How Much Would You Pay for "Visibility"?

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Greg Warner is CEO and Founder of MarketSmart, a revolutionary marketing software and services firm that helps nonprofits raise more for less. In 2012 Greg coined the phrase “Engagement Fundraising” to encapsulate his breakthrough fundraising formula for achieving extraordinary results. Using their own innovative strategies and technologies, MarketSmart helps fundraisers around the world zero in on the donors most ready to support their organizations and institutions with major and legacy gifts.

spotlightRecently, a client was approached by an advertising sales rep at a large national publication peddling a 1/8-page ad in a “special edition” that will be distributed to thousands of people for free. She asked me, “What do you think? Lots of visibility!”
 
I told her, “Don’t do it!”
 
Here’s a quiz to help you decide if you should do something like this or not:
 
__________ How much does it cost?
 
__________ How many people will see it? Not how many emails will go out or how many will be printed or how many will be mailed? Find out HOW MANY WILL REALLY SEE IT?
 
__________ What is the intended result or objective?
 
__________ How will you know if you achieved the intended result or objective?
 
__________ How soon will you know if you achieved the intended result or objective?
 
__________ What will the return on your investment be? Note: If you can’t put a dollar figure in this spot, take a pause and think very carefully about the next question.
 
__________ Would you be willing to invest YOUR money in this instead of your DONORS’?
 
__________ If the answer to the question above is “no”, now you should sit down and write a letter to your donors explaining why they should pay for this. Then post it on your blog or Facebook page. Too afraid to do that? Then you should also be afraid to pay for “visibility.”
 
Your fundraising and engagement efforts ARE your visibility channels and they raise money at the same time. Just do more good fundraising and engagement and you’ll get your “visibility.” Never spend your donors’ money for “visibility.”
 
 
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4 responses to “How Much Would You Pay for "Visibility"?”

  1. For the first time, Greg, I may disagree with you..IF I understand your comments. I think visibility for nonprofits is very important…’THEY WON’T GIVE IF THEY DON’T KNOW WHO YOU ARE!’
    That said, you may be thinking of such visibility under your “engagement” field. And it doesn’t have to cost very much. Is there someone in your nonprofit (or who has a savvy teenager?) who will announce new board members, new programs, ANY news — on appropriate Facebook pages, neighborhood papers, emails to friends, etc…
    Our Fund Builders Alliance has started wrapping a “marketing” segment into our fundraising agreements, for exactly this purpose…and we can see the results.

  2. For the first time, Greg, I may disagree with you..IF I understand your comments. I think visibility for nonprofits is very important…’THEY WON’T GIVE IF THEY DON’T KNOW WHO YOU ARE!’
    That said, you may be thinking of such visibility under your “engagement” field. And it doesn’t have to cost very much. Is there someone in your nonprofit (or who has a savvy teenager?) who will announce new board members, new programs, ANY news — on appropriate Facebook pages, neighborhood papers, emails to friends, etc…
    Our Fund Builders Alliance has started wrapping a “marketing” segment into our fundraising agreements, for exactly this purpose…and we can see the results.

  3. Greg Warner says:

    I think you might have misunderstood my article Margie.
    This client was about to spend thousands of dollars on an ad that would be printed in one issue of USA Today. It would have been buried. And it would have been here today and gone tomorrow.
    Sure, it was a special discounted price. But, when my client said she thought her organization would get a lot of visibility from the expense, I told her “NO!”
    Visibility IS important. But you should use my quiz above to decide if it’s worthwhile.
    Most fundraising events and asks provide all the visibility a nonprofit needs. There’s no reason to pay for more visibility in USA Today.
    I hope that makes sense now.

  4. Greg Warner says:

    I think you might have misunderstood my article Margie.
    This client was about to spend thousands of dollars on an ad that would be printed in one issue of USA Today. It would have been buried. And it would have been here today and gone tomorrow.
    Sure, it was a special discounted price. But, when my client said she thought her organization would get a lot of visibility from the expense, I told her “NO!”
    Visibility IS important. But you should use my quiz above to decide if it’s worthwhile.
    Most fundraising events and asks provide all the visibility a nonprofit needs. There’s no reason to pay for more visibility in USA Today.
    I hope that makes sense now.

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