Buying habits and behaviors in the consumer space can be analyzed by nonprofits looking to optimize fundraising tactics. The consumer market at large can often work as a reflection of supporter patterns and trends within the nonprofit sector.
Especially in today's rapidly changing economic landscape, leaning on analytical data and anecdotal insights into the economy is key for nonprofit organizations looking to maintain and grow their financial support, even in the face of economic uncertainty.
The New Landscape
With an overwhelming number of options available to the average consumer every day, we are left with the need to go beyond access and convenience when it comes to decision-making. As we have seen in recent years, consumers' concern has grown beyond what they are buying, to who they are buying from. A study by Razorfish found that 82 percent of consumers make purchase decisions with purpose in mind.
Companies are increasingly aligning themselves with socially progressive and mission-based values in order to stand out in an increasingly competitive marketplace. More major brands are feeling the pressure to speak up in instances of injustice, promote socially conscious corporate environments, and increase transparency in their impact on the environment.
This shift is critical and also hugely beneficial to nonprofit organizations looking for supporters. The consumer environment we are in has been shifting the larger population into asking the questions nonprofit organizations have been trying to pose themselves: How do we find potential supporters who align themselves with our mission and purpose?
Determining Your Purpose Statement
A nonprofit's purpose statement is a mission statement that clearly describes the organization's fundamental and unique purpose in under 50 words. This statement should be clearly defined and used throughout your organization both internally and externally. Using the exact same language every time you state your purpose increases the likelihood of retention in the minds of your potential supporters and community members.
Your purpose statement is the key to unlocking your potential supporter base. Overwhelmed with marketing messages every day, consumers need quick, digestible, and impactful messaging that stands out and speaks directly to the right audience. The key to defining your purpose statement is not to be all things to all people, but to find the right audience, at the right time, with the right message, in order to create sustainable growth of support.
One of the best ways to formulate your purpose statement is to use this template:
- A Character (your supporter)
- Has a Problem (they need to solve)
- And Meets a Guide (your organization)
- Who Gives Them a Plan (your solutions)
- And Calls Them to Action (to support your organization)
- That Ends in Success
- And Helps Them Avoid Failure (what would happen if they don't support)
Take, for example, a local food bank nonprofit organization. Their purpose statement might look something like this:
For passionate individuals looking to support families in need in their community, Local Food Bank provides healthy meals to those that need it most at no cost to them. By supporting Local Food Bank for just $10 a week, you can ensure that a family of four has equitable access to nutritious food, and help reduce hunger in your neighborhood.
Notice how this statement clearly defines what makes Local Food Bank special by providing healthy and nutritious food that comes at no cost to the community it serves. The statement calls out its ideal audience as passionate people who are looking to contribute to their local community and neighbors. Most importantly, the call to action is time-based and quantifiable. It calls out the success and avoidance of failure in a positive way by reiterating the organization's value proposition of nutritious food and the donor's mission of helping reduce hunger and helping their community.
Not sure how to define your purpose statement? TechSoup's Digital Marketing Services team specializes in organizational messaging strategies to use in your marketing communications and beyond.
Incorporating Your Purpose Statement
When a potential supporter interacts with your organization, you have seven seconds to help them form their opinion and make a decision to continue reading or move along. Utilizing your purpose statement throughout your marketing and digital communications is imperative to ensure that the first impression is positive, action-driven, and impactful.
Incorporation of your purpose statement should be done strategically. Pieces of the statement can be used throughout your communications as quick headlines and reminders of the underlying message at play. There are many integral conversion points in your donation funnel and strategy to include these elements.
- Website Home Page: One powerful place to have your statement is above the fold on the home page of your website. Many potential supporters will interact with your organization first by coming to your website. This can be done as an overlay to your hero image or directly below your header in the first paragraph of the text. Whenever possible, use header font instead of paragraph font to make the words stand out.
- Social Media: Another common place where the community will first interact with your organization is on social media. Work pieces of the statement into your posts or even turn a line into a hashtag to include on appropriate posts. For those organizations that post less frequently, try pinning a post with your entire purpose statement to the top of your profile to stick in the mind of the first-time visitors.
- Email: Organizations that use email marketing to nurture their contacts and leads can benefit from including their purpose statement in the hero image of marketing emails, signatures of their one-to-one emails, and written out in the body to remind those contacts exactly your mission and purpose. If it has been a while since they've communicated with you, or if they need a refresher on why they are subscribed to the email list, your purpose statement is a powerful reminder.
- Donation Page: The ultimate point of conversion for potential donors is your donation page. For organizations that rely on grants or sponsorship, this would be your page dedicated to those initiatives. Having your purpose statement featured prominently either above the fold or immediately before the call to action can help drive those conversion rates.
Benefits of Attracting a Mission-Aligned Audience
When it comes to supporters and donors, longevity is the name of the game for nonprofit organizations. While one-off donations or grants can be hugely beneficial to moving the needle, sustainability and growth come from the reliability of your ongoing, monthly, and longtime support community.
Moving beyond the convenience model of purchasing decisions allows nonprofits to find those individuals who deeply care about their mission, their impact, and their growth and success. In an economic environment where ethics and accountability are continuing to see momentum, it is nonprofit organizations' time to shine. While the buying behavior of the larger consumer base is ever-changing, nonprofits that can adapt to changes, even through challenging times, will be able to not just survive but thrive.
If your nonprofit is struggling with identifying and attracting the right people, talk to the TechSoup Digital Marketing Services team. We have a specially designed offering to build and define your ideal audience, your messaging, your value proposition, and the journey of attracting, converting, and retaining key supporters for your organization and mission.
- Sign up for TechSoup Courses' series on Engaging Communities Online.
- Learn how to Think Like a Business: Treating Your Donors Like Customers.
- Consider Using Local Outreach to Engage the Online Generation.
- See a webinar on How to Grow and Engage Your Donors, Members, and Volunteers.
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