When Outsourcing Your Marketing Could Be the Next Best Move For Your Nonprofit

According to recent Forrester research, 96% of chief marketing officers said the breadth of skills required to succeed in marketing has increased dramatically in recent years. In the same study, 44 percent of CMOs said that they struggle to find the right combination of people and skills in the job market. Nowhere is this more apparent than in nonprofit marketing and communications. The demands being placed on communications teams and the requirement for specialized skills is growing rapidly, but most nonprofits struggle to find talent with the diverse capabilities to address their ever-more-complex set of needs. And when an organization does find that type of candidate, limited budgets can make it difficult to compete with offers from other organizations that promise better compensation. For all but the very largest and most well-resourced nonprofits, hiring a team of specialists in areas like data analysis, market research and UX design typically isn’t financially feasible either.

So what’s a forward-thinking nonprofit to do?

Hire the strongest, most capable marketing and communications team your budget will allow, and then outsource to fill in the gaps. Here are three situations where outsourcing to a consultant or agency may make sense for your nonprofit.

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You need to improve your approach to MarTech 

Technology is the backbone of today’s most successful marketing efforts. We now have access to data about who is visiting a specific nonprofit’s website, how they’re spending their time online, and even how likely they might be to make a donation, sign up to volunteer or take another desired action.

The challenge? There are thousands of technologies that make it possible to access and interpret this data and leverage it to the benefit of our organizations. It’s next to impossible for any nonprofit marketing and communications team to master the wide (and ever-growing) array of technologies and tech-based strategies required to succeed in today’s digital world.  And with so much data at our disposal, it can be hard to discern between vanity metrics and actionable information.

If your nonprofit is struggling to get up to speed with marketing technology, outsourcing some of your needs to a marketing firm with strong digital capabilities may make sense. Firms like Prosper Strategies make it our job to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to MarTech so that we can deliver extraordinary results for our clients. The even better news is that the best firms adopt and apply best practices from their own client base to their work with organizations like yours, so when you partner with them, you get the benefit of an experienced partner who knows what’s working from a MarTech perspective across dozens of other similar organizations. This means your team can stay focused on what you do best, while your marketing firm ensures your campaigns are optimized and making use of today’s most effective marketing technology.

You’re dealing with a highly complex messaging situation

Changing organization dynamics (like a leadership transition) and crisis communication situations can be difficult to navigate without some outside perspective.

If you find your organization in a particularly complex situation that requires highly nuanced messaging, partnering with a marketing firm or experienced consultant is typically a smart move.

A consultant or partner firm will first ensure that all internal stakeholders are aligned from a communications perspective and that everyone is working toward the same goals with the same set of consistent messages. They’ll then work to deploy messaging that positions your organization in the best possible light no matter what kind of challenges you’re facing.  It can be difficult for internal leaders to get to the core of messaging misalignment or mishandled crisis communications simply because they’re too intimately involved, but an experienced firm can often do so quickly and with great clarity.

You have a changing structure or small team

There are two team structure scenarios that often indicate a need to bring in an outside marketing partner. The first occurs when a key marketing leader resigns and is not immediately replaced. The second occurs when a small marketing team finds itself constantly over capacity, without the staff resources and capabilities to address important needs.

In the first scenario, a marketing firm can step in fill the role of the departing marketing leader on a short or long-term basis. On several occasions, Prosper Strategies has stepped in to fill a short-term gap created by a leadership departure, only to have our clients recognize that working with us could also be a long-term solution to their marketing leadership needs. We now have several client relationships where our clients have outsourced 100% of their marketing and communications needs to us and don’t have an internal marketing department at all.

In the second scenario, marketing firms like ours work closely with in-house leaders to become an extension of their team and add necessary bench strength and capacity. In this case, a marketing firm like ours often collaborates with the internal marketing leaders to strengthen their strategy and execute on the parts of that strategy that free internal team members up to focus on the areas where they can be most effective.

We believe firmly that the most impactful nonprofits of the future will be those that understand what to handle in-house and what to outsource. Looking for more information about hiring a marketing firm? Contact us. We’re always happy to answer questions about your nonprofit marketing and communications.

nonprofit marketing budget guide

Need help delegating a budget for your outsourced nonprofit marketing and communications?  Download our free resource: The 11-Step Guide to Adaptive, Goal-Based Budgeting for Nonprofit Marketing, Fundraising and Communications and learn how to manage your budget across all of your necessary tactics.

Access the nonprofit marketing budget guide now