Marketing is increasingly critical to the survival and success of nonprofit organizations. It is not only about meeting critical fundraising needs, but also about educating the public on issues in a world where the media often provides more spin than news. Nonprofits need to get their stories out so Americans understand the real challenges facing their communities. Without this component of education and advocacy, we will have policy and public perception that isn’t rational or effective.
But where do you draw the line? Many nonprofits are increasingly taking marketing into consideration when making decisions about care for community members. It is not always even conscious and is often so taken for granted that no one realizes they may be crossing a line. Nonprofits select clients based on how well they will show up as case studies or impact their outcomes and measurement metrics, which are used by the government and foundations to make funding decisions. We nearly all do it every day.