The inspiration for these Marketing Matters comes from an article that was available several years ago at titled “10 Ways to Market Your Non-Profit Online.” (The page is no longer available.)  Since your school is a non-profit, I’ve tweaked them a bit so that these items relate directly to your school and what you need to do to market it effectively in today’s technology-rich environment.

7) Designate a day for supporters to change their profile pictures to represent your school

Use social media to announce upcoming events and news about your school, but also use social media to let your advocates show their support!  Designate a significant day (perhaps your patron saint’s feast day, or the anniversary of your school) where people are encouraged to change their avatar or profile picture to your school’s logo, or place badges on their Web site that represent your school.  Remember that the networks of your supporters are much wider that your school’s network alone.  Use that power!

8) Utilize a mobile text messaging campaign

While email campaigns are still an effective marketing technique, the average open rate for anon-profit email campaign is only 27.66%. Text messaging however, is still uncluttered and 97% of all marketing messages are opened – 83% of them in the first hour!

When there are Spring gala events on the horizon, it helps to know that there are usually many gala events held during the Spring.  As a personal anecdote, this year, my nephew on my wife’s mother’s side of the family decided to postpone their wedding from the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend to the summer of 2022.  A few weeks later, a cousin on my wife’s father’s side of the family passed away, and a memorial service has been scheduled – for the Saturday of Memorial Day weekend.  Realizing the power of texting, send out a reminder text to registered attendees a few days in advanced of your big event AND on the day it happens!  If, for some reason, they can’t make it, they can make a contribution via text, or could forward their reservation to other friends who might be able to attend.  You’ve reserved a space for them, and there’s nothing worse than having an event, and people don’t show up to create empty seats (think “Parable of the Wedding Feast”).

When your school has its Annual Appeal, allow your supporters to donate to your school by texting.  By all means, Do Not Spam individuals who have entrusted you with their cell phone numbers.  You must have a significant reason to text them.  Because of its incredibly high open rate, text messages can be a powerful way to reach your audience, but people guard their mobile number more carefully than they do their email address.  Further, because email addresses can be free today, texting usually has a “plan” associated with it.  The Federal Trade Commission has a number to which someone can forward a phone number from which they received a spam message.  The FTC can then investigate the matter, and may result in punitive actions since doing so can be considered to be fraud.

Two more tips to round out the 10 come your way next week!

© Michael V. Ziemski, SchoolAdvancement, 2011-2021 (Original Publication Date: 201103021)