What are your nonprofit's products?

Seth Giammanco

Remember the last time you walked into a well-designed store. It has a certain feeling, doesn't it? The products that are showcased make sense. They are organized well. They fit both aesthetically and conceptually. A well-designed store makes an impression on the shopper it targets.

Photo Credit: https://schitts-creek.fandom.com/wiki/Rose_Apothecary

What are the elements that make a store like this happen? There's a lot to it. There's a business mission, careful selection of products, pricing, and the presentation of those products to name a few.

Wouldn't you want your nonprofit to elicit feelings in the same way that a thoughtful retail experience feels like? One way to get there is to take inventory of your organization's products.

Does your organization have a product(s)?

Product is not a common word in our experience working with nonprofits yet we see a lot of products. In the work we do and the RFPs we come across, the product is often content. In addition to content, some nonprofits and social good companies have a unique interactive service and/or experience they deliver.

Products can be reports, articles, research, programs, and/or technology tools.

So, what are your organization's products?

It's helpful to take inventory of your offerings from time to time.

Start by documenting your various products. For each, answer the following.

  • What is it?
  • What audience is it for?
  • What need does it serve?
  • How do you measure the success of it?

How can you use this information?

Knowing your "products" well can help power a range of useful thinking.

Consider the following questions to see how you can use your inventory to think about the why, how, and impact of what you offer.

  • What are the themes or categories of products we offer?
  • How are our products connected to our mission?
  • Which products are successful?
  • Which products are failing?
  • Are the products presented well?
  • What is our "shopping experience" like?

Answers to the questions above are notably informative when assessing your website, marketing materials, and other communication and constituent facing efforts.

We believe it can be transformational to think about your nonprofits offerings with a product mindset. Keeping up to date documentation of your offerings is a good first step.


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