Brand Insights

For Health Science Executives

Creating Value with Your Biomedical Nonprofit’s Donor Publications

Creating Value with Your Biomedical Nonprofit’s Donor Publications

By Karan Cushman, June 7, 2016

4 marketing tips for communicating the importance of your research

The goal of any print publication is to give donors a look inside of your Biomedical Nonprofit’s microscope, so they develop a passion for the research you do. The challenge is to balance the quantity of your communications with the quality. There are so many publication formats to choose from, the decision-making process often comes down to time and money rather than value. It’s easy to forget that even if you are saving money, you may not be getting value unless your publications are inspiring donors to give.

To ensure your Biomedical Nonprofit is getting economic value and valuable results from its printed donor communications, here are 4 tips to keep in mind:


Elevate Your Approach

The style and frequency of your Bioresearch brand’s communications may depend largely on your organization’s size and budget: If you have limited resources, it may seem wise to send out monthly, budget-friendly newsletters rather than a bi-monthly magazine, but that’s not always the case. There are considerable benefits to creating a high-quality, full-color donor publication or magazine once or twice a year.

Bi-annual or annual magazines, such as the Salk Institute’s publication Inside Salk or Texas Biomedical Research Institute’s publication Progress can lend an air of seriousness, sophistication and legitimacy to your Bioresearch brand’s work.

Creating a well-designed, high-quality donor publication shows that your Bioresearch organization is committed to its important work and that it values its message enough to elevate it beyond quick and disposable communications. 

Done well, donor magazines can be considered coffee-table pieces that live with potential donors and reinforce the ongoing importance of your research. Most institutions house issues of their donor publications on their websites as PDFs to extend the value of their efforts. And some like Salk are transforming them into digital experiences that offer an inside look for readers and for the institution that is invested in understanding readership and growing donor engagement.

Balance Copy with Imagery

Whether you are sending out monthly newsletters or bi-monthly/annual publications, how you present the content will effect how well you connect with your audience.

Copy-heavy pieces may provide interesting and valuable information, but they may also overwhelm the reader. Adding imagery to the mix can help bring the content to life for your reader.

Consider the difference between reading about an amoeba and seeing a beautiful image of one. The latter approach adds an element of the fantastic, uncovering the world of science in a way that words cannot. Science can seem like fantasy to non-scientists. Giving them a glimpse inside the microscope is a great way to help make your research more tangible and, ultimately, worthy of a donation.


Make Integration a Priority

When your Bioresearch organization spends valuable time and money creating impactful donor publications, it must make the most of that investment. Digital integration helps your communications or marketing group get more life out of every story and every image by using them across several marketing platforms. Merchandising your stories through social and digital media will also enable to gain valuable insight into how users are interacting and responding to your content.

A common mistake among busy internal development or communication teams is creating each communication in a silo. For instance, news goes in the newsletter, events go on social media, information about your research lives on the website. To avoid this trap, consider assigning at least 3 platforms for sharing every publication you create.

One of the most basic and affordable ways to take your donor publication online is to make it available on your website in the form of a PDF. Even better though, embed donor magazine articles into your website or blog. This will help make the user experience more seamless, boost your website SEO and offer invaluable insight about audience behavior. Sending an email digest of your Magazine is another simple way to increase awareness, reach of your content and understanding of your different audience segments.

However you decide to do it, integrating your approach means looking at every piece of brand information as an asset that can be shared on several platforms, ensuring that it reaches more people in more ways.


Leverage the Research

Keep in mind that while you create donor communications to encourage giving, they are also effective recruitment tools. High-quality donor publications can be just as compelling to potential staff, scientific partners, legislators and the media. It is evidence of the important research you do every day, told in a way that is both engaging and inspiring. Make sure you are getting the most out of every publication by sharing it with broad audiences outside of your donor base.

Creating value with donor publications relies on your commitment to quality communication. Donors won’t feel compelled to give unless they feel as passionate about your work as you do. This is why your organization takes the time to share its stories, news and breakthrough discoveries in the first place.

Tagged: Annual Appeals, Annual Reports, Biomedical, Donor Communications, Fundraising, Nonprofit

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