Marketing to non-profits: helping them help others helps you

Written By Steps To Faculty Published May 28th, 2010

Marketing to non-profits is never an easy task: they are not profit-driven; they tend to be much more rigorous when it comes to what they expect from any partner (at least regarding professional behavior and ethics); and they have a sometimes amorphous constellation of stake-holders that rely upon their services. Still, marketing to non-profits can be surprisingly easy – and below will explain why.

Step 1 understand what non-profits need

If you are marketing to non-profits, you have to understand what it is that they need: soup kitchens may need a cheap and easy way to get food to people who cannot physically come into the kitchen and who do not have any immediate relatives; an organization that helps elderly citizens with emotional problems may be looking for an affordable mode of entertainment for their patrons; and an organization that works with inner-city youth may need access to recreational space or access to tutors. The key to marketing to non-profits is to understand what it is they need and whether your company can fulfill that need.

Step 2 understand that non-profits are not money pits

Non-profits, by their very definition, do nothing for profit; they are in the business of helping people that may be unable to find help anywhere else. When you are marketing to non-profits, you have to appreciate the financial situation of the organizations in question: are they cash-strapped? Where does their funding come from? How reliable is that funding? One of the best and easiest ways to ingratiate your firm with a non-profit is to offer services at special discount rates; cut them a deal and they will come.

Step 3 Market with the clientele of non-profits in mind

Not all non-profits help the same people: some help the elderly; some help the poor; some help the emotionally troubled; some help different ethnic or racial groups. When you are marketing to a non-profit, you need to understand the needs of their clientele because, at the end of the day, helping their clientele is the raison d’etre for any non-profit. At the same time, you need to recognize the peculiar needs of local groups that use certain non-profits: if people using a soup kitchen tend to also be diabetics, maybe there is a logistical service your company offers that can provide the kitchen with emergency supplies at low cost in the event that something unexpected happens. If you know who they serve, you can find a marketing pitch that meets particular needs those people have.

When you market to a non-profit, you are marketing to a very special kind of entity: it is not so much about the money but about helping others the best on a shoe-string budget that really matters to them. Thus, if you want to help, make sure to know what their needs are, what they can afford, and who they are trying to help.


Roger Due

Investing in Your Destiny® & Coaching Program - Wealth Building Summit Dallas, Texas

My name is Roger Due and I am from Albuquerque, New Mexico and I am the owner of the Monsano software company. This has been an absolutely fantastic conference. This is the best I have ever been to.