"Moving Toward Marketing"
As nonprofits become more competitive and as funding resources become more scarce, every advantage that organizations have should be brought to bear.
Public relations and other promotional efforts are but one part of a whole--a marketing mix that large and small businesses alike use to ensure that their goals and objectives are met. Take a moment to think about your organization in the form of a pie chart--all the facets of programming, management, fundraising. Is a piece of the pie reserved for marketing or for public relations? Nonprofits need to think about both, with public relations being a subset of marketing; otherwise the organization may not be taking full advantage of the resources and knowledge available to help make it successful. If your pie has a piece reserved for marketing, does that piece have the subcategories of product (service), place, price and promotion? Often, marketing and public relations are terms that are used interchangeably as they both imply "sell" or "advertise," so let's discuss definitions at the outset: Marketing Marketing is the anticipation of customer needs (find a niche and fill it.) Target customers are identified and their needs are the focus for marketing efforts. Four basic variables play into marketing:
Public relations establishes mutual lines of communication, understanding, acceptance and cooperation between an organization and its audiences. For nonprofits, public relations can be seen as a function of the "promotion" variable in the marketing mix.
Why should nonprofits move toward marketing?
The bottom line
Businesses and corporations know that marketing strategies are about the bottom line--increasing revenues. Nonprofits have an opportunity to borrow from this knowledge, tailor it to their own needs, and, in the process, ensure that the bottom line is met. Marketing efforts should work hand-in-hand with fundraising efforts--the same theories apply and donors are the target audience.
The planning process (often very similar to strategic planning) that is inherent in marketing will enhance nonprofits' efforts to meet organizational goals by helping to clarify those goals.
Consistent organization image
Marketing planning will better define the organizational image. Do the organizational materials project the image that is most appropriate for the nonprofit? Is the image consistent throughout? Do constituents (funders, clients, board members, media and the public) easily recognize those images?
Along with service definition, the messages that the nonprofit wants to promote about those services and the organization as a whole will be better defined. And the people who are charged with promoting the organization will all be speaking the same language.
Knowledge of constituent/audience needs
By its nature, marketing planning forces organizations to get to know their constituents' needs. This allows the nonprofit to:
Planning for marketing helps organizations evaluate how they reach their constituents and examine new ways to reach them. This often involves looking at old constituents in different ways. Regardless of the vehicles used, the promotion involved in marketing will increase organizationl visibility--through the media, direct mail, publications and public service announcements.
like a large piece of the pie? We'll continue to look at marketing
issues in future articles to help you take one step at a time--or
one bite at a time.
Copyright 2007 Zimmerman Lehman.
This information is the property of Zimmerman Lehman. If you would like to reprint this information, please see our reprint and copyright policy.