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November 29, 2012


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Sybil Stershic

You get it, Mark. A nonprofit's employees and volunteers need to understand they are the face of the brand in that "what" they do on behalf of the organization and "how" they do it impacts public perceptions.

It's more effective to help staff and volunteers connect their work to marketing this way rather than telling them to add "marketing" to their job descriptions under "other duties as assigned." Seriously, some organizations have done the latter, and it's the quickest way to overwhelm an already overwhelmed staff!


If I understand correctly Sybil, I like the idea that internal marketing leverages those individuals down in the trenches- employees and volunteers who know the organization well. Yes, they are the product and nobody better than they can convey the mission and demonstrate the values of the nonprofit. My guess would be that many nonprofit employees and volunteers, however, do not view themselves as marketers, brand ambassadors or the like. The internal marketing approach appears to be a unique and more deliberate way to bring to light that in fact they are and engage them as such. All too often, it is requested that Board members who typically have a much less intimate knowledge of the organization make key contacts for the nonprofit. Although these initial contacts can be very beneficial and sometimes even serve as door openers, I would not envision them having as much impact or staying power as the long-term work of the internal marketers. From the standpoint of a small nonprofit with limited resources, internal marketing would appear to yield better long-term results, have greater impact on sustainability and constitute a better investment of energy.

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