The role of relationship marketing at non-profit organisations in KwaZulu-Natal
Hussain, Sameera Banu
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In South Africa, non-profit organisations were seen as vocal and active players in the struggle against apartheid. During the country’s transition period, non-profit organisations played a central role in mitigating the effects of apartheid’s unequal development and in mobilising opposition to the apartheid state. With the focus moving towards service delivery, non-profit organisations have continued to play a major role in filling gaps and advocating on behalf of those living in poverty. Non-profit organisations do not operate to advance their own interests, instead, they use society’s resources and goodwill to meet society’s needs. In the poor economic environment, stakeholders are unfortunately looking to cut back and save resources. It therefore becomes more critical for non-profit organisations to adopt relevant strategies to reach more stakeholders and to keep them involved and motivated. One such strategy that can be adopted is marketing, in particular relationship marketing. This study therefore sets out to investigate the role of relationship marketing within non-profit organisations in KwaZulu-Natal. A thorough overview of the literature was undertaken, mainly to investigate the nature of the non-profit sector in general as well as in South Africa, its marketing and the impact of relationship marketing. A mixed methodology was employed for this study. A census study using questionnaires was used to collect quantitative data whilst qualitative data was collected using a face-to-face, semi-structured interview schedule. The findings revealed that funding has become the main constraint faced by the non-profit sector. Many non-profit organisations have employed marketing tactics to assist them in promotion and fundraising. Relationship marketing was identified as a concept which can assist the non-profit organisations in building and maintaining relationships with their stakeholders. Respondents further positioned communication as the central point for relationship building. The results of the data analysis led to the creation of a framework which outlines the role of relationship marketing at non-profit organisations. This study has clearly indicated that relationship marketing forms a powerful strategy that non-profit organisations should apply to manage long-term relationships with their key stakeholders.