Marketing is essential for survival of charities
MARKETING is described as the scourge of our society more often that it is described as its saviour, but today a Dublin forum will hear about the many ways marketing can give back to Irish society.
Kieran Loughran, co-founder of Boardmatch Ireland, is one of the speakers at this morning's PM Forum and is hoping he can convince more marketeers to join his panel of 1,000-plus experts that offer their services to more than 500 charities and NGOs.
"One of the biggest weaknesses we see with NGOs and charities is marketing," he says. "There are 25,000 community groups and 7,500 groups out there. . . if people don't know about you, you're not going to grow and get funding."
The challenge is particularly stark in the "current environment", he adds, since some charities and NGOs are "in danger of going out of business" due to lack of public awareness and funds.
Boardmatch also takes in some funding itself, sometimes through a model that sees Boardmatch try to link "aspiring executives" from the donating companies to charities and NGOs that can use their skills.
"We didn't start it as a CSR (corporate social responsibility) thing but it has evolved into that," adds Mr Loughran.
Marketing's role in the broader sphere of CSR is a topic Alternatives director Aldagh McDonogh will be honing in on when she gives her address this morning.
Ms McDonogh believes marketeers should take a more active role in CSR projects, so that CSR is "a strategic fit" for the company rather than "something unconnected".
"If it (CSR) is a fit it's more likely to benefit the business and it's more likely to be sustained," she says, adding that it's a "missed opportunity" if companies aren't making marketing capital on their CSR.
Ms McDonogh's marketing talent agency Alternatives is also driving a "marketing for change" programme, which matches marketing executives with charities on a project basis and has so far engineered more than 80 placements.