Taking Our Pulse: “The State of Nonprofit Marketing” Report

Taking Our Pulse The State of Nonprofit Marketing ReportI recently came across The State of Nonprofit Marketing: A Report on Priorities, Spending, Measurement and The Challenges Ahead. The report, based on survey results from 1,000+ nonprofit marketers, was produced by Lipman Hearne and the American Marketing Association, and released at last week’s American Marketing Association Nonprofit Marketing Conference.

When you dig in (and you should always read takes on our field, especially since there are far too few), you’ll find some very useful findings and some I interpret a bit differently than do the authors:

  • Building awareness is the top marketing priority for you and your peers in nonprofit marketing.
    • No surprise here. Awareness has to be the first step to motivating any real engagement or action.
    • If you don’t know or understand an organization’s focus and work, why would you become involve at any level?
  • PR, community relations and customer/member relations are the most effective awareness building strategies:
    • Lipman Hearne and AMA tend to represent large organizations, with significant infrastructures.
    • These types of organizations tend to work most (and be most comfortable) with traditional communications strategies, like PR, that are generally one-way communications.
    • They’re focused on “reaching and persuading their audiences” vs. listening to and participating in conversations.
  • Few nonprofits (only 37%) track the impact of their marketing strategies from SEO to paid advertising:
    • Even key indicators, such as the impact of paid print and interactive advertising to build brand, are seldom tracked. Scary. Without tracking, you’re driving blind. Crash!
    • This finding reinforces the 2007 Getting Attention Nonprofit Marketing Survey which found that only 37% of nonprofit organizations track marketing impact.
  • Nonprofit marketing budgets are extremely limited, typically to 2 to 3% of an organization’s operating budget.
    • If you’re dealing with this much-less-than-it-should-be budget, you have only 20% of the what you need to effectively put marketing strategies to work to achieve organizational goals. Learn how to build your budget here: Getting the Approval and Budget You Need to Do Marketing Right.
    • The report emphasizes the importance of focusing on online marketing and fundraising (broad reach, small cost), via featured guidance from one of the leaders at NPower Greater DC.
      • However, recent research shared by The Agitator shows that “with the exception of direct mail, fund raisers
        say that all types of appeals were doing less well in the past six
        months than they had expected when the year started.”

What’s your response to these findings and recommendations? Please let me know by clicking the Comments link below.

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Nancy Schwartz on July 24, 2008 in Nonprofit Communications, Recommended Resources, Trends | 1 comment
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  • Hi Nancy,
    Thanks for alerting me to this report (which I’m quoted in!) What do you make of the fact that ONLY 1 % of nonprofits say that using technology and the Internet are key marketing priorities? I think this is such a missed opportunity.
    Jocelyn

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