Trends – In Cause-based Communications


At B-Cause we plan to regularly report on trends we see occurring in the global cause-based sector. The first of these comes from Kivi Leroux Miller of the Nonprofit Marketing Guide who conducted an online survey of 1,435 cause-based organisations asking a variety of marketing questions:

  • In what shape is your marketing plan for 2013?
  • Which communications tools do you see as very important, somewhat important, and least important to you in 2013?
  • Which social media channel are you most likely to add or experiment with in 2013?
  • Which types of content do you expect to spend most of your time producing in 2013?
  • What are your biggest marketing challenges?
  • How often do you plan to email the typical person on your email list?
  • How often do you plan to send direct mail?
  • What excites you about your work in 2013?
  • What scares you about your work in 2013?

The data was broken down by cause, organisation size, and region of the U.S.

You can download a full copy of the report here, but if you don’t wish to do that  a summary of the main findings is as follows:

  • Only 1/3 of cause-based marketers have written and approved plans for 2013.
  • Top goals for cause-based marketers in 2013: acquiring new donors, engaging community, general brand awareness
  • Marketers with fundraising goals work differently than those with community or branding goals.
  • Social media is starting to edge out email in importance to cause-based marketers
  • In-person events and media relations growing in importance to cause-based organisations; print marketing falling
  • Smaller organisations favour events and email more than larger organisations.
  • Bigger cause-based organisations like media relations/PR and print marketing more than smaller organisations.
  • Cause-based organisations rely most on Facebook (94%), Twitter (62%) and YouTube (42%).
  • Organisations are most likely to experiment with Pinterest in 2013. Second place tie: Google+, LinkedIn, YouTube
  • 76% of cause-based organisations will email a typical person on a contact list at least monthly in 2013, down from 78% in 2012.
  • Cause-based organisations will spend most time in 2013 on enewsletters, Facebook, event marketing, and website articles.
  • Biggest challenges for cause-based communicators in 2013: lack of time and budget, inability to measure effectiveness.
  • What excites cause-based communicators: new chances to reach out, using social strategically, more communications planning.
  • What scares cause-based organisations: can’t keep pace with social media, inconsistent marketing approaches, lack of funding.
  • Communicators at “Environment and Animals” organisations spend more time on fundraising appeals than others.
  • Communicators at Arts, Cultural & Humanities organisations spend more time on Facebook & like Pinterest more than other organisations.
  • Philanthropy/grantmaking organisations are most likely to have a written and approved marketing plan for 2013.
  • Religious organisations are the biggest newsletter writers, especially in print.
  • International cause-based most likely to say blogging, social media, and video are very important communications tools for 2013.

Food for thought for us here in Oz. I was particularly interested in the finding which further support the rapid emergence of social media in the sector coupled with the fear of being able to keep pace with this growth trend.

Author: Chris Gandy, Director, Cause and Effective. We have capable and understanding Associates who can plunge with you into the social media pool and make sure you come to the surface smiling no gasping for breath.

About B-Cause

B-Cause is published by Cause and Effective. We help good causes find and attract effective leaders.

Thats our take on things. Over to you, please add to the discussion.

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