In our call for topics for the first #NPMC chat, Mike Mella asked how nonprofits obtain resources for marketing activities. Underlying this question is the organizational attitude and approach to marketing; whether marketing budgets are viewed as strategic assets or an unjustifiable expense. Nonprofit marketing budgets or spending can range from zero dollars to hundreds of thousands – even millions – depending on the organization’s size, resources, strategic priorities, funding, partnerships and other factors.

Nonprofit overhead in general

Activist and fundraiser Dan Pallotta’s recent TED talk, The way we think about charity is dead wrong has sparked renewed conversation about the evaluation of nonprofits based on their ability to minimize overhead.

“Too many nonprofits are rewarded for how little they spend — not for what they get done,” says Pallotta, who asks that we start rewarding charities for their big goals and big accomplishments – even if that comes with big expenses. While the message of Pallotta’s talk resonates with many in the sector, his approach has also sparked debate.

Spend more, achieve more?

There are those who go so far as to say that more effective charities spend more on administrative costs. That we need to stop evaluating charities based on admin costs but rather based on the effectiveness and sustainability of their programs.

What’s your view?

In your organization, is marketing supported as a business activity essential to the delivery of your mission? Or is marketing considered a ‘frill’ or misuse of donor dollars? What is your experience with budgeting or asking for marketing resources?

What is your view? Did you sign on to a role in this sector, expecting – maybe wanting – to do ‘more with less’ and you therefore embrace the challenge/environment? Or do you tirelessly advocate for budgets that will allow you to better deliver results?

Join the conversation

Join us for our first #NPMC chat on Thursday, May 30 at 1:00 p.m. E.T. Together, we will explore the topic of marketing budgets in the nonprofit sector. Don’t miss this opportunity to tap into the collective experiences, insights and strategies of your peers.

Marlene Oliveira

Marlene Oliveira

Communications advisor and copywriter at moflow
Marlene Oliveira is communications consultant and copywriter at moflow and founder of the Nonprofit MarCommunity blog. Having worked in the nonprofit sector since 1999, Marlene specializes in working with capacity building and grant-making organizations, advising on communications strategy, and writing stories and other content.
Marlene Oliveira
Marlene Oliveira