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Posts Tagged ‘international’

Nonprofit Marketing….Really?

Monday, July 21st, 2008

Is there such a thing as nonprofit marketing? Of course there is!

In this first post, I hope to interest you new ways to think about nonprofit marketing that will help you achieve your programmatic goals and provide an opportunity for dialogue. Marketing is alive and well in the nonprofit sector. It is used to:

• Enroll people in a significant program or initiative
• Increase awareness about an agency’s mission, its services, or the response to a crisis in your community, and/or
• Raise the visibility of an organization as a basis for successful fundraising or “buy-in” (acceptance) by your constituencies.

Using one marketing tool – a conference – can set the stage and create momentum for other objectives.

Using a meeting to accomplish several objectives - An interfaculty initiative associated with Harvard – and required to raise its own funds – planned a small invitation-only international conference on improving coordination of humanitarian efforts in the field. The conference was designed to accomplish several things at once.

• Draw in several different important audiences
• Increase knowledge and excitement about the efficacy nd challenges of humanitarian aid efforts during disaster and war
• Assemble a broad spectrum of potential funders, i.e., corporate, individual, nongovernmental organizations (NGO).

For all these audiences, the meeting agenda supplied information about critical issues in the field that need both intellectual and financial support, making the case to CEOs of NGOs, for example, that their support is essential for advancing the field. Finally, the meeting provided a forum for the initiation of a humanitarian aid future leaders program. Its intent is to bring younger, talented field workers into these discussions and into new relationships with senior leaders as mentors.

A marketing plan may be narrowly defined or multi-layered and integrated. (More on integration in a later post.)

Focusing on local visibility to ensure enrollment – A child welfare agency in central Massachusetts offers residential programs, outpatient services, family stabilization programs and foster care. The children served by this nonprofit organization are referred by the state’s child welfare services agency. The organization’s business model relies upon payment per services provided, so success requires a continuing stream of appropriate referrals.

Thus, the leadership of the organization decided on a relatively narrow marketing effort to enhance reputation and keep the programs at capacity. The marketing plan currently has three main thrusts: focus groups to assess service quality; a persuasive campaign video available on its Web site; and constant relationship building with local leaders via special events, breakfast meetings, facility tours, etc.

Creating the time to learn more – Joanne Edgar, a consultant and former head of strategic communications at the Edna McConnell Clark Foundation, writes about reasons to communicate. Her “Using Strategic Communications to Support Families” published by the Annie E. Casey Foundation, is an excellent brief guide to planning. The reasons to communicate will be familiar to those of you who have devoted your lives to social change: to get attention,to create a buzz, to inform, to inspire, to build trust, to organize, to change public perception, to disseminate information, and many more.

And to get your creative juices going, dedicate a half hour several times each week to review some of the current nonprofit marketing literature; there is so much available online. Think of yourself as an emerging expert – ultimately, you will have to pick the sensible approach or set of tools that works for your agency. Painfully, many of us have learned that a large or small communications effort scattered over disparate audiences, without integration into a solid plan, can waste time and money.

Find a marketer who has a blog whose perspective you respect: I like Shel Holtz’s blog:  Consult organizations like the Society for New Communications Research; its portal is rich with information and opportunities. One of the great things about learning about social media is that examples suggested by experts like Shel are always embedded in a real live context. So you can know and feel immediately how it might be useful to your agency – or file it away in your memory bank for future use.

In the nonprofit world of the Northeast, where I live, marketing is an accepted concept. But how many times have we heard a nonprofit CEO express frustration that a valuable program does not have sufficient enrollment?

Ironically, some nonprofits fail to engage in or implement a viable marketing plan due to a worry that there isn’t enough staff or money to handle the response. So some of the best nonprofit work continues to be a well-kept secret, just the opposite of what we really need or want.

International Marketing Wine Tasting Video

Monday, January 28th, 2008

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The views and opinions on this blog are solely those of the contributors and do NOT necessarily reflect the official opinions of the Boston Chapter of the American Marketing Association.