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Marketing a non-profit virtual opportunities Essay

1.         Having a website would definitely benefit the youth club because the internet is the technology of modern communication, which can be seen in many different forms of social networking and web logging, known more commonly as blogging. In today’s world, many businesses and nearly every individual with internet access has an email account, a social networking profile, and in some cases a weblog. The beauty of social networking sites and blogs is that their audience can come from anywhere on the globe therefore the ability to bring many business owners and customers together from not only around the country, but around the world is key to developing and delivering a successful business plan.

For example, a business owner in a small town or a rural area isn’t restricted from doing business on a larger scale than the location affords. The internet can function as a virtual chamber of commerce, as well as to help people continue their educations using the resources available, to communicate, to be entertained in whatever fashion, and to enable business-to-business communication and commerce. The internet is one of the most efficient means to get a message conveyed to an audience. Through the various kinds of media

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available success stories of the youth club, along with testimonials from members and how the youth club works as an asset to the community can be communicated. Along with a positive message about the club, whose mission should be “to function as a vehicle to build bridges and address community-wide needs” (Prins, 2005), their needs and other requirements can be projected via the internet to a very large audience of potential sponsors. Conveying messages and communicating information as to how people can support this club may be essential in ensuring the survival and future success of the youth club. Therefore the addition of a website to the marketing portfolio of the youth club can be seen as an essential progression towards a successful charitable operation, which is able to provide an excellent community service at a minimal cost to the supporters of the operation.

2.         Mr. Grover can use the youth club’s website to his benefit by putting links on the site which enable people to donate to the club via various means. There could be a link directly to the youth club’s online forms of payment such as Paypal or Moneybookers, which both support online donation. As well as a function to enable online financial donation from people, information can be supplied such as a forwarding address to which individuals could send money orders or other forms of payment. Also he could use part of the website to state what supplies are most needed, and at what times. It could also form a part of an inventory system which is published to donors and sponsors detailing what the club already has and what they need most to be donated. Running an accounting system on the website which deals with stock control and requests for donations would be essential in helping the building fund manager to plan and manage the supplies. This area of the business could benefit from having increased lead-time when dealing with supplies, and the incorporation of this web-based accounting and reporting system would help donors as well.

They would be able to see when donations for certain items are needed, and if donors are proactive then this system could help them to plan better as well because “organizations that were moving toward cash payments moved irregularly and with many hesitations” (Zelizer, 1994, p. 146). This would help to integrate the website into a viable tool for management, and could help reduce costs and provide better value for money for both the customers, and the stakeholders in all their forms. The aims of the youth club are to provide services to individuals at a low efficient cost, whilst having a basis in quality. The website would enable Mr. Grover to fulfill these aims, and to be able to communicate information to the donors about what is needed and when. With the addition of an automatic emailing system which could run in parallel with the accounting and supplies management software, then the youth club would have more control over the regularity and type of the donations made. This is very important to consider when dealing with a charitable organization which does not usually operate in the same way as a private company.
3.         Other types of activities that could be used to support the success of the new website are essential in the promotion of the new site and what it offers readers. Having a place such as an online forum where members can discuss issues is a must. Good quality graphics are definitely needed to bring vibrancy and aesthetic pleasure to the viewer.

There is also an opportunity to incorporate a photograph gallery, or virtual tour of the club itself and the kids, showing what the club actually does and where the donated money and materials are going. Several information links should be provided as well for those who wish to volunteer their services and supplies and of course monetary help links as well in order to help. By doing this it is possible to open up charities “to public examination and empowering stakeholders with information that can help guide their contributions and use of services” (Frumkin, 2001, p. 83), which benefit the youth club. There could be an area where awards and achievements are mentioned and highlighted to the audience and the local community about how the youth club is able to benefit the members. Every form of promotion should be used to generate interest in the site, from an online promotion to a real world marketing campaign, consisting of posters, fliers, billboards and radio and television adverts if necessary. All these various activities should help the youth club to generate an initial interest in the website which can be expanded as an online presence using other social networking and blogging tools. The way social networks are able to transmit information about websites, and the “like” function of these sites transmits that a user likes a particular page to all their online friends. If the real world advertising and the online promotions are able to generate enough interest then the power of the internet will take hold and promote the site itself. With the activities and actions of the youth club in the local community, there exists potential to start this website and to see it develop into a very successful part of the youth club’s business plan. Therefore all these elements of promotion, donation and management of the entire operation via a web-enabled accounting management system and accompanying website means that the youth club will be able to attempt to build on its reputation and presence in the community and try and help as many people as it can.

References
Frumkin, P. (2001, Wntr). Are Nonprofit CEOs Overpaid?. Public Interest 83. Retrieved August
9, 2010, from Questia database: http://www.questiaschool.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5000077355
Prins, E. (2005). The Challenges of Fostering Community Participation: A Case Study of a
Community-Based Organization in Rural California. Journal of the Community Development Society, 36(2), 15+. Retrieved August 9, 2010, from Questia database: http://www.questiaschool.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=5014927541
Zelizer, V. A. (1994). The Social Meaning of Money. New York: Basic Books. Retrieved August
9, 2010, from Questia database: http://www.questiaschool.com/PM.qst?a=o&d=16219129

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