Non-profit marketing is effectively marketing on a budget for an altruistic cause. It is attractive to outgoing, extroverted personalities who enjoy attracting money and interest to a particular cause. Non-profit marketers, more than other marketers, are often expected to know about and take a particular interest in the social work performed by the non-profit organization.
Non-profit marketers, like most people who work in non-profits, don’t often receive large salaries. Assistant directors, event coordinators, and other lower-level marketing employees often get paid minimally compared to their for-profit counterparts, despite having to go through the same training. Apart from marketing directors for large organizations, the salary cap is typically around $50,000 per year.
Of course, the actual salary of non-profit marketers depends on many different factors. Work experience is the biggest factor, as is the size and scope of the non-profit. The larger and more well-known the non-profit is, the more a non-profit marketer can expect to earn. Applicants with a business degree or MBA typically receive a larger starting salary than applicants with a general humanities or non-profit studies degree.
Depending on how friendly a given state’s politics are with grants to non-profits, you may earn a larger or smaller salary. Those grants will, by and large, pay your salary, and unless you can find a way to get more money as the marketer, your pay will effectively remain tied to whether those grants keep coming.
The Non-Profit Times Salary Survey indicates that non-profit marketers make on average between $25,000 and $45,000 per year. This figure is for low- to mid- responsibility marketing jobs such as Publication Specialist, Event Coordinator, and Assistant Marketing Director. Meanwhile, those who rise to the level of Marketing Director for a particular non-profit can expect to make between $45,000 and $100,000, depending on the factors described above.*
*According to the BLS, http://www.bls.gov/oco/
Job Description and Outlook
Marketers working in the non-profit sector have a variety of job responsibilities, all of which involve earning the non-profit organization cash flow and notoriety. These responsibilities include developing brochures, maintaining a presence on social media sites, researching potential customers and donors and making contact with them, advertising the results achieved by the non-profit, building and maintaining a professional website, fundraising, event coordination, and forming commercial, government, and advertising alliances with other firms. The job of a non-profit marketer is often quite hectic, and is well-suited for high-energy personalities interested in making the world a better place in a particular field.
Non-profit marketers are different from grant writers, but many of the same qualities are required for both. Both need to know how to describe the non-profit’s work in a way that would convince someone to invest money in it, and both need to have excellent communication skills. However, while the grant writer is focused more on introverted written presentation, non-profit marketers are more the extroverted type.
Training and Education Requirements
Applicants are by and large expected to hold a four-year degree in business or non-profit studies. If you don’t hold a degree, the only job you can get in non-profit marketing is as a volunteer or minimally-paid intern, and even those positions are highly sought by students already enrolled in degree programs. As non-profits are becoming more and more integrated with the business world, a standard bachelor’s or master’s degree in business is beginning to become the norm for non-profit marketers. For those interested in raising money for various causes, a marketing degree, rather than a non-profit degree, is the standard way to go.
To supplement a for-profit-minded marketing strategy, it is recommended that business degree seekers either take a concentration in non-profit studies or enroll in certificate programs specifically designed to teach the fundamentals of non-profit marketing. While these certificate programs are no substitute for a solid education is business essentials, they can provide a useful perspective and set of techniques.
Classes typically teach students how to network and build relationships, how to pitch the non-profit to potential donors or investors, how to create an image and brand that “pops,” and how to do more with less. Supplemental education typically involves history of non-profits and social justice work, which, while they don’t teach techniques for performing the job well, provide the social incentive to keep on working. Those who aren’t inspired by the possibility for social justice and related classes don’t tend to choose Non-Profit Marketing as a career.
Certification is not required for non-profit marketers, but it can be helpful for job seekers whose college training only covered the basic business and general marketing strategies. Marketers can supplement their experience and training with Non-Profit Marketing certificate workshops offered by organizations like ExpertRating or colleges like the University of Richmond. This certification can help to prepare you for the unique aspects of working with non-profit organizations.
The primary non-profit marketing professional association is the Direct Marketing Association Nonprofit Federation (DMANF). As an advocate for the professional community, the DMANF puts out a magazine called Journal of the DMA Nonprofit Federation containing latest studies on marketing strategies, assists professionals in finding jobs with non-profits, hosts several conventions and conferences annually, and helps marketers network with businesses or other donors. A paid annual membership with DMANF confers certain benefits such as financial or legal support for your non-profit, newsletters explaining the latest government rulings that affect non-profit marketing, distance learning opportunities, and invitations to annual conferences.
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