Nonprofit Marketing: why marketing is fundraising and fundraising is marketing

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In the last three weeks, I have been in conversations with nonprofit professionals and have heard the same message.

“Our (my) nonprofit does not value marketing. We (they) don’t understand why it is important.”

I have a physical reaction when I hear these words. It HURTS!

Because how can you fundraise if no one knows who you are? How can you find money, volunteers, students, followers, foster parents, or whatever you need if you don’t have a system for attracting like-minded people to you?

I say that in the Thanksgiving table of our economy, nonprofits are at the kids’s table. And in the Thanksgiving table of nonprofits marketing and communications is often at the kids’ table.

Because marketing folks may not be asking for money, they are not seen as important.

As if donors appear magically. They don’t. They appear with a focused, sustained effort to communicate your mission and vision to attract like-minded people.

This graphic is the Loyalty Index to show the pipeline of bringing people into your organization. (You might have seen it in my book.)

Audiences need to know who you are and have a positive impression of you, so they have a reason to initiate contact. And when they do, they need a reason to not only make that first contact, but to make a second contact to become repeat participants. That’s the job of marketing and fundraising. Those two disciplines create a system that is mutually supportive.

I see organizations whose marketing and fundraising people are at odds or are working in silos. Now you can see from the Loyalty Index that they are serving the same system of attraction. Not working together and valuing each other is costing them money.

All my Superstar Fundraising course teaches you is a methodology to feed that pipeline so people are becoming aware, learning more and taking action. And as a by-product, teaching everyone in your organization the value of marketing.

Marketing effectively is key to raising money. Telling your story effectively is key to raising money.

TRUE STORY. Melanie Scheetz at Foster and Adoptive Care Coalition said to me at their 30th anniversary luncheon, “We were able to grow so fast because you taught us how to tell our story.” Their ability to market themselves effectively was key to finding and keeping major donors.

So if you want to grow, if you want to raise more, do more, create better outcomes…focus on your marketing!