Our first training sessions of the year kicked off a couple of weeks ago, with a day at the Foundling Museum, for Arts Fundraising and Philanthropy’s Practical Digital Fundraising course with Howard Lake.
The session was full of useful tips on how to make the most of your online presence, from checking the time it takes for your website to load (anything under 2.5 seconds is good) to using free apps to create your own impactful graphics. I left feeling inspired and ready to get creative with digital.
At Artsadmin, the marketing team looks after our digital outputs, so as soon as I was back in the office I met with our Marketing Officer Selma to give her the low-down and share some thoughts I had about introducing more fundraising messages into our communications. It was a great meeting, and we’ve already started putting some ideas into action, and planning how we can link our development and marketing schedules.
It’s always been my opinion that marketing and development are most effective when they work together in synergy. For small arts organisations it’s often a luxury to have separate teams, so this idea might be obvious to them, but as I meet more people from across the arts sector I’ve been alarmed to discover that there are places where marketing and development teams don’t even speak to each other… #confessionsofafundraiser #overheardatfundraisingschool
Surely they’re missing a trick?
Development and marketing are both about communicating. They’re about finding meaningful ways to share your story and involve your audience, getting them to understand and like you enough to want to come on a journey with you.
I recently watched Simon Sinek’s TED talk, and he describes this idea perfectly – the best communications start with why.
Video credit: Simon Sineck & TED.com
It sounds simple, but sometimes you need to go back to the beginning to get it right. If your marketing and development teams aren’t best buddies, a useful exercise to get the ball rolling might be to ask each person to describe what your organisation’s purpose is in one sentence. Hopefully some common themes will emerge, and you’ll start to see how you can define your why in the most effective way.
When your communications start from the same place, it’s easier to see where you can link together to strengthen your message. Whether you’re selling tickets or cultivating donors, you’re much more likely to win champions to your cause if they understand why you’re doing what you do.
By pooling your teams’ resources and sharing ideas you all become more creative in engaging your audiences, and that’s exciting for everyone.