The Grinch and Santa Talk the Good & Bad of 2017 Nonprofit Marketing

Max doesn't have anything on Honey the Christmas dog.

Max doesn't have anything on Honey the Christmas dog.

Ok. We were going to record a December podcast with this funny idea of me being the Grinch and Merritt being Santa. I would cast a mean, grinchy, backward-looking eye on the nonprofit marketing I took note of in 2017. Merritt (Santa) would look benevolently upon what was candy canes and new puppies on Christmas morning.

It didn’t get done. But, Merritt did get a Christmas puppy. That has to count for something… (Honey Wunny, sweet and funny!)

We did have the conversation though. I share it with you here in bloggerly form. May you find it useful as you forge boldly into 2018.

She’s Makin a List. Checkin it twice…

She made a list alright. But it’s 100% nice. No naughty for miles. Here’s what Merritt noticed the good boys and girls of nonprofit marketing doing last year.

Increase in relevant triggered communications

From triggered emails to effective use of ad retargeting, organizations of all sizes made use of this technology in a human, effective way. Relationships were built. Donors felt noticed and appreciated. The scent of Christmas cookies baking filled the air.

Better storytelling

As donors get increasingly more sophisticated—and in a hurry—the best storytellers are the best editors. Be merciless in your editing, elves.

Increased and more effective use of mobile

Gone are the days of get out of jail free cards for sites that aren’t mobile responsive. More nonprofits are challenging themselves to create websites and communication pieces that read well and look marvelous on every screen.

You’re a mean one…

Without the dark, there is no light. I’m here to bring the nighttime, Whos of Whoville. The Stink. Stank. Stunk. These are the seasick crocodiles of the past year.

Content shmontent

Did a copywriter person just write that? Yes. That happened. Content is critical. But content for the sake of content is essentially a bad banana with a greasy black peel. Be as discriminating in the creation of your content as you know your readers and donors are when they engage with it.

Social that’s not strategic

There’s no reason to do it if you don’t know why you’re doing it. It sounds odd to say, but it’s really worse to be on a platform and not use it effectively than to not be there at all. You can have a modest plan, but do have a plan.

Dull brochure speak

This is the nauseous super “naus” of them all. With every presenter across the land crowing about donor centricity and emotion, there is still too much mission statement-ese and myopic “let me tell you about why we’re great” going on. Challenge yourself to develop a voice for your organization that speaks to donors in an authentic, personal way, ya nasty wasty skunk.