Humanitarian marketing

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  • Publié le : 4 décembre 2010
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When someone says “marketing” people usually think on enterprises and brand positioning. People think on the TV advertising for a new product. No one thinks of a humanitarian cause.

When someone says “Nonprofit organization”, people think on humanitarian causes, hunger poverty, war, kids, cancer. No one thinks of marketing.

The idea of a humanitarian marketing is hard to conceive, even tothe point of sounding contradictory. Even some might argue that taking part in competition in non-profit sector might seem unethical due to the humanitarian sector. But as Julien told you, with the fast growing of NGOs all over the word, each organization must be aware of the sectors competitors in order to better meet the needs of its users and beneficiaries. In a word with hunger problems,poverty, sickness, no respect for human rights and thousands of organizations fighting against this problems, how can someone chose which one is he going to help? How can we choose between either giving money or becoming a voluntary for unicef instead of helping kids in Africa?

The world of humanitarian organizations is a hard world; we can see it as a big competitive market of organizationsfighting for a “good cause”. In fact, NPOs are trying to obtain funds from a common pool of limited resources, the environment is competitive, even if is not recognized the competition. Therefore, this organizations must increase their amounts of money spend on marketing to attract funds from donors. Kotler and Salzman defined different types or marketing, including the humanitarian marketing, alsoknown as social marketing or marketing for nonprofit organizations. It is “the use by nonprofit and public organizations of marketing techniques to impact societal behavior. Their range is limited to supporting a specific cause”, like a medical research, a micro-project in the third world, etc.

This type of marketing was born in the US, where the fund-raising culture is taught since primary school.But now, with the globalization and new technologies we experience disasters and suffering (war, famine, hurricane) in real-time, all around the world, therefore every NPO is using it. The problem is that for the humanitarian marketing there are no universal rules, because each country has its own culture, economic and social structures that generate different attitudes towards the associativemovement. However, there are different categories of organizations that people usually mix under the standard name of “humanitarian organizations”: Non-governmental organizations or associations of international solidarity (their areas of expertise cover many cooperation fields with a developing country and their funding depends largely on the State, even if it is not supposed to control the actionof the NGO), Charities (they aim to fight against a particular problem, such as fighting against Cancer, or supporting a political cause such as human rights), Humanitarian organizations (their purpose is to relieve human suffering. It can either be an emergency assistance such as natural disasters or a long term assistance. These associations are financed wholly or almost wholly by privatepersons).

Therefore, the humanitarian marketing much helps maximizing the mobilization of resources for the satisfaction of not only its users but also its donors and volunteers.

Humanitarian marketing has then two major targets:

- It must focus first on the study on the needs of the people the organization wants to support (being market-oriented)

- It must also explore ways tomobilize resources to meet those needs.

This kind of marketing has to:

- secure funding for the association

- Mobilize: motivates the human resources to be committed with the association, which means to recruit and retain people and not to recruit someone just for one cause or sporadically. Therefore, the association needs to study populations must likely to join the movement and...