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3 Ways Nonprofits Can Empower Marketing at Nationwide Chapters

May 11, 2017
3 Ways Nonprofits Can Empower Marketing at Nationwide Chapters

Only 26% of nonprofits nationwide say their organizations are effective at using marketing content.[1] This is often due to a lack of support for distributed chapters who don’t have large marketing budgets, experience, or internal bandwidth.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of America is one such large, nationwide nonprofit organization with individual chapters operating under limited marketing budgets. The resources of these chapters are dedicated to serving the members of their local communities and providing youth development to 3.7 million young people across the country.

With a goal of becoming the #1 youth advocate and serve more kids, the BGCA enabled these distributed club locations to rely on the national office for marketing help and efficiency.

The national office took steps to empower each of its local clubs with a distributed marketing platform, MarcomCentral (detailed in our case study ). The capabilities available to these smaller factions allowed each to operate with the consistency, professionalism, and skill expected from a large nationwide brand, even without enormous budgets at the individual club.

Every nonprofit organization can learn from what the BGCA did to empower marketing within national chapters. Here are three specific steps to take:

  1. Ensure brand consistency 

Nonprofit marketers’ most important goals are engagement (82%), brand awareness (79%), and client/constituent retention/ loyalty (74%).[1] To ensure loyalty, brand consistency is critical.

Before adopting the tenets of Marketing Asset Management, the BGCA’s many chapters were not using consistent branding. Various versions of posters, flyers, and the organization’s logo were being used nationally with the wrong colors, size, wording, and more. This meant the way the brand was being communicated to the public was not consistent.

When executing their marketing programs, it’s crucial that the brand be consistent across all clubhouses and touch points, to ensure professionalism and foster trust and confidence in the organization.

By implementing strict standards around the use of logos and materials, but giving chapters the ability to use templates and editable parts of their materials, nonprofits can maintain nationwide brand integrity while still allowing customization.

  1. Make it easy to find and use marketing materials 

At many nonprofits, club executives wear several hats, and many don’t have marketing experience. In fact, nonprofits across the country report gaps in knowledge and skill of internal teams as it relates to content as a major challenge.[1]

Less than 15% of BGCA Club’s staff of 56,000 professionals have marketing backgrounds, though each club is responsible for fundraising and securing volunteers and board members. Club executives wear several hats, so time and experience both become factors that led to the decision to move branded assets to a centralized online portal.

The tool had to be easy to find and easy to use, so the BGCA team ensured its users were able to seamlessly move from their company intranet to the new site using a single sign-on feature. Once they arrive to the site, most users leverage a powerful search tool to locate a particular resource quickly.

Part of ensuring a consistent user experience was also making sure the portal had a proprietary BGCA look with proper branding that included bright, bold colors that reflected the vibrancy of the organization.

  1. Double down on what’s working

You likely know the saying by heart: You can’t manage what you can’t measure. It’s critical for nonprofits to understand what resources are used most by their chapters, to create more of what’s effective, and reduce wasted time and budget on unhelpful content.

Once their centralized content portal was up and running, BGCA took steps to measure continued usage and identify opportunities to do more of what worked – and less of what didn’t. The organization uses built-in analytics in MarcomCentral to track utilization of assets and customized content across all locations to be able to focus marketing efforts on both the content and assets that are used most.

They also track all distribution activity like how many downloads, emailed content, and print requests have gone through the platform in a set date range. By using Google Analytics, the team can see behavior on the portal pages to see if users are dropping out before completing actions.

Finally, they review analytics quarterly with their Business Relationship Manager at MarcomCentral to determine where there may be room for improvement.

With 6,000 active users and 43,000 downloads in one year alone, the results of moving to an online Marketing Asset Management portal have been tremendous for the BGCA.

Every nonprofit organization can learn from the standard set by the Boys & Girls Clubs of America as a strong example for how to empower brand locations and distributed teams with the tools they need to get the job done. And, in this case, that means serving millions of youth across the country.

[1] Content Marketing Institute, 2016 Nonprofit Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends