You need a marketing plan
If you have never created a marketing plan, you may want to do a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis or some other kind of organizational analysis to help you get focused. (See links below for more 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.
If you already have a marketing plan and have been measuring your progress (Gold stars for you!), you can incorporate what’s worked in the past into your 2014 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 your marketing plan.
Who are you?
What are your needs and goals?
Each nonprofit has different needs. Everyone needs to raise money, but perhaps you also need members, clients, or volunteers. Come up with categories and goals and 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?
It’s not everyone. Sometimes it’s people who know you well, such as donors, and sometimes it’s not.
Craft your messages with your audience in mind. What would entice someone to donate, volunteer, or attend your event?
Communicating with your supporters
Reaching out to donors and other supporters is a huge part of your communications. Throughout the year you need to update them on how they are helping you make a difference. In my next post, I’ll write about creating a communications calendar to help you with that.
Communicating with an external audience
Measure your progress
At least once a 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.
Photo by Plantoo47 via Flickr