How specialized are you in the work that you do? Maybe you’re a fundraiser? Are you a fundraiser that only specializes in grant proposals? Are you a grant proposal fundraiser that only works with human services organizations? Among human services, do you only work with the ones that serve children?
Defining your market very narrowly can be very helpful.
- You can become well known as the “go-to” resource among those who need your service.
- You can reduce your marketing expenses by only going to certain networking events or communicating to a very focused list or prospects.
- It may be easier to show off your expertise to those who can appreciate it and call for your work.
- You can interact with other consultants more like a partner and less like competition.
It can also be very limiting.
- You’ll be quickly overlooked when broader expertise is required.
- Clients will “pigeon hole” you and not pick up the phone because they don’t know you can do anything else.
- You may have difficulty building experience to broaden your business.
Of course, much of this may not be in your hands. Are there enough nonprofits of the type that would use your skills to support a fundraiser-grant proposal writer who only writes for human service children organizations? Could be. Geography might define your market and your ability to specialize. If you live somewhere in the northeastern United States between Washington and Boston, there could be quite a few prospective clients nearby. If you’re on the prairie west of Mankato, Minnesota, maybe not.
There are other factors to consider besides geography. What’s your background? Is it broad enough to give you the skills to work with children’s causes, and, say, the arts?
What’s your interests? Do you care enough about other nonprofit missions to give your clients the best? Is it important to care?
Every day I see the missonal nature of nonprofits define the business market for consultants. Should you define yourself by the missions you want to serve? Can you?