This fist chapter of The Nonprofit Marketing Guide, details 10 realities that should be incorporated into your nonprofit marketing strategy. This list seems to provide the reader with a baseline of ideas that the authors can build upon throughout the remainder of the book.
Reality # 1: Marketing is not a dirty word.
The authors explain this reality by telling the reader to think of marketing more like a conversation at the dinner table than a megaphone and a soap box. In order for it to be effective, marketing needs to be a dialogue between you and your target audience.
Reality #2: There’s no such thing as the General Public.
“If the hammer doesn’t hit the nail on the head, take a look at the skills of the carpenter not the hammer.” This reality explains that in trying to reach everyone, you’re going to reach no one. Instead, look to target a specific audience and focus on marketing towards them.
Reality #3: You need to build your own media empire.
The authors explain that publishing your own content (through online content) can be more effective than trying to market though mainstream outlets. Publishing content that is targeted toward a specific audience can help build your media empire and increase your marketing effectiveness.
Reality #4: All generations- including seniors- are online.
The biggest increase in internet users (2005-2008) was in the 70-75 year old age group. This reality shows that the gap between the number of old and young internet users is closing. Excluding seniors from your online marketing strategy may hinder your progress.
Reality #5: Nonprofit communications are transforming into community organizations.
The authors use this reality to explain how a smart nonprofit marketer uses her supportive fan base, and their large networks, to not only fundraise but also to, as it’s put, “friendraise.” These community teams can also be effectively used to combine the essential functions of marketing, fundraising, communications, and information technology.
Reality #6: Personal and organizational personality, or brands, are blending.
The authors challenge the reader to think about her own personality and voice and how that impacts the organization’s brand. She also explains that your staff should present themselves as real human beings who care about your organization’s cause.
Reality #7: Nonprofit marketing takes more time than money.
With the internet helping to keep costs low, building an effective marketing strategy doesn’t take a lot of money. It does take time and effort, however, to create a community of supporters that are invested in your nonprofit.
Reality #8: You’ve already lost control of your message–stop pretending.
As soon as you put anything out to the public (whether online or through print media), the message is already out of your control. The authors explain that while you can’t stop how a reader responds to your message (by posting negative reviews online, for example), you can control how you respond to the feedback.
Reality #9: Marketing is not fundraising, but it’s essential to it.
Marketing can also be used to find volunteers, change public policy and raise awareness for your specific cause. Fundraising, however, will always be unsuccessful without an effective marketing strategy.
Reality #10: Old fashioned basics still work best, even online.
Having basic, but fundamental, online marketing tactics is a more effective strategy than worrying about (and poorly implementing) the latest social media tool.