Featured Interview: Heather McLean
Our friends at the Ontario SPCA are leading the way in integrated fundraising in the nonprofit sector. This month we had the chance to chat with Heather McLean about events, awards and integrated campaigns.
Congratulations on winning an Integrated Marketing Advisory Board (IMAB) award! Tell us about it.
For past events, we were working with different brands for community branches across Ontario. By building a consistent event brand across the province, we were able to expand our marketing efforts, build relationships with both province-wide and local sponsors and use celebrity endorsement. Another great tool was the newly redesigned event website that acted as hub for all of the community events.
What would you say was the most innovative element of integrated marketing for the event?
When registration for the spring 2012 walks plateaued at around 675 participants, we saw this as an opportunity to run the 1,000 Walker Challenge, a mini-campaign aimed at recruiting a thousand participants for the spring walk events. The 1,000 Walker Challenge was promoted through a two-part email series, social media marketing, prominent button on the event website homepage. We also included a change to win a pet store prize as an incentive for people to help us reach our mini-campaign goal. I think the mini-campaign was successful because of the integrated elements combined with a fun incentive that was appealing for both people and their pets.
Can people still register for the fall Friends for Life! walk-a-thon events?
Yes! Fall walks are taking place in Goderich and Sudbury. Visit www.ospcawalk.ca to register or donate. And we will be gearing up for our spring walks earlier this year, including our May walk in Toronto.
Why is integrated fundraising important to the nonprofit sector?
Integrated marketing communications confront the realities of the current marketplace for nonprofits. With ever-increasing competition in the sector, shorter attention spans, declining traditional acquisition methods, and greater resistance to advertising, donors now tend to be a lot more selective. The proliferation of channels for marketing, ranging from customer service, direct marketing, to social media to email, broadcast advertising to PR, makes it even more important to have an integrated marketing communication strategy in place. More channels can increase the odds of an inconsistent message going out if a central directing strategy is not in place. Consistency is key in making sure that donors understand your marketing message which leads to a great result and return on your investment.
What are three tips you can share for nonprofits looking to get started or grow their integrated marketing efforts?
1) Support cross-functional teams – Make sure you have an integrated team in place to execute on an integrated plan. Bring team leaders together across channels and departments to create shared plans, shared budgets, and shared results.
2) Create a calendar – Create monthly themes for your organization, and then break down all the communication touch-points, assign responsibility, and execute!
3) Review plans and results regularly – Our cross-functional teams meet weekly to results and plan for the next week. Our team goals/results are built into our departmental plans and goals.