A quick search for “Nonprofit Consultants” on LinkedIn will reveal over 25,000 results.
This means that your consultancy competes with at least 25k firms or consultants for the same target audience at any given point.
The competition is fierce, and it would be no surprise if you’re struggling to get new nonprofit clients.
But now that you’re here, that’s going to become an issue of the past.
In this post, we’re going to talk about five sure-shot strategies that you can implement to stand out from the competition and score a ton of new clients.
How to get more nonprofit clients for your consultancy
Whether you’re just starting or going through a slump, these strategies can help you score more nonprofit clients.
1. Segment your market by niche
Start by answering this question:
“What is your target market?”
If your answer is any nonprofit organization, then you need to take a step back.
When shortlisting your ideal audience, you have to be a little more specific because:
- It helps you shape your outreach strategy for a more targeted audience that’s more likely to convert.
- Competition in niche markets is much lower, so it’s easier to stand out and grab your prospects’ attention.
So while all nonprofit organizations are potential clients, you need to narrow down your primary targets based on the unique challenges you solve.
Take, for example, Vanessa Chase Lockshin. She’s a nonprofit consultant who specializes in nonprofit storytelling and communications.
Therefore, all her outreach and marketing strategies are based on helping nonprofits optimize their communications using a storytelling approach. Organizations looking to solve this specific challenge are bound to end up on her website and probably as her client.
Once she gets a client on board, it becomes easier for her to upsell her other services to the nonprofit and get referrals. That’s how segmenting your target market can help expand your consultancy.
How to go about it
Segmenting your market by niche is a pretty straightforward process. If you’re starting out, we recommend you do it on priority. If you’re an existing consultancy, you can always re-analyze and revamp your brand if needed. Here’s what you need to do:
- Start by identifying things that you excel at. Make sure these are specific things like grant writing, marketing communications, donor prospect research, etc.
- Do a quick analysis of other consultancies to see which of your offerings are not provided by them (or provided by only a few of them). This will be your USP (unique selling point).
- Start building your brand based on your USP. From your mission statement to your logo, blogs, and outreach, everything has to be inspired by it.
Once you start doing this, more and more nonprofits from this particular niche will come across you, increasing awareness of your consultancy.
2. Inbound marketing
Inbound marketing is a marketing strategy that attracts customers by creating valuable content and experiences tailored to them. It speaks to the problems your prospective clients are facing.
This marketing strategy is becoming increasingly popular and a go-to methodology for almost all organizations.
With the advent of the internet, people’s behavior has changed. Today, the first instinct to any problem is searching for a solution online. With inbound marketing efforts, you ensure that you’re present online (where they’re searching) and offering the solution.
Apart from improving discoverability, this also helps establish your brand as the authority of the solution.
This, in turn, builds trust in your brand’s capability in overcoming or resolving the challenge. So when nonprofit clients are looking to hire someone, guess whose name will come up in their minds?
How to go about it
While the term inbound marketing encompasses several strategies and techniques, here’s a quick overview of the critical strategies.
- Start by identifying relevant keywords and phrases that your prospective clients will be searching for. Your USP comes in handy here. Say your USP is nonprofit marketing, enter this keyword in a keyword planner tool like Ubersuggest and make a list of related words and phrases. This is what you need to target.
- Create valuable content around these keywords. Make sure to use these SEO best practices, so your content ranks higher than other posts around the keyword.
- Once you start publishing this content, you will draw in reader traffic that primarily comprises potential customers. But not all of them would be interested in paying for your services. You filter these people out in the following steps.
- Leverage lead generation magnets to get the contact details of your visitors. Lead magnets include ebooks, in-depth research reports, etc. You embed these in your content and offer them in exchange for the visitor’s details like name, email id, etc.
Note: The more exclusive and valuable the information you provide, the more details you can ask people for (like phone number, organization, seniority level, etc.).
- You can safely assume that the visitors who provided you with their details are interested in your services; they just need a little push. You give them this push by nurturing them with more content.
This content would demonstrate the value of your services over others and more specific details of how to solve the challenges they’re facing. Make sure you don’t give away the keys to the castle, though. Certain aspects of your knowledge should only be made available to paying clients.
- Finally, try to get prospects who engaged with most of your content to get on a call with you. You can entice them by offering free product demos, exclusive deals, free trials, etc. Once you get them on a call, it’ll be easier to get more details on their issues and offer a tailored solution that would increase their likelihood of converting.
When going through the above steps, make sure to analyze your performance at each point. Search for industry average metrics and use them as benchmarks to determine if you’re doing well or not. If you’re not, experiment with the processes or type of content to improve your results.
3. Offer more technology-enabled services
It’s no news that the nonprofit industry lags behind its for-profit peers in terms of adoption of technology. This is a huge issue that needs to be addressed.
Organizational growth is accompanied by an exponential increase in process workload and complexities.
In these cases, it’s only practical to employ tools that automate major processes so staffers can focus on tasks like donor outreach, fundraising, etc. that require more hands-on efforts.
But the problem with nonprofits is not that they don’t want to adopt the latest technology. 85% of nonprofits agree that technology is key to their long-term success. However, the reasons they cite for not jumping on the bandwagon early on are as follows:
- 51% of nonprofits cite budgetary constraints.
- 45% say a lack of flexibility for organizational change.
- 40% cite not being able to prove return on investment.
This is where you come in.
While it’s hard to tackle budgetary constraints, you can at least convince decision-makers to invest in the right tools, even if it requires significant organizational change, by proving their ROI.
You could really rank up and stand out from the competition if you focus more on empowering nonprofits with technical expertise rather than just help them optimize traditional processes.
How to go about it
There are two ways you can go about offering technology-enabled consulting:
1. Technology advisor
As a technology advisor, you’ll be responsible to:
- Look out for tools and software that aid and improve processes that nonprofits consult you for (for example, fundraising software).
- Analyze these tools to give your nonprofit client recommendations based on their needs.
- Advise clients on how to select the right software to optimize their processes.
- You may also have to onboard and train nonprofits on the usage of the tools that they choose to implement.
Whitelabeling is when a product or service lets you rebrand their tool and present it to your clients as your own.
For example, CallHub’s Whitelabel solution covers the full suite of calling and texting solutions– two of the most efficient nonprofit communication methods.
When you opt for our Whitelabel solution, you can rebrand the software with your logo and name and resell it to your clients. As an affiliate, you get access to:
- Texting solutions: SMS opt-in, SMS & MMS broadcasts and peer-to-peer texting.
- Call center software: Voice broadcast campaigns, patch-through calling, and a range of auto-dialers to control the calling speed as per your needs.
- All premium features: As a Whitelabel associate, you get access to all premium features (existing and future updates) at no extra cost.
Your clients can use any of the solutions as per their requirements.
When you opt for this route, your responsibilities reduce to just onboarding and training your nonprofit clients on how to use the tool.
Benefits of a White label solution over tech advisory
- Saves time: With a Whitelabel solution, you don’t have to constantly look out for and analyze software to recommend to your clients. You just have to choose the right Whitelabel solution, and your clients can select the service they need from it.
- Improves client experience: Your nonprofit clients wouldn’t have to go around getting quotes and demos for the list of software that you recommend. You’ve already done this groundwork when selecting the right whitelabeling solution. All they have to do is choose the service they wish to use. It eases their effort and saves them time too.
- Assured safety: Whitelabel solutions are typically very particular about data security. CallHub’s Whitelabel solution ensures the highest level of protection with network firewalls, TLS Encryption, and account authentication.
- An additional source of revenue: In most whitelabeling solutions, you only have to pay a flat fee and a preset price for the services (like price/text or call in CallHub). But, you can offer these services to your clients at a custom price. So everything above this flat fee is your profit margin!
Learn more about CallHub’s White Labeling solution here.
Referral marketing is one of the most effective forms of marketing that can help you score some great leads.
Because 92% of people trust recommendations from people they know. Therefore, the likelihood of a referral converting is exponentially higher than any other marketing lead.
Moreover, referrals are also relatively cost-effective. 54% of marketers say that referral programs have a lower cost-per-lead than all other channels.
Plus, the effort it takes to implement referral marketing is relatively less too. If you have a few clients who’ve had a positive experience working with you, your job’s already half done.
How to go about it
It’s pretty easy to get started with referral marketing. Here’s what you need to do.
- Shortlist a few past or existing clients who have had a positive experience with your consultancy.
- Ask them to share their experience and details of your organization with others who may have similar requirements.
- You can even incentivize this by offering them a special deal or discount on your services for every referral who signs up or hires you.
Most of your clients would be happy to recommend you to people in their networks. However, they may not do so proactively. So make sure you don’t forget to ask.
If you’re a consultancy that’s just starting out and doesn’t have a client base, referrals may not apply to you.
Instead, you can leverage networking to get new leads and clients.
Networking is an activity in which nonprofit consultants connect and form business relationships with people in their field. These could be peers, prospective clients, competitors, etc. This doesn’t just help you get new leads but also:
- Opens up the possibilities of business opportunities like partnerships.
- It keeps you updated about the latest trends in the industry.
- It gives you insights into how your competitors are doing (and possibly ideas that they are implementing that you can take inspiration from).
- Builds a network in your field to drive more awareness.
Network marketing is not exclusively for new consultancies. You can even benefit from it as an established firm or consultant.
How to go about it
While networking is typically associated with meeting people in person, in the age of the internet, it can be done online too. Here’s what you need to know.
1. Online networking
Online networking typically involves cold outreach by:
- Surfing through social media channels like LinkedIn and Facebook to find prospective clients or partners.
- Gathering data on these clients/partners to know how you can aid them. This is important to personalize your offering and increase the chances of getting a response.
- Sending out messages with your offering to these prospects either over email or over the social channel you found them on.
- Alternatively, you can also look for common connections between you and these prospects who could make an introduction.
2. Offline networking
For nonprofit consultants, offline networking comprises of:
- Regularly attending conferences, meetups, or other networking events where you’re bound to find your prospects.
- Signing up to peer communities like The Association of Consultants to Nonprofits or Nonprofit Consultants Network to form partnerships and get details on nonprofit clients.
- Digging into your network (colleagues, family, friends, etc.) to introduce or refer you to prospects in their networks.
If you’re wondering what strategy you can start with, the answer is simple; start with them all.
Each of these strategies has unique advantages that can fast-track the number of leads you get. Moreover, you don’t want to be too heavily reliant on just one method, which is why having a healthy mix of all is recommended.
So, start by making a list of tasks that you have to accomplish for each within a specified timeframe.
For example, you can aim to update your LinkedIn profile (for online networking), get in touch with two previous clients (for referrals), and look for a Whitelabel solution (to expand your technical offering) by the end of the week.
Moving forward, add to these tasks as per the steps defined under each strategy, and you should be drawing in new clients in no time.
Featured image source: Photo by Campaign Creators on Unsplash