11 Years of Non-Profit Marketing
Challenges in regular marketing for a private educational non-profit include limited budget, facing competition with an unlimited budget, a narrow niche for targeting, and intense inertia to overcome to get started.
When we started Aletheia Christian College in 2007, it was just an idea. Since we were originally looking at purchasing an old normal school in Idaho, we named it Albion Christian College. The campus was purchased by some business people with more resources than a small non-profit and turned into the beautiful Albion Campus Retreat (check it out if you are ever driving between Salt Lake City and Boise, ID and have an extra 45 minutes for sightseeing).
This led to our first major marketing hurdle: a brand identity that does not match the organization. After brainstorming conversations, we determined three things. We wanted to keep ACC as the acronym, use a word which was not tied to a place, and have a word that provided a deeper meaning about the school. So Aletheia Christian College was born, and this was one of the first marketing lessons that informed Paul Davis Solution’s approach to small business marketing: your name matters.
7 Years Pre-PDS Experience
It is important to recount our experience pre-PDS. Our non-profit marketing experience at Aletheia informs Paul Davis Solution’s position as organizational leaders in Principled Marketing. During the 7 years before starting PDS, we practiced all 7 spheres of Principled Marketing. We built email lists, ran successful events, created multimedia presentations, managed online courses, did audio editing, optimized websites and social, and targeted the right audience.
All of this was done with a starting budget of $0. Our original word-processor was Open Office. Our original computers were all personal computers, and our first video camera was not purchased until the school had been running for nearly 2 years.
Since Aletheia has been (and still is) understaffed and underfunded, we have learned innovative marketing. When Paul Davis’s team approaches goals for our clients, we use the growth hacking techniques we learned in the trenches of very difficult marketing.
During these years, we practiced:
- Newsletter Management – We created and managed a newsletter in both physical and electronic formats for the school.
- Website Management – The current website was created in Drupal by Schweb Design on the Drupal CMS. We have managed content and further strategic development of the current and previous websites (Modx CMS) for the last 11 years.
- Social Media Marketing – Primarily using Facebook, we manage events, use groups to facilitate online classes, and use it to promote content.
- Online Course Management – Experience in creating courses, managing teachers and students, and facilitating real-time learning on both Moodle LMS and the Opignio add-on to Drupal.
- Events – We have advertised, organized, and spoken at multiple events for Aletheia Christian College, from youth camps to business conferences.
4 Years Current Marketing
Paul Davis Solutions’ first customer, Aletheia Christian College, is still a regular customer.
Current projects include:
- Website Redesign – I will update Paul Davis Solution’s blog when this is done.
- Logo Redesign – Notice the logo on this page is different from the logo on the college’s website.
- MailChimp Newsletters – We continue to provide monthly newsletters, using MailChimp.
- Social Media Management – We work to grow Aletheia’s presence on Facebook. We provide research on other platforms for reaching Aletheia’s target audience.
- Online Course Management – We are working with Aletheia Staff to revamp their online courses after some technical issues put a pause on regular classes.
- Consultation and Additional Service Creation – Aletheia is adding a model day school to their services, Precepts Christian Academy. Paul Davis Solutions is a key part of marketing this new service.
Aletheia is slowly growing and we are excited to be able to continue working with them and supporting their ministry. Stay tuned for more information on product creation, website re-design, and other growth hacks we learn from working Aletheia’s marketing.