An International Social-Marketing Strategy for a Non-Profit Organization: Determining the Path for Continued Success?

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In 1979 Co-operation Ireland (COI) was founded to advocate for peace and reconciliation to be established between the Nationalist and Unionist communities in Northern Ireland. Almost 20 years later the Good Friday Peace Treaty was signed and the widespread violence in Northern Ireland started to decline. In 1998 a total of 55 security-related deaths were recorded. By 2010 that figure had dropped to 1 security recorded death. This significant decline was viewed as a sign that quieter and more peaceful times had arrived in Northern Ireland. The first objective had been accomplished, i.e. a peace treaty was signed. Now COI had to focus on an even harder task: to build a lasting reconciliation between the Nationalist and the Unionist communities and seek to restore friendship and harmony across Northern Ireland. Over the years COI had build a strong organization and presence in Ireland and had offices based in Belfast and Dublin. It also had reached out abroad and opened an office in New York in 1995.

In 2011, as the global recession extended into another year, COI faced difficult choices. The level of charitable donations collected was in decline especially from the USA, an important source of funding. International public opinion had also considered the conflict resolved, evidenced by the lack of public disorder on the streets of Belfast and Derry. The administrators of the New York office had reached a crossroads: should they continue to operate as a small nonprofit organization with staff and offices utilized on a year-to-year basis'? Or should they expand their reach and target partnerships as the way forward, leveraging their brand identity and messaging across various platforms with different non-profit organizations?