Why marketing shouldn't be considered a dirty word

3 Minutes Read

Okay, let’s get this straight: Marketing shouldn’t be considered a “dirty word” for nonprofits. In fact, marketing is actually essential to increasing brand awareness. However, if you're not marketing to the right people or are having your salespeople use the wrong messaging when selling to customers and clients, we can understand why you view marketing as taboo. Whether you're a CEO, co-founder, marketer, or professional of any kind, you're definitely going to want the mindset that your business can benefit from marketing.

We're here to change your mindset and explain why marketing is not a dirty word, the difference between marketing and fundraising, and the benefits of marketing for a nonprofit.

Why is marketing considered a "dirty word" in the first place?

Nonprofits think that referring to fundraising as marketing is faux pas. It's often deemed disrespectful to their constituents to refer to their efforts as marketing. I mean, who even started this thought process in the first place? If you think this way, you may want to take a step back and look at it from a fresh perspective.

Many nonprofits don't like the term "marketing" because they think it involves spending tons of money that they don't have. We'll admit that marketing can eat up a lot of money, but you don't need an endless budget in order to be successful. We even have a free resource specifically for nonprofits on a budget. It's time to change your perception that marketing is a dirty word and understand that marketing can greatly help your nonprofit.

The difference between fundraising and marketing 

Let's start from the beginning; fundraising and marketing are separate.

Fundraising is pretty self-explanatory. It means to “raise funds''. By fundraising, you're essentially seeking voluntary financial contributions towards your business' cause. It’s essential to raise awareness and support for your organization and the work that the talented people at your company do. Fundraising is supposed to not only fund your organization's mission, but also goes towards the development of new programs and innovative services for your organization. More fundraising dollars means more opportunities to expand your business! Plus, according to the experts at the Council of Nonprofits, fundraising is of major importance to your organization. They know what they're talking about!

Here are some ways your nonprofit can increase its donations and fundraising dollars:

  • Create a donation page on your website
  • Send out tailored donation letters
  • Incorporate a "donate" button into your emails
  • Host an event and encourage donations
  • Offer people to donate via text message
  • Develop a peer-to-peer campaign

On the other hand, there is also marketing. Marketing is intended to educate your audience on your brand and attract attention to it. Marketing is essentially a "go to market" approach with a message, brand, or offer. It's done by creating and delivering value in order to meet certain needs of a target market. Sometimes it involves advertising and selling a particular product or service. Nonprofit marketing and branding is done right if you have your audience feeling empathy towards your organization. You want to tug on their heart strings a little bit. 

Here are some marketing tactics every nonprofit should implement:

  • Have your creators develop content marketing tailored to your organization
  • Use tech to your advantage - set up an app for your business, utilize QR codes at events, and set up a powerful landing page on your website
  • Encourage your social media followers to vouch for you
  • Utilize your blog, social media, and email marketing content to your advantage

If you expect to increase donations, people have to know about your business first, what you do, and the impact you have. If this outreach is lacking, you can expect to miss your goals for donations.

The overlap of fundraising and marketing

In case you didn't know, fundraising and marketing actually have a pretty big overlap. Needless to say, the two are equally important for your nonprofits longevity.

Digital donations (fundraising) can't happen without a website or social media (marketing), right? If you're interested in getting your company on tv, you need PR and marketing to make this happen. Marketing research is required to figure out the target audience that’s willing to donate to your organization. Fundraising and marketing have to work together in order to properly help a nonprofit stay afloat - excluding one from the other will provide half of the results nonprofits need to survive. After all, how do you expect to get donations if people don't know about your company?

Benefits of marketing for a nonprofit

As a nonprofit, there are tons of avenues you can use for marketing: email marketing, content marketing, social media marketing on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter, T.V. and internet ads, influencer marketing, and Google ads.

Here are some ways marketing can help your nonprofit in the long run:

  • Increase your organization's brand awareness
  • Maintain contact with clients and donors
  • Build trust and empathy with your donors and volunteers
  • Attract necessary support for your organization
  • Effectively spread the message of who your organization is and what you do

In short, nonprofits need marketing as much as any other type of business. If you're looking for fundraising success, you need to believe that marketing is not a dirty word, but is actually quite crucial for the success of your business. The first step is making people aware of your business and educating them on what you do. Then you can start thinking about fundraising.

Are you feeling better about utilizing fundraising and marketing for your nonprofit? Have we converted you to believing that marketing is definitely necessary for your business? We have experience marketing for a number of nonprofits, so, you're looking for a little help on how to use fundraising and marketing techniques for your nonprofit, we'd be happy to help! Reach out to us today to set up your discovery call.

Picture of Stephanie Milne

Stephanie Milne

Stephanie is a digital marketer passionate about storytelling and content creation.