I’m very pleased to bring you this guest post from friend and colleague, Patricia Eaton, whose consulting practice focuses on communications and financial growth strategies grounded in a solid analytic framework.
It is not surprising that U.S. mission-driven organization (MDO) mega brands have only a fraction of the value of commercial brands. For example, at the top of the MDO heap, YMCA of the U.S.A. is valued at $6.4 billion (Cone, Inc. 2009) – a seemingly respectable amount. But not so much when compared to top U.S. brand Coca Cola that weighs in at a hefty $68.7 billion (Interbrand, 2009). It prompts the question ‘how can MDOs build brand value and scale up capacity and impact?’ Instead of putting Coke in every fridge – how about ensuring healthcare, education, a clean environment, and economic opportunity for every person?
Mission-driven organizations are all over social media channels such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc., getting noticed, engaging people, and mobilizing resources on a large scale. In fact, 97% of charitable organizations actively use social media compared to only 80% of the Inc. 500 (eMarketer). Social media operates peer to peer, with a multiplying effect that hierarchal communications channels such as advertising can’t touch.
Social media are in a constant state of flux and growth due to large-scale participation — over 500 million users on Facebook alone. Brian Solis, social media expert, defines the next evolution as ‘social commerce.’ He quotes Lora Cecere of the Altimeter Group who posits that social media “. . . no longer is social for the sake of being social, but gives rise to horizontal processes that extend beyond marketing to drive social commerce.” This forthcoming layer of monetary exchange has implications for mission-driven organizations in terms of fund development strategies.
The Nature Conservancy and other organizations have raised several million dollars combined on Facebook; the Red Cross raised $32 million for Haiti relief through its mobile phone campaign, and Earthjustice has used location-based Foursquare to spur donations. These early successes suggest that a tipping point in the use of social media for fundraising could occur in the near future. MDO executives may well consider the potential of social media when evaluating return on investment for marketing programs. Donor acquisition and marketing campaigns launched on social media channels may require an initial investment in appropriate technology, but could achieve quick payback with a competitive edge and long-term revenue streams.
HubSpot: Inbound marketing software to grow traffic, leads, and sales
Eloqua: Marketing automation
ConstantContact: Marketing via email, events, social media
SalesForce.com: Customer relationship management
About Patricia Eaton
Patricia Eaton develops communications and financial growth strategies grounded in a solid analytic framework that achieve measurable results. She provides consulting expertise in the areas of employee/customer engagement, integrated communications strategy and execution, customer intelligence and application of insights. Contact her at email@example.com.