Here at Darby Communications, when we’re not securing top-notch media coverage, dreaming up new Reels content, or building email campaigns that convert, you can usually find us on multi-day bikepacking trips, crawling through tiny cave openings, or exploring yet another mountain summit. Darby Commers take the mantra “work hard, play hard” seriously…and the great outdoors will always be our favorite playground. That’s why in addition to working with some of the biggest names in the outdoor and mountain lifestyle industries, we jump at the chance to work with nonprofits that protect our favorite spaces for future generations.
Over the years, we’ve had the opportunity to flex our nonprofit marketing skills by designing a social media strategy for Friends of the Smokies’ personalized license plate campaign, securing local media coverage for the San Juan Mountains Association, building a social media campaign for the Blue Ridge Parkway Foundation’s Trails & Views Forever Fund, and garnering regional press hits for the Nantahala-Pisgah Forest Partnership, among several other projects. Most recently, we partnered with Asheville-based French Broad River Partnership to spread the word about their groundbreaking Economic Impact Study.
Looking to step up your nonprofit’s marketing game? Nonprofit marketing and brand marketing each require a unique set of skills. That’s why we compiled these top three nonprofit marketing tips we’ve learned over the years.
Over a period of two years, the French Broad River Partnership surveyed over 450 river users and over 100 regional businesses to study users’ behavior and spending habits, businesses’ regular operations and revenue, and both stakeholders’ concerns about water quality and river health. The resulting French Broad Watershed Economic Impact and Environmental Value Study contained some astounding findings. The Partnership found the total economic impact of the French Broad Watershed to be $3.8 billion annually, boosted by 6.9 million river-influenced visitors and $2.7 billion in visitor spending each year. Researchers put the watershed’s environmental value at another $2.9 billion.
This posed the question, “How do we condense a nearly 50-page document full of tables, charts, and numbers into a format that the general public can easily read and understand?”
- Made it Visual: Visuals are key to capturing attention and driving engagement. In fact, 40% of individuals respond better to visual information than to text alone. That’s because the human brain processes visual information roughly 60,000x faster than it does plain text. We pulled out the key stats from the lengthy report to present them in a more visual format. This not only told the Partnership’s key stakeholders what stats they should be paying attention to but also gave our media contacts a quick and easy guide to reference—important when journalists can receive up to 500 pitches a week.
- Leveraged Testimonials: Just like in brand marketing, social proof plays a powerful role in nonprofit marketing. Did you know 92% of individuals read reviews before making decisions and 70% of individuals trust recommendations even from strangers? That’s why we supplemented the impressive stats with stirring quotes from the target audience’s own peers: fellow Western North Carolinians who rely on the French Broad River for business, recreation, or aesthetics.
“I just wanted you to know how thankful we are for your help and guidance in preparing all of our information and the press release for the Economic Impact Study of the French Broad River by the French Broad River Partnership. The article on the FRONT PAGE of the Asheville Citizen-Times on the Wednesday before the Outdoor Economy Conference could not have been planned any better! All in all, I think it was a very worthwhile experience for our Partnership and we got a lot of visibility and positive feedback. Your work was pivotal in making us look pretty darn good….if I say so myself.”
Jay Hawthorne of the French Broad River Partnership
- Localized Outreach: A largely local issue called for a local media push. A dozen, primarily local and regional, press hits resulted in a potential reach of 4 BILLION, with an average domain authority of 57 and an average page authority of 47. Coverage included a front-page feature on the region’s principal newspaper, the Asheville Citizen-Times, the digital version of which was syndicated to Yahoo! News.
The Darby Comm team has years of seeing success with nonprofits of all sizes, with all manner of budgets, timelines, and needs. To learn how we can help YOUR nonprofit garner impactful media coverage, enhance your social media or email marketing strategy, polish your public-facing copy, or otherwise engage your stakeholders, drop us a line HERE. You can also go HERE to learn more about the successes we’ve had for our clients in both brand and nonprofit marketing.