Travel Business CPR

Non-Profit Organizations, Almost

A nonprofit organization primary purpose is not to make money but to serve is members. In fact, a nonprofit organization is neither in the profit sector nor in the public sector but sits somewhere between the two. Nonprofit organizations are not product driven, but mission driven.

In the nonprofit sector marketing is the engineering of satisfaction among a variety of groups including users, founders, trustees, regulators and others who can influence the success of the organization such as the media and the public. A successful marketing strategy allows organizations to accomplish their missions, meet their program goals and achieve long-term financial stability by focusing on the needs of their multiple constituents and satisfying their needs.

Image is the sum total of beliefs, ideas and impressions that people have of an organization and the programs, services and products that it offers. In the non-profit world a strong, positive image is critical to gaining broad community support and it can change rapidly. It is particularly difficult when an organization's positive image is eroding slowly and imperceptibly, particularly if trustees and staff believe it is flourishing and no one in the institution understands what is happening. Image can be flourishing in one area and deteriorating in another. Because they serve multiple constituencies, nonprofits must develop the proper image for each one. This often involves projecting different aspects of the organization and its program to different audiences.

A nonprofit must have all the facts on how well it stacks up against the competition, how it is perceived in the community, how its programs, activities and products are regarded and how it might command a bigger share of loyalty from its customers, clients, founders or other constituents.

You need to understand your organization by asking searching questions such as "Has your mission statement been reviewed within the last five years?" and "Who are your constituents? Are they well represented? Are they well served?" and "Has there been a formal test for organized abandonment within the last decade or do you propose to become progressively more irrelevant to the community you set out to serve?" and "What criteria have been developed to evaluate the continued relevance and appropriateness of your organization's mission and activities?" and "How much would people suffer if you went out of business?" and "Have the trustees given some thought as to how they will recruit and train a new chief executive when the time comes?" and "Is there a process that ensures that appropriately qualified people become officers in your organization?" and " Has your board engaged in a comprehensive long-range planning process within the last five years? Does your board approve specific goals and long-range objectives each year?" and "Is the chief executive skilled in personnel work and is there a system that ensures that each job will be filled by the best possible candidate?" and "Are the tasks appropriately distributed among salaried staff, volunteers, independent contractors and outside providers?" and "Have you found effective ways to identify, recruit, orient, motivate and recognize the work of volunteers?" and "What activities does your organization do less well? Should they be dropped? If not, how can they be made more successful?"

A couple of organizations do this well National Geographic Society, The Smithsonian and AAA. NGS’s Inspiring People to Care About the Planet. Its Mission Programs support critical expeditions and scientific fieldwork, encourage geography education for students, promote natural and cultural conservation, and inspire audiences through new media, vibrant exhibitions, and live events while The Smithsonian is an Establishment for the increase & diffusion of knowledge and AAA’s mission is to be the emergency road assistant and safety for its members. AARP’s mission is to enhance the quality of life for all as we age, leading, positive social change and delivering value to members through information, advocacy and service.

These NSO have created a for-profit-arm similar to corporate model but they reinvest their profits into their missions. The best examples are again National Geographic Society and perhaps AARP Services, Inc.

I am still waiting for some NSO to break away from the current pradium in that some NSO should think out of the box and offer their services in an expanded way or method using more of web 2.0 and web 3.0. I believe that day is coming soon.

Tharwat Abouraya, CTIE
Travel Business CPR - Bring Strategy to Life!

Follow me on Twitter for access to more exclusive articles!