It’s the Marketing Thing


Whenever I use the “m” word—marketing—in a meeting or presentation where nonprofit folks are gathered I immediately see a reaction ripple across the faces of those present.

It’s usually some combination of bewilderment, frustration and revulsion. A strange mix that signals a serious lack of understanding of “marketing”.

All of us market ourselves every day.

From the moment we get out of bed, we’re showing who we are and what we’re about. The beauty of it is we get to choose how we present ourselves. That is if we’re self aware of who we are and what we want to be. Every action—conscious or unconscious—telegraphs a clear message.

The question is, “What message will it be?”

If we see ourselves as authentic and genuine, that’s the way we’ll want to be perceived by others. If we want to feint and dodge, we’ll do just that. Finally, if we just ignore those around us, that too, will send a powerful message. All marketing.

Ignoring another sends the message of indifference. It’s the attitude of no interest, irrelevance or even arrogance.

It’s a shame this is the stance so many nonprofit leaders take with their investors.

“You’re kidding me,” you say. “No, I’m not.”

Look no further than the abysmal donor retention rate. Investors who are listened to, encouraged and thanked come back for more. With the overall rate in the mid-30’s, that says two thirds of donors to charitable causes are being ignored.

Perhaps you’re really authentic and genuine. That’s good. Your donors would like to know that too.

How do you do that?

Marketing. Communicating in a way your investors will both appreciate and understand. Communicating that it’s about them—their dreams, visions and goals—not yours.

It’s not hard. Just remember what our mothers taught us, “others first.”

It’s the essence of Principle 2 of The Eight Principles™, Begin at the Beginning™.

This goes a long way—especially with those who want to invest in you—if you’ll give them the opportunity.

Now that’s a sustainable fundraising idea!

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