One of my favorite bloggers and top notch nonprofit marketing consultants wrote a blog post yesterday titled the same as above. I really admire and respect Kivi Leroux Miller for her expertise in the nonprofit industry. She should certainly be on your short list if you want consultation from a nonprofit expert.
But Kivi is not a printing expert. While in her "How to Make Your Print Marketing More Affordable" she made some valid points, she also missed the mark a few times. I run a commercial print and marketing company that serves a great number of nonprofit organizations in my community. Combined with fairly good advice I felt like she was throwing printers under the bus. She advises, "Tell him you are considering dropping the newsletter entirely because of the expense." Well, just in case no one noticed, the printing industry has literally been a "nonprofit" over the last couple of years. Printer bankruptcy and closings are happening every day. And any organization, nonprofit or otherwise, trying to negotiate pricing in this way is very unprofessional. The fact is, at least with my company, we already discount pricing to nonprofits from the beginning. This is no margin for further reductions.
Default should be an e-newsletter instead of print newsletters as the primary communication tool. This doesn't bother me too much but that's only because we also provide email marketing as a service. But statistics show that the majority of donors to nonprofits are older. Statistics also show that older givers prefer print. They prefer something to hold on to versus the email. For the donor population in general, print cannot be abandoned. The trend is changing, but for now, print is still king.
One of the best untapped resources is your printer. She's right about this. Hopefully your printer has already suggested ways you can improve the effect of your marketing materials, the quality and the cost basis.
Paper is typically 30-50% of printing costs. Wrong. Not typically. This can be true when very high quality paper is being used. You will see this when attorneys choose a 25% cotton linen for letterhead and envelopes. But I have never seen a frugal nonprofit use anything but basic 20# bond or 60# offset for common print projects. When these papers are being used, paper costs are an insignificant factor. And changing the brightness of whites to save money (10-15%) is ludicrous. For example, I can show any Executive Director a 20# bond 98 Bright that's cheaper than a 20# bond 92 Bright. So while the Brightness can be a guide on price, is certainly isn't the rule. Kivi also suggested a thinner paper to save money. Understand that if a paper is too "thin" you can only print on one side and will have to use twice as much. Look at the real costs. Paper is priced per thousand and please don't print on inferior paper to save less than ½ a penny per page. I can "upgrade" an organization to a nice 24# over a 20# for less than ½ a penny (that's .005).
Don't be picky about colors. Kivi was right on target here. Many organizations will spend a lot of money on a fancy, multi-color logo design. Most anything more than two colors is a waste of money. You'll have to spend a small fortune on printing because every time you use your logo you have to print in full color. You rule out the opportunity to use black only or one or two-color presses.
Prepare your files correctly. Again, great time-saving and money-saving advice here. In fact, seems she is the only that realizes that "it's not as simple as handing over the file from the computer program you used to create the document".
I hope this clarifies and maybe educates on these issues. Kivi, no hard feelings I hope. Better yet, it would be great if this generates more conversations and deepens relationships between quality nonprofits and quality printers. And, please, nonprofit readers; everything that Kivi Leroux Miller writes is worthy of your reading. In fact, she has a new book coming out in the Spring 2010. In the meantime, you can get priceless information on her www. Nonprofit Marketing Guide Blog and webinars. By listening to her, the money you save and additional funds you raise can be spent on quality printing!
Advantage Printing is a commercial print & marketing services provider serving small and mid-sized businesses, nonprofits and churches.
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