At nonprofits, money saved is money spent furthering your mission. So it makes sense that nonprofits would need and want to be especially careful with their money. These are 5 things I regularly see nonprofits doing that waste money:
- Hiring the least expensive option or crowdsourcing. I’ve had many clients come to me after bad experiences with unqualified, unprofessional vendors they selected because of their low cost. Choosing the low-cost option can cost you a lot more in the end. What often happens is the second vendor (me in some cases) needs to start the project by reviewing the work completed by the previous vendor (which in most cases has been done incorrectly). Almost all the time, that work is unusable and it will cost more to try to work with it than to just start over. So at this point, the nonprofit is not only spending more money, but has also lost a lot of time—something we all know busy nonprofit marketers do not have.
- Skipping the prep work for your project. Most clients are so eager to have a designer get started on their project that the most important step, the strategy and content planning, can be rushed through—leaving the designer with incomplete content or direction. To avoid this problem, I build a content planning phase into all of my project schedules. This gives us time to do the work upfront to develop the strategy and content for the project. I know this works because it has saved my clients time and money. One client had a 30% reduction in revisions from one year to the next. The time spent working on the design phase of the project was reduced by two weeks.
- Having a “loose” or nonexistent marketing plan. Sometimes last-minute projects come up. It happens. But when you have a marketing plan in place, you can find a way to fit them in without creating chaos. This plan should be tangible—either written down or someplace digital—with action steps and key dates assigned. Through my marketing strategy & planning offering, I help clients to plan their projects for the year and keep them on track.
- Not measuring your marketing efforts. It’s important to assess and measure your marketing efforts. Did they achieve your goals? If not, what could have been done differently so you could have gotten a better outcome? Sometimes we need to experiment with our marketing efforts to see what is going to work best for our audience. It may take more time, effort and money to do this at first, but in the end—when you start consistently surpassing your goals, attaining new supporters and getting more donations—it’s all worth it.
- Avoiding the bigger picture. I just went through my closet and did a major clean out and donation drop off. I noticed that I was holding onto many items that I was not using or several items that were all very similar. I did not need them all; one or two did the job. What does this have to do with nonprofit marketing? Over the years, you develop many marketing pieces: brochures, info packets, one sheets, etc. At some point you need to clean out your marketing materials closet. It’s called a Brand Analysis or Audit. It’s eye opening. You may discover that you have multiple (or very similar) marketing pieces that can be combined into one. Or that you really don’t need a new brochure for that program you were thinking of because a great one already exists. Doing this helps you streamline your efforts, increase efficiency, and even save your organization money by eliminating duplicate efforts. If you need a brand audit, I can help.
Want to that make marketing budgets achieve maximum impact? I can help. Let’s talk about how.