Ten years ago I started a nonprofit that partners with local Tanzanians to provide free education and resources to vulnerable children in their community. We have learned a lot since our inception; because of this, we have made a lot of changes to the way we do things. Some of the changes we have made have included adding new board members with unique areas of expertise, evolving our programs, and marketing differently.
My Stratos two-year work-iversary also just passed and one of my coworkers recently asked me how my approach to my nonprofit has changed since I began working with Stratos. Currently, I am the woman behind the Toa Tumaini marketing curtain, so this question really got me thinking. My nonprofit, Toa Tumaini Foundation, Inc. is 100% volunteer-run. Our budget is limited and so is our time; everyone on our board has additional work and personal obligations to juggle in addition to being a board member. So we still have a long way to go in our marketing strategy. But here are the top four things I have learned and started doing differently thanks to my experience working with (and learning from) a bunch of highly creative and talented people over at Stratos.
It is probably not news to you that we are big StoryBrand fans over at Stratos. Julia is a certified StoryBrand Guide, and we use the framework both for our own marketing and that of our clients. The very first thing that I began changing in my nonprofit when I began working for Stratos was my messaging.
We revamped our website and all content messaging to focus less on what we were doing to change the world and more on how we could help our audience change the world. Depending on the platform and campaign, we have two sets of heroes: either our donors or our recipients. But either way, I’m not the hero of this story. And I’m very honored to be walking alongside our community of supporters and the children/families we serve.
Graphics and Design
Graphic design is not in my zone of genius. My creativity comes in the form of words. But pictures, graphics, and anything design-related just feel like a jumbled mess to me. It takes a lot of my brain space to make a graphic or choose the right image for my nonprofit. But one thing that’s been helpful for me in improving my design work and changing my overall thought process on design has been our team’s professional development. We’ve been working through the book The Nondesigner’s Design Book, and it has been a lifesaver! While I still don’t thrive in this area of work, I feel more prepared to think about the design elements in everything we create. I approach my graphics with more intentionality, rather than just doing things by default. I highly recommend this book, especially if design work is a little out of your wheelhouse too.
This is an area I am still working to revamp. And to be quite honest, our email marketing has been very sporadic over the past several years. I’ve actually made it a goal of mine in 2022 to get regular email campaigns going and some email funnels set up as well. But in 2020, if you would have asked me what a sales funnel was, I would have looked at you like this: 🤷🏼♀️. Now I not only understand the terms, but I have learned how to create these missing pieces. I’ve also come to understand the significance of these things in my marketing strategy.
I touch a little bit on this in another blog I wrote. Reels are also not my cup of tea. There is both a design aspect and a show-your-face-on-video aspect that I just can’t get past. But I’ve seen their impact, so I’m dipping my toes in the reels game for the sake of increased visibility for Toa Tumaini Foundation. Working for Stratos has allowed me the opportunity to see the benefit and build the confidence to take the first step. I would probably still be avoiding them if it weren’t for my work at Stratos!
Not only have I been learning some of the important terms in marketing, but I’ve also been learning where my nonprofit’s marketing strategy could stand to improve, and also what we have done well. I’m gaining the confidence to try new things and understanding the importance of all of the moving parts. I’ve learned how to Steal Like an Artist and that “if you confuse, you lose.” I’m thankful to be working with some crazy talented people here at Stratos, and I’m also thankful for all of our Stratos freebie resources, guiding me when I need some extra help. Seriously, if you haven’t checked them out, head over to our website and download them. You won’t be sorry.