Weave Your Nonprofit Marketing Loose Ends Into a Tight, Powerful Plan

Last week I had the opportunity to join three fantastic colleagues to share guidance on this crucial nonprofit marketing challenge at #11NTC (NTEN’s annual conference). And I want to share that guidance with you.

What a pleasure to work with Kivi Leroux Miller of NonprofitMarketingGuide.com; Karen Secular, Communications Director at the Arnold P. Gold Foundation; and Tara Collins, Communications Director at the Watershed Agricultural Council! And what a thrill to have so many focused, sharp, engaged session participants asking questions and sharing their wisdom.

Weaving your loose ends together is a prerequisite to your nonprofit marketing success but remains, for so many of you, a stubborn barrier. Here are two key tools we shared at the session; they are a huge help in getting started with your weaving:

Here are 12 steps to weaving a tight, powerful marketing plan, highlighted by session participants via Twitter:

  1. Moving marketing from support function to a strategic player is the game changer. (@stacyjclinton)
  2. Stop acting as the in-house marketing agency at your org, and take control of the situation (@egratto) A.K.A., “Stop taking the tickets and start driving the bus,” as Tara says.
  3. Only 16% of nonprofits have marketing plans. You need one to make the move to strategic player. (@ksuzj)
  4. A marketing plan is essential because it directs your focus and keeps you on a clearly defined path. (@elimcgon)
  5. However, marketing planning is ongoing series of refining and understanding. Don’t plan more than 1 year out. (@volmatch) Then break it down further to 3-month chunks @wendymarinaccio)
  6. Rule of 3: Identify no more than 3 target audiences for your messages or you risk diffusing your efforts. (@stacydyer)
  7. Meet your audiences where they are (channels and perspectives) (@weinrichc)
  8. Your brand is not just “clothes you wear” (e.g., logo and colors) It’s your organization’s whole personality-the way you walk & talk. (@linzbilks)
  9. Put all of your marketing material on a table; see if there is consistency through ‘em (@weinrichc)
  10. Unless your blog is supporting your brand or a call to action it’s just words. (@ksuzj)
  11. Vital part of mktg planning is outlining every single task down to the nitty gritty – who is doing what when (@volmatch)
  12. Failures are what our successes are built on. (@mkdm, @andystitt829)

If you don’t have a plan, or have one that lives in your head or hopes, is just notes, not formalized and approved, or simply not working, get on it right now! It’ll change your life, and your marketing impact.

Please let me know what’s getting in your way, and I’ll give you some recommendations for pushing through!

For more insights from the session, review the slide deck and crowdsourced notes.

P.S. Get a jump start on your marketing planning via the Total Focus Marketing Plan Workshop led by Kivi Leroux Miller and me. Karen and Tara participated last fall with great result! 2011 workshops are scheduled for June 16 in Seattle and October 12 in New York City. Learn more now–the workshops sold out last year and 2011 seats are going fast!

Nancy Schwartz on March 22, 2011 in Planning and Evaluation | 0 comments
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