Moving from Doing Good to Doing MORE Good

Imagine for a moment that you’re at a critical point in your life.

You’re jobless, and your savings account is dwindling fast. To make matters worse, your immediate and extended family members are all living with you and counting on you for support. And, because of circumstances beyond their control, no one in your family is able to work ­– except for you.

Now imagine that your first response is to look for a new car to hold your bigger family. From there, you begin looking for a larger home so everyone can live more comfortably. Then, you meet with an accountant to discuss your shrinking financial resources and work out a budget to help you carefully manage your cash.

While all this is happening, you meet regularly with life coaches, friends, and other consultants who counsel you on your priorities (but curiously, not on finding a job). You also decide to throw a huge dinner party and invite businesses owners, hoping someone will offer you a job. But during the gathering, you discuss your financial needs, not the fact that you’re unemployed.

Deep down, you know getting a job should be your highest priority; yet you haven’t even begun working on a resume. You do no online or in-person networking, and you haven’t done any research into the job market. Even at the most basic level, you haven’t thought about, much less considered, how to articulate with any clarity what differentiates you from others looking for work.

Who would do something like this?

Your organization?
Your executive director?

Unfortunately, this is exactly how many nonprofit organizations manage their marketing and branding efforts. They ignore them, or at best, put them on the back burner and hope the need for donors and volunteers will solve itself. Instead of putting time and thought into marketing, they form boards, seek financial and legal counsel, manage and improve facilities, and even put together huge fundraisers in the hopes that all their financial problems will be magically solved.

Why does this happen?

For starters, spending money on marketing and branding isn’t exactly encouraged by the nonprofit community. Many charity-rating services frown upon dollars used for marketing, and they lower approval scores accordingly. Some donors and board members see strategic marketing efforts as an unnecessary expense for nonprofit organizations (though they may have first-hand experience that branding and marketing played a significant role in the success of their for-profit businesses).

Beyond that, most nonprofits see themselves as needs-driven organizations. And, therefore, every dollar that doesn’t go to a need or population they’re serving is seen as dollars diverted from doing good.

What’s the solution?

Our work is about changing that perspective. It’s about seeing marketing and branding as an investment – not an expense. It’s about making fundraising more effective and efficient. And it’s also about being more responsible and wise in getting people to respond to your organization’s needs.

Most of all, we’re about putting your organization in a better position, a position in which you can Do MORE Good.

-Bill McKendry