Following global shifts, the proliferation of social media platforms and a (much) faster exchange of ideas have brought about a heightened awareness for social causes across borders. Singapore’s social sector has been riding along these waves of change and witnessed considerable growth for herself. Observing the coupling increase in new educational alternatives in local polytechnics and universities, career opportunities have also been much more promising than before. To the optimistic advocate, these incremental changes reflect the vast progression that the local social sector has undertaken to set up a bigger, better and brighter stage for years to come.
Having said that, this heightened growth would undeniably demand for better equipped skills and facilities to enhance the capacity of the social sector in Singapore. From the ground up, many not-for-profits, social enterprises and VWOs regretfully sell themselves short in marketing and branding strategies. This undervalues their impact made in society today and lamentably shortchanges them in ways more than one.
Here are the 3 main benefits and ways in which good marketing is essential to the social sector.
1: It starts from the inside
Contrary to popular belief, good marketing yields comprehensive influences on both the internal and external operations of the social organisation. Internally, good marketing seeks to unite differences and realign perspectives. This is essential for the social sector prides itself with a strong sense of purpose and value in their cause. After a long haul, these values might be dusted and brushed aside through the daily grind. Thus, it takes a consistent effort to review these internal values and organisational culture for the team to maintain a fresh and spirited perspective.
Not only does good marketing help to gel and keep the existing team together, a clearer expression and stronger identification will also be able to attract more like-minded individuals such as volunteers and full-time professionals to join and grow the family as well.
2. First Impressions Count
Needless to say, good marketing brings about numerous benefits on the external side. Similar yet different to the corporate world, the social sector has an innate need to reach out engage audiences for advocacy and awareness-building. However, this can prove to be a challenging task as these social organisations usually have their niche areas in cause-specific areas such as caregiving or experiential learning instead of marketing skills. It is indeed a pity for a social organisation carrying a myriad of experiences on the ground to be overshadowed and flustered in the landscape of rapid information-sharing.
Even as the mindset of humility is understandable and admirable, many unsung heroes miss out on the chance to sow seeds across the field. Not every seed is set for harvest- but the attempt is always welcomed for empathy-building is more of a life journey than a one-stop service. Therefore, recognition is still a key factor that affects the sustainability and impact of the social organisation. Sometimes all it takes is just a heightened awareness towards the words used and a straightforward structure that is pleasing to the eyes. That might just touch and change someone’s life for good.
3. Begin with the End in Mind
With multiple bottom lines to make ends meet, good marketing can help the social organisation to be prudent in its expenses as well. Strategic and purposeful, good marketing allows for the building of the brand in the most efficient way possible. For example, digital marketing is arguably the most affordable way to engage with the public and retain interest.
Long-term planning and a goal of sustainability will necessitate consistent good marketing. Not only is it a tool for fundraising, it value-adds to the core beliefs and keeps the heart of the organisation going. Going future to include diverse, strategic roles, marketing serves to capacity, cohesion and ultimately, trust. Trust is the lifeblood of the social sector, and this underlines the importance of good marketing once again.
In conclusion, marketing draws out the gold in the social sector with a loudspeaker. Good marketing will ensure that the messages are aired at the right place, right time, to the right people. It is also evident that marketing is more than a visual identity, for it incorporates both the small and the big to create an organisational culture that is genuinely attractive from the inside out.