|This graph by Kivi Leroux Miller shows that many
don’t have a formal marketing plan.
Some nonprofit organizations don’t spend a lot of time on marketing and communications. They want to focus on raising money. But marketing and fundraising are very much interconnected. You can’t raise money without clear messages and a good strategy to communicate those messages.
If you have never created a marketing plan, you may want to start big and do a SWOT analysis and competitor study (see below for details). At the very least, you should create a plan that covers how you will communicate with your audience(s). Ideally, you should be looking at more than one year and your marketing plan needs to be consistent with your strategic plan.
Don’t make the mistake of not taking your marketing and communications seriously. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you put together a marketing plan.
Who are you?
What does your organization do and what makes you unique? What is your message platform? If you have never taken the time to create a consistent set of messages, you’ll need to do that. Make Your Messages Clear and Consistent
What are your needs and goals?
Each nonprofit will have different needs. Everyone needs to raise money, but perhaps you also need members, clients, or volunteers. Come up with categories and goals and then create a strategy for each. For example, if you need tutors or mentors, you need to come up with a recruitment plan.
Think about going beyond raising awareness. You need a call to action, such as donating, volunteering, attending an event, or contacting your legislator.
Who is your audience?
In most cases, it’s not everyone. Sometimes it’s people who know you well, such as donors, and sometimes it’s not. Personalize your messages to different audiences.
Communicating with people who know you
Just because someone has donated to your organization or subscribed to your email list, doesn’t mean they are thinking about you all the time. They won’t be thinking about you at all if you don’t communicate with them. These folks are precious resources and you want them to keep supporting you, so don’t ignore them.
Communicating with donors and other supporters needs to be part of your marketing plan. Update them on how you are making a difference. Create an editorial calendar How to Create an Editorial Calendar and keep messages consistent across each channel.
Communicating with people who don’t know you
When you communicate with an external audience, target people and groups who will be most receptive to your message or call to action.
All nonprofits want media coverage, but plan carefully. Target the right publications and choose the right stories. You have lots of competition. Pitch something newsworthy.
Measure your progress
Each quarter look at your goals and figure out what is working, what isn’t, and how you can make improvements.
Use this dashboard to monitor your progress. Scroll down a bit for the marketing section.
More information on marketing plans
This template by Nancy Schwartz of Getting Attention.org will give you more detailed information to help you put together a marketing plan.
The links below are quite detailed, but are helpful if you want to do a competitor study or a SWOT analysis.
Again, don’t make the mistake of not having a marketing plan. Yes, it will take some time to put together, but as with all types of planning, it is time well spent.