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Why is marketing a bad word in the social sector?

Because the marketing techniques of the corporate world don’t work in the social sector. This sector needs its own methods of marketing. That is what Marketing Unplugged evangelises.




This book is an important contribution to social entrepreneurship. Funding, advocacy and engagement are the life-blood of any good cause and social enterprise. But there is little to teach social entrepreneurs how to make it happen.

Suman’s book is the perfect mix of the practical and the conceptual, a to-do list grounded in deep insights from behavioural science and his marketing expertise.

Pramath Raj Sinha

Founder & Chairperson, Harappa Education,
Founder & Trustee, Ashoka University,
Founder, The Naropa Fellowship,
Founder, Vedica Scholars Program for Women

What do the Ice bucket Challenge, knitting caps for smoothy bottles, the Gandhi topi and a subscription offer from the Economist have in Common? Read this delightful narrative of stories to find out, a narrative that creates an urge to engage with the author in a fireside chat or attend his classes. It is written in an easy, engaging style and is eminently readable.

Whether, you are an established social enterprise or just starting up, the stories show you a clear path to bringing about change in a way that is impactful and inexpensive, invoking positivity in your audience. “Don’t beg, Inspire” will truly change the way you think about raising resources and creating the momentum to usher in the change you are passionate about.

You will clearly see the connection between your cause, behaviour change and brand building, and chart the path to apply these confidently to your own purpose.

I wish I had this invaluable book right at the beginning of my entrepreneurship journey.

Veena Mankar

Banker and Social Entrepreneur

Marketing Unplugged is a joy to read … and is a wake up call! The book is a remarkable balance of observation, insight, relevance, and challenge.

And it does that all (thanks to the Elephant in the room) with a real sense of wit and humour …Suman makes a powerful argument that traditional marketing strategy is simply not equipped to deal with the reality of today’s reality.

It is convincing that new and fresh and innovative techniques are not only needed …they are mandatory. And you will love getting to know the elephant!Don’t beg. Inspire was written for me. Despite my decades in Advertising, Media & Marketing, Vanashakti the NGO I set up in 2007 has fallen into all the traps listed in the book.

Suman has given me a whole new perspective on what needs to be done to grow the scale and impact of the NGO.

His book truly provides a new narrative for social sector marketing, it forces us to turn the spotlight on the things we take for granted. Complex concepts are explained with great clarity and superb examples.

Suman talks about three parts: Inspiration, Principles and Creation.

I am adding a fourth one,Action because that is what is next on my plate. Putting into operation the framework he
recommends so that we can create a movement that builds the momentum in turn supporting the expansion of the cause.
Suman, thank you.

Meenakshi Menon

Founder & Chairperson, Spatial Access,
Chairperson & Managing Trustee, Vanashakti

Don’t Beg. Inspire, is a not just for fundraisers or those into marketing and communications at NGOs and socialenterprises.

It’s a must read for everyone in the social sector, because it is about the core of what we are trying to bring about: social change.

Suman’s book is nonpreachy, doing exactly what he advises! The book drives home its message through short, interesting stories of organisations and people that most people in the social sector would be aware of, but would have rarely picked the insights that Suman has captured.

You will feel nudged into action as you finish every chapter, and the pit stops are super useful as cheat sheets.

If the title makes you curious, just get started, and if it puts you off, you surely need to read this book!

Pushpa Aman Singh

Founder, GuideStar India,
Global Leader, GivingTuesday India

An “inspirational and essential” book for everyone, at all levels in the social sector.

We solve “wicked” problems for the most vulnerable, every day. Our work is critical and yet, we “beg” for support.

Suman uses a combination of rigorous academic theory, fascinating stories and practical advice to show us how we can become evangelists andstorytellers to inspire and engage many others to join our movement to create a better world.

Priya Naik

Founder & CEO, Samhita Social Ventures

Don’t beg. Inspire is a must read for all SPOs. Please read it cover to cover.

I guarantee that you will learn a lot and inspire you to look at your future differently. Whether you are a big SPO or a small one, there are ideas, big and small that will work for you.

You are sure to find your purpose and perhaps a new path to make your SPO grow and be more impactful. Suman is a great story teller. You will surely enjoy the book. I did.

Pravin Gandhi

Founder and Managing Trustee, Sahayog Foundation,
Angel investor in social impact companies,
Philanthropist supporting livelihoods, health & support infra for NGOs

As an individual who has moved from the world of Marketing and Advertising into the Development Sector, I believe Suman's book is very relevant and timely for all Development Professionals, who are proud of the work they do and wish to grow its outreach and impact.

Good stories need to be told. Good stories need to inspire. Good arguments need to be heard.This one is definitely worth listening to.

Sudhir Sahni

Director (Partnerships), Pradan

The centrality of 'marketing' for social change is a severely underrated and largely berated idea.

This book takes this complex, often ethical, often emotional issue by the horns and lays down a cogent, articulate and hugely interesting narrative around the why, what and how of marketing for the larger social good.

There aren't too many writers with the knowledge and ability to weave crucial concepts, frameworks and bring them to life through stories.

Suman Srivastava is surely and truly part of that rare breed!

Gaurav Shah

Founder & Director, Indian School of Development Management

What I loved about the book is that its such an easy read, jargon free to begin with and jargon demystified later through wonderful examples from within the sector and completely relatable.

It will be a very useful resource for NGOs that are usually daunted at the idea of marketing or generating resources.

Aarti Madhusudan

Founder Governance Counts,
Founder, iVolunteer Whiteboard
Volunteer #DaanUtsav

Suman deftly translates the principles of marketing – brands, segmentation, positioning and the like — to the nonprofit world in this highly accessible, engaging book.

With an emphasis on ‘nudge’ theory, it offers a range of insights and lessons for anyone engaged or interested in fund-raising, communications and strategy in a nonprofit or social enterprise.

Ingrid Srinath

Director, Center for Social Impact & Philanthropy, Ashoka University,
CEO, CIVICUS - World Alliance for Citizen Participation (2008-2012),
CEO, CRY Child Relief and You (1998-2008)

In "Don't beg, Inspire", Suman shares a lot of insights into how social change organisations can nudge or inspire behaviours they seek - be it fund-raising, raising awareness for a cause, or getting people to take actions that are good for them and society even if they are reluctant to do so.

The book is full of anecdotes and case studies, simple tips drawn from some of the bestsellers of our times with examples of HOW to convert those tips and principles into action. It is a breezy and enjoyable read, the kind that you can choose to finish in 1 sitting if you like, but far more useful if you read 1 chapter, put the book down and think hard of 5 ways in which these learnings can be applied to your own organisational context.

Having known Suman for over 15 years now, the best part is if you reach out to him, he's likely to be more than happy to help you think this through. So go ahead and read this!!

Venkat Krishnan

Principal Trustee, India Welfare Trust,
Volunteer #DaanUtsav,
#LivingMyPromise signatory

This is not just a good book, an interesting book but a great book because its a practical hand book for all the stakeholders in the social sector. Those who are struggling to establish themselves, those who want to scale up, those who want to evaluate prospective donees and those who want to write about the sector.

I wish I had read this book when I co-founded Yuva Parivartan nearly 25yrs ago but its never too late, I am definitely going to use it for the second venture I am co-founding.

The step by step approach, the flow, explaining principles through examples, research done to explain left/right brain, B=MAT, nudge theories, Pit Stop summaries for recap and comprehension, all engage the readers attention from beginning to end.

I would definitely advise All social sector practitioners to not only read the book but also distribute copies of it to their colleagues and associates, as I plan to do.

Kishore Kher

President & Trustee, Kherwadi Social Welfare Association,
Co-founder, Yuva Parivartan

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