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Need and implementation of a digital marketing plan for non-governmental organizations

Modern marketing is a skill that creates value and builds profitable relationships with consumers or customers. In a business context, marketing is defined as the process by which companies create value for customers and build strong customer relations, in order to achieve customer value in return.

The social definition of marketing shows the role that marketing plays in society: the social process by which individuals and groups obtain what they desire and look for, through creation, offers, and the free exchange of products and services, with other individuals and groups. In today's dynamic day and age through the process of building customer - partner relations, companies are resourceful in using new technologies, the opportunities of the global market, whilst ensuring that they work in an ethical and socially responsible manner. Basic marketing concepts, developed primarily for the business sector, can also be successfully applied to the marketing in the non-profit and non-governmental (NGOs) sector. Oriented towards specific goals and managed by people with a common interest, NGOs perform various services, humanitarian activities, convey citizens' viewpoints to the Government, lobby, monitor policies and encourage civic participation in political processes by informing citizens of the available mechanisms in place. As with commercial marketing, the primary focus also here is on the consumer, i.e. the citizen - to learn what people want and need, to find ways to solve the causes of dissatisfaction, to change certain attitudes and practices of a particular target group, that is, to contribute to the improvement of people's quality of life. Successful application of marketing in the non-governmental sector is a prerequisite for its successful positioning as a factor that will create sustainable strategies for the integral development of society.

Armstrong Gary and Kotler Philipp, in The Principles of Marketing, define a five-step marketing process model that can be applied to the non-governmental sector.

Step 1. Understanding the market and the needs and desires of customers (beneficiaries) in the non-profit sector

Successful "non-profit" marketing, just like the profitable one, understands and stimulates the needs, desires, and demands of customers - in this case, clients or service beneficiaries. In non-profit marketing, the customers are the parties who turn to the organization, clients, or beneficiaries of some services or seen from the point of view of the organization, a target group where we want to change/transform something (opinion, behavior, etc.). Market offers, in principle, are the projects which the organization implements, i.e. the activities of the organizations.

Step 2. Designing a customer-centric driven marketing strategy in the non-profit sector

Organizations despite their perhaps broader mission, know that they cannot serve all citizens or understand the needs and desires of all citizens. Therefore, each organization has to divide the entire market, i.e. the entire public, into smaller segments or so-called target groups, to choose the best one and to design a strategy for establishing “profitable” connections with the selected segment After determining different segments, begins the phase of targeting the market, i.e. evaluation of each segment and selection of one or more entry segments, which on the other hand, will also enable good targeting of potential donors.

Step 3. Building an integrated marketing program that delivers superior value in the nonprofit sector

Having in mind internal and external constraints, and in order to address the mission and organizational goals, the planning process, also in nonprofit organizations, takes into account the variables of the “marketing mix” which can be controlled and adjusted in a timely manner by managers to meet the desires and needs of customers in targeted markets, i.e. spheres of action or influence.

Step 4. Building profitable relationships and creating customer (beneficiary) admiration in the non-profit sector

Non-profit organizations have been formed as a result of the needs of a particular group (segment) of citizens. The existence of the organization depends on its "clients" or beneficiaries of its services. Hence, the organizations need to understand the current and future needs of clients/beneficiaries, their demands, and strive to exceed their expectations. All of this will allow them to better articulate their goals and securing funds for further work.

Step 5. Realizing the value of customers (clients/beneficiaries) in the non-profit sector

In the marketing for the not-for-profit sector, the “profit” is the satisfaction of the clients/beneficiaries, the changed (transformed) practices, i.e. improvement of the quality of life of the citizens. Non-profit organizations, like the profit-making companies, create/generate value from their clients based on the relations with satisfied clients. With the development of information technology, telecommunications, and other technologies and the overall digitalization, the communication is to a high degree facilitated between organizations and target groups p, as well as with other marketing partners such as suppliers (and retail - orders over the Internet, but also with external experts engaged in certain activities) and with donors, and indeed with other non-governmental organizations. The latter is especially important when initiating a rapid joint response to a problem by multiple organizations. By regularly monitoring social networks, it is much easier for organizations to understand and analyze people's problems and needs and, accordingly, to adapt their plans and programs in a timely manner.


Marketing is the best platform for the organisation’s planning process on how to meet the needs of citizens and deliver some value, i.e. to convey their cause (mission and goal).

As with commercial marketing, the primary focus here is on the consumer (client/beneficiary), i.e. the citizen - to learn of what people want and need, to find ways to solve the causes of dissatisfaction, to change certain attitudes and practices of a certain target group, that is, to contribute to the improvement of people's quality of life. In order to create a convincing marketing plan, the organizations apply the same steps as in commercial marketing:

- Analysis of the situation.

- Defining the vision and mission of the organization.

- Setting goals for the organization.

- Market segmentation or locating (redefining) of the target group for which the organization is formed.

- Conducting marketing research (environment, trends, competition, etc.).

- Positioning (brand development)

- Choosing a strategic combination of the marketing mix.

- Evaluation plan (development of indicators for measuring success).

- Determining the implementation budget.

- Implementation and adjustment according to behavioral monitoring and customer satisfaction.

Successful NGOs have built innovative and creative practices for fundraising and marketing that allow them to raise more funds for their activities aimed at accomplishing the mission and vision of the organization.

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