Marketing Realities For Non-Profits

10 09 2009

Whenever we market anything, we work on the basis of certain assumptions – about the world, about our customers or clients, about the state of economy and individual preferences. All these can be summarised as ‘marketing realities’ which define the strategies we can use and those that will be the most effective. Kivi Leroux Miller examines the nonprofit sector in her article 10 Marketing Realities Nonprofits Need to Accept to Succeed. She provides a nice list with my favourites being:

  • Reality 1: Marketing is not a dirty word – Don’t think of your marketing program as a megaphone or a soap box, but as a conversation. It’s true that some communications tactics are naturally more one-way or impersonal than others, but your marketing program as a whole should include many opportunities for back and forth dialogue with your supporters.

I would add that the new 2.0 world brings many more opportunities for online conversations – use social media and other channels to engage your supporters!

  • Reality 3: You need to build your own media empire. – Don’t depend on the mainstream media to get your message out. That sector of our society has its own set of survival problems. Instead, build your own media empire using online tools.

Again, great use for social media. Nonprofits need to take advantage of building their own news feeds and online media channels because this is the easiest and fastest way to gain supporters and raise awareness of their issues.

  • Reality 7: Good nonprofit marketing takes more time than money. – Because the Internet has revolutionized communications between organizations and individuals, effective nonprofit marketing programs can be implemented for online pennies on the print dollar. Engaging supporters in conversations is more time-consuming than blasting messages out to them. Managing profiles on multiple social media sites is more time-consuming than updating your website once a month. Writing a blog with several posts per week is more time-consuming than sending out a print newsletter twice a year. While all of these tasks do take more time, they are also more effective at building a community of supporters.

A lot of the nonprofit marketing realities that Kivi presents can be used in general settings. Even though traditional marketing channels are still surviving, it is clear that web 2.0 is bringing countless new opportunities for marketing strategies. The uses of social media in marketing are substantial not only in the nonprofit sector. On the other hand, it is essential to keep in mind that even these new channels have their limitations and require time and effort to get expected results.

For more ‘marketing realities’ go check out Kivi’s post. Do you have anything to add?




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