Sunday, May 24, 2009

Determining ROI on PR Dollars Spent

No matter the size, reach, or history of your particular nonprofit operation or business; determining how effective the money you spend on PR and marketing efforts can be, at times, nearly impossible to gauge. If you are like most nonprofits, you gear your public relations funds-however minimal-towards a percentage that calls upon a wide variety of marketing tools-part web-based, newspaper, tv, events, etc. How do you even begin to determine which method was particularly effective in bringing in funds? We take a look below at the best ways to effectively determine return on investment (ROI) in relation to how much you may spend on PR and marketing.

In most cases, determining your return on investment in regards to marketing, is nearly impossible after the fact-that is, after he funds have been spent and strategy implemented. You may be able to say that it was either successful or a flop, but you have no clear idea on where the money went, and was best spent. This is why it is absolutely crucial to make a plan to analyze your efforts before implementing them. Here are the most effective and popular means of instituting a measurable ROI plan:

Market research: Research online and elsewhere to see what plans and strategies are working for others trying to gauge their marketing ROI. Read up on percentages by company success, individual strategy, and projects or missions of nonprofits with similar objectives.
Start small: Before taking huge financial leaps in pr/marketing efforts without guaranteed return, take a small step to test out the waters. Invest a smaller amount, and see how it works. Was it effective? A smaller investment is also much easier to gauge.
Watch your budget: Obviously, if you are involved in a nonprofit, you the importance of watching your budget, but do you allocate a set amount and watch that you do not over reach this amount? Many nonprofits know a rough sketch of what they can afford and stay within a particular range; but knowing specific numbers and documenting them, will give you an answer when it comes to evaluating which projects and pr goals were effective. Most importantly, having a fine-tuned, project-specific, budget will give you the answers you need when you start analyzing your ROI in relation to pr dollars spent.
Set only measurable goals and objectives: Instead of hoping that a certain pr tactic will get you a sizeable amount of return, devise a measurable plan of numbers, amounts, and dollars spent. This way, you have a clear cut goal in mind to achieve, as well as a more focused idea of your gains and losses in the short and long term.

Have more specifics on determining ROI for your nonprofit dollars spent? Please share your best stories on lessons learned in marketing the important mission of your nonprofit business.
Mark Buzan is Principal and Chief Magnifier in Action Strategies, a full service Strategic Communications, Public Relations and Public Affairs Consultancy for non-profits and associations. Make sure to contact him for advice on reaching audiences you may or may not have yet considered in your marketing communications and PR campaigns. Drop him a line if you are looking for help in developing a public relations campaign. You can view his website at www.actionstrategies.ca.


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