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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

How To Use Solutions Marketing Techniques in Non-profit Funding??

How can you present your non-profit program to committees so they understand the benefit and impact in the community? Easy. Use customer success stories, i.e. case studies.What? Am I nuts? No, and this is why. All successful businesses look to not only their competitors, but to other sectors to see what is working. Adapting what is working and molding it to fit their situation.(I realize it may be difficult for you to think of your non-profit organization as a business. It is. It takes people and funding to operate. You must adapt a business mindset and use business terminology.
Do not have a disconnect with this information because of the business language used. Read this article. Adapt it to your goals and you WILL reap the benefits).Every day, case studies are used to provide customers proof that products and services work. They want to know about a solution before spending a dime. Case studies (testimonials, customer case histories, customer success stories) are the perfect way to get more marketing bang and show prospects a solution to their problem.
Case studies help generate needed publicity and solidify companies as a solution provider.Non-profits have customers (users of services), clients, and prospects - just like any other business. Customer successes presented in case studies show your solutions with impact. Case studies differ from fund raising letters, flyers and brochures. They are not the same marketing or pitch your prospects are used to.
They make a splash because they are narrative. They are short and sweet. And they stick around because they are different.Great case studies are based on problem-solution-result formats. They use a narrative story to tell of a problem. Put your reader in the customer’s shoes so they FEEL the problem. Let them relate and empathize. Then go on to tell of a solution provided and the results achieved. Use strong quotes from the customer to make it personal and real. A great case study shows how a specific situation was originally identified, what solution was selected for that problem, and a summary of the results. Short and to the point, case studies usually go no longer than 800 words or one to two pages.
Only include one graphic per page. More than one will make it hard to read. The result will not look well put together.Your headline should have a benefit driven headline. All good advertisements do.The structure of your case study should include the following parts: Your customer’s problem or challenge, a little background on your customer, the steps your customer took to find a solution, the discovery of your solution, the implementation of the solution to help solve the problem, and finally, the results.The problem your customer faced will depend individually on them and your service. Do not address more than one major problem. Space is limited. Use your customer’s own words to tell about their situation. Make it engaging and emotional.Tell who your customer is. Provide some background. Remember, you are weaving a story for your reader.
What other options did your customer try or investigate before you? Did they try any? What were the results?How was your organization and solution located? Through a story in the paper? A magazine? Were they referred to you?The solution to their problem is where you can start to strut your stuff. You need to be more educational than promotional. If you are you will reap the benefits. Remember to make every word count. Highlight the facts that matter most to your reader.How was your solution used? How did you make sure your customer was satisfied? Did you have any problems? Be honest. It’s perfectly alright and natural if things didn’t go exactly right. You stuck with it and achieved results.
It makes it more compelling. Being honest involves the reader in the story emotionally.Finish with the end result. How well did your organization perform? What was the impact in that person’s life? The community? Use exact numbers. Specifics are more believable than general terms like “a lot” or rounding. Did you supply 3.4 more meals to each child per week? Or supply $5689.34 in needed medical care? Stop the destruction of 5.6 acres of wetlands, saving 13 species of rare and endangered wildlife? What were they? Try to use very exact numbers and quotes where possible.
The results will be powerful. Great case studies are used as a reference piece by decision makers. Committees will site them as source documents making funding requests easier. The mileage you gain from just one great case study is incalculable. The results are not. You will notice a difference in your organization.Rewrite a compelling case study into a press release, articles for magazines and ezines, or use it in your annual report. Send it in emails and link to it on your site. Publish it in local papers and church bulletins. Use them to send with fund raising letters as an insert.
Hand them out at meetings and gatherings. Provide them to volunteers and recruiters. The options are only limited by your imagination. What a great cornerstone to a marketing campaign! Solutions’ marketing is a big buzz word right now in the business sector and with cause. Every business –no matter how big or small – needs to convey the solutions they provide. Your organization is no different. The organizations you deal with have boards. These boards are seated by business people from every sector. As business professionals they recognize, relate to, and are heavily impacted by well written customer success stories in their businesses - and will be by yours too.Now get to work on that great case study!James E. Harris is a professional copywriter specializing in solutions marketing through case studies. He has 15 years business experience and has sat on non-profit boards including city and county economic development boards.
Whether you are a for-profit or not-for-profit business, you can gain measurable results from your marketing and advertising dollars by contacting James now. Visit to schedule a free review. Inquire about James' pro bono policy. 10% of all proceeds are used to fund projects at -empowering third world entreprenuers with economic freedom.

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