Family Hui Hawaii (FHH) is a nonprofit organization located in Oahu that aims to prevent child abuse and neglect by engaging parents and caregivers of young children in parenting support groups. The vision of the organization is that “every family is equipped with the knowledge and support systems needed to ensure that all children are thriving, healthy, and safe” (Family Hui Hawaii, 2018, para. 1).
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Its mission is “to support, encourage, and empower families to meet the challenges of raising children by providing a safe and nurturing environment for them to grow, thrive, and learn from each other” (Family Hui Hawaii, 2018, para. 2). In order to achieve these goals, the organization needs an effective marketing strategy that would attract more donors and raise awareness of its services in the target communities.
The services provided by the organization are essential to the community due to the high incidence of child abuse and neglect in Hawaii. According to the Hawaii Department of Human Services (Hawaii DHS, 2017), the total number of reported cases of child abuse and neglect was 1,897 in 2017, with 605 of these cases confirmed. The most prominent factors associated with such a high incidence of neglect and abuse cases in Hawaii were the inability to cope with the responsibilities of parenting, unacceptable child-rearing methods, and drug abuse (Hawaii, DHS 2017). Family Hui Hawaii’s efforts have a significant beneficial effect on child welfare, as they address these risk factors by providing support, teaching positive parenting practices, and referring parents to other specialists.
Need for Marketing
In today’s world, non-profit organizations depend heavily on donors for fundraising which means that soliciting funds is an essential aspect of almost all non-profit organizations. Though marketing and publicity for fundraising purposes are vital to all non-profit organizations, a vast number of non-profits leaders have no idea about the necessary means to find funds for their organization. Majority of non-profits rely on just one or two ways of getting money, and Family HUI Hawaii is no exception.
Currently, Family Hui Hawaii’s primary funding sources are Hawaii Children’s Trust Fund, Women’s Fund of Hawaii, City and County of Honolulu Grant in Aid, and donations from private foundations.
Family Hui Hawaii promotes their programs, activities, and event through social media, official website and occasionally in magazines, but their outreach for prospective donors is still limited. In an interview with the communications/peer group coordinator, it was found that Family Hui Hawaii does not have a marketing plan (J. Mc’Ouat, personal communication, January 25, 2019). According to Worth (2017), non-profit organizations that adopt a market orientation or societal orientation do achieve more significant financial support and client satisfaction. Therefore, the primary objective of our research is to create marketing and publicity strategies that will improve the fundraising efforts of Family HUI Hawaii.
Our capstone project will investigate some of the methods other non-profit organizations are using in their marketing and publicity efforts to attract more funding. In fulfilling our research task, our team will survey donors and prospective donors to find out about what motivates them to be willing to support certain non-profit organizations. Participants of Family Hui Hawaii will be interviewed to find out how the HUI program is helping them. Both qualitative and quantitative analysis will be conducted as part of the project. In addition, our team plans to update the social media and flyers of the organization, as well as offer some effective publicity strategies and ideas.
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Despite the prominence of non-profit organizations in the contemporary world, few of them realize the importance of marketing to success. Many people believe that nonprofit organizations do not need to engage in marketing activities because their work itself will attract people, and they will get the required support (Williamson, 2009). Unfortunately, this is not the case, and marketing plays an essential role in an organization.
For instance, Grau (2014) notes that nonprofit marketing aims to build a lasting relationship between organizations, volunteers, donors, and clients. As a result, marketing can help nonprofit organizations to attract funding and human resources needed to achieve their goals. It is critical to take into account that nonprofit marketing is different from traditional marketing in terms of its aims, scope, and methods used. According to Grau (2014), “nonprofits marketing is about creating and delivering value to stakeholders (various target audience – volunteers, donors, and the community” (p. 8). Therefore, there are three key areas in nonprofit marketing that are worth examining: communication with donors, social media marketing, and content marketing.
Communication with Donors
Establishing effective communication with donors is critical to attracting funding for non-profit organizations. Pagnoni and Solomon (2014) suggest that nonprofits should purchase a mailing list of prospective donors whose values align with the organization’s vision and mission at a direct marketing house or online. For example, it would be helpful to approach list brokers and buy information about prospective donors from them.
This information can include the names of people who give to charities, their zip code, and income (Pagnoni & Solomon, 2014) In addition to list brokers, Pagnoni and Solomon (2014) mention donor search – a useful tool that provides information on donors, such as their giving history and assets. To ensure that donors are interested in contributing to the organization, the management should prepare a clear plan for communicating with prospective donors. The plan should include initiating contact by phone or e-mail, offering a tour of the organization, and connecting with donors on social media, such as Facebook (Pagnoni & Solomon, 2014).
Once donors make their first contribution to a non-profit organization, it is essential to form long-lasting relationships with them. Based on the principles of nonprofit marketing, the organization should focus on creating value for its stakeholders, as this would help to maintain donors. Marketing can assist in this process by raising awareness of the organization’s impact and value to the community, as well as by providing updates on its goals and operations (McLeish, 2011). In the contemporary environment, both social media marketing and content marketing can be used for these purposes.
Social Media Marketing
In recent years, social media has become a popular platform for nonprofit organizations to communicate, raise funds, and advertise. According to Ewing (2017), nonprofits should use social media not only for spreading the organization’s information but also for marketing purposes since it allows connecting with all major stakeholder groups. Pagnoni and Solomon (2014) confirm that social media enables nonprofits to maintain close and lasting relationships with stakeholders for a relatively small price.
It also allows nonprofit organizations to promote their vision and mission successfully, thus attracting the attention of prospective volunteers, donors, and clients. A research study by Williams (2015) provides a useful summary of benefits that can be received from social media marketing, including decreased costs, increased funding, higher awareness, and improved trust. Nevertheless, there are some considerations that need to be addressed by companies considering to implement this marketing method.
The effectiveness of social media marketing depends on various factors, including the choice of platform and the activities included in a social media marketing plan. There is a great variety of popular platforms that organizations can choose from, such as Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and others. Ewing (2017) explains that different social media platforms have different types of audiences, and the organization needs to take this into account. For nonprofits, the goal is to reach as many people as possible, and thus these organizations would benefit from using several social media platforms to reach a broader audience.
Additionally, nonprofit organizations need to understand that just adding new posts to their social media accounts is not always enough. As mentioned by Clese (2015), firms should also measure and analyze data from their social media accounts to ensure a stable level of engagement. For example, Instagram enables business profile owners to determine the scope of influence and awareness to see what types of posts are the most popular. It is also recommended that nonprofits monitor the rate of return on investment (ROI) for each platform to determine whether their posting strategy for each platform is efficient.
According to the review of the literature, marketing through social media would be one of the perfect means for Family Hui Hawaii, a small organization with limited resources, to attract donors and volunteers. Using social media effectively would help to generate awareness among the stakeholders, thus yielding the benefits identified in various research studies. Implementing a social media marketing strategy would be manageable for Family Hui Hawaii because the organization already has a person responsible for its social media accounts.
Another method that nonprofit organizations could include in their marketing strategies is content marketing, which can be very effective if used wisely and appropriately. Content marketing is often used by for-profit businesses looking to create a positive image and improve brand awareness. Unlike regular advertising, content marketing tells stories of the achievement of the organization, such as the life-changing testimony of the clients, and useful, educational, and motivational information related to an organization’s work.
According to Pulizzi (2012), non-media companies like nonprofit organizations would not receive profit from content marketing directly; however, this tool could help them to attract and retain clients, donors, and volunteers. Another significant advantage of content marketing is that it can be weaved into a company’s social media strategy since technology advancements allow organizations to publish any content on their social media accounts or official websites without significant monetary investments.
In a traditional marketing strategy, an organization produces lots of information and hopes that that information reaches the target audience through newsletters and reports. In contrast, with content marking, an organization creates specific content relating to an issue that concerns both the organization and its target audience. This encourages the target audience to reach out to the organization (Miller 2013). Content marketing works particularly well in the contemporary context, where a recent media shift caused users to become more proactive.
Therefore, posts about interesting issues motivate prospective donors or volunteers to take the initiative and research the organization before making a contribution. Official websites, publications, newsletters, and social media are some of the most popular sources for users to find out more about a particular nonprofit. Therefore, content marketing should be aligned with the organization’s communications and public relations strategies in order to yield great results.
As an organization that has a positive impact on participants’ lives, Family Hui Hawaii can benefit from using content marketing. As part of its content marketing strategy, the organization could share the results of its work in local communities and generate engagement by providing information about relevant issues. This would enable Family Hui Hawaii to demonstrate the value it provides to stakeholders, thus attracting new donors and volunteers and maintaining great relationships with existing contributors.
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Gaps in Research on the Topic
Although the literature review provided a lot of meaningful information for the project, there are still some gaps that exist in current research on the topic of marketing in nonprofit organizations. First of all, there is an apparent shortage of high-quality research studies in the area. Most of the resources found as part of our search were books or articles where authors focused on the theoretical underpinnings of nonprofit marketing. While this does not mean that the quality of information provided in these sources is low, it shows that more research is needed to relate the theoretical knowledge to practice.
Secondly, the vast majority of sources consider nonprofit marketing from the viewpoint of managers. With only a few texts focused on how specific messages or marketing strategies are perceived by their intended audience, this creates another gap in the current understanding of nonprofit marketing. Thirdly, there is little information in academic resources on particular tools that can be used by nonprofits to create an effective marketing campaign.
Instead, most authors concentrated on the exploration of marketing methods, such as content and social media marketing. To enhance the application of knowledge to practice, it would be useful to determine how nonprofit organizations can make the most of specific tools, such as Instagram posts, flyers, and newsletters.
The Capstone Project will seek to address these gaps by providing more specific information that can be easily translated into practice. For example, it will consider the perspectives of donors and program participants on the services offered by Family Hui Hawaii. Using the chosen organization as a case study, the research will also consider how specific marketing tools can be used to improve the effectiveness of nonprofit marketing. Therefore, the project will complement the information provided in the literature review, which would allow managers of nonprofit organizations to use it to inform their marketing efforts.
Statement of Topic and Approach
Research Questions and Concerns
As identified in the previous section, the present research is concerned with obtaining practical knowledge of nonprofit marketing that would assist Family Hui Hawaii in developing and implementing an efficient marketing strategy. It is also crucial to research the target audience, including potential donors and participants, in order to better understand their opinions about the organization and determine ways of influencing them. Therefore, there five key research questions were to be addressed as part of the project:
- What is the effective social media marketing strategy for Family Hui Hawaii? Responding to this question will help to improve the organization’s use of social media platforms, thus allowing it to attract more donors and participants.
- What is the information that Family Hui Hawaii could use as part of its content marketing strategy? This research question will assist the organization in creating a content marketing plan and use it to an advantage.
- What are the factors influencing prospective donors’ decisions to contribute to Family Hui Hawaii? By identifying various influences that shape donors’ decisions, the team will be able to suggest ways of attracting more contributions and funding to the organization.
- How does the target audience perceive Family Hui Hawaii at the moment? Answering this research question will assist in evaluating the organization’s current position in the market, thus informing all future marketing efforts.
- How can Family Hui Hawaii use specific marketing tools, such as flyers and social media posts, efficiently? Exploring the options for improving the use of specific tools in nonprofit marketing will aid Family Hui Hawaii and other organizations to translate theoretical marketing knowledge into practice.
The approach to this research project is deeply rooted in evidence-based management, which involves collecting and applying current evidence, experiential and contextual knowledge, and stakeholders’ preferences to the process of decision-making. Given the shortage of high-quality research studies on the topic, theoretical knowledge of nonprofit marketing was used to inform the project and provide foundational knowledge of the subject. A synthesis of the evidence collected from preliminary research was included in the literature review, and evidence on each concept was applied to the chosen organization.
The experiential and contextual knowledge included the input of all team members, as well as the analysis of Family Hui Hawaii’s. Relevant information about the organization, including its vision, mission, and goals was used to identify the most appropriate marketing strategies and tactics to be used. Different members of the team also had prior knowledge in specific areas of marketing, such as social media marketing, and thus their opinions were also taken into account when planning a marketing strategy. Therefore, contextual and experiential knowledge complemented the data gathered as part of the literature review and helped to inform various project activities.
Lastly, evidence-based management involves focusing on the views and preferences of the stakeholders. In order to include various stakeholders in the project, the team maintained regular communication with the organization’s management and coordinators. Additionally, the team conducted market research by surveying potential donors and participants of Family Hui Hawaii programs. This allowed to apply the information on the topic to the case and ensured that the marketing strategy satisfied the needs of all stakeholders.
Due to the complexity of the project, three separate data collection methods were used. Firstly, a literature search using the Internet and the University Library was conducted to identify relevant sources of theoretical information on the subject. The search used a range of keywords, such as “fundraising”, “nonprofit marketing”, and “social media + nonprofits”. The results of the search were filtered based on the date of publication, quality, and relevance to the project topic. The organization’s website was also among the resources chosen for the project since it provided background information about Family Hui Hawaii and its work.
Secondly, interviews with the organization’s management and coordinators were carried out to identify their concerns and preferences related to nonprofit marketing. The information gathered as part of the interviews was also used to assess the current marketing strategy of Family Hui Hawaii and identify gaps to be addressed. Interviews are a potent method of data collection in business research because they allow gaining insight into a particular topic (Bell, Bryman, & Harley, 2018). For this project, semi-structured interviews were used to obtain the required data while also allowing the participants to expand on their responses and offer other relevant information.
Thirdly, surveys were used to conduct market research and obtain information about external stakeholders’ views and opinions. The primary goal behind the use of surveys was to assess the factors influencing potential donors’ and participants’ perceptions of Family Hui Hawaii and its work. Surveys are often used in market research for this purpose since they enable researchers to obtain specific data from a large number of respondents (Bell et al., 2018). In the present case, data collected from surveys were used to assess the current situation and devise a viable marketing strategy for Family Hui Hawaii.
Because the data collected as part of the project was both qualitative and quantitative, two methods of data analysis were used. For qualitative information obtained from literature and interviews, the team applied coding to identify similar concepts and separate them into groups (Bell et al., 2018). This allowed to structure and analyze qualitative data, thus producing meaningful results. For data collected from surveys, simple statistical analysis was used to identify the most common responses and percentage share of each answer. The data was then translated into visual forms, including tables and charts, to allow for the comparison of responses.
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