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Sheth Foundation Research Competition on Nonprofit Marketing

Winners Press Release (.pdf)

The Sheth Foundation Research Competition on Nonprofit Marketing encourages research designed to improve the marketing competencies of nonprofit organizations.  The competition is sponsored by the Jagdish and Madhuri Sheth Foundation in collaboration with the American Marketing Association Foundation (AMAF) and the Marketing Science Institute (MSI).

Eligibility and Deadline


Marketing matters to nonprofit organizations as much as it does to for-profit organizations.  Yet the issues of nonprofit marketing are notably under-researched relative to the importance of this sector to the economy.  The purpose of this competition is to redress this imbalance by encouraging research that will improve the marketing competencies of nonprofit organizations.

Proposals for this competition must be submitted by December 1, 2005.  Please send proposals to Ross Rizley, Director of Research, MSI, 1000 Massachusetts Ave, Cambridge MA 02138.  In addition to the hard copy, please email submissions (in PDF or Word format) to Rizley@msi.org.

Each of the 2004-2006 MSI Research Priorities are possible topics for inquiry. However, the following topics are of greatest interest:

Metrics and Valuation
• measuring and evaluating performance (balanced score cards)
• valuing marketing assets (brand equity)
• life time value of donors and volunteers
• assessing the impact of marketing programs

Consumer Behavior and Relationship Management
• understanding the donor and client experience
• understanding motives for giving
• brand meaning and the role of brands
• segmenting and choosing target segments
• engaging special segments

Marketing Effectiveness
• understanding and improving marketing capabilities
• pricing to capture value
• designing integrated marketing communication
• applying marketing models: direct response, costs and return to fund-raising, customer relationship management.

Strategic Role of Marketing
• what determines whether the organization embraces marketing?
• competitive positioning
• modelling and cataloguing best practices
• internationalization


Proposals will be evaluated by an Advisory Committee chaired by academic professionals. Winning proposals will be announced in April 2006.  There will be a prize of $7,000 for the winning proposal, and $3,000 for the runner-up, which can be used to defray research expenses.  Other worthy proposals may be considered by MSI for funding.

Proposals will be evaluated by an Advisory Committee chaired by George Day (The Wharton School) and Tom Kinnear (University of Michigan) and including Alan Andreasen (Georgetown University), Ken Bernhardt (Georgia State University), Cynthia Currence (American Cancer Society), Christine Donohoo (AARP), Philip Kotler (Northwestern University), Stan Madden (Baylor University), Leigh McAlister (University of Texas at Austin), Jan Pomerantz (AMAF), Kash Rangan (Harvard Business School), Jagdish Sheth (Emory University), and Earl Taylor (Marketing Science Institute).