What Makes Non-Profit Marketing Unique?

Marketing is a complex beast, often because it’s necessary to tailor messages to certain groups for maximum impact. Promoting a company or cause also includes specific challenges if the organization is a not-for-profit entity. Keep reading to learn why non-profit marketing cannot and should not exclusively follow the same principles as a traditional corporation.

Non-Profits Focus on Developing and Furthering Missions

At a company that exists to make profits, the goal is usually to spend an amount that’s less than the money being generated through sales. In that sense, it’s all about transactions that take place between corporations and consumers.

However, at a non-profit, the aim is to use money from donors to clarify and expand a mission statement. Perhaps a non-profit assists people who are bullied because of their sexual orientations or reaches out to people in third-world countries that don’t have consistent access to clean water. Regardless of the specifics, people who support non-profits are often doing so because they want to bolster their beliefs and convey hope for a brighter future. That means transactions between non-profits and donors usually involve intangible things, like trustworthiness and faith.

Non-Profit Marketers Must Emphasize Relationship Building

When goods are being sold, for-profit marketers can frequently depend on the quality of the product or service to encourage customer loyalty. In contrast, non-profit marketers have to work especially hard to create and foster strong relationships with donors. Although a non-profit might sell products to supplement income, it’s the genuine nature of relations between donors and non-profits that really causes the dollars to pour in.

Blog Posts Published By Non-Profits Can Cover Comparatively Broader Topics

A blog is a helpful inbound marketing outlet for both non-profits and traditional corporations. However, speaking generally, the blog of a non-profit is different because it can cover a much wider assortment of topics. The goal is to post things that would be considered interesting by a wide group of people.

For example, a non-profit blog dedicated to worldwide AIDS prevention might publish a post about how the perception of HIV-positive people has changed between now and the 1980s or talk about how the Oscar-winning film Dallas Buyer’s Club recently helped the world revisit the topic. It could also discuss how celebrities are pitching in to help mobilize AIDS prevention causes across the world.

Although this isn’t always the case, blogs written by for-profit companies are usually targeted towards current or potential buyers of products. That results in content that’s less diverse.

Non-Profit Marketing Is Propelled by Storytelling

As mentioned above, non-profit marketing is all about drumming up support for a cause by honing in on things that are not initially measured in dollars. People frequently feel compelled to support non-profits because they believe the organization is empowering personal ideals.

A person who donates a substantial amount of money to an organization dedicated to cancer research might be doing so to pay tribute to a loved one who’s fighting a battle with breast cancer. In a case like that, an individual who donates might also want to tell the story that goes along with whatever caused him or her to leap into action by reaching into a wallet or giving credit card details.

That’s one of the many reasons why successful non-profit fundraising campaigns usually have some component that allows people to share with others why they’ve chosen to support a particular cause. That element of personalization makes for great human-interest stories that may be able to achieve an even greater reach when shared across social media channels.

Hopefully, you’ll now be able to recognize some of the distinctive differences between marketing for a non-profit versus a for-profit corporation. The lines between the two can sometimes seem blurred, but if you try and take the same approach for each, it’ll be difficult or even impossible to get good results.