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2014 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report

You’re about to launch your 2014 communications plan. But are you wondering: “Are we normal? Are we doing the right thing?”

Kivi Leroux Miller’s newly released 2104 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report helps answer those questions by demonstrating “what other nonprofits are doing.”

This year’s survey (which was completed by 2,135 nonprofit participants), included a number of pertinent questions, including:

  • 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 2014?
  • Which types of content do you expect to spend most of your time producing in 2014?
  • 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 2014?
  • What scares you about your work in 2014?

As always, this year’s report is jammed packed with interesting data. But it also includes insight into “potential sources of conflict within your organization” and flags these using conflict box images (very cool and very helpful advice) - watch for these in the full report.

Report Highlights: 

Here are some highlights from the report:

Nonprofit Communications Goals

Top 3 nonprofit communication goals for 2014:

  • acquiring new donors – 53%
  • engaging community – 49%
  • general brand awareness – 39%

It’s interesting to note that the report indicates:

  • Large nonprofits more likely to prioritize brand awareness and thought leadership than smaller ones.
  • Small nonprofits more likely to prioritize volunteer recruitment and retention than larger ones.

Nonprofit Communications Challenges:

Not surprisingly, the report found that the biggest challenge “might depend on your job title”. Here are the key nonprofit communications challenges:

  • Lack of time to produce quality content – 42% (Directors/managers pick as #1)
  • Lack of budget for direct expenses – 37% (Executive Directors pick as #1)
  • Lack of clear strategy – 31% (Coordinators/Assistants pick as #1)
  • Inability to measure effectiveness – 25%
  • Producing engaging content – 22%

Most Important Nonprofit Communications Channels – “The Big Six”:

The report indicates that the “very important” communications channels are the same six that were identified in 2011 through 2013 surveys:

  1. Websites – 62%
  2. Email marketing – 54%
  3. Social Media (other than blogging) – 50%
  4. In-person events – 41%
  5. Media Relations / PR – 29%
  6. Print marketing – 21%

For more highlights, check out the infographic

This is just a quick peek at the highlights of this report. Their fun infographic offers a more in-depth look at the key survey findings – here.

Lots more insight in the full report

But for all of the details on, for example, what nonprofits are trying to achieve; email, direct mail and print newsletter frequency; donor retention, workloads, challenges and results – you should register to download the entire report here: 2104 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report.

It’s always helpful to know what your nonprofit peers are up to and this report won't disappoint!  It offers insight from over 2100 nonprofit executive directors, communications directors, development directors, communications/marketing and development/fundraising folks. 

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Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]
Posted by Lori Halley [Engaging Apricot]
Published Monday, 13 January 2014 at 8:30 AM

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