(For an 18-month organizational marketing plan)
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Today, when multiple organizations are chasing the same dollars, volunteers, citizen advocates and business sponsors and volunteers, standing out from the crowd is critical to success.
Standing out enables your organization to connect—with a prospective donor or program participant, or a student interested in starting a cause chapter at his high school. And you have to connect to convince.
Planning your nonprofit marketing, rather than just doing it, is the strategy that generates the highest “connection quotient.” When you address the questions below, completing the plan with special focus on getting to know your audiences, your organization will be positioned to connect better than ever.
NONPROFIT MARKETING TEMPLATE
- Key question—What is your organization’s main goal (1-2 goals)? What are your communications goals (1-3 goals) and what are the communications goals that will contribute to achieving the overall goal?
- Organizational goal:
- Improve community health by significantly reducing exposure to toxic chemicals like lead in homes, bay contamination, and air pollution from trucks, ships, power plants and other sources.
- Communications goals:
- Build awareness about OrgABC’s work and impact.
- Increase understanding of the relationship between health and the environment.
- Motivate area residents to advocate.
- Organizational goal:
- Key question—What are 3-5 concrete, specific measures that will show you you’re on the right path (or not) to achieving your communications goals? Vague benchmarks will get you nowhere.
- Finalize partnerships with two organizations to cross-promote advocacy campaigns, within two months.
- Increase the number of incoming inquiries (coming from a partner org website, a volunteer advocate or another source) from prospective volunteer advocates by 10% in 2010 and by 15% additional in 2012.
3. Target Audience
- Key question—Who are the 1-3 top audience groups you need to engage to meet your communications objectives and what do you need them to do? Most importantly, what are the wants, habits and preferences of each group?
- County residents—Build their understanding of the environmental health dangers in the region and how they can improve the situation, so they are motivated to advocate for cleaner environmental behavior on the part of corporations. They want their children to stay healthy.
- Staff members of prospective partner orgs working in the region—Build understanding of OrgABC’s role and impact in fighting for community health so prospective partners see the partnership as providing value to their own impact, and want to collaborate.
4. Best Strategies
- Key question—Given your target audience groups and the actions you want them to take, what are the best ways to motivate them to do so?
- Branding—Define, convey and reinforce a robust OrgABC brand (the unique way in which the organization delivers its health expertise in improving community health and the value that it provides) for all target audiences. Consistent, memorable branding helps your base to keep your organization top of mind, and spread the word about it.
- Expand marketing reach to engage more individuals in each target audience group.
- Key question—How to deliver the messaging to your audience via these strategies?
- Org message platform—Development, implementation throughout communications and in conversations.
- Org “look and feel”—Design a new graphic identity (logo, colors, typefaces) to be used consistently throughout online and offline communications.
- Empower staff, board members and volunteers to be effective communicators on OrgABC’s key issues and its impact in that arena by clearly specifying each individual’s role as a marketer and by providing any necessary training.
- Standards guide—Create a guide (PDF) for staff and volunteer messengers to use to make decisions on messaging and “look and feel” of communications.
6. Roles and Responsibilities
- Key questions:
- Who does what?
- Existing staff? New staff? Outsource?
- How many hours (per week or month) is it expected to take?
- What training (if any) is necessary to build necessary skills?
7. Step-by-Step Work plan
- Key question—How to roll out the program?
- Elements—Every discrete task that needs to be done, who tackles each task, start date and deadline for each task.
- Key question—How much is it going to cost?
- Ideal to begin planning process with an idea of what you can spend so you can plan realistically.
- Goal is to develop an understanding of greatest ROI (return on investment) and to track budget in coming year.
- These findings will inform the budget for the following year.
- More on budgeting here.
- Key questions—Measure outputs and outcomes.
- What is working best, so your org can do more of it?
- What targets are engaged and which segments do you need to engage differently?
- What content is most compelling to your base?
- What messaging generates action, and what fails to stir the pot?
- Website usage analytics: “What are the most visited pages on your site” to “what keywords are users searching on to get to your site?”
- Response rate to direct mail, direct e-mail.
- Open and click through rates to e-mail fundraising and other e-blasts.
- Online survey findings and other audience research.
- Change in volume of incoming inquiries from each source (website, volunteer referral).