You probably don’t have a huge marketing budget to work with.
Honestly, if you play your cards right and follow our suggestions for a great nonprofit marketing plan, you don’t need to spend much at all.
Create a document, or a new folder on your computer, and follow these 10 steps to creating your nonprofit marketing plan.
1. Define Your Audience
Who are you helping, and who wants to help? Create a customer persona (also called a customer avatar) for the people most likely to donate or volunteer. Just replace the word “customer” with “donor”.
This is the first and most important step in creating a nonprofit marketing plan, because you need to target audience (donors and volunteers) as much as possible. You’ll need to ask these questions when creating a donor/volunteer persona…
- What motivates them the most?
- Where do they hang out the most (online and off)?
- What do they do for a living?
- What is their (average) income?
- How old are they?
- Are they mostly male or female?
Fill out these questions, as if there is ONE person who embodies the entire group.
If your demographics can be divided up into different categories (income, age, gender, etc.), you’ll need to create different customer personas to represent each category.
Use the questions above to create your customer persona/s, and keep them on file.
You should now have a very clear idea of who your target audience is, how to reach them, and how to get them to donate or volunteer.
2. State Your Goals
Get specific with your objectives, so you can formulate strategies and map out exactly how to reach your goal.
How much money do you want to raise next month? Aim high!
Some very easy and inexpensive marketing strategies involve a good email marketing campaign and social media campaign.
Using what you know about your target audience, you should know where to find them, and what is most likely to get their attention.
Also, don’t put all your eggs in one basket.
Map out several different strategies, with an end goal for each.
3. Define What Sets You Apart
Use the Five W’s and the H to ask…
- WHO: Who are your donors/volunteers/people who care?
- WHAT: What are you trying to achieve and what is the issue?
- WHERE: Do they live in a specific city or certain areas? Is this a regional issue?
- WHEN: Is there a time frame for this issue, or a certain time of increased need for your nonprofit’s help?
- WHY: Why is your nonprofit important?
- HOW: How are you different?
Another thing you should do is ask people who are already working with your nonprofit, long time donors and volunteers.
Ask them why they chose to work with you and what makes you different from the others.
Finally, complete this sentence:
“Our nonprofit is the __________ only that ____________.”
Zero in on what you’re doing that no one else is, as well as what you do best, so you can connect with your audience in the best way possible.
4. Create Your Primary Message
In marketing, people want to know what’s in it for them.
In your social media marketing efforts, you’ll need to focus more on what you can provide for your target audience, and make it less about you.
You’ll need to…
- Play to what they care about most. Refer to what motivates them in your customer personas.
- Offer rewards. Give them immediate rewards that reflect their values.
- Give them simple instructions. Define a specific call to action in your messages (sign up for a mailing list, donate, volunteer, etc.)
- Make it memorable. You messages need to be fun, personable, honest, desirable and relevant.
- Inspire. Show them the good they can do, and how they’ve already made a difference.
5. Choose Your Marketing Tools
Look back to the previous steps to choose which specific tools would be most effective.
For example, if most of your audience is on Facebook, you might want to build up your Facebook page, post regularly, and even run ads to target more of the same kind of people who already engage with you.
You’ll need to keep a close eye on engagement metrics, to see which tools are most successful, where to concentrate your efforts, and which posts are most successful.
Here is a list of online tools to use in your nonprofit marketing plan:
Social media (Facebook, YouTube, Twitter)
Paid advertising (banner ads, Google AdWords)
Public relations placements on websites/blogs
Special events pages
Online donation page
Email outreach (e-newsletter, advocacy alerts, fundraising appeals)
6. Set a Budget
Create a spreadsheet for your online marketing budget.
Divide it up by quarters, months or weeks, and divide your available marketing budget among the tools you’re using.
You might want to invest a lot in Facebook ads, if you found that most of your target audience is active on Facebook.
Create another spreadsheet for your marketing calendar.
This will schedule when you post what and where it will be posted. If you have a marketing team, you can use this to assign certain tasks to certain team members.
7. Track the Results
Keep an eye on the numbers from day 1.
This will help you answer the most important questions in marketing:
What is working best and why?
- Why did a certain social media post garner so many clicks?
- How did that email lead to so many donations?
- What time of day did we send/post it?
Once you know what works and why, keep doing it, and keep tracking the results.
As long as you’ve done the research and followed these steps, you should now have a pretty killer nonprofit marketing plan will send your donations soaring.
Need more help?
If you want more help creating a great nonprofit marketing plan, we got you covered.
Contact us to find out how we can help.