Marketing and Comms – The 4Ps of Marketing

I’m putting together a course specifically for charities and non-profits. This piece is part of a collection of materials that you can get as handouts, but I’ve also posted it online because even though it was made for the Building Value program, it could be useful for lots more people.

In the context of a workshop aimed at charities and non-profits, the 4Ps of Marketing—Product, Price, Place, Promotion—offer a foundational framework to guide marketing strategies effectively. For these organizations, understanding and applying the 4Ps can significantly enhance their ability to communicate their cause, engage with their audience, and achieve their fundraising and awareness goals.

  1. Product: In the non-profit sector, the “product” is often the cause or the service provided to the community. It’s crucial to clearly define what the charity offers, whether it’s support services, educational programs, or advocacy. For example, a charity focused on literacy might offer tutoring services, reading materials, and workshops. The product here is the impact on literacy and the benefits to the community.
  2. Price: While non-profits do not sell goods in the traditional sense, they still require resources to operate. Price translates into the cost for the service or the suggested donation amount. It’s important to communicate the value of the donation, explaining how funds are used and the tangible impact of each dollar donated. For instance, a charity might explain that a $50 donation provides a week of meals for a person in need, directly linking the donation to its impact.
  3. Place: This refers to how and where the charity’s services are accessed or offered, and how information about the charity is disseminated. For charities, this might involve a physical location, online presence, or through partner organizations. Ensuring services are easily accessible and information is readily available is key. An animal shelter might have a robust online adoption process alongside its physical location to increase the adoption rates.
  4. Promotion: Promotion for non-profits includes all the ways the organization communicates with its audience to raise awareness, encourage donations, and recruit volunteers. This could involve social media campaigns, email newsletters, public events, and traditional media coverage. A compelling promotional campaign might highlight success stories or testimonials to showcase the charity’s impact, encouraging more engagement and support.


Adapting the 4Ps model for non-profit marketing allows organizations to approach their marketing strategy with a structured framework, ensuring all aspects of their offer are considered and aligned with their mission. According to Kotler and Lee’s “Marketing in the Public Sector: A Roadmap for Improved Performance,” non-profits can leverage the 4Ps to not only better communicate their value proposition but also to meet the needs of their target audience more effectively.

For example, the Red Cross uses the 4Ps by clearly defining its product (emergency relief and preparedness education), setting a price through suggested donations, ensuring place through global accessibility of its services and information, and employing a wide range of promotional activities to engage the public and stakeholders. This strategic approach helps the Red Cross maintain its visibility, relevance, and effectiveness in fulfilling its mission.

In summary, the 4Ps of Marketing provide a versatile and robust framework for charities and non-profits, helping them to navigate the complexities of marketing their causes, engage with their audiences more effectively, and achieve their organizational objectives.