Hold the presses, because here's a revelation; are you ready? …marketing is at the heart of all your nonprofit activities. Yes, you heard correctly; marketing is an integral component of achieving your mission. It's critical to your successful fundraising and to your on-going sustainability; it should not be an afterthought.
If the community doesn't fully understand your good work, they won't line up to get involved.
It is important to understand that marketing strategies for a nonprofit organization are much different than they are for marketing products to customers. Nonprofit marketing is much more inclusive to your mission, and therefore it is critical to look at the whole enchilada. Please listen carefully; contrary to popular opinion, nonprofit marketing is not advertising, it is not about a cool logo, or a flashy website; it is… ready? …about effectively communicating your value in the community.
In order to effectively communicate your value, a systemic marketing strategy is vital. First, you must understand your significance to the community and then you must present your case of achievement in a manner that is understood by the appropriate audiences. To effectively communicate your worth, it is important that you apply the "Triad of Value": 1) UNDERSTAND community need, 2) DEVELOP effective programming (with measurable outcomes), and 3) DEMONSTRATE consumer impact. Once your strategy is designed, all your marketing tactics should be carefully intertwined with these three principles.
At Questus Strategies we call this process, "Holistic Nonprofit Marketing". It's a nontraditional approach to developing your marketing strategy. At the core of this approach is an understanding that marketing is at the center of the organization. A "holistic” strategy is developed by thinking about your organization as a whole, which includes its place in the broader community and society, in the lives of its consumers, and its niche among other service providers.
Holistic marketing works to develop and maintain multiple perspectives of all the organizations' activities in regard to the broader universe. It should be applied early, and liberally, and permeate the organization at a high level.
I'm interested in your thoughts on marketing's importance in sustainability and your comment is appreciated.