This paper examines the effectiveness of social marketing in smaller nonprofit organizations. While smaller nonprofit organizations conduct social marketing campaigns in great numbers, little was known regarding their usage of marketing techniques like segmenting, planning and evaluation.

This investigation also unearths a variety of challenges and barriers that smaller nonprofit organizations face while attempting to conduct their social marketing efforts. A survey methodology was utilized which included responses from 416 organizations. Responses came from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, thus offering a very expansive and diverse look into the social marketing practices of smaller nonprofit organizations in the United States.

While the majority of nonprofits rated social marketing as very important to accomplishing their mission, there was evidence to show that these efforts are underfunded and understaffed. The vast majority of the organizations surveyed also appeared to conduct their social marketing activities from an organization-centered standpoint vs. a more recommended audience-centered mindset.

This paper provides evidence to promote further research into social marketing effectiveness in smaller nonprofit organizations. It also suggests nonprofit leaders and foundations should promote training opportunities and enhance professional development related to social marketing. Simultaneously, the results of this research project show a need from both nonprofit organizations and the funders who grant them money to encourage a higher level of success through planning and accountability through evaluation.