Strategic marketing can help NFPs ride out the pandemic

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Marketing, brand and comms strategy advisor Caroline Healy from We Are Savvy says the spike in demand for many not-for-profit services during the pandemic shouldn’t mean organisations pull the plug on their marketing communications. Here are four tips from Ms Healy about how to consider comms in this difficult environment.

Healy Caroline We Are Savvy
We Are Savvy's Caroline Healy

Marketing and communications can support your NFP to manage the impact of demand.

It’s easy when you’re busy and demand is high to think that the quick solution is to stop your marketing, but this can have serious consequences in the longer term.

What if that rise in demand is only a short-term issue and cutting back your marketing means you lose all that brand awareness – or worse, the valuable engagement you've built up over time? Others in the sector may already be responding to the pandemic by advocating for additional funding, and you don’t want to miss out.

Instead of cutting back, consider how good marketing and communications can play a supporting role through this challenging time. Here's how it can help:

  1. Be strategic: Consider the best role for marketing and communications when your organisation is experiencing demand management stress. It may be that you need to switch from a campaign focus to more engagement with current clients, or to marketing communications that supports recruitment. Make strategic choices about what you do and don't do and consider the short and longer-term trade-offs.
  2. Educate your audience: Marketing and communications can be used to educate your audiences, providing tips and information about how they can learn new behaviours or access other support.
  3. Advocacy: Focus your marketing and communications efforts on advocacy, engaging with key funders, partners and supporters in your network to provide additional funding or support so that you can direct resources into service delivery.
  4. Prepare for crisis communications: With demand management can come an increase in public commentary and even media interest highlighting that people can't access key services. If these are negative stories, you want to be ready with proactive messages, stories about the positive outcomes you provide and spokespeople who can confidently share your messages.

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