Last Word: Is Your Marketing Plan An Island?

The Last Word from Betsy Weber, NESC President

Betsy Weber, NESC President

Betsy Weber
NESC President

  • How can we build visibility for our nonprofit?
  • How can we best let potential clients know what we do and our impact in the community?
  • How can we attract more donors? More volunteers? More media attention?
  • How should we use Social Media, if at all? The communication environment is changing so rapidly, how can I tell if I am using the most appropriate platforms for my message?
  • Is better marketing the answer?

Our email is loaded with messages like these as well as from “marketing gurus” exhorting nonprofit leaders to increase their use of marketing to realize many strategic objectives. But what is meant by a “good” marketing plan? How do you distinguish between what is effective for your nonprofit and what will have limited, or very little, impact on helping you to reach your goals? How do you select the right individuals or consultants to help you?

The answer may seem simple, but it is much more difficult if you are not clear about your strategic priorities and have not identified and understood the target audiences you are trying to reach. Marketing is not a stand-alone program, nor is it meant to “sell” an idea. It quite simply is to create an environment in which your product or service is viewed positively by the target audience(s) you want to reach. Once your targets fully understand how your product or service can benefit them or their organization, then the “selling” part of the equation becomes easier. Creating a Strategic Plan first allows the nonprofit to create a marketing plan that supports the strategic priorities that the nonprofit has adopted.

We recently gathered a group of NESC marketing consultants to discuss marketing for nonprofits and the lively discussion centered on what is actually meant by the term “marketing” and how it differs from branding and how it differs from selling.  Our consultants, many of whom have spent their careers in marketing, now apply that knowledge to help the nonprofit sector create meaningful, effective marketing plans to achieve their objectives, adjusting of course to the size, budgets and resources of our nonprofit clients.

I hope you enjoy this edition of NESC’s quarterly e-newsletter and that some of the marketing ideas and tips are helpful to you.

We look forward to bringing you information on the NESC approach to Social Enterprise in our next newsletter. NESC’s definition of Social Enterprise is the entrepreneurial pursuit of an earned income business activity – within the nonprofit’s mission – as a means for generating unrestricted cash flow. Look for it in your email this Spring.

If you would like to discuss some of these ideas more, please contact us.


About National Executive Service Corps

National Executive Service Corps is a nonprofit dedicated to empowering nonprofits since 1977.
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