You didn’t know, when you took on responsibility in Am Yisrael, that you’d have to become a marketer too.
But that’s how it is when you direct a nonprofit. You need to know how to communicate with donors about why exactly they should be gifting you their hard-earned money.
So – what’s the most effective way to market?
Lots of mosdos use their marketing resources to talk about numbers. Programs. Outcomes. Facts. What makes their organization different.
And all of this has a place. But the most effective marketers start somewhere else.
Apple’s Steve Jobs was a marketing or “branding” genius. In this rediscovered 1997 presentation, he shared the thought process behind the marketing campaign that would save Apple from collapse and send it on a meteoric rise.
“It’s a very noisy world,” he stated, “And we’re not going to get a chance to get people to remember much about us… So we have to be very clear on what we want them to know about us.”
“Who is Apple?” he asked. “What do we stand for?” As he insisted, Apple was not simply about “making boxes for people to get their jobs done.”
Apple’s core value, their greater identity, he explained, was about “honoring the people who think different and move this world forward.” Because “we believe that the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who actually do.”
Remember Apple’s slogan? “Think different.”
This campaign was a terrific success. And it’s still reverberating today. People who buy Apple products still get to enjoy that Apple identity. Because when you use a Mac, you’re a little cooler, a little more innovative, a bit more cutting-edge than your friends on PCs.
Now, what about your organization?
What’s its core value? Its core identity? What do you stand for?
If consumer brands like Apple and Nike can come up with grand philosophical values to symbolize their hunks of plastic or metal or rubber, your avodas hakodesh certainly has a core identity worth articulating.
And if you articulate it right – if you pinpoint WHO you are as an organization, and express it in a way that resonates – then you’ll connect with donors on a much deeper plane.
And, of course, bring your funding to the next level.
Quick – what is Hatzalah? It’s an organization that provides volunteer emergency medical help. Right?
Well, yes. But Hatzalah doesn’t stop at this technical description. The header of their website says it all: “Life is sacred. It’s Hatzalah’s honor, duty and mission to preserve it.”
When they appeal for donations, they use the same language: “Life is priceless. Help Hatzalah preserve it.”
On to their “About” page. In a section titled “Hatzalah’s calling: Hatzalas Nefashos,” they describe the tremendous resources it takes to keep Hatzalah running. Then they qualify: “But in a community that values life above all else, there is simply no price too high or effort too great.”
Their core value – that life is priceless, and must be preserved at all costs – carries and frames everything else they communicate. Numbers, facts, requests for donations – they all emerge from this context.
When donors give to Hatzalah, they’re not just doing good stuff. They aren’t just financing emergency medical equipment. They’re gaining a special identity. They preserve life at all costs.
So, take some time to think: what is your organization’s core value? What special identity can you offer people who support your cause?
And, moving forward, how must you change things so this core value becomes the center of how you communicate about your organization?
Have a fabulous fundraising week,