Last week I was in New York working with nonprofit consultants. After hearing about taxes and timesheets, contracts and budgets, it was my turn to talk – about marketing.

That’s when it occurred to me. Marketing is fun!

What could be more exciting than letting the world know about the great work you are doing? I can’t imagine anything more uplifting than sharing your passion.

That’s what marketing is!

Once you realize that marketing is all about discovering smart, creative ways to talk about the great vision of your organization, you will love it as least as much as I do.

You can do it.

Marketing is one of those subjects (like taxes) that feels scary and hard to get a handle on (taxes really are scary). You may wonder, what is it exactly. Or, can I do it?

You already have the secret to marketing success. It’s not something mysterious or academic. You don’t need an MBA or even a beginner’s class in marketing.

You see, success happens when you share your passion.


Before you start thinking I’m crazy, let me explain in 3 easy steps:

  1. Marketing is communicating the value of what you offer (your mission).

  2. Good communication starts with an emotional hook (your story). So, it figures…

  3. The best person to market your organization is the one who has the most passion for it (you).

Makes sense, right?

It’s my mission to get you to stop thinking about marketing as a bad thing. Because I know you will love it when you see it as the way to present your work to the people who need you and who want you to succeed.

You owe it to them: market so they know you exist and you will be there to make a difference in their lives. In return, they will show their love by supporting you.

Emotions make the difference.

Even though I’m here to tell you marketing is fun, I know the message isn’t always happy.

You do want to appeal to emotions. Emotional connections will result in more of what you want – volunteers, advocates and donors. But sometimes your story is not a happy one.

Emotions come in 6 basic flavors: happiness, surprise, anger, disgust, sadness and fear.

You might appeal to any of these emotions to get the reaction you want. If you have a sad or surprising story to tell, tell it. If you are fearful for the people you serve, say so. If you are angry about cuts in funding, many will respond to your outrage.

Of course, if you have a happy story to share, or a happy ending, tell that too.

Learn about the why and how to tell Your Story  here.

Where to deliver your emotional message.

There are many ways to share a message or tell a story. Some of them will appeal to you (yes, they’ll be fun).

We recommend that you create an easy, practical storytelling entry to your organization. While that is often an orientation or Story Hour, it could be a video or webinar.

You have choices.

For some, social media is a way of life, so it’s a matter of using it well. But you may hate social media and love networking. That’s OK! Although you will want to try different approaches, the best place to start is where you are most comfortable.

We created the Marketing Fun Index so you can discover opportunities to tell your story. The more you enjoy the activity, the better the chance you will do, regularly.

You can’t do it alone.

Doing the good work of your organization is your priority but you know you can’t do it alone.

That’s where marketing comes in.

Marketing is simply the ways you let others know what you are doing now and what you dream about doing, with their help, in the future.

Once you have them on board they become marketers too.

What happened to me last week in New York was eye-opening. I suddenly knew it was all about love. My love for nonprofits, and your love for the people you serve. And, lucky me, I get to show them, and you, how to share the love.

Discover the joy of marketing today!

Merle Benny is the founder of Nonprofit Champion, home to smart nonprofit leaders. Additionally, she’s a humorous and dynamic speaker, a skilled workshop leader and an enthusiastic host at Nonprofit Champion networking events.

Merle enthusiastically shares her passion for nonprofits, marketing and storytelling. As a consultant and coach she provides support and creative problem solving to nonprofit leaders and other consultants.

Merle is a presenter at the Nonprofit Consultants Institute, an annual training offered by Association of Nonprofit Specialists for new and rising consultants.