Why Your Nonprofit Needs Both Marketing and Fundraising
Our team continually spouts these words of wisdom to our nonprofit clients when we describe what we do and how we might serve them:
“Marketing and fundraising are two sides of the same coin and can’t exist without each other.”
No pun intended. Coin. Fundraising. Ok.
Many of our clients feel overwhelmed by the idea of marketing. They often say things like:
- “Marketing is for companies with a product to sell.”
- “We have a communications person, and I think that is all we need.”
- “We don’t have the budget for marketing.”
- “We have a development associate but can’t afford to have both.”
- We know that marketing sounds complicated, results feel elusive, and at times it seems marketing is pulling you away from your most important focus—outreach.
It’s understandable to feel this way. Nonprofit leaders are saddled with loads of responsibility. Staff and budgets are limited. And we know that *10 out of 10 nonprofit leaders didn’t get into this business to fundraise or market their cause.
We hope we can reframe this to help you see how critical it is to have marketing and fundraising as part of your overall organizational strategy.
Here are three reasons why marketing and fundraising must exist together at your organization.
NONPROFITS NEED MONEY TO RUN PROGRAMS AND SUPPORT STAFF
Marketing and development efforts are the fuel that propel your programs forward. In reality, the people benefiting from your organization’s work include both the recipient of programs and the one giving. You need to be able to market to each of these groups to see an impact.
COMMUNICATIONS AND MARKETING ARE NOT THE SAME
Communication is different from marketing. Communication is part of marketing and critical for communicating with your various constituencies. But repeat after me: communication is different from marketing. Marketing is strategic and ensures the right messages get to the right people. If done correctly, it will help you raise more money. This includes content strategy, social media, paid advertising, email marketing, and other marketing tools to support your fundraising efforts.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR AUDIENCE IS CRITICAL TO RAISING MONEY
Marketing is all about understanding an audience and being able to share messages that resonate with them. For a nonprofit, that means sharing messages with donors at the right time and place and with the right tone and appropriate ask. With marketing as part of your fundraising strategy, not only will you be able to find the right donors for your organization, but you will be able to get the right messages to them at the right time and in the right way. Not every donor these days wants to get mail from your nonprofit. Or see you spending money on an expensive annual report. But not every donor is on Instagram or TikTok. A combined marketing and fundraising strategy helps to ensure you are getting to the right donors in ways that speak to them.
We LIVE to develop marketing and fundraising strategies that break the mold and coexist. And our clients live for us to do this work for them. We would love to support you with this work and either help your development and marketing teams or serve as one or both!
Reach out with questions.
* This is an unofficial statistic. But we feel very confident in it.