Remember one of my previous post that talked about social marketing where I revealed I will dedicate one post to talk about marketing at charity?
I would say nonprofits, in particular charities; should be very marketing-driven and in some ways, it should be more marketing-minded than any commercial entities. For the reason that companies have something tangible to sell to customers, such as a computer, a cellphone; or service that clients will enjoy, like an airline seat, a hotel room and etc. But what do charities have in offer? It’s almost always nothing more than a relatively unsubstantial image in the form of a belief, a hope, and a dream which is intangible, while its service would be delivered in a distant location where donors have never visited or have not even the slightest idea of where it is on the planet.
Likewise, I’m pretty sure no one would be interested to be the user of its service one way or the other. If so, if a charity was unable to market itself and the social cause it advocates and trying to address professionally, meaningfully and somehow creatively, how could it attract and retain supporters? Yes, one might argue that there are so many charities out there which do no marketing at all but still surviving. But they are normally very small community-based grassroots organizations which serve only a small population by providing a relatively limited scope of service. On the other hand, you can easily spot and name a number of larger or international organizations which are doing quite an excellent job in marketing regardless of whether they have a designated marketing team, which forms the backbone in supporting their fundraising, volunteer recruitment, relationship management, event promotion and so on ultimately.
For organizations that have been doing a great job focusing solely or mostly on serving their beneficiaries and the community, the time has changed. To start with, organizations have to realize the fact that we are now in an interconnected information era where people are no longer satisfied with merely the very basic statically, it is not how the world works nowadays. People prefer to be engaged, connected and interacted. So, it is essential to try thinking from the perspective of those we are trying to talk to, engage, mobilize and recruit rather than thinking for ourselves exclusively. The more you can get into the mind of your recipients, the more likely you can appeal to them and win their heart consequently. Let’s have a little lecture here for those who come with no marketing or business background of what marketing truly is before we move on.
In short, marketing is essentially two things. One, it is the spreading the word of your organization and its offering to your target audience in a meaningful way strategically. Number two, it is the art, or someone prefers to consider it as a science of getting to know your target audience and make efforts to convince them to buy in and buy your offers subsequently. So in the nonprofit setting, it translates into getting to know what area your prospects interested in support, what support they could provide, connect them, and persuade them to support, may it be donating, volunteering, referring or else or a combination of them. Got it?
Like one of my prior posts Why Nonprofits Should Not Do TVC published last 24th of December 2012 that elaborate the need for charity to do advertising/marketing, can you tell clearly, understandably in simple term of what your organization stands for? As I said it more than once before, this is not purely a repeat of your mission statement. Whereas intensifying competition for funding and support is evidentially a strong reason to assign the resource to do marketing for your organization professionally. Can’t you realize there is an increasing number of nonprofit in the market nowadays? There is more and more organization hitting the street for seeking monthly donation or more frequented media coverage of organizations. I can assure you that what makes your organization unique and appeal is not the long history of your charity, not the technical excellence in project deliveries, and not the number of how many beneficiaries you served. In case, you are not doing it right, your organization will only be among the many faceless, undistinguished organizations before long. Again and in short, if you’re struggling to tell people what your organization stands for which enable people to have an emotional connection to your organization (hopefully instantly), think about it!