Authentic Marketing for Not-For-Profits: 5 Tips

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If you’ve spent any time working in the not-for-profit sector recently, you will know that it can be a brutally competitive world, with things only set to get tougher.

On one hand, you’ve got the upper hand in representing a brand that is operating for public benefit, and, more often than not, meeting a community need. On the other, it’s fiercely competitive when it comes to obtaining corporate sponsorship and donations.

Having consulted to a myriad of not-for-profit groups over the past 20 years, I’ve been schooled by my clients on a thing or two. Here are a few things to consider when profiling a not-for-profit in today’s ever-changing landscape of marketing, PR and social engagement.

Cut to the chase.

What is the one thing you need to achieve and who really needs to hear it? Is it profile-raising, fundraising or social change? Plan the communications approach best needed to get your message across to the people that matter most.

Embrace the cause.

Who directly benefits from what you do, and what does their ‘voice’ actually sound like? Take time to genuinely understand the people you’re championing, their challenges, what matters most and how they’d like to be presented.

Sharpen your message.

How do you translate your need into a message that resonates? Share stories, promote understanding, and communicate goals that others can get involved in and that will genuinely make a difference.

Stay real, yet appeal.

It’s a fine balancing act, but how do you promote a cause without being self-serving, narcissistic or appear too commercially-driven? Set real outcomes, stay transparent in all marketing activity, and communicate success along the way.

Consistency is key.

How do you compete with corporate marketing on a not-for-profit budget? Planning is king, and consistency is key. Never forget that your cause, and the genuine benefit offered, will always be your biggest trump card.

A blog post by Melody Nalatu, Marketing Director at P4 Group.

Do you have experience in marketing for not-for-profits? What are some of your own tips? Let me know in the comments below, or connect with me on LinkedIn to chat.