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Ten Ways to Market Your Non-Profit Like a Business - FGS Wiki

Ten Ways to Market Your Non-Profit Like a Business


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[NOTE: this page has not yet been formatted.  If you are interested in assisting in the care and maintenance of the FGS Wiki Content, please contact Thomas MacEntee at publicity@fgs.org.]
 
 
 
[[Category:Strategies for Vice-Presidents]]
 
[[Category:Strategies for Vice-Presidents]]
 +
 +
 +
 +
== INTRODUCTION ==
 +
 +
Is your non-profit group wilting on the vine?
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Has the term, “non-profit” taken on a new
 +
meaning as officers struggle to keep the treasury
 +
from drying up? Don’t give up, just change your
 +
focus. Look to successful businesses for ideas
 +
on how to rejuvenate your non-profit through a
 +
successful marketing strategy.
 +
 +
Businesses don’t grow by themselves. People
 +
who run them must carefully cultivate potential
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customers, growth opportunities, networks and
 +
public relations. When the business begins to
 +
blossom and grow, everybody benefits. But the
 +
seeds must first be planted.
 +
 +
Why run a non-profit like a business? Simple.
 +
There are bills to pay, volunteers to keep happy
 +
and productive, potential members to educate,
 +
other groups doing similar work, and a lot of
 +
people who could care less about your group.
 +
There are also limits to the amounts of time
 +
and money that people will spend on volunteer
 +
activities. Potential volunteers will shop around
 +
to see which group has opportunities to match
 +
their interests, which group could best benefit
 +
from their involvement, and which group will
 +
pay them the most (recognition, a warm fuzzy
 +
feeling, other perks like meals, travel, etc.) Your
 +
group is a product. Sell it!
 +
 +
You’ve already read how-to books on
 +
genealogy. Now it’s time to gather some howto advice on marketing. The following are
 +
ten basic marketing principles which can be
 +
applied to your not-for-profit society, library or
 +
museum.
 +
 +
 +
== Principle 1: BELIEVE IN YOUR PRODUCT ==
 +
 +
How can you convince people to join a
 +
group if you never attend a meeting, work on
 +
projects, get excited or encourage fresh ideas?
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Sometimes involving existing members in a
 +
common cause or a worth-while project is the
 +
shortest road to revitalization (see Principle 6
 +
for suggestions on what might inspire even the
 +
most reserved member.)
 +
 +
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== Principle 2: CONDUCT A SURVEY/FOCUS GROUP ==
 +
 +
Are people interested in your cause? Do they
 +
know you exist, and what are you about? Ask
 +
people for their opinions. Are they happy with
 +
you, angry with you, or indifferent to you? Ask
 +
opinions of customers (members) and noncustomers. If lots of people have “no opinion”
 +
of your group, or have never heard of you,
 +
you’ve got some selling to do!
 +
 +
 +
== Principle 3: ANALYZE YOUR STRENGTHS; ASSESS YOUR WEAKNESSES ==
 +
 +
You cannot be everything to everybody. You
 +
will spread your resources too thin. But you
 +
should ask, what do you offer a member? How
 +
can you maximize the benefits? How does your
 +
“product” compare with that of another group?
 +
Build on your strengths and consider how
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difficult it would be to eliminate the weaknesses
 +
or lessen their importance. How can you turn a
 +
weakness into a strength?
 +
 +
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== Principle 4: DO SOME COMPARATIVE SHOPPING ==
 +
 +
Who is your competition? Does another group
 +
do what you do? Do they do it better, cheaper,
 +
or more successfully? Do their members receive
 +
more benefits? How can you implement changes
 +
to even the playing field?
 +
 +
 +
== Principle 5: BRAINSTORM STRATEGIES ==
 +
 +
Gather the troops and have a round table
 +
discussion on such matters as fundraising or
 +
member retention. No matter how bizarre or
 +
improbable the ideas, write them all down,
 +
and consider one. All members need to know
 +
that their input is appreciated. Don’t discard
 +
any ideas too quickly, but look for ways to
 +
incorporate elements of those ideas. Perhaps a
 +
combination of ideas will work best. An idea
 +
that is not appropriate now may be just the
 +
ticket in six months!
 +
 +
 +
== Principle 6: FIND A NICHE/NEED AND FILL IT ==
 +
 +
What can you offer that people will want to
 +
join or pay for? What do you do that nobody
 +
else does? Is there a community service project
 +
you can undertake, such as restoring a small
 +
cemetery or honoring “first families?” Do you
 +
hold classes, take field trips, or have a library?
 +
Do you collect data on a particular place or
 +
name? Have the primary records of your local
 +
area been published? Has the information on
 +
early pioneers been assembled?
 +
 +
 +
== Principle 7: TARGET YOUR CUSTOMERS ==
 +
 +
Who would use your services or belong to your
 +
group? Seniors, teachers, scout troops, 4-H,
 +
historic preservationists, librarians, community
 +
leaders, etc. should all be approached. An
 +
additional suggestion is that you check
 +
the national or state quarterlies for queries
 +
pertaining to the geographical area/surname
 +
your group features. Who submitted these
 +
queries and are they members of your group? Send them a letter and a membership brochure.
 +
Chances are they don’t know you exist, and will
 +
appreciate learning about your group.
 +
 +
 +
== Principle 8: PREPARE YOUR “SALES PITCH” ==
 +
 +
Different people will want to use your services
 +
or belong to your group for different reasons.
 +
Your “marketers” are those in your speakers
 +
bureau. If your group doesn’t have one, start
 +
one! Develop a list of topics your speakers
 +
bureau could talk about. If necessary, train
 +
your own speakers on what they need to know.
 +
Tailor presentations to pique the interest of
 +
your customers. (Seniors will not be interested
 +
in earning a merit badge. Scouts may not be
 +
old enough to appreciate a talk on writing
 +
their memoirs.) Your “sales pitch” is also your
 +
membership brochure and other group literature,
 +
such as newsletters or quarterlies. Liven them up
 +
with colored paper or an attractive logo. Such a
 +
“signature” readily identifies your group.
 +
 +
 +
== Principle 9: KNOW WHEN TO CLOSE ==
 +
 +
After you’ve delivered your pitch or talk, and
 +
kindled people’s curiosity, know when to stop.
 +
Don’t “data dump” all your benefits, programs,
 +
etc. at one sitting. Leave time to answer
 +
questions. If you think there won’t be any
 +
questions, you might want to “prepare” some
 +
questions in advance, then ask and answer them
 +
yourself. (“You might be wondering how we
 +
transcribe cemeteries. This is what we do…”)
 +
 +
 +
== Principle 10: ASK FOR THE SALE ==
 +
 +
Ask a member to volunteer. Ask a visitor to
 +
join. Ask a community group for funding. After
 +
communicating your message, tell people what
 +
you want them to do.
 +
 +
 +
== Conclusion ==
 +
 +
Businesses (and non-profits) fold every day.
 +
Only the strong survive. Your group can be one
 +
of the survivors if you apply sound business
 +
strategies to your non-profit society. You will
 +
help insure that it will not only survive, but
 +
flourish.

Latest revision as of 07:57, 14 August 2013

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