Publication Details

Dolnicar, S. & Lazarevski, K. (2009). Marketing in non-profit organizations : an international perspective. International Marketing Review, 26 (3), 275-291. Copyright Emerald Group Publishing Limited 2009.


Purpose – This study tests three hypotheses: (1) that non-profit organizations follow a customer-centered approach to marketing, (2) that marketing is run by marketing-trained staff and (3) that cross-continental differences in the adoption of marketing in the UK, the USA and Australia exist due to differences in the operating environment. Methodology – A survey study was conducted with non-profit managers. The sample contains 136 respondents; 36 from the UK, 33 from the USA and 67 from Australia. Findings – Non-profit managers indicated that the most important marketing activities are promotional in nature. The importance of market research and strategic marketing was acknowledged only by a small proportion of non-profits, supporting Andreasen and Kotler’s (2003) assertion that non-profit organizations have an “organization-centered” mindset. Only one fifth of marketing staff are trained in marketing. Non-profit organizations in the UK, USA and Australia did not differ in their use of marketing and marketing operations, suggesting that the similarity of market pressures may be more influential than the differences in operating environments. Practical implications – Shifting from an “organization-centered” to a “customer-centered” approach to marketing represents a key opportunity for non-profit organizations to increase their competitive advantage and improve their outcomes in terms of the organizational mission. The primary strategy to achieve this aim is to make increased use of formally trained marketing staff. Originality – To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first study to assess the state of marketing practise in non-profit organizations since Kotler (1979, 1982), the first to test the organization-centered hypothesis and the first to test differences across countries.



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