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5 Tips to Increase Stakeholder Engagement For Your Nonprofit

Nonprofit organizations are like complex machines: they involve many moving parts that all rely on each other for the success of the whole. While each element is essential, one key element of a nonprofit’s success is its stakeholders and stakeholder engagement. Without effective stakeholder engagement, a nonprofit risks the loss of funding, support, and development. To ensure that your organization does not risk those losses, refer to these 5 tips to increase stakeholder engagement for your nonprofit. 

#1 Communicate early and often.

Communicating with stakeholders is a basic component of the organization-stakeholder relationship. However, for communication to be effective, it must be early and consistent. Your stakeholders are an essential part of your organization, so make them feel that way by including them early on. When you communicate with your stakeholders early on, they feel important, which leads to more trust and engagement. Make a list of current and potential stakeholders that you need to communicate with at the beginning of projects or events and reach out to them as soon as possible.

In addition to reaching out early, your organization must provide consistent communication to its stakeholders. Continued communication is key in maintaining a trustworthy and supportive relationship. Regularly provide updates on projects and events and ask for feedback throughout the process to ensure that you maintain your relationships with your stakeholders.

#2 Understand the influence of social media.

Many stakeholders rely on social media for information regarding their favorite organizations and potential investments. So, the content your organization puts on social media is not just for your customers or volunteers. To engage stakeholders, create a balanced mix of content that is targeted toward stakeholders and other groups in your audience. Show your current and potential stakeholders that you notice their involvement on social media and that you care about their engagement with your organization. This will allow them to enter the conversation about your organization in a new way. It could also help your organization reach more stakeholders to invest in your work.

#3 Provide a variety of ways for stakeholders to give input.

As mentioned above, involving stakeholders in the conversation and asking for feedback can provide many benefits. People want to provide their input and feel heard, especially when they are investing in your organization. So, make the feedback process effortless for your stakeholders. When sending out updates to stakeholders about projects, attach a survey for them to provide feedback. In addition to this, ask for feedback via social media and in-person interactions. By providing your stakeholders with a variety of ways to share their input, you will strengthen stakeholder relationships, increase continued engagement, and help your organization further develop.

#4 Plan events to attract a diverse group of stakeholders.

Planning special events for stakeholders will do wonders for your stakeholder engagement. These exclusive events will show your stakeholders how much your organization values them. And, will provide opportunities for in-person communications and networking. Events can bring in funds, strengthen stakeholder relationships, promote your organization and mission, and much more. And, if your organization holds a variety of events throughout the year, you can reach more diverse groups of stakeholders. For example, a picnic would be an event that is accessible to all kinds of stakeholders. Other events like sit-down dinners and galas would bring in a different group of stakeholders, including local leaders and politicians. Planning a mix of events is essential for reaching a diverse group of stakeholders while encouraging engagement.

#5 Don’t just inform your stakeholders, involve them. 

A common theme among these tips is that stakeholders should be involved, not just informed. If your stakeholders feel left out of your organization and its efforts, they will lose interest and stop engaging. Your organization can protect against major problems, like an abrupt loss of financial support, by involving stakeholders in your planning and projects instead of only informing. 

When involving stakeholders, work with your organization to find a happy medium of involvement. An appropriate amount of stakeholder involvement will allow for stakeholders to collaborate when desired, but will not rely on their collaboration to complete a project or achieve a goal. Allowing stakeholders the opportunity to create and collaborate with your organization will increase their engagement, strengthen your stakeholder-organization relationships, and benefit your organization in the long run. 

Stakeholder engagement is one of the many important elements that go into running a nonprofit. Refer to these tips for stakeholder engagement, and do not hesitate to reach out for help if all the elements become overwhelming. PivotPath is here to support your organization with our top-notch marketing services and team of talented creatives. Let us take on some of the other work while you put more into what matters: creating lasting relationships with those that support the continuation of your organization and its mission. 

Social Enterprises: What Does Recovery Look Like in 2021?

Over the past year, many businesses have experienced extensive struggles. COVID-19 has hit businesses in ways we have never seen before. While businesses have experienced many hardships, social enterprises have experienced unique challenges. These challenges not only include the success of their business, but the beneficiaries that rely on them. 

With so much at stake, social enterprises have been using changes and trends from 2020 to aid in their recovery. Here, we outline some of the changes and trends that helped these organizations recover from the devastating impacts of COVID-19.

Presenting solutions to COVID-19 struggles:

Though social enterprises have faced their own challenges as a result of the pandemic, many have begun to see the benefit of taking on other challenges. This may seem counterproductive, but it has been a beneficial way for social enterprises to get back on their feet. 

Social enterprises are built to center around the problem, not the solution or product: the primary focus is their social objective. Because of this, social enterprises have been flexible during the past year with new issues that have been presented. Many organizations have taken a problem that was caused by COVID-19, and created a solution designed to help others. For example, a social enterprise that is centered around fighting poverty could alter their solution to be specific to COVID-19. Focusing on the pandemic’s affects on food insecurity and poverty would be a great way to make the solution more applicable.

By taking on issues that were created due to COVID-19, social enterprises are adjusting their businesses to be more applicable to the current situation, hence making them more marketable and successful in their journey to recovery. 

Supporting local or meaningful organizations:

When COVID-19 forced many areas into lockdown, people began to realize how impactful their engagement with businesses could be. Customers wanted to see organizations survive the pandemic, especially ones they felt connected to, like local businesses and meaningful organizations. 

This shift in consumer focus has been a major benefit for social enterprises and their recovery. Social enterprises have been highlighting their organizations’ causes to a greater extent to use this trend to their advantage. Tactics such as creating content focused on the mission instead of the product, organizing informational events about a chosen social issue, and participating in public discussions about their social issue have helped social enterprises lean into this shift in consumer focus for their benefit. 

Engaging in relevant social issues:

In addition to COVID-19, 2020 welcomed increased discussion and allyship for social issues across the nation. The reignition of the Black Lives Matter movement in the wake of the killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, voter suppression and voting rights in the midst of the election, and the continuous topic of immigration in the U.S. were just a few of the social issues/movements that were present in 2020. 

Social enterprises have committed to the issues that are most relevant to their cause. This has allowed them to show support for the causes that mean the most to their organization. While at the same time, gaining the support of other individuals and organizations that are also participating in those movements. By participating in relevant social issues, social enterprises have effectively engaged with meaningful causes and built more substantial consumer relationships. 

Recovery can be a difficult process…

Though there are steps being made toward recovery for social enterprises, it can still be a very challenging process. At PivotPath, we understand that your business is more than just worrying about the bottom line or cashflow, it is about concern for the cause and the social issues that shape your work. Let us help you in your organization’s recovery process. Our top-notch marketing services will help you put more time into what really matters: your cause and the people that your organization is able to impact.

Top Tips to Creating Customer Loyalty

Happy April and International Customer Loyalty Month!

International Customer Loyalty Month is an extremely important month for organizations and businesses to make an extra effort when creating a loyal customer base. Customer loyalty is essential to any business, as it can increase revenue, drive repeat business, and defend against competitors. 

Continue reading for the top tips to creating and retaining customer loyalty.

Build better communication:

This tip may seem like a no-brainer, but communication is broad. Consider what elements of communication will help you reach your customers and maintain their loyalty.

First, your organization needs to be present for its audience. Communication efforts must be frequent and relevant to ensure that your organization, message, and products are not forgotten. You will achieve a loyal customer base when you consistently deliver valuable and enjoyable experiences to your audience. Demonstrate consistency in your communication through monthly newsletters, social media, events, promotions, and more. Consistent, positive, and valuable communication tactics will improve your customer relationships and increase loyalty. 

Consistent communication is great, but without listening to your customers, your communication lacks value and meaning. Meaningful relationships that result in customer loyalty are built on effective listening. The best way to determine what your customers want is to listen. So, take the time to look at feedback, read reviews, and understand your customers’ points of view. According to Microsoft, 77% of consumers say they favor brands that ask for and accept customer feedback. Customers will show loyalty to you and your organization if you show loyalty to them and their points of view. 

Create a customer loyalty program:

Creating a customer loyalty program is one of the best and most effective ways to increase a loyal customer base. Because loyalty programs are built around rewards and benefits, they prove to be effective when increasing loyalty and interest. According to smallbizgenius, 75% of consumers say they favor companies that offer rewards. People want to feel celebrated and seen. Customer loyalty programs help your organization highlight and reward customers that have been committed to your brand, and offer incentives to continue their commitment.

Customer loyalty programs can feature:

  • Games
  • Tier Systems
  • Points Systems
  • VIP Benefits
  • Hybrid Programs
  • And many more!

Though they differ in structure, all of these programs include benefits or rewards to incentivize loyalty to your organization. Consider researching the above customer loyalty programs to find out which one is most fitting for your organization. 

Be authentic and transparent:

Your organization must be authentic and transparent to build strong relationships and gain loyal customers. People do not want to connect with brands that are impersonal or machine-like; they want a relationship with a brand that resembles a real person. Your authenticity shines when you share your values and mission to create a meaningful brand. According to the Corporate Executive Board, 64% of customers say that brand values are the #1 reason why they create a relationship with a brand. Being authentic and explicitly sharing and showcasing your brands values and beliefs will help your organization make loyal customers.

In addition to being authentic, your brand needs to be transparent and honest. Honesty is the best policy, even in business, so be upfront with your customers when things do not go as planned or a mistake is made. Customers will be loyal to your organization when they know that you are not hiding anything from them or deceiving them in any way. No one likes to be wrong or make mistakes. However, the truth is appreciated, and remaining honest with your customers will show them that you value their relationship, thus promoting loyalty.

Make life easy for your customers:

People tend to engage more when it requires little effort, so do not make your customers work hard to engage with your brand! Engaging with your organization should be effortless and enjoyable. A good experience will grow customer loyalty exponentially: according to PWC, 73% of consumers say a good experience is the main factor that influences their brand loyalties.

Be flexible and anticipate problems to make your customers’ experience easy and enjoyable. Be reasonably understanding of each customer’s circumstances so that their experience with your organization is as effortless as possible. For example, if you have a customer that was unable to adhere to your 30-day return policy because of the weather or being out of town, be understanding and flexible to their situation. By making it easy on them, you are making it easier for your organization to build customer loyalty and increase retention. 

Though Customer Loyalty Month is during April, customer loyalty should be an effort that carries throughout the year! Creating loyalty takes time, so do not hesitate to ask for help. PivotPath is here to provide you with the best marketing services without the high costs of traditional agencies. Letting us take on some of the responsibility will help you put more time into what really matters: your customers and their loyalty and commitment to your organization.

Effectively listening to your audience is essential

In marketing, it’s our job to communicate to our audience, inform them, and engage them, right? Yes, but there is more to it. As marketers, a large part of our job is listening.

Effectively listening to an audience is essential to the growth of any organization or business. It helps to cultivate relationships, build rapport, increase loyalty, and better direct development, leading to a stronger, more sustainable business. But, how do you listen effectively?

Continue reading to learn how to be an effective listener and why it will benefit your business.

Why you should effectively listen to your audience:

Build meaningful relationships-

Your audience and customers want to feel truly understood and heard. According to NewVoiceMedia, feeling unappreciated is the #1 reason customers switch away from products and services. By genuinely listening to your audience, you are shifting the communication from one-way to two-way, which promotes meaningful relationships.

Increase customer loyalty and retention-

Listening to your audience can help you create meaningful relationships, which can benefit your business in many ways. First, it helps your business increase customer loyalty and retention. When making a purchase or investment, 64% of people find the customer experience more important than price, according to Gartner. Your audience is more likely to remain loyal to your business if you listen to their feedback, and provide them with a relationship and experience that they value.

Build rapport that leads to referrals-

Another benefit of listening to your audience is building a rapport that leads to positive referrals. Customers are not afraid to share their business experiences with friends, family, and even strangers. With the unlimited reach granted by social media and the internet, a customer’s experience never goes unnoticed. According to Extole, 83% of customers are willing to refer after a positive experience with a business. The more you listen to your customers, the more they value the relationship with your business, which will make them more likely to refer others to your services or products.

Better direct your marketing efforts-

Many of us remember being told to listen with “ears open and mouths shut” so that we could learn in grade school. Although it may seem like a child’s lesson, it’s applicable to many aspects of life, including marketing. When you take the time to listen to your audience, you are able to learn more about them: their likes, dislikes, behaviors, and attitudes. This information can be used to better your marketing efforts, customizing them to your audience to get the best reaction and engagement. You can also implement direct suggestions or feedback from customers. This will help improve your business, cultivate meaningful relationships with your audience, and show that you care about their feedback.

How to effectively listen to your audience:

Take part in active listening-

First and foremost, it is important to understand the difference between listening and active listening. When someone chooses to actively listen, they focus on what the other person is saying and try to fully understand the other person’s point of view.

Active listening is essential when communicating with your audience because it helps to show that you are genuine and that you care about what your audience has to say. Actively listen by focusing on what your audience is communicating to you. If given the opportunity, repeat their communications back to them to ensure that you fully understand what they are saying. This will show your audience and customers that you are trustworthy and are invested in their ideas.

Participate in social listening-

Social media is a very important resource when it comes to effectively listening to your audience. Your audience will take to social media for a variety of reasons: to compliment, criticize, complain, or to ask for help. Because of this, social listening a very important thing for your organization or business to partake in.

According to Hootsuite, social listening is the process of monitoring social media platforms and channels for when anyone, especially your audience, mentions your brand, competitors, products, and more. By social listening, a business is able to gain insights into what their audience is thinking and understand what is being said about their brand.

Rely on analytics-

When businesses and organizations consult data, they are using trends in their audiences’ behavior to infer their audience wants, likes, dislikes, and needs. Analytics like website traffic, social media engagement rates, email open and click rates, CTA response, and many others are pieces of data that allow you to listen to what your audience wants.

Understanding the importance of analytics and using the data to listen to your audience will help your organization identify big-picture ideas that can influence other, more specific areas of your marketing strategy.

 

As shown, listening to your audience is vital to the success of your business or organization. But, listening takes time. PivotPath offers a wide range of services that work to effectively listen to audiences. Contact us today for a free consultation, so we can assist you in your listening efforts. PivotPath understands that listening leads to meaningful relationships, and meaningful relationships lead to growing success.

 

A Guide to Spring Marketing

When developing a spring marketing plan, you may notice that there is not a lot going on during this time of the year. With the passing of several major winter holidays and events, it may seem difficult to create clever and relevant marketing strategies for the spring. But, do not fear, this is where we come in! PivotPath is here to provide you with a detailed guide to marketing during the spring. Continue reading to uncover helpful tips and strategies when marketing this season.

Pick a relevant spring theme for your marketing campaign:

Springtime is associated with many things: growth, renewal, blooming flowers, spring cleaning, longer days, and rain. So, capitalize off of these associations, and make your marketing campaign spring-themed. Using a spring theme can help give direction to your content, and create a more cohesive and appealing campaign. For example, a non-profit food bank that is focusing on the theme of “spring cleaning” could have content that looks like this:

“Jump into spring cleaning by cleaning out your pantry! And when your pantry is organized and cleaned out, give back to your community by donating the food to us!”

Using spring colors, fonts, and photos will also help to create a cohesive marketing campaign. Bright, pastel colors like pinks, yellows, greens, and teals, are very popular in the spring! Use these colors along with floral graphics to create eye-catching and aesthetically pleasing content.

Incorporate contests/giveaways in your campaign:

Many businesses see spring as a lull in their marketing plan, but one way to rejuvenate a marketing plan is to incorporate contests and giveaways. Contests and giveaways, which are typically run on social media, can be a great way to engage and grow your audience.

A contest or giveaway usually incorporates rules, qualifications, and a prize/reward. Rules outline exactly what the viewer must do to enter. Including rules such as “tag a friend,” “comment and tag a friend,” or “share this post” help expand your brand’s reach and audience. Other rules like “follow our page” and “like this post” will boost your brand’s following and engagement. Most importantly, choose rules and qualifications that are the best for your business and the goals you hope to achieve.

When choosing a prize or reward, it is important to choose one that is desirable and relevant. Your prize should always reflect the effort required to win it. For example, if you ask viewers to fill out a long survey, enter personal information, and follow your social media accounts, you must choose a high-value prize to incentivize people to put in the effort. The prize or reward should also be relevant to your business. This will encourage continued interaction with your business and your products/services.

Research unique national or international holidays:

Spring can seem spiritless when compared to the busy winter holiday season. Use this opportunity to give your audience a reason to celebrate! Amidst the better known holidays in spring:

St. Patrick’s Day: March 17th
April Fools Day: April 1st
Easter: April 4th
Earth Day: April 22nd
Cinco de Mayo: May 5th
Mother’s Day: May 9th
Memorial Day: May 31st

…there are many unique holidays that your business can also mention when marketing! Conduct research on national or international holidays for each month, and choose which holidays are most applicable to your business. For example, here are some unique holidays in March:

Peanut Butter Lovers’ Day: March 1st
I Want You to be Happy Day: March 3rd
Employee Appreciation Day: March 5th
National Frozen Food Day: March 6th
International (Working) Women’s Day: March 8th
International Day of Awesomeness: March 10th
Plant a Flower Day: March 12th
National Pi Day: March 14th
Everything You Do is Right Day: March 16th
Awkward Moments Day: March 18th
International Day of Happiness: March 20th
National Goof Off Day: March 22nd
National Puppy Day: March 23rd
Make Up Your Own Holiday Day: March 26th
Something on a Stick Day: March 28th
National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day: March 29th

Your business can incorporate these holidays when crafting content, planning promotions, and creating contests. Implementing unique holidays into your marketing strategy will help you stand out, create excitement and celebration, and engage your audience.

Focus on your community and give back:

Because springtime is seen as a time for growth and renewal, many people associate the season with community events and giving back. When looking for marking opportunities, search on community groups and pages to get your business involved, visible, and to give back to your community.

Getting involved in community events can offer your brand an opportunity to interact directly with potential customers and heighten your brand awareness. Set up tables full of relevant swag, like branded fans on a hot day, to encourage people to get to know you, your business, and your products/services.

Another marketing strategy to increase visibility in your community is to give back. Consider devoting a day for your business to volunteer at a local charity. This will benefit your community and benefit your business by making your brand more recognizable and positively received.

When preparing for your spring marking plan, do not hesitate to reach out for help. PivotPath offers a wide range of services to help your business spring into the season. Contact us for a consultation today!

Not Every Social Media Platform is Needed to Promote Your Brand

Social media is a large part of everyday life, even more so now that COVID-19 has taken away the ability to connect in person. People are beginning to rely on social media platforms to make meaningful and impactful connections.

This can be intimidating for businesses. Promoting a brand on social media is difficult enough, but relying on social media platforms for all communication with your audience is a new challenge. Many businesses are scrambling with their social media strategies, creating accounts on any and every social media platform possible. Though this may seem like a reasonable option, branding on every social media platform can be ineffective, disingenuous, and a waste of time. 

Here, we outline why you do not need every social media platform to promote your brand and ways you can effectively use social media to make meaningful connections for your business. 

Your audience is not on every platform:

Not many people have an account on every social media platform, so why should your business? Your target audience is a specific group of people. They have unique characteristics and traits, and each social media platform attracts distinct groups of people.

Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are all popular platforms, but each is used for a different purpose. Most of Instagram’s users are female and between the ages of 13 and 28. In contrast, the majority of Facebook users are above 30 years old. LinkedIn users range in age, but use the platform for work and business related purposes. 

The data collected on each social media platform will help your business understand where to connect with your audience. Whether your business wants to build connections with other businesses, community members, fitness junkies, gamers, etc., it is important to find which platform(s) they are primarily on. This way, you can meet your audience on the platform they use to further enhance your brand awareness and engagement. 

You do not have the time to devote to every platform:

Creating content and a social media plan takes time and organization. Your business is working hard to cover all your bases. But, when you try to cover every social media platform, your work can become sloppy and ineffective.

Without meaningful content, your audience could perceive your communication as disingenuous and calculated. This is not how you want audiences to perceive your brand. If you are going to be spending the time creating content, campaigns, and promotions, don’t you want them to be meaningful and impactful?

Always prioritize quality over quantity on social media. To do this, you need to allocate your time to the most important platforms for your audience. This way, you can spend your time creating purposeful and engaging content that will create a brand image that is heartfelt, personable, and authentic.

How to make a meaningful social media strategy without every platform:

  1. Evaluate and research your target audience– Ask yourself, who are you trying to reach? Where is your audience spending their time while online? What kind of content does your audience seem to enjoy? Does your audience even have social media? Thoroughly research your audience and their behavior. This will help you to alter your social media strategy to include the most effective kinds of content to post on the most applicable platforms.
  2. Focus your time on key platforms– After choosing which platforms are most effective for your business, focus your time on building quality profiles and accounts. Because you have less platforms to work on, you can spend more time constructing unique and substantial content. If your business is large enough, consider creating multiple specialized accounts on the same platform. This will allow you to hyper-focus on each group within your audience to create personalized content that is more relatable and powerful.
  3. Concentrate on building connections– Your business should be creating connections and relationships, not just partnerships or associations. A focused social media plan will offer the ability to create a marketing strategy that is sincere, personable, and authentic. Whether that be by conveying similar interests, interacting with customers, or using relatable humor, audiences are more likely to interact with a brand they feel personally connected to.
  4. Do not hesitate to reach out for help– Above all, do not hesitate to ask for help! Promoting your brand can be a difficult, meticulous process. Use resources that are available to you, like PivotPath, and contact us for a consultation. Our marketing focuses on building connections and relationships. We will be sure to help your business create a brand strategy that is meaningful and impactful!

Resourceful Marketing Strategies for Nonprofit Organizations

Marketing for a nonprofit organization can be difficult. Usually, there is little to no money set aside for marketing efforts. Because of this, it is crucial to use resources that are naturally present. Here, we outline marketing strategies you can use that are accessible and inventive. A tight budget calls for unique solutions; let’s get creative! 


Reach out to resources in your community

One of the best resources for a nonprofit to use is its community. Creating a marketing approach that involves the community can help nonprofits build a supportive foundation to grow from. 

Local TV stations, radio stations, and newspapers are great resources within the community to help spread awareness of your organization. So, start creating relationships with the news outlets in your community and make your nonprofit’s appearance a fun occasion. 

For example, a not-for-profit animal shelter could reach out to local new stations and suggest a “Pet Of The Week” segment. This way, the nonprofit gains weekly media coverage and the news station gains viewers for the new, fun segment—a win-win for both parties!

Grow your online presence

An important aspect of marketing to strategize is online engagement and social media. Social media is a great tool to use to connect with a large amount of people in a short amount of time. But, to elicit a response and reach the correct audience, it must be used strategically. 

It is important to remember that each social media platform serves its own purpose. For instance, what your organization posts on Facebook may not be effective on Twitter, and vice versa. 

Take the time to decide what kind of content your organization wants to put out on each platform. This will help to increase both engagement among users and overall awareness of your organization. Check out our blog about social media and branding to learn more.

Create influential and meaningful partnerships

Creating and maintaining relationships is important for any organization. For nonprofits, it is essential. Using existing resources and growing on established relationships provides many benefits for nonprofits. 

Look to your current supporters for help with your marketing efforts. Usually, supporters are thrilled to become active in an organization that they are passionate about. Partner with supporters or other people in your network that have a wide reach and can be advocates for your nonprofit. 

For example, advocates can promote your organization by posting content on their own social media accounts, running fundraisers, and using their networks to reach more people. Additionally, partnerships like these would help your organization reach groups of people outside of your current scope. 

Participate in visual marketing

One of the most impactful marketing strategies is the use of visuals. Visuals, such as pictures, infographics, and videos, can express your organization’s mission in a unique and effective way. 

When scrolling through social media or reading the newspaper, people are typically drawn to things that can tell a story with little effort. A picture or video allows for viewer ease and attracts more attention due to enticing colors, stunning images, and thought-out graphics. 

Visuals can involve people within your organization as well as the community that is impacted by your mission. For instance, a video of testimonials or a photo with a quote can story tell in an appealing and effective way for your organization.  

Personalize your outreach communication

People tend to disregard mass-created messages, sending a large amount of communication and information to the trash. Creating more personalized communication will increase response rates and engage supporters. 

Each donor and supporter is different. The way to continue their engagement will vary depending on their age, current level of commitment, socioeconomic status, and interests.

Consider planning out personalized messages for different groups of people when creating your monthly newsletter or weekly updates. This will ensure that the right information gets to the right people and will help to maintain engagement and interest in your nonprofit. 

 

Above all, do not hesitate to ask for help! If you are a nonprofit looking for assistance with marketing strategies, contact us for a consultation. Our marketing focuses on storytelling and community connection, and will be sure to help your organization enhance its presence!