The Struggle of Non-Profit Marketing

After entering back into the for-profit world after 8 years of working behind non-profit doors, there is one question that sticks out to me. 

Why do many nonprofits not treat marketing as a priority in the budget? Yes, we all understand donors want to make sure their dollars are making a difference.

But, the reality is if all businesses, nonprofit or not, aren’t allocating enough time and or money to share the story you have to offer, then you probably are missing out on new donors and even new customers. Most of the time my marketing budget was around $3K – $5K per year and that wasn’t even hitting .05% of our overall budget! So, what I would find myself doing is spending time searching for in-kind donations to make an idea come to life or convince myself it just wasn’t important enough among the many other responsibilities I needed to be doing anyways. Like that fundraising event I needed to plan the committee meeting for yesterday.

Now after getting outside the walls and being able to look back, I see why marketing sometimes get pushed aside.  No matter the business, marketing can be hard and it can expensive. There is not a right or wrong answer. Now, with social media in the mix, there are so many marketing tactics to choose from and so much more time involved. On top of that, turnover in staff can be high, making marketing consistency hard. Oftentimes there isn’t even a dedicated staff even focused on marketing. Oh, and let’s not forget that the whole time we’re setting a budget on “promised” dollars that we think we should receive next year based on future grant applications and past donation trends.

That’s why I love working at 502 and being able to help people like you feel confident about the marketing decisions you make. With funding not always secure, a company like 502 is a safe “hire” or addition to your team that can be budgeted annually and quite possibly be cheaper if you’re not having to pay for someone’s insurance and retirement benefits.  If funding gets cut, it much easier to put us on hold for a while rather than have to cut staff.

I challenge you to take a look at where marketing sits as a priority for your business or nonprofit. Are you letting it sit on the back burner and hoping that word of mouth alone will get you what you need? Stop making excuses and start creating a plan to help achieve marketing success. Remember, no matter the size or type of business, nonprofit or not, what you do is important.  So, make sure everyone is hearing your story!

About Leah

Leah's our VP of GTD (Getting Things Done)! Our clients have someone they can count on to make sure great ideas become reality... Learn more