Non-Profits: Cut Out Your Media, and You Bleed to Death

Churches, ministries, and nonprofits:  Never forget that outside God of course, your congregation and/or donors are your source – and your media platforms and outreaches are your lifeline to that source.  A few years ago a couple of national media ministries cut as many as 1/3 of their TV stations to save money – without realizing they were cutting 1/3 of their donor contact.  Now, years later, they still have yet to recover.  It’s important to constantly evaluate results, make changes, and tweak, but be very careful about drastic media changes just to save money.  Your most vital links to your donors are your media – radio & TV, website, social media, direct mail, etc.  And be sure you understand the relationship.

Radio & TV is about perception, social media is about conversation, and direct mail is about results.

One national media leader described it like this: “Because of radio and TV people know who we are, social media engages them, and because of direct mail, they support us.”  TV won’t generate much income by itself, and you can’t expand your audience and donors with just mail.  Working together is the key.  One can’t work effectively without the other.  The only exception is at a local level, where a website or mail may be your only options.  In that case, focus your message, target the audience, and be as original and efficient as possible.

And remember that with social networking, the goal isn’t just to have Facebook friends or Twitter followers.  If you don’t have a strategy for moving those “friends” toward  becoming donors and supporters, then you’re wasting your social media capital.  Having a lot of “fans” or “friends” might help your ego, but does very little for your cause.  Always think about how to move your social media relationships along the journey toward being more involved with your organization.

Have you ever worked with an organization that cut back on media, only to discover they had cut off their source?

Please note: I reserve the right to delete comments that are offensive or off-topic.

  • very nice site. thanks for this post…

  • Mary Hutchinson

    Mail is also the best way to deliver to the viewer what they as a person need/want/like. The more you do that, the more they bond with you.

    Every week, I hear from ministries and non profits who decided that mail was too costly, that they didn’t want to do it anymore. They looked to eblasts and web to carry the fund raising burden.

    Too late they discovered that what USA Today quoted last week was true: 79% of all gifts given by those born before 1945 were by mail. 55% of all boomer gifts. Those two groups still make up the lion share of overall support for all non profits.

    The donor’s needs and desires have to be what matters. It has to matter in what media you buy. It has to matter on how you communicate.

    Or your peers will leave you in the dust…

  • editor

    In my recent visit to Rome, on one of the public squares that has the Pantheon and the MacDonald’s right across from it, there was a man singing Operatic arias in the open air with a hat at his feet. Lots of people were dropping Euros in the hat… My old boss used to sing on the open air, too, but instead of passing the hat for donations, he’d send letters…

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