Fundraising Is All About Marketing

It doesn’t matter if you’re a Girl Scout selling cookies door to door or a National Group doing a mass mailing, fundraising is all about “marketing”.

The methods your group uses to market your fundraising products will vary greatly depending on the size and scope of your fundraising operation. The amount of money needed, number of members, method of fundraising, budget, and many other factors determine how you market your product or ask for a donation.

If you’re a small group then going door to door with your fundraising article is simple enough, unless you need a large amount of money for your cause. If that’s the case then you might want to do some advanced planning on your Group’s marketing strategy.

What can you do to make your fundraiser bring in more money with the same amount of marketing or work? Adding a new product to your annual fundraiser might help. For example, everyone expects the Girl Scout cookie sale fundraiser every year. What if that Girl Scout had some product to offer in addition to the cookies? What if that product was something everyone wanted? She’s doing the same amount of footwork with possibly a much higher return for the same amount of work.

Using TV and newspaper to aid your fundraising project can definitely be beneficial. Just because you are a small group, don’t be afraid to ask the Big Media for help in advertising your fundraising project. Most of the media will give free advertising to non-profit groups or give a substantial discount to their fees. Ask and you might just receive.

On the other end of the fundraising spectrum you have the largest fundraising groups like United Way, Red Cross, Major Political Parties, and thousands of smaller National groups using all kinds of media to promote their cause and get their share of the roughly $240 billion raised yearly by non-profit groups.

Mass mailings asking donors directly for money, newspaper articles, TV news, billboards and all other conceivable media are used to get the word out to everyone about the particular group’s cause. Just because you’re a small group doesn’t mean you can’t use the big media to market your cause.

The recent Tsunami disaster exemplifies what fundraising is all about. It was a naturally occurring human tragedy of great proportions. All types of

media everywhere, in a natural way, marketed the event to the world. In this case “marketing” was simply letting the people of the world know of a need and the world pitched in to help.

So in short marketing is telling everyone about your group’s purpose or reason to raise funds. Marketing is giving people a reason to buy something from a group member to help your group get the needed money to carry out your mission. You might simplify this to “tell’em and sell’em” or “communicate the need”. Remember, the wheel that creaks the loudest gets the oil. Marketing is creating a buzz about your fundraising project.

About the Author

13-year veteran event-fundraising coordinator Phillip Emerson presents this article from, home of over three million fundraising products that your group can market to the world. Phone 336-352-4410, email, or write e-systems, 869 Prison Camp Rd, Dobson, NC 27017