Marketing for nonprofit organizations presents an interesting set of challenges. On one hand, a marketer with experience in the for-profit world will bring the same skillset and mindset to the table, and most of the same principles apply. On the other, chances are they will be working with a very limited budget, and depending on the organization’s mission, there may be more at stake. To help you navigate those waters, here are some guidelines to craft a good marketing plan thoughtfully and creatively.
What Are Your Goals?
To begin, you need to be clear about your goals and communicate them to any team members involved in the process. After that, you should state your objectives and measures for success by applying the S.M.A.R.T process. The “S” stands for specific. Is the goal easily explainable and clear? The “M” is measurable. Will you be able to measure and track success? If so, how do you define it? The “A” is attainable. Are these goals realistic? If not, scale back a little. “R” stands for relevant. Does it align with your mission? And the “T” is for “Timely.” What are the timeline and calendar?
Who Is Your Audience?
Marketing for nonprofit groups requires the plan-makers to get in the heads of their audience. Luckily, this is one area that is a little easier for nonprofits than the for-profit world. You’re likely already promoting your services and mission, recruiting volunteers, or reaching out to donors.
What Is Your Message?
Depending on your audience, you need to determine what you are going to say. You need a strong call to action no matter what, but the message will differ based on the constituents you are trying to reach. Make sure the decision is clear, and everyone knows.
How Will You Say It?
Perhaps the toughest call to make when marketing for non-profit entities is the medium and platform you will use. While the budget will likely be a deciding factor here, don’t forget that anything you spend money on can likely be supplemented by free things like organic social media and website posts.
When Will You Measure It?
This is a trick question. In this digital age, you should constantly be monitoring analytics and tracking the performance of your marketing efforts. This is easier to do with social media, web traffic, and search engine optimization, but tracking and gathering data around traditional media outlets (TV, radio, and print) is available to you as well. If you’re paying them, ask for it. If results are poor, tweak your strategy.