As a business student in college and an equine volunteer at heart, I have learned so much about the importance of marketing and public relations when it comes to the success of any business– especially for a non-profit. My experience volunteering at a physical therapy program and a psychotherapy riding academy has given me first-hand experience in working with a non-profit and how to correctly advertise its purpose, its needs, and its successes to the public.
As always, I look to the AQHA for ideas on how the equine industry should go about advertising and marketing itself in different disciplines and/or industries. I was able to find a therapeutic riding program called Because of a Horse (an AQHA program) that did a wonderful job of informing the public about the purpose of the program, as well as adding an emotional, but appropriate touch to the cause.
Although appropriate can truly be a subjective word, I consider “appropriate” to mean accurate, honest, and positive– especially for a non-profit seeking the donations of the public. I don’t like to see ads that only elicit pity for recipients of the program; instead I want to feel inspired by their stories and motivated to join the cause. For example, the AQHA flyer uses positive words like “can,” “is,” and “together” to create an uplifting example of how one child’s experience can be an experience for all.
On a more local level, I have also seen fabulous marketing materials distributed by CORRAL (one of the riding programs that I currently volunteer at). As you can see below, their graphics are always bright and welcoming, yet professional and concise. I also like how they incorporate their logo/brand as much as possible to identify themselves in the public eye consistently.
Just based on my knowledge and experience so far, I believe that non-profit advertising is much different from mainstream marketing because it requires a balance between information and purpose. I hope to continue to learn about the varying ways that non-profits inform that public of their needs and successes while maintaining that appropriate touch of emotion.