I’ve done PR for a nonprofit for the past two years and in my opinion, the main difference between a nonprofit campaign and a brand campaign is that you aren’t selling a product. In the nonprofit world, the main goal of a campaign is to help fulfill the mission.
When you are creating a campaign for a brand you are focusing on selling that product or products, while representing the company’s message. You would focus on outreach, social media, brand awareness, product awareness, media coverage and customer satisfaction. With a nonprofit campaign your main focuses are community outreach, social media, mission/brand awareness and media coverage. Depending on your campaign, another focus for a nonprofit would be donations because nonprofits run mostly on donations and grants.
The mentalities of both types of campaigns also differ. A nonprofit’s campaign really is about making a change and fulfilling the nonprofit’s mission. The mentality of brand campaigns is making an impression on someone to buy the product. I have created two campaigns for the nonprofit I work for and both keep in mind the mission of the nonprofit. If I was working for a retailer, the mission of the company would always be present but not the main focus of each campaign. You’re selling products and the message behind them, not just the message like you would with a nonprofit campaign.
Deadlines are also different in the nonprofit world. Work need to be done but the expectation of waiting longer for things to be completed is normal, such as how waiting for approval, grant or donation money, etc. slows down the process. It takes longer for a nonprofit campaign to take off, especially if the non-profit is newer. Whereas a brand campaign has strict deadlines and those deadlines must be followed. It’s make or break for brand campaigns.
Nonprofit campaigns always strive to make change, brand campaigns strive to make impressions. The two are different but both relate to each other in strategy and tactics. A nonprofit’s campaign will always fill your heart with emotion, while a brand campaign will easily empty your pockets.
-Kelly Hayes is a junior strategic communications major with a specialization in German and a Global Leadership Certificate. Follow her at @kmshayes.