I do my best to give you the marketing advice that I think will make your nonprofit as successful as possible.

I’m aware, however, that for most organizations, marketing is still not a top priority outside of specific circumstances, like throwing a gala or running a crowdfunding campaign.

It seems like the benefits of marketing in general just aren’t making that much of an impression. I’ve tried to make the case that it’s more effective to stay on top of your marketing all the time than to go to the well intermittently when the need arises.

I’ve also told you the story of the Stradivarius violin, and how its popularity has a lot more to do with name recognition than objective quality or preference – the power of marketing in action.

But I get the feeling that marketing is still going to stay low down on the to-do list as long as you feel like there’s something more important you could be focusing on.

I take that as a challenge. Until I can convince you that marketing is the more important thing you should be focusing on, I don’t think I’ve done my job.

There’s a whole big world out there

The biggest reason for a nonprofit to invest in marketing is that it promotes the ultimate goal: making the world a better place. Does that sound dramatic? It is. To me, it’s pretty clear that marketing not only contributes to this fundamental objective – it’s an essential part of the process.

You can have the best idea in the history of time, but if you can’t get the word out there, nothing will ever come of it. Nobody will lend you their support, and nobody will be able to benefit from your work.

If they don’t know your name, they won’t be coming to you for help, and without adequate resources, you couldn’t provide it if they did.

One person with an idea has a very small reach. Marketing is what makes it possible for you to take this idea to a bigger stage, where it can be the most effective.

Plan a little, grow a lot

When you’re involved in the day-to-day running of a nonprofit, you may find yourself falling into a routine. You have plenty of work to do, and taking on more is hardly a priority. Unless there’s some emergency, you’re not looking to disrupt the status quo.

What this attitude misses, however, is the idea of potential. Could you be doing more? What could you accomplish if you implemented a sustainable marketing strategy that delivers consistent results?

I know it’s difficult to interrupt your schedule. But if you take the time… well, in light of what you stand to gain, you’ll likely find that it’s worth the intrusion.

Honesty and flexibility

Nonprofits are largely risk-averse. You have a huge responsibility and you’re not going to do anything to jeopardize your success.

This often translates into conformity and resistance to change. Even when that change is safe and predictable, you’re hesitant to deviate from the usual way of doing things. It doesn’t matter that corporate brands have been benefiting from marketing for years; you want to wait and see how other charitable organizations fare before you try something new (or new to you, anyway).

The truth is, though, that change always comes eventually. If you’re not ahead of the curve, you’re going to be behind it. Some other nonprofit in your niche is going to get there ahead of you, and you’ll be left playing catch-up.

Wouldn’t you rather be the trailblazer, the visionary who spots an opportunity and makes the most of it?

Let other nonprofits be inspired by your marketing success, with your approach becoming the new conventional wisdom.

It’s not really a risk. It’s a powerful and even necessary tool for making a difference. It’s worth giving it a shot.

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