What do you mean by innovation?

As leaders in the non-profit sector we want to know what you think when you hear the word “innovation.” Over the coming weeks, we’ve invited several leaders to take a bit of time to consider what marketing innovation is, how industry leaders define it and how it comes about. We also invite you to join the discussion via the comments section below.

Some marketers may scoff at using “innovation” and “non-profit” in the same sentence – but the environment in non-profits is ripe for innovation: tight budgets, great talent, inspiring need. Innovation in marketing always begins with a problem. In my experience, non-profits today are experiencing three critical problems:

  1. an aging population forcing a dramatic shift in audience and values
  2. increased competition and, with that, increasingly sophisticated content. Integration between channels challenges traditional silos
  3. technology has disrupted everything: the way we think, the way we engage with one another, the way we market. We’re still learning how to use technology effectively.

In sharing my experiences with other non-profit leaders, I see varying degrees of innovation. While some boards may be pressing their non-profit team to “come up with” (innovate) the next ice-bucket challenge, others understand that innovation (read: progressive change) may be experienced in incremental steps. There may have been several “ah-ha” moments along the way that contributed to new and innovative approaches to multiple facets of the marketing and fund development teams. Those collective steps may seem insignificant, but together they are change-makers.

Aldous Huxley wrote: “The vast majority of human beings dislike and even actually dread all notions with which they are not familiar…Hence it comes about that at their first appearance innovators have generally been persecuted and always derided as food and madmen.”

So let’s cause a little trouble… what do you think defines innovation in 2015?

Gayle Goossen
Partner/Creative Director, Barefoot Creative
Member, CMA Not-for-Profit Council

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Tags: Innovation, Fundraising, Not-for-Profit