Common Nonprofit Communication Pitfalls You Must Avoid

By | July 7, 2016


If you’ve ever been in the nonprofit for any length of time, you’ve probably heard at least one or more of these sayings. They are often said with the best intentions, but they end up feeling like you been hit with a bucket of cold water.

“We’ll just do what we did last year.”

It’s a pretty basic concept: if you’re not testing new strategies, you’re organization is living in the past. Just because you had a communication strategy that worked a few years ago means that soon it is going to lose steam.

Marketing is always evolving and over a span of even a few years, the platforms through which people communicate can change drastically. Paying attention to these trends and changing the communication of your organization accordingly will keep your nonprofit communication effective.

“Someone on the board knows someone who does graphic design for cheap.”

While it is great to use the resources that you have at your disposal, its more important to spend careful and conscious time on the communication and the marketing you are sending out to your audience and donors.

Just because someone has the interest in art or is creative doesn’t mean they have experience to think ahead and grasp your short and long term goals. What is the cost of a haphazard visual brand? Strategic deliberation needs to be applied to graphics, websites, and communication materials.

“It’s free, so we should use it.”

This is a pitfall that many nonprofit organizations succumb. A board member says, “why are we not using – name of latest social media platform– It doesn’t cost anything to use and it would be great.”

Many nonprofits set up their social media quickly and without much thought because its “free.” In reality, setting up your social media correctly and effectively takes time, energy, and resources and by the end, you really don’t own those channels. The path of social media darlings is hook with free and then become pay to play.

“We’ll get the volunteers to do that.”

As much as we love our volunteers, the truth is you can’t always control what they do. If you’re handing off your communication content to your volunteers, you can’t build solid branded communication. Your marketing resources and content needs consistent and methodical attention, and your volunteers can’t give that like a nonprofit marketing agency could.

“People love us, so they won’t care what it looks like.”

Nonprofits have some of the most loyal donors and members. However, we live in an environment that is over saturated and inundated with so much content, if your organization’s communication and marketing is not up to snuff -reality is- it just won’t get seen.

What pitfalls have you experienced? Let us know in the comments below! And if you’d like to start a dialogue with us on making your website better, then click below for a free website evaluation!

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Jeffery James
Jeffery James
Jeffery is the Creative Director and Principal of Spire2. He brings marketing expertise from a variety of industries. He excels at understanding clients' corporate objectives, translating them into brand positioning and executing marketing materials that exceed expectations.