BMCFerrell is a well-known Church and nonprofit advertising agency. Mr. Ben Ferrell was gracious enough to partake in an interview providing helpful information on the importance of nonprofit advertising and much more.
1) What is the importance for advertising and public relations in the context of a non-profit or charity organization?
If people do not know about your cause, how would anyone support the organization/cause.
Exposure to the public is as important for a non-profit as it is to a singer, actor, or commercial product manufacturer.
2) Many donors feel as if their contributions are wasted if spent on advertising versus direct aid or relief to their desired cause. How do you feel about this?
I think people know there is a cost of raising money. It just needs to be reasonable, and not over budgeted.
We believe advertising should be used conservatively, in the most cost effective and resourceful way possible. It is not a “write off” for non-profits, so we have to be wiser than the world.
3) Would you say advertising and public relations have played a huge role in successes of various church plants and non-profits?
One of our churches has grown from 3,000 to 6,000 and the Pastor thanked our company, as he credited our assistance in producing and placing his ministry program on television.
This leads to another believe of ours, that all advertising should minister to people, not just ask for money. It can/should be a source of inspiration and spiritual help as well as advertising for funds.
4) What led you into public relations/advertising for non-profits?
I was in the ministry.
5) “The best way to create a world that works for everyone is to start doing the same thing Apple did to create a world in which everyone wants an iPod: start building demand for the idea on a massive scale. If the New York Times every morning were full of ads for ending AIDS, eradicating poverty, and curing cancer, those causes might just stand a chance against Bloomingdale’s and Netflix. And make no mistake about it — that’s who the competition is.” – Harvard Business Review.
How do you feel about this excerpt? Do you see non-profit advertising as competing with consumerism on a larger scale?
First of all, not “everyone wants an IPod”. Not everyone will want to give to your cause, but certainly, as in every business, with good advertising, you can achieve a “market share.”
Consumerism is definitely competition because most consumed goods are purchased from “discretionary income”, the same source of one’s budget from which donations are made.
Thank you Mr. Ben Ferrell for all of your wonderful responses!