How to Focus and Overcome Too Little Time and Too Few Resources

Kevin D. Hendricks
Published on | 
December 28, 2022
How to Focus and Overcome Too Little Time and Too Few Resources

Nonprofits are overworked and under-resourced. You’re trying to do so much with so little, stretching your donor dollars and squeezing your team’s time.

How do you do it all? 

Let’s be honest: You can’t. 

So how do you make it work? 

Big picture: We’re going to explore how your nonprofit can focus your efforts, cut back on the distractions, and make it work with the resources you have. 

1. Pick a Channel to Focus On

You can’t do it all, so pick one channel to focus on. Seriously, pick a main channel. You can’t have multiple main channels. Pick one

You can have secondary channels, but you’re going to spend way less time on them. You’ll focus the majority of your time on your main channel. (This is key, otherwise you’re trying to do it all again.)

You could pick email, social media (which one?), texting, even snail mail. The point is to pick a single channel that’s going to be your main focus.

This should be a strategic choice: How do your people already communicate? Or where are the people you want to connect with? Make sure you’re answering this question honestly and not just the way your staff or board would answer it. We’re obviously partial to text messaging, but you need to pick the channel that’s going to work for you.

Here’s a tip: Choose a channel where you can build a list. As popular as social media may be, it can be like shifting sands. Facebook changes the rules or a new owner comes in and nothing’s the same. Plus, you don’t own your followers. You can’t export the list and maintain your following at a new site. But if you’re using a channel like email or texting, you can build a list you own that can travel with you. That’s valuable. 

2. Learn That Channel

Once you’ve found that main channel, focus on it. Put all your time and attention on it. 

  • Take the effort to research this channel and learn how to use it. 
  • Experiment with it and see what works and what doesn’t. 
  • Devour your stats and double down on what works.

Learn the ins and outs so you can own this channel. 

Keep second place in second place: You can achieve this level of focus by making sure your secondary channels remain secondary. Don’t worry about them. Maybe you spend a tenth of the time on them. But just enough to maintain a presence. In this day and age it’s hard to completely abandon a channel like social media. But do just enough to get by. Keep your focus on that main channel. 

By focusing on just one channel you can get good. Really good. You’ll be more effective. 

3. Be Consistent

Now be consistent with your channel. Come up with a schedule and stick to it. Build in those repetitions that lead to excellence. 

It’s OK to experiment with that schedule. That’s part of the learning process. But the key is to be active on that single, main channel. 

Your audience will start to anticipate your communication on that main channel. But that only happens if you’re consistent. 

Remember: Just when you’re starting to get completely sick and tired of hearing your same message over and over and over again—it’s just starting to get through to your audience. Keep repeating yourself. 

Keep doing what you’re doing. Don’t bounce from one channel to the next. 

4. Grow Your Channel

Now you need to grow this channel. This should be a natural outgrowth of focusing on a single channel, testing and learning, and being consistent. But it should also be an active effort. 

Natural growth is great. Woohoo!

But you also need to put some effort into that growth. Build your list! 

How you grow is going to depend on your channel. But find ways to promote it. 

  • No one should visit your website without realizing what your main channel is and seeing an opportunity to subscribe or follow. 
  • Make sure an invite is on your contact form. 
  • Make it part of the donation pathway. 
  • Use those secondary channels to point to your main channel. 
  • You can even ask your supporters to spread the word for you.

5. Win

By focusing on one thing and getting good, you’ll see success. You’ll start to build that list. You’ll develop deeper connections with your biggest supporters. Your minimal resources will start to grow.

It’s going to take some time. So be patient and keep at it. But you’ll get there.

Quick tip: When you do get more resources, don’t invest them into expanding your secondary channels. Double down on your main channel. Grow some more. Maybe then you can expand your social media presence. But don’t let a little success distract you from the strategy that delivered that success.

It’s OK to Say No

The biggest thing to remember about being an overworked and under-resourced nonprofit is that it’s OK to say no. 

You simply can’t do it all. So don’t. 

Give yourself permission to do less. 

And it’s not just doing less, it’s focusing on what you are doing so you can do it really well. Do more with less. That’s what nonprofits already excel at, so just apply the same philosophy to your marketing.

Pep Talk

It's all about testing, learning, and growing. Marketing is about consistent messaging and repetition. Keep communicating at a steady pace, share your story, learn from what works, and keep doing it. You will get better.

We can help. We’re always open to talk through strategies and help you find what works. Book a demo now and we can talk about how Rally can work for you.

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