Friday, May 16, 2014

"A" Is for Advertising – or Promotion, If You Prefer

If asked, most of us can recall a commercial jingle, image or logo that captivated or tickled us. Some examples that were shared at the April 15 Oakland Chamber NonProfit Roundtable meeting included, “I wish I were an Oscar Mayer wiener” and “Where’s the beef?”

Most of those that pop into our heads are from the private sector, and while many nonprofit brands are very familiar (the Red Cross, Human Rights Campaign or Girl Scouts), many, many more are not, even in their own local communities. For those of us in the nonprofit sector, there is a hefty disconnect between our organizations and advertising, and not just financial. Under the strict criteria of financial limitations, we explored how we could utilize the intentions of advertising without actually advertising.

Joyce Hooks of dealsnapt ( guided attendees through a rich conversation of how to create an economically possible pattern of advertising to our communities in order to increase familiarity and our connections. She began by separating marketing from advertising. Marketing, she shared is “the link between a society’s material requirements and its economic patterns of response. In brief, it’s everything you do to promote and brand your business.”

Advertising, however, is “mass media content extended to persuade audiences of readers, viewers or listeners to take action on products, services and ideas.” Specifically, advertising gets a person to do or buy something. Successful advertising simultaneously expresses the culture in the moment and adds feeling to that.

Her suggestions for expanding an organization’s reach include:
  • ·        Establish collaborations – do something together (have you seen the nonprofit double-page ad in East Bay Express?)
  • ·         Defining and concentrating on your target audience – in the present and the future (How do you connect to kids for life?)
  • ·         Review your metrics - target, test and repeat
  • ·         Analyze the cost and return on investment (ROI) to determine if your plan is affordable

To conclude, Hooks shared the advertising potential of membership in dealsnapt. Dealsnapt is a mobile app that is a market for mobile smartphone users who are looking for the best local deals. Local merchants offer deals and promotions whenever they want directly in the app. The shopping community is notified instantly and has the ability to share, rate and comment on deals. Nonprofits that join dealsnapt engage in a mutually beneficial promotional relationship.

Following Hooks’ presentation, NonProfit Roundtable Co-chair Âna-Marie Jones of CARD ( shared several ideas on how to promote your organizations:
  • ·         Offer yourself as a solution to a problem that most people think they have
  • ·         Engage others to speak on your behalf – the most powerful form of advertising is word of mouth
  • ·         Evaluate what you hand out in the community – how do these things say what your organization does

Following the introduction, Jones divided up attendees into teams for an exercise. First, we each shared what we considered one awesome thing that you wish people would know? (Yes, the question purposefully opens itself to interpretation.) Then the teams were tasked with the following situation: You are making a presentation about your organization at an event, but all of your logoed gift items and handouts are not available. Someone hands you a sample of someone else’s gift items, and in only a few minutes, you need to use these items as if they were yours.

The goal of the task is to find ways for people to bond with the item, particularly in a way that reminds them of you. For example, a Sharpie®, in the hands of someone talking about at-risk youth can be used to make a big “x” to describe the life situations of the youth, and then immediately translated into a pen to check off success points. This combines the items with words and gestures and invites people to bond with the item. Once bonded, they will remember, and may even use the item in the same way.

Jones also encouraged attendees to leverage what they can from for free or at a very low cost. And then use your items, your words and your gestures to brand your agency in their consciousness.

This is how you advertise.

Special thanks to Dale Marie Gordon of Torrey Pines Bank ( for bringing a door prize.

* * * * * * * * * *

The next Oakland Chamber NonProfit Roundtable meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 20, 2014, from 2:30-4:30pm in the Chamber Boardroom. Please join us in a conversation about volunteers, the flowers of our organizations.

Co-Chair: Âna-Marie Jones, Executive Director of CARD (
Co-Chair:Jerry Metzker, Development & Marketing Manager of Biotech Partners (

Chamber Liaison: Nikki Mendez, Membership Director (

Labels: , , , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home