Market Your Values to Help Your Nonprofit Shine
February 25, 2016 Lynette Garet Marketing 0 Comment
The Importance of Marketing Your Values to Appeal to Your Donor’s Own
“You don’t sell the steak, you sell the sizzle.” This is an old marketing adage that is oft repeated, because it holds true. No company actually sells a product or service. They sell feelings. They sell a lifestyle. They sell the promise of a better self. And they sell values.
Every company, for-profit or otherwise, has a set of values that help make up its identity, and every company uses its values as a marketing tool. This isn’t a cynical ploy; it’s something that happens organically. Everything, from the type of product or service a company sells, to the way it is run, to the way it treats its employees, is an outgrowth of its core values. People are naturally drawn to companies whose products, services and practices reflect the qualities, philosophies and aspirations that matter the most to them.
Choosing to patronize a company is about more than liking a product. It is a form of self-expression; it says something about who a person is and what they stand for. People will even boycott a company whose product they enjoy if they feel that it violates their strongly held principles.
So what does this mean for non-profits?
Values-related marketing is especially relevant to non-profits, and can be especially effective. While the values of for-profit companies are, to some degree, a means to an end, the values of a non-profit are the end, and the proceeds from donations and product sales are the means.
You are likely already marketing your values without realizing it. However, a focused effort can truly make all the difference in terms of your success.
Determine the reasons your donors give
People give according to their values. You may be missing a marketing opportunity by overlooking some of the reasons your donors support your endeavors. While some people may support a performing arts center because they want to expand their city or town’s cultural options, others may do so because they want to help preserve a historic building, or because they believe that the arts are an important part of children’s education. Learning why people give will help you find new ways to market your cause to current and would-be donors.
Find your target “value” demographic
Find out as much as you can about those who already donate, including their ages, genders, and professions. Find out where they shop, what they do in their leisure time, and what other causes they support. Look at who gives the most, and why. Search for commonalities among the different categories of donors.
If your non-profit supports animal rights, you may find that more women donate than men, or that younger people donate in larger numbers but give less individually. You may find that some people donate because they are avid pet lovers, while others do so because they are nature conservationists. Some of your donors may also give to animal rescues, and some may frequent vegetarian restaurants. Eventually, with a little digging, a clearer picture of your supporters and their values will emerge. This information will give you clues as to how to build a successful marketing campaign, based on the values different demographics share.
Tailor your message
Once you have found your target demographic and clarified their values, you can tailor your message to meet donors where they stand. Find images and phrases that tell a story they can relate to. Create a campaign that reflects who they are and what they hope to accomplish. Show them how donating both furthers a cause, and gives them a sense of purpose.
You run a non-profit because you are passionate and principled. Marketing your values isn’t about converting the masses – it’s simply about getting the word out to like-minded people and giving them the chance to be heard.