Marketing for Tips: Marketing Management for Nonprofit Organizations

It’s not to much of a stretch to compare museums and other nonprofits to a waiter/waitress. Both often receive some sort of base funding but depend upon monetary supplements by their customers and visitors to survive or expand.On a limited budget a nonprofit must not simply convince people to donate money, but convince them that despite the appearance of stability the organization needs their support.

Marketing for nonprofit focuses on building support for the cause or organization. In comparison, “for profit” organizations focus on people fulfilling a perceived need with their service or product. The way these two business structures operate and appeal to their targets vary but the way they market themselves are in different ends of the marketing spectrum in terms of content. According Successful Marketing Strategies for Nonprofit Organizations by Barry McLeish, nonprofit organizations compete among themselves “in roughly four areas: programmatical or technical superiority, quality of programs or products, superior support services, and taking advantage of marketing trends (88).

Below are 2 key methods for marketing nonprofits:

  1. Social Media.
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McLeish further asserts the “internet has allowed research capabilities to increase proportionately [.] [O]rganizations can now tailor their marketing programs according to the digital behavior of those they are following as well as that of their friends (Preface xvi).” If someone Likes or Follows the organization’s page on a social media platform the organization now has access to one more potential donor. Now, the organization can produce advertisements for “free”… well in the sense that they don’t have to pay another website or search engine/etc to host their advertisement. They have the viewers,the medium to send their message, and hashtags allowing for users to self-categorize to reach their desired audience.

2. Transparency and Emotions.

ASPCA advertisement from

People want to see what their money is being used for or can be used for. Nonprofits involving animals and children frequently appeal to people’s emotions by showing a child or animal in need and offering a simple solution: if the viewer donated money this child or animal and many more like them will have a better life. Here, they gave the audience a distressing image then the ability to multiply it in their minds. Sometimes the advertisement will even have a quick assertion to add urgency.

Here is where nonprofits differ from other organizations: you can show the audience what your organization does and what the audience can do to help. Essentially, nonprofits give the audience power. Having transparency by showing your workers and volunteers in action further confirms that the organization’s efforts are legitimate and can be trusted with donations. Also for transparency, social media can be a great tool to share the organization’s actions, promotions and causes.

Overall, to bring attention to your cause the power lays in the audience.