Voluntary organisations have become major providers of numerous social welfare services that previously were supplied by the state. In Britain, between 35 and 40% of the average human services charity’s annual income now derives from government (predominantly local government) sources, meaning that the acquisition of fresh contracts to undertake government funded work, in conjunction with the maintenance of good relations with government funders vis-à-vis current assignments, is increasingly important for ensuring a human service charity’s financial survival. An organization that wishes to obtain new contracts and to keep government bodies satisfied with its present activities will need to market itself effectively. This empirical study examined two aspects of charity marketing relevant to this requirement: the extent to which voluntary organizations applied the principles of strategic account management (otherwise known as key account management) to their relations with government funders, and the organizational characteristics (passion and commitment, low wage costs, etc.) that they emphasized to government bodies when making bids. A number of organizational variables (e.g., mission rigidity, strategic intent, short term operational focus) were employed in regression analyses as possible determinants of: (i) the degree to which a charity used strategic account management; and (ii) the genres of the organizational characteristics that it accentuated when tendering for government funded work.
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