Four Marketing Issues that NGOs Face

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Marketing and nonprofit work don’t seem to go together. After all, the very essence of marketing is to sell. Whether that’s a product or an idea, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that it has to grab attention and sell to people. Nonprofit work, on the other hand, doesn’t really sell anything.

And this is where most of us go wrong. Nonprofit organizations need to grab people’s attention, too, and they could do that with the right marketing. But, unlike for-profit companies, they face a different set of marketing challenges. Here are the four most common ones:

Resources for Online Presence

As we all know, laying the groundwork for having a strong online presence takes many resources. Hiring a web developer alone can already take a huge chunk of the nonprofit’s overall budget. That doesn’t even count yet the staff that would maintain the website, make sure it’s always running and updated on the latest news and information about the nonprofit’s work. It’s also important for them to invest in consistent marketing. Doing programmatic advertising to catch the attention of the people would go a long way for them.

But nonprofit organizations need to establish an online presence. It’s crucial to their work because it’s how they’ll get their message and mission across. It’s how they will be able to connect to prospective funders and volunteers. And they need these funders and volunteers to continue making more impact.

Engaging in Social Media

Creating pages on many social media platforms is also a crucial part of a nonprofit’s work. It’s where they could share more information about their story and work. It’s how they could connect with prospective funders. And, most of all, it’s where they could actively engage with people.

By maintaining their social media pages, the nonprofit’s ultimate goal is to make people care about their cause. This might be easily doable. All they would need to do is post photos, write their stories, and talk to people who comment on the posts. But it’s actually much harder than it seems.

Because they’re a nonprofit, it’s much harder to catch people’s attention and to make them care. Nonprofits aren’t selling these people something that they want or need. They are appealing to their empathy, which is never easy.

Marketing as the Last Priority

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As mentioned before, acquiring enough funding is the most common hurdle that nonprofits face. Their mission, goals, and desired impact won’t have anything to show if they don’t have the right funding to implement their programs. So when they lay out their budget plan, they consider first more pressing matters such as salaries of their staff, equipment for the program, etc. These things take precedence over the nonprofit’s online marketing.

This is a critical issue because, as also mentioned before, online marketing is a crucial part of their work. Without a strong online presence, they won’t be able to properly engage with their audience and potential volunteers. It would make it harder for them to appeal to prospective funders. Balancing the budget of a nonprofit is a very tricky business, and it prevails as an issue.

Death of Print

Yes, online marketing is important for nonprofits. But they also suffer a bit from the fact that people use printed materials less and less. It’s fairly common now for nonprofits to develop digital impact reports. This type of reporting makes reading an engaging activity. It makes the overwhelming presentation of impact numbers a little bit easier to digest.

But the issue is that by no longer printing their materials, nonprofits rarely reach those who live in underserved communities. The people in these places have difficulty accessing the internet. So, in the end, they are deprived of the information that nonprofits share about their work.

Whenever we think of the challenges that nonprofit organizations face, the first thing that comes to mind is the funding. Because of their very nature as a nonprofit, getting the right funding to implement their programs takes a lot of work. Then, the next challenge we would think of is getting staff and volunteers. It’s all about making people care about the cause of the nonprofit. We would carry on, coming up with various issues that are common in the social sector. But there’s one issue that many of us tend to forget. And that is marketing.

By recognizing such issues, we could understand the struggle that nonprofits face. It would make us more empathetic to their work. And it would spur us to do our part and help them fulfill their mission. After all, they are doing the world of good. No matter what their cause is, it’s always for the benefit of the underserved.

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