Posted by & filed under Congress, Ethics, Government Relations, Marketing/Communications, Next Generation Philanthropy, Opinion.

By John Paul de Silva – originally published on Hopeful Inc.

Whatever your personal beliefs are regarding cannabis usage and cannabis legalisation in Canada, one thing is clear. Cannabis is big business and so much so that a panel was built around the subject matter at the 2019 Smith School of BusinessScale-Up Summit which was recently held in downtown Toronto. After attending the panel, I noticed that there are many similarities between the cannabis industry and the non-profit sector.

First, they’re both highly regulated by the government. Second, they’re both worth billions. Michael Garbuz of Materia Ventures, a panelist at the Summit, said cannabis is worth over $100 billion in market capitalization worldwide. That’s a lot of green (pun intended). Similarly, over $10 billion is donated annually by Canadians alone.

 

With this in mind, here are some key takeaways on what non-profit organizations can learn from the cannabis sector:

1. Data is important: Summit panelist Afshin Mousavian of Responsible Cannabis Use has collected over 35,000 data points about Canadian public perception of cannabis. Why? There’s power in knowledge, especially with that much data. With that information, everyone from public policy makers to cannabis producers can better serve the market. Similarly, your non-profit should consider better collecting, managing, and analyzing its data. In turn, you can make more effective decisions on who to target for fundraising and which social media channels are the best use of your time, for example.

 

2. Education is important: Mr. Garbuz said that education is required to dispel the myths and stereotypes around cannabis usage. Similarly, I’ve encountered non-profits who have had challenges in gaining community support because of the misconception of what they are doing for the community. For example, a youth organization that had after-school programs was seen as a “hang out spot for troublemakers.” This negatively affected donations to the organization. Educating the community on your mission through transparent messaging and open houses, for example, creates conversations and increases education to bolster support for your non-profit.

 

3. Branding is important: Michael said that most people can’t tell the difference in quality between  cannabis products, therefore the importance of brand building to help differentiate increases. The same can be true for some non-profits who are experiencing the effects of donor fatigue. For example, you might be a non-profit that is helping kids with cancer but have the challenge of getting through to those who are already donating to SickKids Foundation. They’re a great charity, but are you clearly communicating how you’re different? Ensure this is coming across through the development of your brand.

 

Are there any other key takeaways you’ve noticed from the cannabis sector which can help non-profits? Comment below and please share this post with your colleagues and friends. Thank you!

 

2019 Smith Scale-Up cannabis panel (right to left): Alison Gordon, Michael Garbuz, Afshin Mousavian; with moderator Brett Larson on far left

——-

Coming to #AFPCongress2019? Don’t forget to check out our sessions on cannabis and the non-profit sector:

  • Y-06: The Cannabis Conundrum – How Charities are Addressing the Cannabis Donor – Presented by Anne (Coyle) Melanson & Diana McLachlan
  • G-10: Lessons in Pot – What Have we Learned about Combining Charities and the Cannabis Industry a Year after Legalization? – Presented by Sam Laprade, CFRE

Learn more & register.

_________________________________________________________________________________________

John Paul de Silva

Written by John Paul de Silva

Hopeful Inc.’s Director of Marketing

Posted by & filed under Donor communications, Marketing/Communications.

By Harry Southworth

 

Content is your main tool for informing the audience about the cause. Whether it comes in the form of articles, infographics, or videos, it has to be distributed in one way or another.

Without proper content distribution, even the most brilliant content wouldn’t make a difference. But with well-planned distribution, you’ll greatly improve your marketing strategy.

Let’s see: what are the best strategies for distributing content in 2019?

 

  1. The Website Takes the Lead

Social media and email work well as content distribution channels. But you need a base for that content, and that base is the official website or blog of the nonprofit organization. Without it, your message would get lost in a plethora of email messages and social media updates.

This brings us to an important point: the website content has to be extraordinary. There is a great service that offers homework help Edubirdie. If you need high-quality content, you can hire a writer there. They will follow your instructions to deliver powerful articles that can raise awareness.

 

  1. Micro-Influencer Marketing

When an influencer speaks about your organization or cause, they instantly spread awareness. They have the power to connect with a massive audience. People trust their word.

But since influencers are targeted by big brands, it becomes difficult for nonprofits to develop collaboration with them. You can try, but you shouldn’t expect too much. It’s their job to promote products and services, and big influencers usually charge big money for doing so.

Micro-influencers are a better target for small organizations. These social media users have smaller following when compared to big influencers. Still, they have huge potential to elevate engagement. In fact, they are 6.7 times more effective in engaging people when compared to influencers with massive following.

Read more »

Posted by & filed under Campaign, Donor communications, Marketing/Communications.

By Kayleigh Alexandra

water being poured out of a hose

 

Your nonprofit’s content is a key element to your marketing. It drives traffic and spreads awareness, helping to increase donations and spread your cause to the world.

But visual content takes all that to the next level. It’s more effective than just written content, and it’s surprisingly easy to implement too. Read on for your handy guide to the what, why, and how of visual content marketing for nonprofits.

 

Further reading: How to Build Your Personal Brand at Conferences

 

What is visual content marketing?

You likely already know about content marketing. Put simply, it is the practice by brands, charities, and organizations of marketing through the creation and propagation of digital content such as blogs, videos, images, and so on.

Content marketing isn’t strictly advertorial in nature, but instead seeks to engage your audience through interesting, educational, or useful material. Visual content marketing capitalizes on the growing popularity of video, photography, infographics, interactive assets, and so on to better reach audiences.

 

Why use visual content marketing?

In a mobile-first age, visual content is convenient and digestible. Its aesthetic nature makes it more engaging than reams of copy, and gives marketers the freedom to deliver their message in a variety of creative ways. And the stats back it up: people can recall 65% of visual content up to three days after first viewing it, compared with just 10% for written content. This makes visual content more impactful with audiences, conveying your message with clarity.

In the same vein, visual content is more shareable than copy too. Articles with one image for every 75-100 words are shared almost twice as much as articles with fewer or no images. Consequently, your message can reach a much wider audience if it’s delivered in a visual style. While visual content shouldn’t replace your written posts, it should complement them. A diverse content strategy is more effective, seeing higher engagement and boosting awareness of your nonprofit as a result. Read more »

Posted by & filed under Campaign, Donor communications, Inspiration, Marketing/Communications, Opinion, Social Media, Stewardship/Donor Relations.

By Kayleigh Alexandra

 

Charities have a harder job than most when it comes to their marketing. While most brands offer their customers something in return for their custom, charities have to appeal to their donors’ generosity to see donations — easier said than done.

Charities need to up their game to see results. As a consequence, their marketing campaigns are often creative, innovative, and truly inspiring. Here are four of the best (and what you can learn from them).

 

Recommended reading: Developing Your Nonprofit Narrative

 

Save The Children (UK)

Back in 2014, the UK-based charity Save The Children partnered with creative agency Don’t Panic to arguably create the most hard-hitting marketing campaign on this list. Titled If London Were Syria (or Most Shocking Second a Day on YouTube), the first ad followed the life of a London schoolgirl whose life is turned upside-down when a civil war erupts in the UK. Created to bring the plight of Syrian child refugees to an otherwise distant audience, the ad was followed up two years later by another video following the same girl as she continues to survive in a war-torn UK.

 

 

This ad campaign is powerful, heart-wrenching and, above all, relatable. It is this empathetic quality that makes the ads so effective by placing the viewer painfully in the little girl’s shoes.

 

What you can learn from it: charities often work with terrible events or situations that seem unimaginable to western audiences.

War, genocide, and even domestic issues such as homelessness are incomprehensible to most donors. But by making these things relatable to your audience, even by forcing them to painfully confront these issues as Save The Children did, you’ll create an effective and impactful marketing campaign. Read more »