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Complimentary Consultations to help the not-for-profit sector re-define marketing

By | Advice, Advice for Businesses, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities, Presentations | No Comments

We offered complimentary marketing consultations during the conference and it was great to see the overwhelming response, with our sessions being oversubscribed. While each organisation has its own unique challenges, common areas of focus included:

  • The need to segment stakeholders and to understand their outcomes. Many not-for-profit organisations view their end-clients as a target market, but omit the need to reach prospective volunteers, board members, government, funding organisations and others.
  • Consideration of intermediaries and partner organisations. Many not-for-profit organisations have limited budgets, meaning broadcast communications are often beyond their reach. Instead, there is a need to form partnerships and explore intermediary organisations to reach relevant stakeholders.
  • Marketing metrics are not defined, leading to lack of measurability and confusion over inputs, outputs and outcomes. Website visitations, or attendance at information sessions are inputs, donation enquiries are an output and the actual donation is the outcome. Organisations need to understand the decision making journey (customer journey) and the sequence that is required to generate action.
  • Lack of marketing governance. Roles between board, management, staff and external parties are ill-defined, hampering the ability to measure performance and establish strategic direction.

These challenges are shared by both businesses and not-for-profit organisations, demonstrating the ongoing need to re-define marketing so it returns to its core of being led by strategic insights and not by execution.

Thank you to the participants of these sessions and for the fantastic feedback we received. We hope that the attendees at the National Volunteering Conference are able to build their marketing capacity and demonstrate the value they provide.

Melbourne Women’s Fund Anniversary Celebration

By | Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities | No Comments

Melbourne Women’s Fund provides the opportunity for women to undertake collective giving, where funding is donated to organisations that support women and families.

This evening I attended the anniversary of the Melbourne Women’s Fund, celebrating its first year of operations. The Fund enables individuals who share a common passion for particular causes to have a greater collective impact through donations and support.

The Anniversary Celebrations provided the opportunity to reflect on this impact and to meet key supporters.  Philanthropy remains a significant contributor to the funding of charities and it is great to see the success of the Melbourne Women’s’ Fund.

Alex delivering marketing and social media essentials at Third Sector Expo 2013

Social Media Essentials at the 2013 Third Sector Expo

By | Advice, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities, Presentations, Resources | 2 Comments

The Third Sector Expo is an annual conference and exhibition dedicated to the not-for-profit sector.

Syneka Marketing has received regular coverage in Third Sector Magazine, providing editorial content over the past year. We were invited to speak at the 2013 Third Sector Expo.

Alex speaking at the 2013 Third Sector Exhibition and Conference

Alex speaking at the 2013 Third Sector Exhibition and Conference

I discussed social media and marketing, outlining how an organisation needs to use the right tools to reach its target markets. Social media is a marketing activity, and should be linked to the actions identified in a marketing plan.

Every not-for-profit organisation needs a marketing plan to support its organisational or corporate strategies. A corporate plan will often identify what an organisation wants to achieve and a marketing plan looks at how to achieve these outcomes.

Marketing plans need to consider the tools that are available to achieve these goals, including communication methods such as social media. Following this approach means you will be able to communicate your key messages through an online community using social media tools.

Websites and social media are only effective if they are regularly updated. This ensures that visitors are aware of your organisation’s activities. In addition, the frequency of updates is one of the metrics Google uses for search engine rankings.

Fortunately social media can be integrated with a website, ensuring consistent messages that can be published once and replicated through tools like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Integration saves time by ensuring consistency, while also providing a base level of engagement. Using this approach provides the ability to foster online communities, by encouraging committee, staff, volunteers and members to interact with the discussion.

Social media should be treated like other forms of media and covered by a communications policy. The policy should outline acceptable use of social media and identify the spokespeople who provide official comments on your organisation’s social media accounts. Guidelines should be clearly published, including on the About page on Facebook, and visible within Twitter and other social media tools.

There are several social media tools, each of which are designed for different purposes. Facebook is good for building online communities and for promoting events. Twitter is great for quick announcements, and can be linked with Facebook to provide an integrated approach. Pinterest is effective through its use of photographs, and Youtube can host video content that can promote an organisation.

Social media is increasingly prevalent across all demographics. For example, over half of Australia’s population has a Facebook account. People aged 55 plus are now the fastest growing segment of new accounts. While social media has extensive reach, email still has almost universal coverage and should be included as an online form of communication. The ability to share email content should be incorporated within newsletters to encourage recipients to forward messages through social media.

The 2013 Third Sector Expo

The 2013 Third Sector Expo

Policies should distinguish between negativity and offensiveness. Offensive comments, that denigrate, or are inflammatory should be immediately removed. Negative comments, however should be managed by seeking to engage the person that wrote the content. Try and engage the person outside of social media to prevent other comments. In particular, it is best to try and resolve the complaint in person or via the phone to remove the anonymity that social media provides. Resolving a complaint outside of social media will often lead to better outcomes and enable you to demonstrate the steps you undertook to reach a resolution.

Social media can deliver positive outcomes for an organisation, if it is linked to marketing objectives.

For example, if your goal is to raise donations, ensure that messages target prospective donors and that you encourage the sharing of content to reach their extended networks. If you are aiming to raise awareness, then promote stories that creative a narrative, outlining how your organisation achieves positive social or environmental outcomes.

Audio equipment was kindly provided by ConnectingUp. A version of the presentation with audio and slides is available through Youtube:

Or view the slides delivered to the 2013 Third Sector Expo

Thank you to the many participants who attended our presentation and for the discussion on Twitter.  A transcript of the Twitter conversation is available via Storify.

Third Sector Magazine: Activate your community through social media

By | Advice, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities, News | No Comments

Third Sector Magazine has published our advice on engaging communities through social media. Alex will be discussing social media as a speaker at the Third Sector Expo on Monday the 15th of April, for details please visit www.thirdsectorevents.com.au.

The website Humanities 21 which is integrated with Facebook, Twitter and other social media tools

The website Humanities 21 which is integrated with Facebook, Twitter and other social media tools

Activate your community through social media

Is your organisation considering social media, but not sure where to start? Or has it recently created a Facebook page and Twitter feed only to be underwhelmed by the results? Syneka Marketing provides seven tips to help your organisation strengthen its social media presence and re-engage its communities online.

Know where to start

Social media is the collective name for a range of tools that enhance interactivity and discussion, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest. Each of these tools has a slightly different purpose and audience, but they are all designed to encourage participation.

Know what you want to achieve

Success begins with strategy and this is no different for social media. Decide the specific outcomes you want to achieve from your social media efforts, such as:

  • Raising awareness
  • Encouraging volunteers
  • Increasing donations.

Once you know what you want to achieve, you can consider the messages and tools that can be used to promote these objectives.

Develop a social media policy

Social media policies help to identify the people who will have access to social media accounts and will be authorised to provide official announcements. Other individuals can respond to comments and interact, as well as support the authorised spokespeople.

Policies should enable board members, staff and volunteers to support the organisation’s social media presence.

Each social media tool has its own audience and key strengths.

Each social media tool has its own audience and key strengths.

Engage and interact

When creating a new social media account, encourage your members or supporters to follow your organisation. In addition, promote your social media presence through your website, newsletter and other communication tools. Undertaking initial promotion will ensure that you can build a network of followers that will assist in promoting your organisation. Follow similar organisations and encourage them to follow you.

Handle negativity

Negative comments should hopefully be kept to a minimum, but it’s important to have clear guidelines to manage any adverse commentary.

Make a clear distinction between negative and offensive comments and respond accordingly. Aim to engage directly with someone that has written a negative comment and suggest that you would like to follow up further. Try and engage the person through offline forms of contact, such as the telephone, so that you can discuss their concerns directly. Attempting to resolve the issue outside of the public realm will enable a more in-depth discussion.

If a comment is deemed to be offensive, it should be removed immediately as per your media and communications policy.

Integrate online tools

One of the great aspects of the web and social media is that messages can be integrated. You can automatically post updates from your website through to Facebook, Twitter and other social media tools. Integration ensures a consistent message while saving time by replicating content across your networks.

Integrating social media means you’ll have more time to foster and develop your community by providing a base level of communications.

Share content

Re-tweeting or sharing posts on Facebook indicates that the person supports your organisation and messages. The sharing of content is the online equivalent of word of mouth advertising and is a great way to extend your organisation’s networks.

Social media, like a website, needs to be kept up-to-date. An inactive presence is worse than having no presence, as the first question someone will ask is whether the organisation still exists.

Marketing Your Strengths – Presenting at Connecting Up 2012

By | Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities, News, Presentations, Resources | 4 Comments

I was one of the presenters on the second day of Connecting Up 2012, where I led a session covering marketing and how not-for-profit organisations can develop a marketing plan around their key strengths.

While understanding one’s strengths is important in most contexts, it is particularly important in not-for-profit organisations where there are competing demands and limited resources.

A strength is something an organisation does well and typically does better than others, providing a unique attribute that differentiates the organisation in terms of receiving clients, volunteers, supporters, donations or grants from funding bodies.

Marketing Your Strengths outlined the process required to develop a marketing plan looked at how a not-for-profit organisation can frame its key messages and reach its target market.

It is important to remember that not-for-profit organisations have multiple target markets. The concept of a target market, is broader than clients, but extends to other stakeholders, including volunteers, donors, business partners and Government.

Understanding an organisations’ strengths, enables the ability the form key messages that can be used to reach each of these target markets. While aspects of the message may alter slightly, it is important that there is consistency between the messages and the aims that an organisation wishes to achieve.

Our presentation explored Eastern Volunteers as a case study. Eastern Volunteers is a volunteer resource centre based in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. Eastern Volunteers embarked on a building fund to enable the purchase and fit-out of a new building to end a transient history of being relocated from one building to another.

Core strengths of Eastern Volunteers included its strong governance and networks, namely the ability to reach community organisations, volunteers and its clients. Understanding these strengths enabled the formation of partnerships with businesses who could see value in aligning themselves with Eastern Volunteers.

Key messages were identfied, including the benefits of ongoing service delivery and accessibility improvements. Eastern Volunteers was formally located on the first floor of a building, creating accessibility implications. A ground floor location enabled the organisation to become more inclusive and accessible.

Once key messages were identified it is important to consider how to reach the identified target markets.

Every time someone contacts an organisation, the impression they receive is a form of marketing. It is important that all aspects of organisation, from brochures and newsletters, through to telephone and email responses, are consistent and that they reinforce the key messages of an organisation.

It is also important that the right marketing tools are used to reach the identified target markets. For example, the quarterly newsletter was the best method to reach the transport clients of Eastern Volunteers, while social media was effective in reinforcing relationships with businesses.

The broader community was also important and was reached through local and social media. In particular, a media campaign was formed around donating $500 to purchase a piece of Eastern Volunteers future. The jigsaw campaign ensured a significant number of donations that were worth at least $500 and helped generate ongoing media interest.

Measuring progress is an important aspect of marketing and metrics are needed to evaluate performance. The success of the Building Fund was measured through donations and in-kind support, as well as media coverage.

It is critical that success is celebrated, particularly in the not-for-profit sector where policy change or advocacy is a goal. A marketing campaign should have a defined conclusion with an opportunity to celebrate success and to reflect on how the campaign progressed.

I would like to thank the many people who attended our presentation and also the people I met during the conference. I hope you enjoyed your time at Connecting Up 2012.

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Donors who contributed at least $500 for recognised for their efforts in securing a piece of the future of Eastern Voluteers

Eastern Volunteers Building Unveiling

By | News | No Comments

Eastern Volunteers is a not-for-profit organisation, that provides volunteer recruitment and community assisted transport across the Cities of Whitehorse, Maroondah and the Yarra Ranges. Like many community organisations, Eastern Volunteers has had a transient history, being moved from various locations over its 35 year history.

In 2006, Eastern Volunteers established the goal of wanting to purchase its own premises, providing an opportunity to establish a permanent and accessible location for the delivery of its services. To assist in this objective Eastern Volunteers established a Building Fund, diverting half of its operational surplus to enable a property purchase.

In 2011, the building that was being leased by Eastern Volunteers became available for purchase. The organisation was able to secure the property purchase with the assistance of the Mt Evelyn Branch of the Bendigo Community Bank. While Eastern Volunteers was able to secure a loan to assist in the property purchase, additional funds were required to support fit-out, cabling and relocation expenses.

As a result, Eastern Volunteers launched its Building Fund Campaign during the middle of 2011 calling on community and business donations to assist in funding the relocation expenses.

This afternoon Eastern Volunteers officially unveiled its new location at 1/36 New Street, Ringwood where donors and supporters were officially acknowledged for their efforts.

Donors who contributed at least $500 for recognised for their efforts in securing a piece of the future of Eastern Voluteers

Donors who contributed at least $500 for recognised for their efforts in securing a piece of the future of Eastern Voluteers

I facilitated as Master of Ceremonies for the Building Unveiling, introducing both Simon McKeon, the 2011 Australian of the Year and Inaugural Patron of Eastern Volunteers, as well as Terry Macdonald, Chairperson of Eastern Volunteers. Eastern Volunteers raised almost $34,000 through the Building Fund Campaign, with donors who contributed at least $500 receiving permanent and ongoing acknowledgement in the foyer of Eastern Volunteers.

These donors were allocated a jigsaw piece of a photograph of the new building. The jigsaw piece represents their support in buying a piece in the future of Eastern Volunteers. In addition, in-kind contributions were also recognised, highlighting the contribution that businesses have provided through discounts and support.

The Building Fund marks the start of a new future for Eastern Volunteers as it provides a permanent and ongoing head office for the organisation.