One of the services Eastern Volunteers provides is training to community organisations, to deliver new skills and knowledge on topics of interest to the community sector.
This morning I led a training session on marketing and social media. The aim was to assist not-for-profit organisations in determining their key messages and to identify suitable communication tools.
It is important that organisations identify what they wish to communicate and who they wish to reach, prior to picking their desired communication channels.
For example, the Eastern Volunteers Building Fund identified clients, community members and businesses as potential donors. While the key message, such as providing permanent and accessible accommodation, was constant, the method of communication differed depending on who we were trying to reach. If we were connecting with clients, then the newsletter was the most effective method of communication, while social media and local media was used to engage the wider community and business partners.
It is also worthwhile remembering that social media is still evolving and that the tools that are used today may not necessarily be the same that are used tomorrow. Several years ago Myspace would have been considered one of the most popular social media tools, while it has now been displaced by Facebook. Likewise, newer tools such as Pinterest are becoming increasingly popular. Pinterest enables organisations to represent their causes visually and can enhance the stories behind a campaign, providing another useful social media platform.
An effective marketing plan will assist organisations in determining their goals and understanding the best methods of communication.