Is Marketing Just for Fundraising?

Robin Noah

In my opinion and many others – it is not. Too often marketing is associated just with Fundraising. While it is not fundraising per se it is essential to it.  

The reality is that marketing encompasses many activities. It is more than bringing in donations. It is about boosting the effectiveness of programs and activities that are the reasons an organization exist – to make a difference.  

I like the Guerrilla Marketing for Nonprofits description of marketing, especially the part that states that … marketing is a personalized battle plan for your organization using the proven weapons to promote, recruit, motivate, and raise more money for your nonprofit.

Consider that marketing has other outcomes.  It is used to find volunteers, to persuade decision makers, to change public policy, to raise awareness, to encourage change, to   ” talk”  to your donors in between those times when you ask for money and for keeping current donors happy with your organization so they will give again.

In an environment where multiple organizations are chasing the same dollars, business sponsors and volunteers, standing out among the crowd is critical to success.

There are several types of marketing; e.g., e-mail, web sites, events, newsletters, conferences, television, radio or print advertising, social media, cause marketing, and Internet/On-line marketing. Which one(s) will best serve your organization?

Online marketing is no longer optional for nonprofit organizations. Even the smallest and most local nonprofit must reach out to the public through an online presence.

The nonprofit sector has come a long way in its use of the Internet. Funds raised online by nonprofits have grown from $250 million in 2000 to more than $5 billion in 2006. Growth today continues to be strong, with average online fundraising estimates exceeding 30 percent per year (donorCentrics™ Internet Giving Benchmarking Analysis) and it is here to stay.

Is it time to: a) create or re-focus on developing an effective marketing plan that is reaching your target audience and b) to transform that plan into strategic actions that are understood and adopted throughout the organization?

The time is now. Set aside time to do research into marketing for nonprofits.  You will find books, articles and recommendations for developing a plan appropriate for your organization.  Examine ways that you can enhance your presence, for example –  integrating your online marketing with your offline communications, extending  your online marketing with social media, providing images of the people you serve  and your volunteers and a how about a donor hall of fame?  Make sure the plan emphasizes your brand and who you are.  Use that data to sell your products and services

Author: Robin Noah, Executive Coaches of Orange County,