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Share of Mind & Heart - An Interview

New-pic-yvonneby Yvonne DiVita

I miss my Smart Woman Online and Smart Man Online interviews. I did them regularly back in the early days of blogging. I reached out to some amazing social media professionals, some awesome authors, and just generally found interesting people doing fab things online that were worth an interview. I should revise that... 

Thinking about that led me to this interview, today. Upfront, I'm the publisher of this book. I love promoting my authors. But, in the end, the reality is that the book is worth reading by everyone in business today - because we're all marketers and we all bring a share of our hearts and our minds, to our work. The book is Share of Mind, Share of Heart: Marketing Tools of Engagement for Nonprofits by Sybil Stershic

Enjoy!

Yvonne: Why are you focused on nonprofits – isn’t all marketing the same?

Sybil: Marketing is similar in all organizations in that its ultimate goal is to create and maintain a favorable brand that positively impacts the bottom line. What’s special about nonprofits is that they’re responsible for a dual bottom line that includes a strong mission and financial viability. Nonprofits need to market their mission to attract attention and support because no mission means no money, and no money means no mission.  Sybil-share

What I’ve learned in my work with nonprofits is that having a noble mission doesn’t guarantee success. It’s easy to get caught up in staying mission-focused in managing the organization, finding and competing for funding, dealing with governance issues, etc., and lose sight of what matters - the tremendous impact that every employee and volunteer has on the brand. The reality is that consumer perceptions of the nonprofit and the degree to which they’ll engage with it (if at all) are greatly influenced by the individual and collective actions of everyone who works in the organization. In other words, a nonprofit’s employees and volunteers ARE the face of the brand. 

Yvonne: Nonprofits don’t have money – they’re always struggling; how does your book help them be better at something they can’t afford anyway

Sybil: When it comes to marketing, most nonprofits think of typical marketing tools like advertising, publicity, and promotion that are focused on external audiences and delivered through traditional or social media. My book explains a more basic and critical type of marketing that is easily overlooked – “internal marketing” that is focused on an internal audience (employees and volunteers) and delivered through internal communications. Internal marketing is a strategic approach that engages employees and volunteers in effectively representing a nonprofit’s brand by keeping them connected to the organization and its mission, the people it serves, and the people who support the organization.

While internal marketing doesn’t require any financial investment, NOT doing it can be quite costly and waste whatever precious marketing resources the nonprofit has. I tell nonprofit leaders that it doesn’t matter how creative and resourceful their marketing efforts are if consumers have negative interactions  with the employees or volunteers. That’s because everything is marketing: every phone call, every email, every conversation (whether face-to-face, by phone, or online), every experience your stakeholders have with your employees and volunteers influences how those stakeholders perceive your brand. If you don’t effectively engage your employees and volunteers, you can’t expect them to engage your stakeholders. 

Yvonne: Can the every-day average person interested in volunteering for a nonprofit, benefit from your book?

Stershic web redSybil: Yes! I wrote the book to help nonprofits better engage the people behind the mission – employees and volunteers who represent a nonprofit’s brand. Volunteer leaders and frontline volunteers can apply the insight and tools found in Share of Mind, Share of Heart: Internal Marketing Tools of Engagement for Nonprofits to better understand and strengthen their own engagement. 

Yvonne: It’s so important to include “share of heart” in marketing, but even more so for nonprofits. Or, is “share of mind” the most important factor? You include both in your book – are they interchangeable?

Sybil: Marketing typically starts with “share of mind” to build and maintain brand awareness. How can people   support your organization if they don’t know about it? Creating “share of heart” follows in that once people know about your organization and mission, how will you engage/involve them with your organization (as consumers/clients, donors, volunteers, community partners, employees, etc.)? 

So the two concepts are distinct yet mutually supportive. People who have positive experiences with your organization will tell others about it – expanding your nonprofit’s “share of mind” and potential “share of heart” among their friends and other social networks. Those who truly enjoy their involvement willingly become your brand ambassadors. Caution: the opposite is also true in that those with negative interactions will share their experiences – not the kind of word-of-mouth any nonprofit wants!

Comments

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Sybil Stershic

You get it, Mark. A nonprofit's employees and volunteers need to understand they are the face of the brand in that "what" they do on behalf of the organization and "how" they do it impacts public perceptions.

It's more effective to help staff and volunteers connect their work to marketing this way rather than telling them to add "marketing" to their job descriptions under "other duties as assigned." Seriously, some organizations have done the latter, and it's the quickest way to overwhelm an already overwhelmed staff!

Mark

If I understand correctly Sybil, I like the idea that internal marketing leverages those individuals down in the trenches- employees and volunteers who know the organization well. Yes, they are the product and nobody better than they can convey the mission and demonstrate the values of the nonprofit. My guess would be that many nonprofit employees and volunteers, however, do not view themselves as marketers, brand ambassadors or the like. The internal marketing approach appears to be a unique and more deliberate way to bring to light that in fact they are and engage them as such. All too often, it is requested that Board members who typically have a much less intimate knowledge of the organization make key contacts for the nonprofit. Although these initial contacts can be very beneficial and sometimes even serve as door openers, I would not envision them having as much impact or staying power as the long-term work of the internal marketers. From the standpoint of a small nonprofit with limited resources, internal marketing would appear to yield better long-term results, have greater impact on sustainability and constitute a better investment of energy.

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