5 Steps To An Effective Nonprofit Marketing Plan

Deep down we all know this.  We’ve been given a task to get our message out to the masses.  After all, we can affect our cause without spreading our message, right?  But nonprofits aren’t like “normal” companies.  We have challenges that for-profit companies never face.  We don’t make a profit (duh) and we knew it going into it!  We operate on the backs of faithful donors and volunteers who LOVE to work for free.

Nonprofits are unique with unique opportunities and challenges.  If a nonprofit is going to promote its cause, their marketing plan must fit their uniqueness in every way.

Here’s how to build an effective nonprofit marketing plan

1.  First – Craft your message

Do you know your message?  Do people care about your cause?  Is it unique in some way?  Have you determined what separates you from the guy down the street?  Have you created your brand?  Before you promote your cause, message or your brand – you have to develop one.  Ignoring these questions will cost you big bucks, lots of time and the success of your nonprofit marketing plan

2.  Next – Create your B.H.A.G.

Dream big.  Get out a whiteboard and come up with some Big, Harry, Audacious Goals for your marketing plan. If you had all the cash in the world and a hundred staff, what marketing efforts would you employ?  Radio?  Print?  Digital?  Television?  Internet? A Super Bowl Commercial?  Whatever.  Just dream big.

3.  Then – Take inventory

Let’s be honest, your nonprofit has limitations…you also have opportunities and assets that are uniquely yours.  Do you have more time or more money?  Do you have in-house talent that can “do” the things you’ve included in your B.H.A.G. marketing ideas?  Take inventory of your assets (things that help you – budget, staffing, know-how) and your limitations (things that you have to overcome – budget, staffing, know-how).  Then, incorporate this reality into your planning – that way you can expect realistic results from your marketing plan.

4.  Now – Write your marketing plan

Taking into account your brand, your B.H.A.G.s and your realistic inventory, begin to craft your marketing plan. Take your budget and determine  how much of your B.H.A.G. you can get from your budget.  Next, determine what marketing efforts can be done with your staffing and know-how.  This is where you might consider an outside creative design or marketing firm.  Now, take all this and write them down on a delivery calendar making sure that your budget is spread out to fit the calendar.  THIS is your nonprofit marketing plan.

5.  Finally – Optimize your plan

Failing to put testing methods in your marketing efforts (such as landing pages, unique URLs that tie to your website, unique phone numbers, google analytics, etc.) is a great way to waste your marketing dollars.  After all, you would hate to have gone through all this for an effective marketing plan, just to see it flop because you didn’t measure success along the way.  Testing let’s you see real time results and helps you shift gears on a dime.

Nonprofit marketing plans that follow these 5 steps win every time.  We at The Winn Group would be happy to audit your marketing plan and offer feedback that will help you maximum results.  Simply register here for this free service.  Our account managers are excited to partner with your success.

In the mean time, go get your message heard!