Yes, Non-Profits Can Be Creative Promoters

Nonprofits Look For New Ways To Get People To Give (NPR)

Creative Promotion by Non-ProfitsPossibly the greatest challenge confronting most marketers is figuring out how to generate interest among potential customers.  This is where promotion comes into play.  Marketers use techniques including advertising, personal selling and public relations to build customer interest.  Yet, on a daily basis markets are over-saturated with thousands of audio and visual promotions.  This results in customers being exposed to more messages then they are able to understand and retain.  In this environment, even if a marketer has excellent products, their message often gets lost among the “noise” generated by other marketers.

As we observe in our Consumer Buying Behavior tutorial, breaking through the clutter with a message understood and acted on by message receivers (i.e., customers) usually takes a highly creative approach.  Leading consumer products firms are well aware of this and lead the way with the development of innovative advertising and other promotions.

However, compared to for-profit companies, non-profit marketers are often not considered to be as creative with their promotional methods.  This notion comes from the belief that since non-profits lack deep pockets for promotional spending they cannot be truly innovative with their promotions.  But this is not true.  Many promotional methods used by non-profits are, in fact, quite creative.

In this story, we see how non-profit marketers are being recognized in a crowded market even with limited promotional funds.  It discusses several promotional fundraising techniques intended to capture the attention of potential contributors.  The techniques include the use of unique postcards, online gaming, unique gifts for donors, and several others.  What is also interesting, is that non-profits are developing these promotions with the help of for-profit firms. And while not mentioned in the story, it should be pointed out that major Internet sites such as Google, Facebook and Twitter are offering strong support in helping non-profits extend their promotional efforts.

Jim O’Brien of ThinkShapes Mail in Tampa, Fla., says you can’t really count on people opening letters. So his company offers postcard-like mailers in eye-catching shapes — something people might read and stick on a fridge. He holds up a paw-shaped card sent out by an animal society.

What percentage of overall revenue does a leading charity spend on promotion compared to a leading consumer products company?


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