Marketing & Communications Centre > Marketing Essentials > Help Sheets > Why Bother With Marketing?

Why Bother With Marketing?


Marketing is a vital component for your community group or not-for-profit - not only in helping you successfully achieve the aims and goals you have set, but to then be able to clearly communicate those successes widely and to those who "need to know"

Marketing should not be treated as an incidental aspect of your community group's operations, instead it should be among the key aspects in many of the things that you do.

Rather than steering you away from your group's goals and mission, marketing should instead go a long way towards helping you achieve them, and then help you tell everyone about it!



Marketing - What Does it Really Mean?

Many people think of marketing as solely advertising campaigns, promotional activities or sales efforts - highly visible, possibly loud, or "out-there" vehicles.

But marketing isn't just about advertising, promoting or selling. Nor is it just about getting that donation or attracting that member. Certainly, these can be components of a wider marketing campaign, but they are not the only components.

As explained in the help sheet What is Marketing, marketing can be defined as: "the process by which you examine the world in which you operate - that includes your customers, your competition (or other similar groups to yours) and what you have to offer.

For a not-for-profit or community organisation, it also includes finding out what groups or opportunities exist, what needs your current or potential audience/contacts have, and how you address or meet those needs.

Other aspects include looking at your competition and what they might be doing, how you are delivering your services or activities and what you are asking for from those you are in contact with.



So, Why Should I Bother?

The benefits of marketing your community group or not-for-profit are many and varied. Re-examining your marketing techniques or taking the first step in marketing can offer a huge range of benefits for your community group.

  • Staying touch with old friends
 When marketing, it can be easy for groups to overlook the fact that they need to keep marketing to existing "friends" as well as rushing to attract new ones.

Your group should market to existing contacts before it starts marketing to potential new ones.

Good marketing will help you stay in touch with existing contacts, improving your relationship with them. Through marketing to existing friends, you can let them know what your group has been doing, what it has planned and how they can help.

  • Reaching and attracting new people
Marketing your community group and the work it does can attract new people to your group in a number of capacities - volunteers, members, donors, fundraisers, service users or activity participants.

Working out how to reach and attract these people is the first step in achieving your community group's goals.

  • Reaching different "target audiences"
A thoughtful marketing campaign can also help your organisation to reach new groups of people to your organisation. They could be different age groups, multicultural groups, interest groups, etc.

This benefits your group through not only helping it grow, but promoting diversity and new perspectives in your organisation. This in turn can add new energy and energise your group - making it more attractive to further prospective new members, and making it more representative of the community it caters to.

  • Re-acquainting yourself with lapsed or ex friends
Losing touch with valued "friends - be they members, supporters, donors or otherwise - can be a real bane for community groups.

Well-directed and visible marketing can keep your group in their consciousness, and hopefully convince them to jump back on board.

  • Building legitimacy
Good marketing helps your groups become more visible in the public eye. When you are in the public eye, visible and well-known to many, your community profile strengthens and public perceptions of legitimacy increases.

  • Building confidence
Helps to show current supporters that you are doing what you have promised.

Donors and fundraisers in particular need reassurance that your group is committed to using their donated or raised funds in responsible ways - or for the use you have previously stated.

Volunteers and members want to be part of a group that is committed to achieving its stated aims.

  • Leveraging more support
Those people in charge of society's "purse strings" - government, donors, grant makers, philanthropic organisations - prefer to give money to those who they know and trust.  Increasing your profile through marketing can help increase knowledge and trust and put you in a better position to gain approval for any grant applications, or support in other ways.

  • Fostering goodwill
Positive public feelings can also result from an increased public profile - achievable through effective marketing.

But even if your group is in the news for negative reasons, good marketing can neutralise these feelings or at least make the public more willing to listen to any explanations or counter points-of-view you may have.

  • Spreading knowledge
If your community group sees part of its role as educating the community about a cause, issue or problem in society, marketing your group also means your message is getting marketed. This can bring a lot of groups much closer to achieving their goals.

  • Encouraging participation
There is now a range of evidence to suggest that the social connection that comes from belonging to a community group is good for your health.

Effective marketing is like a magnet - it can draw or attract people to you. And that's good news for the people you reach, and for the entire community.



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