Put a Marketing Professional on Your Nonprofit Board

January 25th, 2019

Laura sits on the Make-A-Wish Nebraska’s Young Leaders Council.

Most nonprofit organizations have a board, or a variety of boards. Governing boards, advisory boards, working boards and more. But no matter how big or small, new or old your nonprofit is, you should have at least one marketing and/or PR professional on your board(s).

There are two main reasons why:

1. They can serve as a second opinion.
I thought Allison Gauss summed it up nicely in her post, “Your board members should bring a variety of skillsets and experiences to your organization. Serving as mentors, coaches, and consultants, the right board helps you accomplish your goals, pursue your mission, and create a sustainable business model.”

Even if you have marketing professionals on your full-time staff, having a second opinion from professionals on your board can help to push the envelope and think outside the box. Why do you think corporations with full marketing teams still hire agencies? Because they give an outside perspective. They help navigate the constantly changing world of marketing with hands-on experience. And they perform work that the in-house staff doesn’t have time to do. Marketing and PR professionals on your board should do the same thing.

2. They can help keep costs down.
Nonprofits are constantly being asked to do more with less. Organizations know they need to communicate their brand and mission with donors, as well as their services to potential recipients and end-users, but people judge nonprofits based on how much of the budget goes to overhead costs – including marketing and advertising. And this is where we come in. Having marketing professionals invested in your organization and your mission can be critical. Not only do they bring valuable expertise for free, but they can also leverage their network of relationships. So, even if the person on your board is a marketing strategist, they likely know a copywriter or designer that they can tap into.

So how do you recruit one for your board?
If you need marketing professionals on your board but don’t know any, start with people you do know. Your current board members and volunteers are likely to know marketing professionals. But, if they don’t, reach out to your local industry organizations like the American Advertising Federation, Public Relations Society of America, or American Marketing Association and see if they can help you recruit one or two.