Marketing used to be a controversial idea for nonprofits and it is remarkable the degree to which marketing is not embraced today.  The primary concern seems to be diverting dollars away from direct services. Other criticisms of marketing in the nonprofit sector are that it wastes the public’s money, it intrudes into people’s personal lives, and that it is manipulative.  These are misguided criticisms which hamper the legitimate place of marketing in achieving the organization’s mission.

Of course, an indiscriminate outlay of funds can very well be a waste of resources. Marketing must be tactical, informed by analysis of stakeholder groups. More value can be leveraged from an investment of time in this effort than spending money on typical advertising. You believe in your calling; think in terms of methodically conducting two-way communication about your mission. Feedback—whether from donors or service recipients or other stakeholders—is critical and so rarely collected!

Consider these questions:

  • Has your organization fallen into the trap of assuming that what you are offering is in the best interests of your service recipients and they simply need to be informed?
  • Does your staff think of your service recipients as customers with needs they are trying to convey–and it is your organization’s responsibility to listen to them?
  • Do you know what will keep donors giving year after year?
  • Are you perplexed as to why you are not attracting more new donors for whom your mission “should” resonate?

You will not know without conducting a marketing audit, which renowned marketing expert Philip Kotler defines as an examination of your organization’s marketing environment, objectives, strategies, and activities with a view to determining problem areas and opportunities and recommending a plan of action to improve your organization’s strategic marketing performance. Then you can use the information collected from the marketing audit to tactically communicate to each stakeholder group. Not sure how to get started? Foundation Logic can guide this process and ensure that your organization is equipped to navigate competition for staff, volunteers, donations, grants, and clients.