If you’re like many nonprofit marketing specialists, you do your best to squeeze every cent, pinch every penny, and nickel every dime to get more from your marketing budget—year-in, year-out, and every which way ‘till Tuesday.
When somebody says “marketing team,” you chuckle inside because they’re lookin’ at it. Or, if you’re lucky, maybe there are staff to pitch in. But one thing’s for sure: marketing dollars aren’t exactly falling from the sky.
But hear us out. There still are times when it’s a good idea to reach into the barrel and scrape up some funding to outsource your marketing tasks.
So sit back and relax, and let’s talk about outsourcing. Then imagine all the time you’ll save—and the marketing results you’ll achieve—by choosing the ideal times to hire an expert. Such as:
When your campaign needs some extra oomph.
Let’s talk about campaign management. Imagine it’s time to plan your end-of-the-year fundraiser. You’ve got big goals. The last few years have been good but not great. How do you move the needle? It’s the perfect example of when to consider an outside marketing firm with the expertise to elevate your campaign.
Say you’re planning to send a direct mailer. Great idea! But maybe this year, instead of the standard 8.5”x11” you outsource to a design and printing expert who can make your piece shine in the mailbox.
Check out what we did for Lutheran Family Services: thanks to a professional graphic designer, high-quality materials, and custom die-cutting capabilities, we created a gorgeous mailer that achieved spectacular results for their Easter giving campaign. That was after our marketing team helped with their fundraising strategy, messaging, and copywriting. Since LFS is a nonprofit, they were also eligible for a 15% discount on printing and mailing.
To us, that’s well worth a quick trip to the cookie jar.
When you need an expert.
Nonprofit marketing managers wear a lot of hats. In fact, there’s probably not a lot you can’t do—from designing your own social media graphics to writing newsletters, launching email campaigns, or planning events.
But there are still times when enlisting the services of a niche expert can really pay off.
Take a social media specialist, for example; they’ll have a deep and current understanding of best practices, what’s trending, and ways to significantly boost the performance of your posts and digital giving campaigns. Add in a professional videographer, copywriter, and graphic designer, and you could literally start transforming your social media presence within a matter of days—with a corresponding boost to your metrics.
The same goes for other so-called little things that can actually make a big difference: adding engaging graphic design elements to your emails; sending donors to a personalized landing page with clear calls to action; or publishing an annual report that looks like it was created by the design team at Apple (“The BEST annual report we’ve ever designed, now in the palm of your hands” 🍎).
When your campaign management calls for specialty services.
Then there are projects you probably aren’t prepared to manage on your own, regardless of your budget and staffing—or at least it wouldn’t make sense to do so. Things like printing your own conference signage; customizing your own trade show swag; or building your own website. When it comes to such specialty services, it’s good to have a trusted marketing specialist you can turn to in a pinch.
When you need to rebrand.
Maybe your logo is starting to look dated. Perhaps you’ve used the same look and basic messaging since the Clinton-Gore era. Maybe, you no longer have exactly the same mission as a few years ago, or you need help telling your story to captivate your audience. Either way, a full rebrand can be a Herculean effort—an effort you don’t want to tackle alone. Especially when it comes to crucial elements of your marketing strategy—like your logo, website, or branding—it’s a relief to have support from an expert who’ll get the job done right, in no time.
Not to mention, enlisting an outsider for your rebrand is a great way to gain fresh perspectives and new ideas. After so many years marketing the same mission, it’s easy to go message-blind; or at least to develop marketing astigmatism.
When you need to scale up (or down).
Sick of writing your own blog posts week after week? Have more calendar events to market than you can handle? Just want to release more or better content?
An outside marketing specialist—especially one that fits with your budget, takes the time to understand your organization, communicates well, and produces consistent, reliable work—is like hiring a freelance employee. But they won’t get offended when you cut their hours or ask them to take on more projects.
Ultimately, that equates to you having more time to focus on accomplishing your mission and less time on campaign management. (Other acceptable uses of this extra time include networking lunches and spending it with family. And cocktails if that’s your jam.).
When you have leftover marketing funds.
Picture this. It’s near the end of the fiscal year. You’ve got funding to use or lose. Do you spend it on a new copier or office chairs like in “The Office”? Or do you call a trusted marketing expert and launch an affordable crunch-time appeal campaign that will produce an outstanding ROI and end your year with a bang? We think we know the answer—and it doesn’t have adjustable lumbar support. Having funds left over in the cookie jar is perhaps the ultimate time to recruit an outsider: it’s like a free hall pass that results in you doing less work. Win-win.
It’s amazing sometimes what nonprofit marketing managers can pull off alone, particularly with constrained marketing budgets and less-than-unlimited staffing resources. It would be foolhardy to try and convince anyone that a specialist firm is the only answer. But gosh darn it, if there aren’t a number of scenarios where we believe that outsourcing to an expert can ultimately save you time, money, and stress (that’s a big one) while generating a terrific return.
After all—sometimes you can fix your own plumbing, sometimes it’s better to bring in a professional, and sometimes you want to go further and remodel the entire bathroom. And that’s where we marketers come in. We can’t rebrand your bathroom—but we can remodel your brand! Either way, we’re here for you, so give us a holler. We got you.