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Online marketing and fundraising strategies for non-profit organisations in the Cape Town health sector
Booth, Emily Anne
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As healthcare is such a widespread issue in South Africa, this research focuses on non-profit organisations in the health sector. Non-profit organisations take on much of the work that the government cannot deliver with respect to the overall wellbeing of patients at hospitals, in specialised care, in basic healthcare, and most significantly, in areas where private healthcare is unaffordable. This study investigates online marketing, fundraising activities and strategies of non-profit organisations in Cape Town’s health sector. It illustrates the growing popularity of these channels, and argues that many non-profit organisations are not using online marketing tools effectively to raise the funds and support they need. Two longstanding non-profit organisations based at the Red Cross War Memorial Children’s Hospital, are the subject of the study, as this hospital is a prime example of how a government-run institution relies on the support of effective non-profit organisations. The conceptual framework required extensive reviews of the existing literature on the South African non-profit sector, the health sector and the role of non-profit organisations in these sectors. Furthermore, it reviewed successful marketing practices for non-profit organisations, including appropriate online marketing and fundraising strategies. A qualitative and quantitative research approach was employed, using semi-structured interviews and an online survey of twenty-seven health sector non-profit organisations. Key people in the non-profit health sector, the non-profit communication design sector and the corporate online marketing sector were interviewed. The online survey was conducted to gain a clear insight into the current online marketing practices and activities of Cape Town based health sector non-profit organisations. Grounded theory was used as an analytical tool in this research where themes emerge and theory is constructed based on insights and knowledge gained during the research. The results reveal that many non-profit organisations in the Cape Town health sector do not seem aware of the benefits of implementing an online marketing and fundraising strategy. This study concludes that online marketing and fundraising is vital for a non-profit organisation’s success. It is recommended that all members of non-profit organisations learn as much as they can about the importance of online marketing, as well as the importance of having a solid strategy. A unique framework for branding, strategy, online marketing and fundraising is proposed as a solution to the research problem, and further recommendations include the design of a textbook or eBook and an online platform connecting non-profit organisations in the health sector in South Africa.