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  About the Institute for Nonprofit Marketing

Marketing -- an overview

The purpose of this section is to introduce the basic terminology and concepts of marketing. Marketing is a focus on the needs and desires of clients through a communication strategy designed to achieve your nonprofit mission to motivate and service that market of clients. The marketing manager is client-oriented rather than product-oriented. Your nonprofit must be responsive to the needs of its clients. In establishing your marketing strategy, identify your public, client market, donor market, and your mission's service or product.

Public: The public is the group of people or other organizations which actually or potentially benefit or impact your organization. Your nonprofit probably has several public which you deal with regularly. Examples of nonprofit publics are volunteers, board members, foundations, donors and so on. From your perspective, you have several publics which you must maintain a relationship. Your task is to figure out how you benefit each of your publics and how you benefit from each public. Take the time out and make a list for your own organization. You will find this an essential step in the organization of your corporate plan.

Client Market: Your client market is made up of the consumers of your nonprofits services and programs. This is not necessarily a one way relationship. Even if you charge you clients little or nothing for your services, you expect to exchange at least participation and cooperation.

Donor Market: Your donor market consists of volunteers, individual donors, business donors, foundations and other resource providers. Most nonprofits must view donors as a primary target market to attract resources and remain viable.

Another helpful exercise is to chart out your donor market and figure out what the exchanges can or should look like. For example, foundations which fund environmental causes fulfill their mission by providing an environmental nonprofit with a grant. Volunteers exchange their time and energy for a sense of accomplishment, cooperation, community and personal satisfaction. This process is called market segmentation.

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