It is not a secret that even nonprofit organizations just like their profit-oriented colleagues need to use different techniques and tools, sometimes very similar, to reach their goals, some of which are directed at raising funds – for both types of organizations. But then you might wonder if there is any difference between them and the marketing approach they could use. Of course, there is. And the difference is quite noticeable.
First of all, we should clarify the main target both profit and nonprofit organizations use marketing for is to raise money. The only difference is that business-oriented companies need clients and sales in order to get profit while social organizations – nonprofits, to be precise – need donors and supporters in order to promote and complete their mission, for example, running an educational project, funding a school, and so on. With the main goals being different those are the marketing approaches that will differ too, while the marketing tools and techniques will stay the same.
The principle of a business message when shortened to just a few words is quite simple: “you need or want something, we have it, so you buy it from us”. The consumer comes through one of the marketing channels to take something he wants and he is satisfied when he does it, having paid for it, of course.
There are no physical things nonprofits can give their supporters in return for their loyalty, assistance, support, and donations. But their supporters receive nonmaterial things in return – emotional and ethical satisfaction.
Both businesses and nonprofits spend
Expenses for both types of organizations are quite high when it comes to marketing activities. Yes, there are certain marketing techniques for almost each channel that can be free but still. The more you invest the better results you receive.
Another difference is the source of those expenses. Businesses usually invest part of their incomings or business credits while nonprofits can use different programs and apply for different grants that will provide them with funds needed for paid marketing activities. For example, Google can grant nonprofits a certain amount for paid Google Ads. Yes, there will be certain limitations applied to nonprofit campaigns but still, they will be able to use almost the whole scale of tools for their marketing needs.
Businesses always have to focus on profit. Otherwise, they will not be able to pay back their investments in operational and marketing activities. This is why a business budget will include sales (a profit they get from them), operational expenses, marketing budget, and sold services/goods markups. If there is no profit for the business then there will be no possibility to cover that budget. Nonprofits though can concentrate on the matter of their campaigns, having included their mission and message there. They will not need to think about markups, as well as about sales – it is only the efficiency that should worry nonprofits, meaning if they complete their mission or not. If their campaigns are successful they will get more donors and thus have a bigger budget for further operation, as well as for more marketing activities.
Now when talking about the digital world and all the opportunities it has to offer to both businesses and nonprofits it is pretty much the same – the same tools and techniques are available for both and both should use them in order to succeed in their activities.
For example, a website is a must-have tool for business as it can generate sales while for a nonprofit this tool will also be useful, stimulating donations, informing supporters, and raising awareness of the organization. The difference will concern mainly design. There is a certain difference in non-profit web design from a business one: different call-to-actions, for example, a different approach to content management and publication, a different tone of voice, and many other things.
Summarizing all things mentioned above it is clear that the main difference and thus the main accent each nonprofit should keep in mind when working on its marketing approach is its mission. No matter what you do – use classic tools and channels that have already proven their efficiency, test out and experiment with new ones, or mix both – your choice is always correct if those actions and decisions help you with your mission.
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