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This 1 Thing About Nonprofit Marketing Will Make You Mad

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.

the 1 thing about nonprofit marketing that will make you madThere’s a club. I’m not in it.
The club includes a bunch of people who, at every chance possible, will speak at conferences.
Invariably they will speak about marketing.
Sometimes some of them actually have good ideas and/or good case studies to share.
But, here’s the part that will make you mad:  
Too often many of these speakers make proclamations about nonprofit marketing strategies and tactics that simply do not work!
This may surprise some of you.
But I wanted you to know the truth.
Just because someone gets a speaking gig doesn’t mean they know what the heck they are talking about.
I know. You paid a lot of money to go to that conference. And some of the things you heard during that presentation made a lot of sense. But I had to let you know that I have met with some of these speakers and I have asked them questions privately.
I have asked, “Did you test that?” “How?” “What were the results?”
Too often they didn’t have an answer.
Here is the unfortunate truth: A lot of the information proclaimed as truth at these conferences is actually regurgitated hearsay. And, somehow, over time, it has become gospel.
Can’t we stop… believing in doctrines?
Can’t we stop… believing in dogma?
Instead, shouldn’t we start… believing in results?
Shouldn’t we aim to disrupt the status quo with transparency, honesty and truth?
Of course, there are real diamonds to be found out there at these conferences. I’m not saying it’s all bad. I’m not telling you to stay home. I’m just saying that too often the presentations are nothing more than self-promotional blathering from “members of the club.” They could lead you astray. They could waste your time and your money.
When it comes to marketing, they might sound as if they know what they’re talking about. Some of their comments might resonate with you. And, I know… you’ll want to believe what they say is true. After all, you paid to go listen to them.
BUT BEWARE.
I have tested some of their proclamations and found that (on average) about 50% of their advice delivers very disappointing results.
 
So what’s the takeaway here?  JUST BE CAREFUL. Don’t just listen to what people say works. Instead, test it for yourself or vet it carefully before spending your donors’ dollars. 
 
There, I said it. I hope this one thing about nonprofit marketing didn’t make you too mad.
Oh… And if you are wondering if I’m telling the truth, that’s good! Question me! Make me (and my staff) prove what we know!
We want that because it’s the only way we’ll get better.
We want that because we want to deliver results.
We aim to be open, honest and transparent about results. Because that’s the only way to deliver true value.
Go ahead. Test us. I dare you.
 
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