Way back in 2008 I wrote a post on how churches, ministries, and non-profits can survive an economic downturn. If you didn’t read it, check it out and pass it on to a church, ministry or nonprofit organization you know is struggling right now. Perhaps just as important would be your media strategy during difficult financial times. If you have a radio, television, web, or other media outreach, here are some things to keep in mind as we get into the summer:
1) Re-think how your message matches the media. As media theorist Marshall McLuhan said back in the sixties – “The medium is the message.” He meant that the medium you choose has an enormous impact on the message itself, so make sure what you’re doing is right for radio, TV or whatever media you choose.
2) Branding is more important than ever because it’s about trust. During difficult economic times, organizations need a solid account of “brand equity” built up with donors or customers. When it’s tough, they’re more likely to give if they trust you. So don’t let up on your brand and do even more to build up that sense of trust between you and your donors.
3) Optimize search engines. Now’s the time to help your name rise in the rankings. When you type your organization’s (or your) name into Google or other search engines, does good or bad stuff come up? Or nothing? While it’s tricky, results can change. Are others blogging about you? Are you putting out good things on the web? If you have bloggers in your church or among your supporters, encourage them to regularly post about how your organization has impacted their lives. Positive stuff is important. Don’t lose customers or donors searching for you on the web – work on the search results.
4) Direct Mail still works. In fact, direct mail is still a very large industry because when done right, it’s still working. But make sure your direct mail is driving people to the web as well. Get more bang for the buck and focus on developing both marketing avenues together. Direct mail still works, but online is the future.
5) Don’t be afraid to ask for financial support. Sadly, most Christian media outreaches on both radio and TV work both ends of the spectrum. Some ask for money all the time, while others don’t ask at all. Be honest. Put the need out there, cast your vision, and ask people to partner with you. If you do it with taste and class, urgency is just fine. People actually appreciate it when you’re being straight with them, and if you have a financial need, let them know it.