Does Marketing and Fundraising Mix?

I was sitting in a marketing committee meeting the other day and it started my mind thinking about how fundraising and marketing mix. I started to wonder what kind of connection there is between marketing and fundraising. I think there is an obvious connection between sales and fundraising and being able to confidently and concisely talk about your nonprofit. But does running radio spots or television spots make a difference?

Fundraising is more about word-of-mouth and keeping & upgrading existing relationships. From what I have seen providing your donors with a good experience and talking with them about how their gift makes a difference is better for your organization than always trying to find new donors. The idea that keeping them is easier than finding them.

What about using marketing with a new annual fundraising plan? If you are trying to build community support, maybe there is a place for marketing. I don’t think that a solid marketing program is going to get very far in finding new major donors or upgrading existing donors. But, I think marketing could be a huge help in getting your message out there into the community. Helping build your image to a community that does not know you exist or change your perceived image to a community that has hear about you but doesn’t know what you do.

Do you use marketing campaigns at your nonprofit?  Have you found marketing to be an important piece of your annual plan?

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4 Responses to Does Marketing and Fundraising Mix?

  1. Janice Chan says:

    By marketing do you mean to raise awareness of a cause/organization’s work in general? Maybe I think of it differently (and admittedly, I do not come from a “marketing” background), but aren’t most pieces of a solicitation/campaign/event marketing? Don’t cases for support, annual reports, and letters to donors serve both marketing and fundraising purposes? If you run a spot on TV about all the starving children, aren’t you kind of hoping that viewers who want to help will then help (donate/volunteer) through your organization? At the basis of marketing, sales, and fundraising, is persuasion, and thus they seem to me all variations on a theme.

  2. BethP says:

    Marketing and marketing for money-raising, specifically, mix expecially well with social media outlets. Getting the word out is imperative, and the web is where people are spending most of their time.

  3. We try to develop an overall “marketing plan” for the season each year that plots out the fundraising letter campaigns, specific ideas for each of our events, the time frames for advertising, events and community participation activities that will increase our profile (participate as volunteers on-air for the local public radio station, attend Chamber of Commerce meetings, etc) and generally to chart out where we want to be and give thought to ways to get there, when to do the various activities, who should do them, all that. Is that what you mean by marketing? We include on this thoughts about logo-wear, gift shop stuff, volunteer recognitions, publicity events, etc.

  4. Teri White says:

    There is now such a thing as societal marketing, which is about selling an idea (or a social cause). The two mix, alright. They are two prongs of the same pitch.

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