Nonprofit marketing is a ball-game that differs significantly from traditional marketing. When you are a for-profit business, then you need to obtain new clients that will give you their money for a product or service that you have. On the other hand, non-profit marketing has a goal of securing help or funding for little to nothing in return. It’s for this reason that you will often see different tactics utilized.

As with any for-profit marketing, the tactics will differ based on the industry in question. For example, a group that works with veterans will have tactics very different from a group that works with trees and nature. However, what they do have in common is their need to find “customers” or “clients” that will give them money or time.

Profit vs. Non-Profit Marketing Responses

As a business, you have one goal: to get money. Regular companies will generate funds via selling goods. Then, they will use those funds to enrich the lives of the business owners or grow the business. On the other hand, a non-profit will raise money to fund their works and services. Non-profit money is obtained without the exchange of something physical. While some non-profits sell shirts or merchandise to raise funds, most will rely on donations to fund their business.

When you donate to a non-profit, you get the feeling of doing something right as well as a tax deduction, which isn’t even worth $50. For this reason, non-profit marketing needs to be focused on emotions rather than product exchange and benefits. With few exceptions, this is how many nonprofits will work. The main issue that can arise within this distinction is the costs.

Non-Profit Marketing Costs Differences

Even with bootstrapping, it will cost money to make money. However, this is the disadvantage of a non-profit. While a traditional company can sell something and use that money to fund their business, a non-profit must use what little money isn’t going to the cause. This issue is why most groups are small and use DIY methods of marketing.

Along those lines, social media and crowdsourcing are perfect ways to market as a non-profit. While all businesses use both, non-profits need social media to save money. Before social media, word of mouth was the only cheaper option to newspapers, magazines, TV and radio ads. Now, non-profits can use many cheap and free methods of spreading their message.

The most critical factor that non-profit marketing has to deal with is the efficiency of the donation and marketing message. If a business’s message takes to long to get out or their contributions take to long to process, it can inhibit their ability to do good. Finally, if it costs too much to obtain new monies, then donors will feel betrayed. It’s important to think about what percentage of the funds raised are going to the actual works and not to the salary and business itself.

Relationships, Similarities & Differences

Even though a non-profit has many differences when compared to a for-profit business, there are still many similar things. For example, any company needs to maintain their relationships with clients and donors. Did you know that if you can increase your client/donor retention by 5%, you can make over 25% more each year? It should be obvious to them why both types of businesses will thrive on retained relationships. It’s also important to think about your strategy in terms of your target market.

While they might differ, each type of business must have a well-thought-out target market to do their job effectively. In the end, non-profit marketing is very different from profit marketing. You’ll need to think about your target market and what emotions will allow them to understand the need your business has. Finally, you’ll have to look for cheaper options so that you can put your money where it matters.