I have been observing the progress for two radically different Not-For-Profits. For the first one, I am on the BOD and they have been a bootstrap start-up with little to no start-up money. The second has had a fortune poured into it, starting with a building.
The Bootstrap NFP created their own media kit from scratch and has a part time employee who has yet to get paid. But the momentum has started and the grants and funds are finally starting to roll in, all from word of mouth and a bit of social media.
The Moneyed NFP has had a full time employee from the get go, there has also been a tremendous amount of press coverage. There has also been some funding from a municipality.
The Bootstrap has had a clear and consistent message from the beginning and a known value statement, which is easily conveyed to potential partners.
The Moneyed NFP has a confusing message defining themselves by what they are not, along with no value statement.
The Bootstrap NFP is getting its message out by word of mouth and social media and traction is noticeable. There is growth year over year.
The Moneyed NFP is reported to be stumbling. They have not gotten the desired core users as anticipated. Original plans and programs have not started because of lack of interest.
As with all businesses advertising is not the goal, name recognition is not the product. Advertising is a necessary component for success. You may have the greatest product in the world, but if no one knows about it they will not know that it is available and your business will cease to exist.
If you don’t have a clearly defined product that people want, who will care. Your product needs to be clearly explained and It helps to have a clear mission, vision and value statement to go with your product or service. These help spread the word of what you are doing, success breeds success.