credit: WOCinTech via nappy.co

We are often misled to believe that because the primary goals of nonprofits and for-profits differ, the two categories are opposites. By their definitions, nonprofits are not owned by anyone and raise revenue for a cause. In contrast, individuals or shareholders own for-profit companies for the sole purpose of making money (excluding social enterprises).

In the nonprofit world, adapting digital marketing strategies often used by for-profits was the key to survival when virtual fundraising suddenly became the predominant means of raising funds. Nonprofits that already had those strategies in place remained successful, while those that were slower to adapt to technology had an especially rough 2020.

Almost every difference between nonprofit and for-profit organizations is based on their organizational culture, their goals, and the inputs they use to achieve them. Despite their many dichotomies, there is much to be learned from the messaging strategies of each.

At Spencer Brenneman, we believe that for any type of organization, messaging plays a vital role in six key areas. In all six of these areas, both nonprofit and for-profit organizations have strengths, weaknesses, and opportunities to learn from one another. These areas include:

  • Consensus and Communication
  • Differentiation
  • Donor Acquisition and Retention
  • Focus
  • Research
  • Attraction and Engagement

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