It’s December, and you’re likely already deep into your nonprofit organization’s 2018 planning. As you plan for the coming year, remember that a marketing plan is a crucial piece of your overall strategy. And as you develop that 2018 marketing plan, this blog can serve as a guide to keep you motivated and hit all the right points that will ensure a successful 2018 for your organization.
2017 was a hard year for many nonprofits, but with strong strategic marketing planning, organizations like yours can start new conversations, join existing ones, reach a wider audience, and make an even greater impact in 2018. Here’s how to make it happen:
Be Proud: Reflect on 2017 Successes
Sometimes, nonprofit marketing teams make the mistake of focusing on what went wrong and what they want to change about their approach instead of celebrating what has gone well. While it is necessary to reflect on challenges and use what you learned to improve your tactics moving forward, it’s also critical to reflect on your wins. Congratulate yourself and your team for the great work you’ve done this past year.
Even if you didn’t meet overall goals, take a look at what went well at a granular level and build from there. Which social media campaigns or even individual posts got the most visibility and engagement? Which marketing emails got the most opens, clicks and completed actions? Revisit those successful campaigns or tactics using the knowledge you’ve acquired to improve them even further and refresh them for 2018.As you assemble your 2018 marketing plan, take a moment and reflect on your 2017 successes. Click To Tweet
Sometimes it may not feel like you alone are making a difference, but remember that you are a part of something great, and your marketing strategies are an important component of your organization’s overall mission.
Be Specific: Set 2018 Marketing Goals that Align with Your Organization’s Strategic Goals
What can your marketing department do to help your organization meet its impact goals in 2018? This is the question you’ll answer when developing your marketing goals. For example, for your fundraising team to meet their goals, how many people should be reached with 2018 marketing messaging?
These goals should be quantitative and represent something that you can realistically achieve with marketing. So, don’t just say you want to grow your online audience, say you want to gain 1,000 more Facebook likes, 500 more Twitter followers and 350 more email newsletter subscribers.
As you develop your list of goals, be ambitious, but stay focused. Stretching your marketing team too thin will limit your resources for your most important initiatives and can almost guarantee burnout. Prioritize what’s most important for your organization and what you want to accomplish based on that overall organizational strategy.
Be Confident: Build a Simple, Straightforward 2018 Marketing Plan
Once you’ve developed your list of marketing goals, you need a plan of attack to actually hit them. Within this plan, you should establish the right mix of tactics to educate, engage and activate each of your nonprofit stakeholders. Then, for each of your 2018 marketing tactics, your plan should detail the what, when and who and align them with specific goals and expected outcomes. For example:
- What: Draft and publish SEO-optimized blog posts
- When: Two posts per month
- Who: Marketing team – rotating author based on full blog schedule
- Target goal: Gain 100 more visitors to our website each month
- Expected outcome: Further establish our organization as a thought leader in our space
If you find the idea of creating a plan for all of 2018 daunting, you can start with a plan that spans six months or one quarter at a time and revisit for the next period a month in advance. We’ve developed an easy-to-use nonprofit marketing plan template to guide you through the process of building your 2018 marketing plan.
Be Realistic: Establish a 2018 Marketing Budget – and Advocate For It
Mapping out your 2018 marketing budget will happen hand in hand with developing your marketing plan. Once you’ve prioritized the tactics in your marketing plan based on their potential impact, you can determine how much you definitely need to spend to achieve your marketing goals, and which items are nice-to-haves if budget allows.
Remember: your marketing budget should be flexible and adaptive. Understand that more dollars may need to be allocated to a particular tactic and lesser priorities may need to be altered or eliminated from your 2018 plan. Allow room for your budget to breathe by establishing a cost range for flexible tactics like social media advertising.
When times are tight financially, marketing is unfortunately often the first item to be cut from a nonprofit budget. As you advocate for your budget with your organization’s leadership and your board, emphasize the ROI of your marketing investments and the specific goals each marketing tactic aligns with, like fundraising goals and volunteer recruitment.
Are you committing any of the seven deadly nonprofit marketing budget sins?
As you develop your 2018 marketing budget, follow along with our guide to ensure you’re covering all of your bases and securing the budget you need to amplify your organization’s impact.