FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS: MARKETING AND COMMUNICATION
In order to understand the world of "marketing and communication" it would
be helpful to begin with a number of definitions:
Marketing: a process designed to bring about the voluntary exchange of values between a nonprofit organization and its target market, such as a transfer of a donation in exchange for addressing a social need, recognition, or a feeling of good will.Market: an audience of potential constituents that have certain characteristics in common.Target market: a group of constituents that have certain characteristics in common, toward which a concerted effort is to be directed.Public relations: the activity of developing public awareness among opinion leaders and the general public; attitude of the public toward an organization.Advertising: to communicate through mass media to persuade people to take a particular action, such as buying or giving, or to form an opinion about a subject. When material is paid for, it is fully controlled in content and presentation.
Branding: a process that utilizes market research in the development of an organizational identification that positions the nonprofit at a desired level in the marketplace and moves people to meet their desires and needs through involvement in the organization (use of services, volunteering, and financial support).
role does marketing and communication play in the nonprofit
Normally nonprofits are defined by their mission, vision and programs.
They can have a global mission such as responding to the health needs of people afflicted with AIDS,
but if those who need the service or those who are willing to fund it do not know about it, it will go
unnoticed and fail. It would be like Coca-Cola dropping its universally recognized brand or label, and putting
its soda in a plain unmarked bottle or can. No one would buy it.
The role of marketing and communication is the act of tailoring a nonprofit and its programs to best fit constituent
(customer) needs. This involves research and planning. The organization must then launch and sustain a communication
plan to make sure its target market is influenced to utilize the service or product and or provide support.
What is marketing?
"Marketing is the discipline that applies whenever one has the challenge of influencing the behavior of others."
That finds expression in a wide range of activities that make sure the organization is continuing to meet the needs
of its customers and in doing so gets value in return. (Example: A mental health clinic provides knowledge about mental
health issues and expert clinicians. The local county mental health department exchanges that for referrals of individuals
and families and payment for service.)
How is marketing
different than public relations?
The public relations program disseminates the nonprofit's messages developed to influence
behavior and includes ongoing activities that ensure the organization has a strong public image.
Usually public relations are conducted through the media, such as newspapers, television, magazine,
the Internet, etc. While much of public relations is preplanned and intentional, it is also reactive
to issues or occurrences. Public relations should be part of every crisis management plan. (Example: When
a fire occurs in the community museum a public relations effort is launched to reassure the constituents of
the ongoing viability of the collection.) No nonprofit can sustain and grow over time if it ignores either
long term marketing or current public relations.
this fit within a nonprofit's communications effort?
A total communications program encompasses advertising, promotion, marketing, public relations,
publicity and sales. These five components come into focus using a quote from Reader's Digest by M.
Booth and Associates. This story is found on www.managementhelp.org. "
if the circus is coming to
town and you paint a sign saying 'Circus Coming to the Fairground Saturday', that is advertising. If you
put the sign on the back of an elephant and walk it into town, that is promotion. If the elephant walks
through the mayor's flower bed, that is publicity. And if you get the mayor to laugh about it that is public
relations. If the town's citizens go to the circus, you show them the many entertainment booths, explaining
how much fun they will have spending money at the booths, answer their questions and they spend a lot of their
money, that is sales." The research into the town's past response to circuses and the kind of acts, animals
and other parts of the circus lead to an overall marketing plan that encompasses the exchange between the circus and the town.
marketing for the organization?
Some nonprofits are large enough to employ a professional marketer or engage a specialized firm.
Most nonprofits do not have such resources, needing to attend first to general, financial, and program
management; human resources; and information technology. In these organizations this critical function
might remain in the office of the chief executive officer or someone who is specifically appointed to attend to it.
an organization go about marketing?
Marketing must be part of the strategic planning process and encompass a long range set of goals,
objectives and budget. It must be developed into an intentional and articulated strategic marketing plan.
Rather than briefly outlining the components of a marketing plan we would prefer to share the five steps.
- Step 1 Set marketing goalsStep 2 - Position the organizationStep 3 - Conduct a marketing auditStep 4 - Develop a marketing plan
- Step 5 - Develop a promotional plan
Fortunately there are a number of excellent resources to guide the organization through this process. The above five steps are laid out in
Marketing Workbook for Nonprofit Organizations Volume 1: Develop the Plan, 2nd Edition by Gary J. Stern and Elana Centor (March 2001)
Another excellent resource is the "Marketing Matrix
Planning Tool" utilized
in the board training program of the ASU Lodestar Center. It can be adapted
for organizations from the following table:
What is branding
for a nonprofit?
The definition of branding is given at the beginning of this FAQ. Branding of the organization
includes the look and feel of the physical site(s) and communications including how employees and volunteers
transmit this brand through word and actions. An example of successful branding efforts in the nonprofit world is
Habitat for Humanity. Habitat for Humanity has successfully branded itself to the point where the name of the
organization instantly conjures an image of volunteers building homes for those in need.
First, as your organization seeks
to do board development, recruit a volunteer that has background in the
complicated field of communication, marketing and public relations.
Second, review the firms who specialize in these areas in the community
to determine the feasibility of engaging them at least in a consultant role.
Finally, search the Internet for sources such as www.managementhelp.org.
In addition, some recommended books are listed below.
R Anderson (Georgetown University) and Philip Kotler (Northwestern
University), Strategic Marketing for Nonprofit
Organizations 6th Edition. (Upper Saddle Rive,
NJ: Prentice Hall, 2003).
Gary J. Marketing Workbook for Nonprofit Organizations 2nd
Edition (St. Paul: Amherst H Wilder Foundation,
R. Christine Communication Toolkit Santa Monica,
CA: Cause Communications, 2005) www.causecommunications.org
(This list of questions regarding Marketing and Communication has been developed by the many
persons and organizations seeking assistance from the Lodestar Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofits
Innovation. We invite you to add your questions and reactions through the"Ask the Nonprofit Specialist"
section of the center's website so that we might improve and expand these FAQ.)
Please note that websites frequently change
and while we endeavor to keep links current, some might not
work. When you encounter such a problem you can help us by
sending an e-mail to [email protected] so that we might
investigate and make changes to our information and links.
Copyright © 2010
Arizona Board of Regents for and on behalf of the ASU Lodestar
Center for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Innovation, College
of Public Programs, Arizona State University. All rights
reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced,
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Last updated: 05/10/2010
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