How to Sell Your Products to Nonprofit Organizations

by Greg DePersio

2 min read

With over 170,000 organizations in the Canadian nonprofit sector as of 2016, your small business may find nonprofit organizations to be a lucrative niche market. Selling your products to nonprofit organizations adds benefits, such as consumers associating your brand with a worthy cause, adding another sales channel, providing a motivating purpose for your employees and receiving tax deductions.

Selective Targeting

Sell your products to nonprofit organizations that you have selectively targeted. Try to find nonprofits that align with your product offerings. For example, if your business sells environmentally friendly products, consider selling your products to related nonprofits, such as an organization that supports research into global warming. Analyze the spending capabilities of nonprofits that you target to ensure your products fit their price range. For instance, if you sell high-value items such as furniture or appliances, you could target nonprofits that have more leeway in their expenditure, such as museums. If you target budget-conscious organizations, think about offering flexible payment terms to accommodate them.

Volunteer

Consider volunteering in organizations that you’d like to have as your customers. Becoming a volunteer lets you see how a nonprofit is structured and where your products can provide a solution. For example, if you own a small marketing consulting business, your services could benefit a nonprofit seeking to attract millennial donors by suggesting several promotional strategies to use. Attend meetings to understand the challenges that the nonprofit is encountering; you may get inspiration for a new product to develop. Volunteering gives you a chance to network with the organization’s stakeholders, such as board members and founders, who have the authority to make purchasing decisions.

Benefit-Focused

When nonprofit organizations make a purchase or sign up with a new supplier, the decision may require approval from multiple stakeholders. Ensure you market your product’s features clearly and show how they benefit and add value to the organization. For example, if you own an accounting business that sells financial software,, you could highlight the amount of time it would save with day-to-day financial management duties, such as recording donations and setting up automatic payments. Once the nonprofit understands how your business’s products enhance its organization, they can justify the expense to the important decision makers.

Believe in the Cause

Show nonprofit organizations that you believe in their cause. Individuals who work in nonprofit organizations have a passion for what they do. Conduct some background research to help you get a better understanding of the organization’s purpose to help build rapport with its employees. For example, if you intend to sell your products to a children’s leukemia charity, familiarize yourself with some basic statistics and visit with some patients to relate to the work they do. As well as volunteering, consider making regular donations to a nonprofit that you want to sell your products to; this helps show that your business cares for the cause. Selling your products to nonprofit organizations creates advantages that can help your small business grow. When selling to this sector, consider using tactics that include targeting the right nonprofit organizations, volunteering, staying benefit-focused, and relating to the organization’s cause.

References & Resources

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