Do you wish you had a road map that showed you exactly what you need to do to get your organization’s message across? The creation of a nonprofit marketing plan can help you understand your goals and priorities and ensure you’re leveraging the right marketing tactics to drive your mission forward.
Today, we’re talking about the tactical portion of your marketing plan, which should be created following the development of your overall marketing strategy and provide actionable steps your team needs to take to bring your marketing activities to fruition. If you haven’t already developed your stakeholder profiles or key messages, we’d suggest you start there before embarking on tactical selection and execution. Once you complete those, you can get started planning tactics.
There’s no use in creating a nonprofit marketing plan that you can’t realistically execute. Before you determine what you are going to do from a marketing perspective, you need to understand the budget and staff resources you have available to put toward your marketing efforts.
Answer the following questions:
- What marketing tactics are you currently using? What’s working and what’s not?
- How much budget do you currently have allocated to marketing, if any? How much are you budgeting over the next year?
- How much capacity does your team have to execute on a marketing plan?
- Are there any marketing “must-dos” you have in mind that you want to be sure you address with the marketing plan?
The answers to these questions will help you create a realistic plan based on your staff capacity, resources and budget. Now, you can set achievable goals for the coming year.
Mapping Your Communication Goals
As we wrote about last week, your marketing goals should be developed in collaboration with your nonprofit’s planning team. You’ll want to use your mission and strategic plan as a starting point.
Based on our work with numerous nonprofits, marketing goals often include things such as:
- Raising awareness
- Building consistent messaging across media
- Building thought leadership
- Driving more donations
- Engaging more volunteers
For example, we worked with one nonprofit that is focused on creating a market for reused building materials. The organization’s primary goals were to grow brand awareness throughout the community and recruit more volunteers. In order to reach these goals, they determined they would need to:
- Position the organization as a vehicle to launch new conversations about sustainability and reuse
- Promote opportunities for community classes, green events and re-entry job training
- Grow beyond their current network to reach new audiences of potential volunteers
Setting realistic goals is important because they determine the tactics you will use to meet them. So as we think through the goals of the organization in our example, following are some tactics we selected in support of each one:
Position the organization as a vehicle to launch new conversations about sustainability and reuse
- News profiles featuring the perspectives and testimony of leadership
- A blog with thought-provoking articles about the role the circular economy plays in the community
- A leadership panel where community leaders and members can share ideas
Promote opportunities for community classes, green events and re-entry job training
- Monthly all-access classes and free workshops
- Weekly ad spend across Twitter and Facebook targeted to the community
- Guest blog posts by volunteers and returning citizens highlighting their experience with the organization
Grow beyond the organization’s current network to reach new audiences of potential volunteers
- New and potential volunteer happy hours and other planned events
- Targeted online ads encouraging volunteer sign ups
- Attendance at university volunteer fairs and other events
Notice that each goal has different accompanying tactics. While media relations is great for raising awareness, it’s harder to directly track how that tactic alone will increase the organization’s number of volunteers. For that goal, we needed to build in tactics that allow us to easily measure stakeholder actions, like online ads that direct to a volunteer sign up page.
Putting your Nonprofit Marketing Plan into Action
With your tactics selected, you need to make sure your plan is actionable and specific. Using social media as an example, decide:
- What social channels your organization will be using
- How often you will post
- Who will be posting
- Who you hope to reach and engage
- How much budget (if any) you will be allocating for social ads
- How you are measuring your success
Once you’ve selected your tactics, map them to a calendar that visualizes what is happening when and who is responsible for carrying them out. Also determine what it looks like if these tactics are successful and how you will measure the impact of each toward your organization’s marketing and overall strategic goals.
Remember, your nonprofit marketing plan should be a living, breathing document.
As your organization changes, it’s only natural for your marketing needs to change with it. Ready to get started? Find more guidance, along with tools you can use to build your plan by downloading “The Essential Nonprofit Marketing Plan Template.”