Should Non-profits Market Themselves?


A blue header image featuring an icon of hands holding each other with a heart above them in the center and faded helping icons in the background

Non-profit organizations, sometimes called not-for-profits, are charitable organizations that do not seek to gain a profit for the owner(s) of the organization. Instead, non-profits raise funds for specific goals or services to meet various needs locally, nationally, and even internationally. There are over 1 million non-profits in the United States (Source: Council of Nonprofits).

Just like their for-profit counterparts, non-profits face the same kinds of market challenges. They have to stand out to their audience (namely, their donors), they have to compete with other non-profits, and they have to stay relevant in both their services and their business models. It can be tempting to believe that these issues do not apply to non-profits since their goals are philanthropic. Unfortunately, that is often not the case. Here are a couple of the issues that non-profits face and ways that marketing can help solve them.

Mission creep

One of the best parts of non-profit organizations is their charity work. Thanks to the thousands of non-profits across the country, more people are fed, housed, clothed, healed, and looked after. As with people, sometimes an organization’s best quality can become its biggest weakness. In an attempt to solve all the problems, non-profits risk what’s known as “mission creep,” or moving away from their original goals.

How can marketing help with this? A good marketing strategy involves making your mission clear to your audience. And, for your mission to be clear to your audience, it must first be clear to you. Reminding people who you are and what you do will help to reinforce your mission. It will also provide you with a consistent mark against which you can measure your organization.

Online presence

More and more, people look to the internet to find information. Having a good online presence (social media, a website, etc.) is important for informing current donors and attracting new ones. A lot of non-profits do not prioritize this, and they tend to give their website the shortest end of that stick. It’s perfectly understandable—non-profits have important matters to attend to. But, since most non-profits rely on the support of donors, an online presence is more of a necessity and less of a luxury.

Nowadays most people access the web through mobile devices. Typically, when a non-profit chooses not to prioritize having a good website, they end up with sites that function best on traditional computers. When combined, this creates the perfect situation for driving donors AWAY from your site and maybe even your organization. If donors are unable to easily load your site on their mobile devices, or if it’s too hard to send in donations, they’re more likely to give up and take their support elsewhere. To prevent losing donors, you want a website that has responsive design. Responsive means that it looks good and functions smoothly on both traditional desktop computers and on mobile devices.

We succeed when you do.

Non-profits are truly great organizations. Caring for fellow people, animals, and the earth are all noble causes and we thank you for your work. Here at Bold River Marketing, we’d love to partner with you by taking the stress of marketing off your plate and freeing you up to do what you do best. Contact us today for help with marketing your non-profit.

, ,