Marketing is not something you do when all else fails. It’s what you do all the time if you want to be effective. Marketing is a never-ending circle of activity that starts with your ideas about making the world a better place and ends with the sustainable change that fulfills your mission.
To be effective you can’t treat marketing like a program your organization uses when it runs low on funds or can’t find enough volunteers. Marketing isn’t a weapon you use to instantly convince people to access your products, programs, and services–it’s how you learn to make the products, programs, and services people want in a way that will be the most effective toward achieving your mission.
People give, volunteer, and access your nonprofit because they want to. Marketing is about understanding people and meeting them at the point of their needs.
Still nonprofit leaders treat marketing as the last resort for their organization. Marketing is the last thing on their minds as they plan and program, when it should be central to everything they do.
Marketing is not like the “Death Blossom” in the movie The Last Starfighter. In this scene from the movie we see how many nonprofit leaders think about marketing.
Scene: Alex and Grig attack the Ko-Dan mother-ship, crippling its communications system; catching the Ko-Dan fighter wings off-guard. The battle reaches a fevered pitch; Alex keeps the upper hand, using the “lone fighter-against-hordes” tactics he mastered by playing the coin-operated video game. Soon, however, his weapons are depleted. Desperately, he activates a secret weapon installed in the Gunstar: “Death Blossom”, which destroys all the remaining Ko-Dan fighters. Lord Kril (Dan Mason), captain of the Ko-Dan mothership, blames Xur for this turn of events. After relieving Xur of command, Kril orders him executed. Instead, Xur takes advantage of Alex’s attack and kills the sentries escorting him from the bridge. He then flees the mother-ship just before Alex destroys the ship (via Wikipedia)