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Arkansas State University

Marketing for a Nonprofit

Marketing sometimes goes overlooked in nonprofit organizations. Many nonprofits pay a lot of attention to their active projects, but they fail to develop a viable plan to communicate their vision and their needs. Marketing for a nonprofit can be similar to marketing for a for-profit business, but it also comes with its own unique challenges. One aspect of an online MPA program with a focus on nonprofit management is how to conduct marketing for a nonprofit.

Different From For-Profit Businesses

The main difference in marketing for a nonprofit versus a for-profit business is the different goals of the two organizations. A for-profit business ultimately aims to increase revenues. Nonprofit organizations, on the other hand, do not prioritize financial goals. Rather, they work to advance causes, such as improved education, poverty alleviation, environmental activism and healthcare reform, to name a few. Nonprofits must use any revenue they raise to advance their organizations’ causes.

Because they cannot retain their revenues as profit, marketing for a nonprofit involves a different type of overall strategy than that for profit-driven businesses. Nonprofits are not seeking to capture markets or edge out their competition in the same way that for-profit businesses do. Instead, they look for ways to enhance their fundraising and increase donations, whether that means money, volunteer hours or goods.

Develop a Marketing Plan

For nonprofit marketing to succeed, organizations must create detailed plans from the outset. The marketing plan should arise from a deep understanding of the organization’s overall goals, including the organization’s mission as well as the long-term and short-term milestones it is working toward.

With clear objectives in mind, a nonprofit can develop a marketing plan that fits its overall strategy and organizational ethos. Any steps the organization takes must match the marketing objectives, and the marketing plan should include information about the nonprofit’s budget and the percentage of its funds earmarked for marketing.

Compose Your Marketing Message

After an organization has built a solid marketing plan, the next vital step is to compose a marketing message that resonates with the intended audience. Every organization has a story, and every cause is important to someone. Marketing for a nonprofit should align with both of these realities.

Another aspect of developing a marketing message involves taking the time to understand the target audience. Nonprofits should find out who their donors are, what they are looking to accomplish personally, and how they best receive messaging. With this information, nonprofits can develop marketing efforts suited to their particular audiences.

Understand Your Results

One vital final step in nonprofit marketing consists of tracking the results of marketing campaigns. Before launching a marketing campaign, the marketing team should decide which factors will indicate success, whether that means increased donations, new volunteers, improved subscriptions or some other measure.

Nonprofits can then track the results of the marketing campaign. Depending on those results, the marketing team can adjust its efforts for future campaigns, or it can repeat the process for similar results.

The coursework for an online MPA program in nonprofit management covers many of the fundamentals of marketing for a nonprofit. Graduate students will learn how to conduct strategic planning for nonprofits, as well as how to use marketing tools to improve awareness and raise funds.

Learn more about the Arkansas State University online MPA program.


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