Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Another Form of Charity Marketing

It seems to be a week of lessons in marketing from interesting places.  Here's another:  the local public television station was doing its summer fundraising this past month.  Often times the PBS affiliate recruits volunteers from organizations, promising a certain number of mentions of their organization in exchange for a certain number of volunteers.  The organizations respond with the view that they are getting good marketing.  But are they?

Let's say an organization contributes ten helpers for a six hour period.  Just placing a rough value of their time as, say, $50 per hour, we can calculate a total contributed value of 10 x 6 x $50 = $3,000.  Now let's say the public television affiliate makes two "mentions" (just the name, mind you, no web site or other contact information).  That's a lot of brute force for two passing references, lost among others.

What is more, we have a target market challenge.  The volunteer organization hopes that good leads are in fact watching at the point those mentions are made.  That's a reach: the hours may be bad (say, Saturdays or Sundays at 3pm) or the programming isn't a fit for the target customer.  In the end, the return on investment may be extremely negligible, perhaps even zero.

I have branded these efforts as "charity marketing".  It's just fine if the volunteers really care about the public television affiliate (or similar entity), but realistically they're not doing the organization all that much.  

Bottom line: if resources are limited and marketing must be effective, beware of "feel good" or charitable marketing deals.  But if you have the time and resources and want to be a nice person, have fun.  It does help someone.  

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