Many non-profit organizations are struggling thanks to a sluggish economy that promises to linger for a while. With more people vying for donations and grants, many of these charitable groups are scrambling to learn the techniques and lingo of the for-profit world of marketing.
Even the words “non-profit” or “charity” have become old school. Today we talk about the “social enterprise.” And the most savvy among them are not looking for donations, they use targeted marketing to find investors, who are encouraged to invest in social enterprises as part of their portfolios of stocks, bonds and money market funds.
The idea is to change the perception of merely giving. Now investing is a broader term that incorporates “social responsibility.” It’s about the triple bottom line – people, planet, profit – the three pillars that capture a wider spectrum of values and criteria for measuring personal, organizational or societal success: economic, ecological and social.
In this new world, selflessness gives way to making the world a better place for your children. Doing good for no expected return is a no-no.Instead, you want to “do well by doing good,” knowing that the “return on your social investment” is generating value for people in need and contributing to “long-term sustainability.”
Marketing the benefits and emotions of “social impact investing” is key.
It’s taken a while, but the non-profit community has discovered that language is perception and that people may be more interested in a “balanced portfolio” than simply dropping some change in the world’s collection bowl.