Using Business Cards Differently for Non-Profits

Business Cards

Drawing on my previous experience with non-profit marketing, I found that the single most useful piece of marketing communication is a business card.  However, I also see so many business cards done wrong.  Why?  Because they model it off of a corporate business cards, and that doesn’t really do justice to what business cards can do.

Why do corporations use business cards?  Corporations don’t use business cards to market themselves.  (Granted, everything does reinforce a brand.  So, a natural company better have business cards printed on recycled paper.)  At the core, corporations use business cards as a simple communication tool.  They contain only the vital information.  Rarely do you see more than name and contact information.  Sometimes, you may even see a corporate motto, but that’s pretty much the end of it.

However, for non-profits, you don’t have the luxury to use a business card so simply.  You have to make every piece work doubly hard for you.  I would recommend the following layout:

Front:  Basic logo, name, and contact information.  This is the typical business card, including information like website addresses for your organization.

Back:  Give one piece of trivia that would really get people excited, and the next time they could get involved.  This gives them the reminder to follow up when they get home.  Following up on the Complete Streets example gave earlier this week, one could easily put a trivia “Did you know?” on the back.  In addition, perhaps they meet on a monthly basis every Thursday.  Use this business card as an invite.  Or, if you print business cards locally in a simple printer (on-demand printing vs. printing by the thousands), I would suggest putting upcoming events.  Use the business cards as an invitation to the events.  You’d always have business cards with you, and this may be your most powerful marketing tool for your non-profit.

This worked well for me in the past.  What do you think?  Would it work for you?

Photo credit: Jim Larson

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