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  • Writer's picturePriyanka Maheshwari

Marketing Mix for Fundraising

You may have heard about marketer and academic Jerome McCarthy’s 4P’s of Marketing or the Marketing Mix. Though evolved since its conception in the 1940s, they have been widely used to define a product’s considerations for its marketing arm. The 4P’s include:

- The Product itself

- The Price of the product

- The Place in which the product is made available

- The Promotion (or marketing communications) of the product

In the 1970’s, the 4P’s evolved to be more inclusive of the service industry. They were now the 7P’s, the 3 new being:

- The People who are involved in the service delivery

- The Process in which the services are delivered

- The Physical environment in which the service occurs

This article will help translate this Marketing Mix to describe the functions of marketing for NGOs when it comes to fundraising. Here, the consumer or customer in question will be the donor.

7P’s for NGOs:

1) Product:

Here the product is unique. It is not something physical that is consumed by the customer, or a service that the consumer can experience. Rather, it is the products or services provided to a third party – the beneficiaries. It is important to create a connection between the product or service and the customer i.e. the donor. Hence, here the concentration for NGOs is the formation of an emotional bond between the 2.

Donors want their ‘product’ packaged in a way that they understand – complete with a story that they can connect to (see Storytelling for NGOs), stats on where the money will be used, and information as to who the beneficiary is and how the ‘product’ provides a solution or creates an impact. It is important to define the unique proposition by your particular NGO, that is to say, how do you differ from other NGOs in the same field.

You can create an emotional connection through the ‘packaging’ of your ‘product’ – will you be presenting the donor with information over a face to face meeting? Will you create a video? Will you create an experience so donors can participate in the reality of the ‘product’ and connect with the beneficiaries? Or will it be a combination of the above?

2) Price:

The price in this situation is defined as the ‘ask’ of donations from the donor. In the case of NGO’s, ‘price’ is strategized by considering who the donor is, what their giving power is, and how often will they be willing to donate. The strategy will adjust in the case of an individual donor, corporate donor, government or foundation.

The aspects to consider across these cases will be

- Price setting: How much to ask given your need and their giving power. Too much and you may be rejected, too little and their donations may not create the desired impact.

- Ask tactics: How will you ask them? There is an established method of the ‘ask’ depending on each donor group. Governments, corporates and foundations may require grants and information, while individuals may require storytelling and creativity in communications. Each participant within the groups will have their own requirements – research before approaching them

- Ask strategy mix: Given your money requirements and resources at hand, figure out your ideal donor mix. If you have the time and people resources to launch a marketing campaign, maybe individual donors may be the correct time spend, whereas if you are looking for more stable and predictable numbers, you could spend those resources to apply for grants with the government.

- Payment terms: Some donors require more information post the donation than others – keep all information ready to demonstrate how the money is being spent well. Individual donors may work well with monthly donations automatically set up with their banks, this is a source of continuous and steady donations. Either way, always show your donors the impact made by them.

Finally, always remember to justify your donation with relevant and accurate information as to how and when the money will be spent. Keep in mind that the more reliable your information is, the more chances of repeat donations. Transparency is key.

3) Place:

Donors tend to relate to causes that they can draw connections to. It is always a good idea to start communications with donors who have a geographical connect with your beneficiaries.

Additionally, donors should find that it is easy to access information and payment options when the time comes. This should be balanced with creating an experiential environment for donors to understand the beneficiary’s stories.

4) Promotion:

Promotion refers to the methods of communication to attract and retain donors. This includes the social media strategy (See A How-To Guide on Digital Marketing with Limited Resources), presentations, events, proposals and any other means used to communicate with the donors. Always remember to include a combination of storytelling and information while communicating with them. Additionally, it is important to connect with donors even when the donations are not needed – on celebratory occasions, milestones, to thank them or inform them about the impact they have created. It is cheaper to retain a donor than to find a new one.

5) People:

People here refer to the people representing your organization. Inform all your stakeholders on relevant information and figures, on stories and facts. Each member of your organization has an extended network of people that they communicate with. These communications creates a softer brand movement, which directly translates into donations when the time for fundraising arises.

6) Process:

In an NGO, it is easy to lose track of processes and job descriptions when every volunteer or employee wears multiple hats. This creates confusion in information and practices. Some donors or volunteers may fall through the cracks, employees may be overworked, and this can lead to underdeliver and the optics to an outside potential stakeholder comes across as messy and disorganized.

Take some time to have training, time management, volunteer and recording processes in place. Have regular meetings so everyone is on the same page with the information and their responsibilities. A little time investment initially can lead to a lot of time and confusion saved down the line.

7) Physical Environment:

NGOs may not have the resources to concentrate on creating a costly environment. Even so, it is important to have an environment that creates an understanding of the work done by the NGO, and one that reflects the money spent.

A visiting donor should be able to see the work done by the organization and stories of the beneficiaries whether through a tour or presentation, or the tangible representations in the physical space. A good example of this could be brochures or posters, workshops, offices that are physically close to beneficiaries or video demonstrations.

An organization should use the knowledge of the 7P’s as a checklist, each of the P’s should be considered. Be creative and unique in how you execute them. Remember: the combination of all these tell an intangible story that your donor pays attention to.

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