards? Um, I wanna help them create a process of how to keep generating those stories long after, because that's really ultimately what's gonna help build awareness and engagement for them.

Sara Nay (04:19): Yeah, absolutely. So it sounds like when you're just getting started, obviously you're putting all the processes in place, but step one is maybe getting key members in a room together and it's almost like a brainstorming session. What stories have you heard? And you're pulling 'em all together. And then from there identifying like, what are maybe some of the top ones we focus to create video and pictures and all that around it? Is that initial process.

Emily Heck (04:42): Yeah. So that's what I initially do when, um, I'm working with organizations. And then the other thing I try to do is I ask to be in meetings where the staff is gathered as much as possible. I have a client right now that they meet every other Tuesday and they bring all of within their, they bring the whole staff together of the department that is working with their members or with their audiences the most. And they talk about the cases that they're working on. And so I just go to that meeting and I sit and I listen, what is sparking? And each staff member goes around and talks about this is the case I'm working on. Here are the key players in it. Here's the back and behind it. And there might be something that spark sparks, something that I then follow up afterwards and ask for those stories or ask for more detail. So it's not so much of creating what I have found, not so much creating a formal, I'm gonna put this meeting on your calendar and we're gonna talk about storytelling because it's seems like people's brains, just go in like this block mode of, I can't think of anything, but finding opportunities and meetings that are, are already happening, where people are sharing those stories and they don't realize they're sharing stories is where I have found the most success.

Sara Nay (05:58): Yeah. I think that's such a key insight. I, I have experienced the same thing where you ask people to start telling stories. And as you said, it's just like, it's almost like overwhelming. Like they have to think of these huge creative ideas and it's no just talk about the clients you're working with or that the problems you've solved and naturally it will start to flow from there. So I love that you've integrated self into that meeting and then follow up afterwards as I think that's so important. So let's say someone's done the work and they've identified, okay. These are some of the stories that we really wanna focus on. How do you take someone from here's the story into actually getting it out there and making an impact with it?

Emily Heck (06:34): Yeah, so it's, I am a big believer of repurposing content and not going through the energy and time and effort to create content. And then you only use it once. So we have our story, whatever the topic may be. And I wanna build a blog from it. I wanna use it in a donor solicitation letter. I wanna use it on social media, of course. And in donor email, maybe a member email, and I have a writer who writes a full length feature story, and that's the base where we start or the core where we start. And then we start figuring out how to repurpose that content. It could just be a quote on the website, or it could be a short form story on the website. If we create at a video, maybe it's a three or four minute video, but are there clips within that video that we could use on social media that are just a 15 second sound bite or something like that?

Emily Heck (07:28): I try to get the life out of that story as long as possible, as much as possible because there's been throughout my career. There's been so many times that we have gone and done a story and we've spent so much time on aches and weeks. We've brought in writers, we've brought in videographers and designers to create graphics and photographers, and then we use it for one thing and then it's done. And it's like, why have we spent so much time and energy? I try to use it as much as possible. And then it goes, that story goes into a holding make for me. And maybe I bring it out six months later or a year later, I use it again. If it's a really good story, it can live on path. That first time it's published.

Sara Nay (08:08): Yeah. I couldn't agree more. I think that's especially, I work a lot in the small business space and a lot of the content production is very overwhelming for people because they feel like they just need to be producing volume and always reading these new ideas. And I am a hundred percent on your page where I'm like, let's find things that work let's stick to it. Let's repurpose it and get the most value out of this content, because that allows you to put more energy in that really important content and more focus in that versus just producing a ton of volume. So I love that. That's your approach

Emily Heck (08:40): Harder, not smart or work smarter, not harder. It's for sure. The approach.

Sara Nay (08:45): I love it. Thank you for sharing your insights today. It was really awesome conversation. I enjoyed speaking with you. If people are interested in connecting with you online to learn more, where can they find you?

Emily Heck (08:56): Yeah, so they can go to my website, which is evergreen, or I'm also pretty active on LinkedIn. I love LinkedIn. So you can find me I'm Emily. Heck in Indianapolis, Indiana, if you search there and yeah, I'd love to connect, uh, with you either just to talk about marketing or, or anything else.

Sara Nay (09:15): Awesome. Thank you so much, Emily for being here and thank you all for listening to the agency spark podcast. This is your host Sarana and we'll see you next time.


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