The People Pages: Marketing Basics

From The People Pages: Resources for Social Change (c) 2003 The Fruition Coalition

Marketing is the art of bringing like-minded people together to achieve common goals.  In nonprofit organizations, these people include program participants, donors, and volunteers.

Segmentation is the process of grouping people according to their demographics, interests, attitudes, motivation, social affiliations, and/or lifestyle.  For instance, you might segment your donors by amount/frequency of gifts, income/wealth, level of involvement in your organization, or age.  You could segment volunteers by type of service or educational background.  Segmentation will help you develop appropriate marketing strategies and tactics that appeal to and have meaning for your target markets, resulting in increased participation and contributions.

A target market is a segmented group of people that desires or needs your products and services.  Niche marketing satisfies an unmet need in the community in a unique way.

The Marketing Mix

Place is where your target market experiences, purchases, or consumes your product or service.

Product is the actual or perceived (‘image’) product or service that is offered to the public.

Price is the amount of time and money required to experience the product or service.

Promotion is the process of educating and exciting your target market about your products and services through advertising, public relations, sales, and promotions.

Marketing Channels are the personal or impersonal spaces that connect your organization with your target market.  Channels include your office, the Internet, email, mail, meetings, phone, stores, events, and publications.

Marketing Research can help you identify and gain a deeper understanding of characteristics of your target markets, community needs, competitive programs, and opportunities for innovation.  It can help you identify and investigate problems, assess a program’s impact, or measure the effectiveness of a campaign.  Primary research is original research designed, executed, tabulated, and analyzed for the first time.  Examples include surveys, interviews, experiments, observation, and focus groups.  Secondary research is already in existence; examples include census data or health statistics.  Qualitative data is descriptive in nature while quantitative data is concrete and can be interpreted as a number.

Use the Target Market Analysis Worksheet on the next page to take a closer look at the people who support your organization so that you can better understand and serve their needs.  Complete one sheet for donors, one for volunteers, and another for program participants.  Derive at least two distinct target market groups for each category.  Define each target market’s characteristics.  Develop a marketing mix that would be appropriate for each target market.

Marketing Planning is the process of analyzing your marketing program, setting goals for each target market, and developing an action plan to meet those goals.   Use the Marketing Planning Worksheet to put your marketing goals in writing and construct marketing strategies.

Tips, Tricks, and Secrets

Whenever I see those words in marketing copy, I immediately feel a bit suspicious. I crave real relationships, openness, and authenticity and I try to integrate these values into my work and my marketing efforts. I don’t want to offer tips, tricks, or secrets through my work; instead, I hope to inspire deeper and more expansive thinking and feeling to elevate the tenor of, and meaning in, our work. Is this realistic? Is this what people want? I’m not so sure. By aligning my work and my marketing with my lofty ideals, I may actually be alienating and excluding a lot of people that would eventually be open to pursuing more complex ideas. Tips, tricks, and secrets might actually be superficial entry points to strong, meaningful relationships.

I felt a bit of dis-ease as I wrote the copy for two of my recently published books, The Fruition Coalition Grant Proposal Workbook and The Fruition Coalition Marketing Plan Workbook. I wanted to convey that they were simple and easy to use, which they were and I did. But I feel that there are also a handful of profound ideas within each book that could change the way we think about proposals and marketing. This was not captured in my marketing. I made this choice because I feel the books would be really, really, helpful to organizations and I want them to buy and use them.

Thus has been my marketing conundrum with the Fruition Coalition – balancing meaning with pragmatism, depth with superficiality, and complexity with simplicity. Any suggestions?

The People Pages: Public Relations Basics

from The People Pages: Resources for Social Change (c) 2003 The Fruition Coalition

Public Relations is the art of influencing public opinion about your organization through personal or impersonal interaction.   Public perception is shaped through publications such as brochures and newsletters, demeanor on the phone and in person, and the mass media.

Publicity is free exposure provided through the media.  Types of media include magazines, newspapers, radio, television, and the Internet.  Publicity can be obtained by distributing a press release, holding a press conference, or by writing an informational article that demonstrates your organizational leadership’s expertise.  Media contacts can be researched in the yellow pages, in printed media directories in the library, or online at a site like

A Press Release is a written request for publicity that can be distributed via mail, email, or fax.  Any newsworthy project or event can be submitted; this might include special events, grants received (with the funder’s permission), new programs, new publications, or staff appointments.  The press release should be distributed to media outlets with an audience that would be interested in your news.  It should always be addressed to a specific person or department; this can be researched on the Internet or by calling the main number.  Make sure your press releases are received at least 3 weeks in advance of the requested publication date.

A press release is usually one page long and typed in a 12-point font.  The language used should be clear, concise, and simple.  It should be on your organization’s letterhead and follow this format:


DATE:                                    Today’s Date

CONTACT PERSON:           Name

Phone and/or email


(City, State) — The first paragraph should contain pertinent facts, including who, what, where, and when.  Also include a way for the reader to get more information such as a phone number or email address.  Write this paragraph so that it could stand alone and clearly communicate your purpose.

The second paragraph contains more specific information about the project or event.  This could include brief biographies, historical or cultural context, quotes, and/or an explanation about why this project/event is significant.

The third paragraph should contain background information about your organization.  Include a brief description of programs and services, leadership, and complete contact information.


Five Days of Marketing: Promotion Campaigns

The following is an excerpt from my new book, The Fruition Coalition Marketing Plan Workbook. ISBN 978-1-300-59132-1. $24.99.

There may be times when your organization develops a specific promotion campaign. These might include the announcement of a new program, a special event, or a public policy campaign. Whenever your organization begins a new promotional effort, use these questions to think through its goals and activities. These questions can also be used for ongoing promotional efforts such as board recruitment, fundraising, or program enrollment.

Who is responsible for managing this campaign?

Who else will be involved in this campaign? What is their role? What are their responsibilities?

How much time will be needed to manage this campaign?

What are the goals of this promotion campaign?

Who is the audience for this campaign?

What do you want the audience to do or know?

How does this campaign connect with the audience’s goals?

What information needs to be shared?

What information need to be collected?

What are your key messages?

How will this campaign promote engagement and dialogue?

How will this campaign integrate your organization’s brand?

How will this campaign integrate your organization’s strategic direction?

How will printed collateral be used in this campaign?

How will your organization’s website be used in this campaign?

How will social media be used in this campaign?

How will traditional media be used in this campaign?

How will you use paid promotion in this campaign?

How will you evaluate the success and impact of this campaign?

What will be different in your organization or community if this campaign is successful?

Soon, we will start to develop specific communication and marketing goals for your organization. Write our your responses to these questions for all of your organization’s planned publicity campaigns over the next year. We will use this as a reference when developing goals.

The Fruition Coalition Marketing Plan Workbook can be purchased at our store. An eBook version is also available.

Five Days of Marketing: Communication

The following is an excerpt from my new book, The Fruition Coalition Marketing Plan Workbook. ISBN 978-1-300-59132-1. $24.99.

Communication is the way that your organization formally and informally listens to, responds to, and shares information with its friends. To begin, we will create a list of key words and phrases associated with your organization and programs. This can be used as a reference when writing formal communications material.

From there, we will explore seven additional areas:

Communication Philosophy—To begin, we will explore your organization’s philosophy of communication and interaction with multiple stakeholders.

Customer Service—Next, we will explore how your organization responds to emerging community needs, responds to stakeholder concerns, and assures satisfaction with all aspects of the organization.

Printed Collateral—In this section, we will organize information about the various printed communication materials that your organization creates such as newsletters, flyers, and brochures.

Website—Then, we will work through a list of questions about your organization’s website to make sure it is adequately meeting the needs of your organization and your stakeholders.

Social Media—After examining your organization’s website, we will develop some strategies for effectively using social media.

Publicity—Next, we will develop specific strategies for your organization to effectively interact with traditional media.

Paid Promotion—After that, we will examine how advertising and direct mail can be used by your organization.

Promotion—In this section, we will look at the various ways your organization promotes its work to specific stakeholders and the entire community.

To conclude the communication section of this workbook, we will develop specific communication goals for your organization.

To begin, think of all of the reasons why your organization needs to use these communication tools. Check all that apply and any additional purposes.

____Recruiting program participants

____Other fundraising efforts

____Recruiting volunteers

____Announcements and news

____Recruiting board members

____Communication with stakeholders

____Recruiting staff

____Special events


The Fruition Coalition Marketing Plan Workbook can be purchased at our store. An eBook version is also available.

Winter 2013 Webinars Announced

The Fruition Coalition’s Winter 2013 webinars are focused on capacity building. These classes will strengthen your organization to position it for sustainability and success. Each online class costs $45 and includes a free comprehensive e-Workbook ($19.99 value). Classes begin at 11 a.m. Eastern time.

Grant Proposal Writing

February 8, 2013

This class will prepare both inexperienced and seasoned grant proposal writers for successful writing and project management. Topics covered include identifying prospective donors, developing relationships with philanthropic partners, grant proposal structure and contents, organizing the writing process with a team, budgeting, and managing grants that have been received. Students will receive a free copy of The Fruition Coalition Grant Proposal e-Workbook (ISBN 978-1-300-59094-1).

Nonprofit Marketing Planning

February 15, 2013

This class will guide students through the process of articulating information about the organization, environment, relationships, and communication leading to the development of marketing strategies and a comprehensive marketing plan. This class will help your organization become more grounded in its values and identity, create opportunities for meaningful engagement, and develop strong, mutually beneficial relationships so that organizational goals can be achieved. Students will receive a free copy of The Fruition Coalition Marketing Plan e-Workbook (ISBN 978-1-300-59132-0).

Board Development

March 1, 2013

This class will explore the multiple components of a comprehensive board development initiative. Topics covered include governance and other responsibilities, recruitment, orientation, operations, professional development, evaluation, and developing a strong relationship with the executive director. Students will learn how to expand the board’s skills and strengthen their sense of purpose and commitment. Students will receive a free copy of The Fruition Coalition Board Development e-Workbook (forthcoming).

Strategic Planning

March 15, 2013

In this class, students will learn about the strategic planning process. Topics covered include facilitation and organization, community engagement, data analysis, decision making, goal setting, implementation, and evaluation. Participants will be prepared to create a living plan that is easily accessible and user friendly. Students will receive a free copy of The Fruition Coalition Strategic Planning Workbook (forthcoming).

Five Days of Marketing: Relationships

The following is an excerpt from my new book, The Fruition Coalition Marketing Plan Workbook. ISBN 978-1-300-59132-1. $24.99.

Congratulations—you have completed the first two sections of this workbook! We are now going to explore your organization’s relationships.

Relationships are perhaps the most important thing in life, and this maxim holds true in the practice of marketing as well. Marketing is the process of making the most of your organization’s relationships in, I argue, a non-manipulative way that creates value for everyone.

In this section, we are going to explore your organization’s relationships with multiple stakeholders:

  • Program participants—the people who actively engage in the programs and services offered by your organization
  • Philanthropic partners—the people and organizations that provide financial support to your organization
  • Staff—the people who perform the work of your organization for remuneration
  • Board of directors—the group responsible for governance of your organization
  • Other volunteers– people who contribute their time to the work of your organization
  • Strategic partners—organizations that collaborate with your organization
  • Communities served—groups of people who benefit from your organizations
  • Communities of practice—other organizations that are providing similar programs and services

These groups are called target markets in marketing practice, but I like to think of them as friends of the organization to emphasize the mutuality of the relationship. Another marketing practice is called segmenting. This is the process of organizing large groups, such as program participants, into more specific groups based on relevant characteristics such as age, length of involvement, or depth of involvement.

On the pages that follow, describe each type of organizational friend, or target market. You might find it helpful to complete a worksheet for specific individuals or market segments. You may also find that you are able to identify market segments by thinking through the questions about each group.

Make sure that the information you record for each target market is not based on unexplored assumptions. Use formal and informal means to gather information about each group.

After describing each target market, we are going to analyze the networks that connect your organization to individuals and groups both within and outside of your community.

The Fruition Coalition Marketing Plan Workbook can be purchased at our store. An eBook version is also available.