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  • JoRelle Grover

Why Non-Profits Need the Power of Marketing

Does your non-profit have a great purpose, but you struggle to meet your financial goals? Here's where marketing and purpose meet. In the business world, sales and marketing experts use marketing tools to advertise an event or sell a product or service. But its fundamentals can add focus to your purpose. For your message and purpose to reach many people, marketing is vital in empowering your non-profit.


Marketing is vital in empowering your non-profit



CREATING YOUR MARKETING PLAN

Setting your tone and knowing your audience is important when considering which type of marketing strategy is of the most benefit. You wouldn't tell your grandmother and your best friend the same story in the same way. Knowing your story and your audience helps you tell the right story to the right people in the right way. This is called your marketing plan. Your marketing plan needs to include a personal element, bringing the audience a sense of personal connection. The attitude you have about your story and marketing methods needs to also be considered. Even in these uncertain times, it is important to have a philosophy of plenty. Approach your “ask” and marketing plans with the idea that people want to give and have something to give.


MAKING A STATEMENT

One of the first things that should be decided in your marketing approach should be getting your message out and telling your story. It’s also important that you have a consistent mission statement, this will lead to creating your brand and how people will know your non-profit.


Jumpstart your approach: WHAT IS MY MESSAGE? WHICH STORY/STORIES DO I WANT TO SHARE? WHAT IS MY (CONSTANT) MISSION STATEMENT?

It’s easy to get lost on your focus if you provide multiple services or help many communities. While you need to absolutely make known your services and who you help (depending on the type of non-profit), it is crucial that people know why you are doing it. This all leads to making your mission statement prominent.


Usually your why is about highlighting a need and how your organization helps fill that need. It’s your reason for existing and people should automatically associate the need with your organization and vise versa. Successful marketing will make this association and help cement your purpose and mission.


Jumpstart your focus: IF SERVICES WE PROVIDE ARE OUR HOW, WHAT IS OUR WHY? WHERE CAN I SHARE MY WHY? WHAT STORY BEST SHOWS THAT WHY?




HOW TO TELL YOUR STORY

Make your marketing personal. While statistics are helpful, you need to put a story, a name, or a face to your cause. People forget stats, but stories are what stick. Donors want to know about the people behind the need and to know that what they give is making a tangible difference. Stories show the who behind the why of your non-profit and shows the human behind the statistics.

People forget stats, but stories are what stick.

It is more powerful to tell the story of a young South Sudanese girl who survived being orphaned and fled a civil war. Tell her journey of strife and success to become educated and empowered and not become a child bride, that she went on to attend nursing college. This is more engaging than to just say your organization helps orphans in Africa go to school. Your organization is impacting real people and making a difference, tell a story about it.


Jumpstart your story: WHOSE VOICE DO YOU WANT TO AMPLIFY? WHAT IS THEIR JOURNEY? AT WHAT POINT DID YOU MEET THEM ON THEIR JOURNEY? HOW ARE YOU BOTH CHANGED?





INVITE YOUR DONOR INTO THE STORY

Breaking down numbers also helps people see how their donation is being helped. An example is “If you give ‘X’ amount, that breaks down to ‘Y’ many blankets for the homeless.” It gives people a starting point and adds to the story of your organization. This also helps contextualize the need for people to help and how, even if they give a small donation, they can make a large difference. Most donors want to see where their contribution goes and how it is being used. People like to feel connected and involved if they’re investing their time and/or money into your non-profit. Having this information presented to them personalizes their commitment and interactions to your organization and your mission.


Let's review. These are your marketing basics:

  • Mission (Our Why: what need we meet)

  • Stories (Our Who: What voice we amplify, and where we met them on their journey)

  • Message (Our invitation into the story using stats, victories, thanks, and celebration)


HOW TO MARKET WITH HEART + SMARTS


Now that you know the marketing nitty-gritty, don't forget that how you use it makes a difference. How you approach your donors your attitude in your asking makes your marketing more powerful.


4 ACTIONS TO MAKE THE ASK

The Impact Foundation (Fargo, ND) speaks to having an attitude of plenty. The idea is that people genuinely want to help and have the means to.


  1. DECIDE ON AN ATTITUDE OF PLENTY: Having a positive mindset when approaching donors will break down barriers and engage with others about creative solutions and making goals.

  2. BREAK DOWN ASSUMPTIONS: The economic and social times we live in right now can make it hard to have this attitude or doubt that there are resources available. Never assume the economic capacity and ability someone has to give.

  3. ASK FOR WHAT YOU NEED: Research shows that if you have a mindset of plenty and ask for what you need people will generally rise up and meet that need. Being tentative and doubtful will not aid your non-profit in succeeding in its mission’s goals.

  4. REMEMBER GIVING GIVES BACK: Giving also has its own benefits. It has been proven that giving improves a persons’ health and that is something we all need right now.

What your non-profit does is important.

What your non-profit does is important. It impacts multiple lives and carries forth change. Non-profits need to be seen and heard in order to survive and thrive to carry out their mission. Marketing helps tell your story and invite others to help your organization and involve them in what you are doing. Effective marking of your non-profit’s message and goals can literally change the world.

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