The 5 P’s Of Marketing Your Social Sector Organization

If you want to succeed with your social sector organization, that means you have to dominate. Countless nonprofits and social enterprise organizations are just getting by. Forget about operating with budgets of $1 million. A great deal of nonprofits run with budgets of only $75,000.

In this time of great change, there is an absolute need for more nonprofits and social enterprises to go big. I always say leaders need to go big with vision. But we also need to get organizations to grow large so they can make a broader impact. That means we have to get more social sector leaders to understand and want to “dominate the space.” I recently wrote about dominating in the industry, and why your organization should be looking to do that.

An important way to begin the process of dominating the space is with a deep understanding of what your organization does. The classic four P’s of marketing help to define that for you with: product, place, price and promotion. I believe in 5 P’s because I think, especially in this day and age, that people play a large part in your success. Followers and supporters are sophisticated these days and no one wants to be sold to.

To that end, if you’re a social sector leader or marketer, consider going through these questions around the 5 P’s with your team. You should be able to answer all of these questions, and more, to effectively market your organization. When you’re good at marketing, you’re raising your nonprofit’s brand. And, when more people get to know about you, the money and growth can begin.


  • How is your organization branded? In other words, beyond your organization’s name, when a donor or supporter hears your name or sees your logo, what do they think? What images does it invoke in them?
  • How do you differentiate yourself from your competitors? We know there are likely others doing what you do. What makes your organization unique and different from anyone else addressing a similar issue?
  • What do your donors want to see in the implementation of your mission that will move him or her to want to support your organization? So, for instance, what metrics and results do donors want to see? What impact is your organization making in society?
  • Within, that framework, what need does it satisfy within the donor? Remember, individual donors will tend to support your organization because it provides a certain emotional satisfaction. Perhaps they’re cancer survivors who support your charity addressing the eradication of the disease. Maybe they’re parents who believe in an excellent quality of education for all children. Or, they might be professionals who believe in a highly educated workforce.
  • How can your donors experience your work? How can they engage with it? We know that it’s important to get people involved in the cause. The best way is to allow donors and prospective supporters to see your work in action.
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  • Where can those who need your service find you? Also, where can donors and others who are looking to support an organization such as yours find you? How about others who want to partner with you; how do they find you? Do you have an office? Social media? Do you collaborate with local partners who refer you?
  • Do you have community engagement staff?
  • If you engage with your local community, how do you accomplish this? Do you have events? Do your staff members attend local conferences or trade association meetings?


  • What is the per capita cost to deliver your programs?
  • What are your program costs?
  • What are your operating costs?
  • For donors and supporters, if they become involved, do you have a giving or membership levels?
  • If so, what are the benefits of being a supporter?
  • What amount qualifies someone as a major donor?
  • Do you ask your donors to become sustaining donors on a monthly, bi-monthly or quarterly basis by contributing a certain dollar amount?
  • What do you do around donations as compared to other social sector organizations in your neighborhood, particularly those who are doing similar work to you?


  • Where do you market to those in need of your services? For example, do local partners refer you?
  • Where do you promote to supporters and donors? Do you reach out and market to them on your website, through a blog, advertising, media, direct response, social media, etc.?
  • How often do you market to those who need your services?
  • How often do you promote to prospects and your current donors and supporters?
  • Do you have targeted campaigns that take advantage of, for instance, the holiday season when most people give to charity?
  • Do you know how your competitors market their organization and when? How does your organization compare?


  • How is your organization engaging with its supporters?
  • How are you getting your donors involved with your brand?
  • What tools have you provided your champions to help you promote your brand?
  • What messages do you give your donors and activists to share with their circles of influence?
  • How do you measure supporter involvement with your organization?
  • How do you show your champions-on a regular basis-that you value their support?

Source by Wayne Elsey

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