When you read the terms “lead generation” or “lead gen,” most likely a large corporation’s sales and marketing funnel comes to mind — if anything. Do nonprofits need lead generation? Do they have a sales funnel? Yes. Nonprofits also need to generate interest and create a call to action.
What is Lead Generation?
Sounds like yet another marketing buzzword, right? Nonprofits have limited budgets for marketing and marketing staff, making lead generation another headache. Well, imagine you’re looking to buy a used bike for your kids – or looking to sell one your kids have outgrown – what do you do? You might put up a notice in the supermarket or, better yet, your kid’s school. You might send out an email to friends and members of your organization.
Lead generation is the process of generating interest. You can use whatever means you have at your disposal to do that. Most nonprofits do it without even thinking of the buzzword at all. Lead gen is about generating interest – it is about building an engaged community. That’s it.
Lead Generation in Real Life
As people, when we believe in a company, we will often go onto social media and post about the great experience we are having. We post about how great a meal we had or how nice a product works. Sharing a review or a positive experience is called advocacy. Advocacy is a powerful tool for generating interest through the members of your community — especially for your nonprofit.
Tailoring the needs and interests of a specific part of your community with a YouTube video is free. Sharing this on social media and your website is a free and interactive way of outreach — even when your office is closed. The internet works 24/7 – even if you can’t.
Nonprofits are most successful at generating engagement when you are talking with someone who’s interested. What better invitation can you get, than when you are given their email address? Email newsletters are paper-free, zero-cost ways of connecting with anyone, anywhere. You can collect email addresses at any event!
How can I best Generate Interest as a Nonprofit?
Nonprofits can generate leads in a variety of ways using tools already at their disposal. The internet offers a multitude of free tools. Email newsletters, social media, websites — we can reach millions of people without printing off a single piece of paper or paying for a single gallon of gasoline.
The best resource a nonprofit has, however, are the people they serve. It is easy to miss seeing the expertise your nonprofit already has. In short, nonprofits need to make use of their experts – their beneficiaries. The people you provide services for are the experts and can ensure you get it right – for their needs. This focus will ensure your nonprofit isn’t wasting resources and that what you do is properly targeted and relevant.
Why does Lead Generation Matter?
For nonprofits, unleashing the financial potential of your community is the real value of being engaged with supporters and of tapping into their experience.
Fundraising is essential to the survival of every nonprofit organization. To raise money, you need a strong and engaged community who believe in what you do. Your community consists not of “leads” but people; and lead generation is at the heart of building our community.