COMM 460 - Social and Nonprofit Marketing

This course explores the role and application of marketing to promote social change and to achieve social goals, particularly in the context of nonprofit organizations. Marketing pinciples have been applied to such areas as encouraging safe and healthy behaviors, protecting the environment, developing audiences for arts organizations, providing medical care and other health services, designing and delivering social services, improving education programs, and fund raising. The underlying theme of this course is that a marketing orientation can make nonprofit organizations and public agencies more effective and more responsive to consumer, client, and constituency needs.

While marketing was originally developed and conceived of as a business function, for the past thirty years it has been applied to help organizations achieve social change. In successfully applying marketing beyond the business sector, important differences between businesses and nonprofit organizations need to be recognized. For example, the objective function is no longer profits, but achieving a social goal. Much of the funding of the organizations comes not from users, but from government agencies or donors, who may have different priorities than do the clients. Social change programs often target deeply held beliefs and personal behaviors that are resistant to change. Volunteers as well as paid professionals play a critical role in managing the organization and delivering services. This course will identify significant opportunities and important barriers in the use of social and nonprofit marketing and provide approaches to using marketing in new settings.

Learning objectives

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  • develop a framework for analyzing marketing problems outside the business sector and gain an understanding of the characteristics which differentiate business from nonbusiness marketing.
  • apply marketing in a diverse range of areas.
Course credits:

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