6 things marketing volunteers need to overcome

1.  No orientation.

Unlike starting a new job in a new industry where your colleagues can bring you up to speed, you will be alone.  Use this website to get started.

2.  A lot of what you learned in for-profit marketing is not relevant for nonprofits.

The fundamentals of marketing are the same.  But you will rarely need to help with product development, pricing, distribution channels, formal marketing plans.  You may feel similar to car enthusiasts, who reminisce about the joy of tinkering with old cars.  They got a sense of accomplishment fixing the fundamental mechanics of a car.  Modern cars are too complex for enthusiasts to enjoy.

3.  Volunteering is more like consulting.

Consulting is different from being an employee.

4.  Don’t expect your nonprofits to know what they need.

You have to diagnose and triage.   Typically, they will know only that they need “marketing help”.

5.  Nonprofits think marketing is all about promotion.

Many do not realize there is a science side to marketing.

6. Fundraising staff will feel threatened by you.

Don’t take it personally.  Historically, staff had to wear 2 hats: fundraising and marketing.  A new volunteer with a lot of marketing experience may want to change things.  They may not want you to change the brand.  They may be concerned that the results from the 3 reports will affect their jobs.