Is Better Marketing the Answer?

Does your nonprofit need better marketing or is something else limiting the number of clients you served and donor support you receive?

Here are two answers to the same question “How is your niece doing?”:

1. Good. Her husband has finally been arrested for his abusiveness. She is living at home and receiving food from the 10th Street Pantry.

2. Good. Her husband has finally been arrested for his abusiveness. She is living at home and receiving food from The Good Life Pantry (TGLP). TGLP has convinced her to serve nutritional meals and you can see a change in the way the children look and act.

TGLP is creating a meaningful change in the lives of the people they serve and the community recognizes and appreciates what TGLP is doing. If the 10th Street Pantry had the capacity to serve more families, would you advise them to advertise more? Does TGLP need a marketing program or is their word of mouth good enough? Should either pantry spend their money on marketing or mission?

The purpose of marketing is to ensure the prospective customer knows you exist, have a product or service, and that the product or service meets an important need.

It is easy to imagine that TGLP is at the top of everyone’s list. Almost everyone in the community who deals with people in need of food knows about them. However, it is unnecessary for TGLP to advertise.

TGLP still needs donors. Their ability to do more than just feed the hungry makes them the clear choice among local food pantries. TGLP has a great story to tell. It is a story donors like to hear. Donors want to know that their gifts create meaningful, durable change.

By the way, at which pantry would you rather work? Which do you think has the easiest time hiring the best people available?

Next Step:

Analyze your programming or hire someone to help you determine what changes are necessary to eliminate your need for marketing

Develop a plan to make the changes the evaluation identified or hire someone to help you

Measure and document the change in your clients’ lives that result from the programming changes

It is expensive and time consuming to do the objective analysis. Missing the opportunity to deeply touch each life is more expensive.

The organizations with the highest sustainability are making meaningful and durable changes in the people they serve. They have high capacity utilization because they deliver highly valued services.

Will your nonprofit be the best one in town by the end of 2012?


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