Marketing for a nonprofit organization can present challenges to marketers. While basic marketing principles follow the same guidelines for products, there are differences in marketing for organizations that are nonprofits providing critical services, versus products from for-profit organizations. For-profit organizations can focus marketing messages on the delivered value and benefits of the products for the consumers. It’s relatively clear-cut.
On the other hand, nonprofits have a wider audience and often have no tangible product that can be delivered to its supporters. And, instead of more easily identified consumers, nonprofits must attract and retain donors who may be giving funds only when the spirit moves them. These are not necessity purchases per se; they are donations given to support something that is important to the donor. While donors and consumers can both be considered target markets, donors are driven by passion and causes rather than immediate needs and wants. They psychology is different.
Nonprofits need to use compelling visual marketing to appeal to donors. Top nonprofit marketers use powerful videos and photos of those whose lives will be changed by the organization. Testimonials and infographics are also important tools along with clear, targeted communications in order to retain the donors. A disaster may drive donations to quickly mount, but how are the donors retained over time?
Social media is an important tool for nonprofits to reach and engage donors. Branding is also critical to build and maintain a clear identity. And, social media campaigns have the added benefit of possibly going viral. Remember the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge? That was one of the top campaigns ever produced, generating $115 million in the summer of 2014 and garnered celebrity participation and donations.
All that from a bucket of ice.
Group Activities and Discussion Questions:
- Discuss the importance of marketing for nonprofits.
- Show several nonprofit campaigns:
- Make a wish: https://www.youtube.com/user/MakeAWishFoundation
- Water is life – 1st world problems: https://youtu.be/fxyhfiCO_XQ
- Project life jacket: https://www.facebook.com/ProjectLifeJacket/
- Truth: https://twitter.com/truthorange
- Water Aid: https://www.wateraid.org/us/get-involved/give-a-shit-donation-country-page
- World Wildlife Fund: https://twitter.com/wwf
- ALS Ice bucket challenge: http://www.alsa.org/fight-als/ice-bucket-challenge.html
- Divide students into teams and have each team select five different nonprofit organizations that they admire.
- Have each team delve more deeply into one of the nonprofits, making sure that each team has a different organization.
- Finally, have students develop a storyboard for a nonprofit organization.
Source: Allen, Z. (15 August 2019). 8 top nonprofit online campaigns that rocked social media. Socialbrite.org.