How Nonprofit Organizations Use Social Marketing to Raise Awareness of Their Causes

How Nonprofit Organizations Use Social Marketing to Raise Awareness of Their Causes

These days, it can seem increasingly challenging for nonprofit organizations to attract and maintain the attention of the public. Now more than ever, consumers are flooded with a variety of messages, from countless online and print ads, to promotions broadcast at full volume on the television and radio. Despite how difficult it may seem to effectively communicate to groups who are saturated with information, nonprofit organizations can raise awareness among their target audiences by using social marketing.

As a relatively new addition to the world of marketing and advertising, social marketing is one of the best tools a nonprofit organization can use to create and distribute a message regarding their cause. Knowing how to use social marketing to effect change begins with understanding its techniques and how best to apply them to your organization.

What is Social Marketing and how can it work for my organization?

Social marketing is a systematic approach to presenting your message to the public with the goal of inspiring certain behavioral changes among your target audience. Originating in the 1970s, social marketing uses many techniques and principles that traditional marketers of commercial goods and services have used successfully for decades. These concepts include creating a product with value that is offered at reasonable price, and which is advertised through channels that effectively reach a desired consumer group. In marketing terms these ideas are often are broken down into the terms product, price, places, and promote.

The key concept of social marketing is to influence people to act. Such desired change in behavior can be viewed as the product that your organization is looking to market. To achieve successful results, your nonprofit must craft a message that convinces your audience of the benefits of taking action, as well as the risks associated with failing to modify their behavior. These ideas can be viewed as the price of your product.

Raising awareness among your audience begins with understanding your target population, such as identifying their current views on a particular issue and knowing how they receive their information. With this data, your organization can advise your audience of how or where to apply their change in behavior (places) through a campaign that uses the most appropriate and effective methods of communication (promotion).

One example of how a nonprofit successfully used social marketing to raise awareness is a Southern California organization that wanted to increase the number of uninsured residents receiving annual screenings for preventative cancers. To help create an effective product, the group began by conducting surveys and focus groups that sought to identify the following important factors: the rate of people currently undergoing yearly screenings; the awareness among the target population about the importance of cancer prevention; and how this group receives their information regarding health and health care.

Based on these findings, the nonprofit organization created a language-sensitive message on Facebook that addressed the importance of cancer prevention through screenings, as well as information on how the key audience could schedule cancer screenings in their areas. This message was advertised in other mediums that were widely accessed by their key population and in areas considered to be high-traffic among their target audience, such as YouTube and MySpace.

The following year, this Southern California nonprofit reported an increase in the number of uninsured residents receiving screenings. Undoubtedly, the success of their campaign was due in large part to their use of a system of social marketing to create their product, establish and communicate its price, and to effectively reach their target audience.

There are over 150 channels to explore when starting a social marketing campaign.  Here at NuVisions we make sure your organization is on the ones that will benefit you the most. Contact us today to take advantage of our expertise. Social Marketing makes an excellent volunteer activity. Get your staff involved, and really bring your nonprofit into the public eye.

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