When you’re running a nonprofit, you have to think in numbers. Businesses need revenue to survive and grow, and so does your nonprofit. Businesses run extensive marketing, and so should your nonprofit. That’s where a nonprofit marketing plan comes in.
But how do you strategically implement a cohesive nonprofit marketing plan? Well, we’re here to answer just that.
However, before we start—if you’re curious and want some examples, check out our nonprofit app development case studies:
- World Wildlife Fund (WWF)
- World Health Organization (WHO) and USC
- Iowa Municipalities Workers’ Compensation Association (IMWCA)
What is Nonprofit Marketing?
Basically, nonprofit marketing uses marketing strategies for three primary purposes:
- Propel your organization’s mission and impact
- Receive donations
- Raise awareness of your cause
- Grow your base of supporters and participants
There’s a difference between inbound and outbound nonprofit marketing. Inbound marketing means scaling your marketing tactics to attract visitors, prospective volunteers, and donors. And, it’s a more thought out, long-term strategy than outbound marketing—which is actively reaching out to people through cold-calling, cold-emailing, etc.
Inbound marketing can help nonprofits attract and engage new supporters, connect with donors, and inspire your cause’s community. And by doing so, you’ll be able to heighten your reach and raise awareness.
Consequently, heightened awareness means better fundraising with donor memberships and recurring donations, easier volunteer recruitment, and accessibility to the services you may extend to your community.
What is a Nonprofit Marketing Plan?
So, we’ve established why nonprofit marketing is mission-critical to an organization. But what is a nonprofit marketing plan?
Simply put, a nonprofit marketing plan means laying out your marketing efforts in a systematic way. With it, you’re going to put systems in place to create and distribute the marketing content that’ll propel your organization’s funds and people power. And with more funds and human capital comes better capabilities to advance your cause.
How to Create a Nonprofit Marketing Plan
1. Reflect on Previous Efforts
The very first step to creating a nonprofit marketing plan is to look at your previous inbound marketing efforts and analyze their performance.
How well did they do? What worked, and what didn’t?
You can do this through tracking:
- engagement on social media
- website unique visitors and session durations
- conversion on your website—and specifically, your donations and
- volunteer and newsletter signup
- email campaign open and clickthrough rates
How did these metrics correlate with different campaigns and strategies you’ve already used? Did you find success, or did your efforts not meet the KPI goals you set?
By knowing what has worked and what hasn’t worked in the past, you’ll be able to refine your goals and nonprofit marketing plan.
2. Distill Your Marketing Goals
The next step in creating your nonprofit marketing plan is to establish your goals as an organization and your marketing efforts. I
For instance, If you’re looking to increase donations, you can focus on designing your marketing website to increase the conversion of recurring donors. The average monthly recurring donation is $52 (annually, $624) vs. the average one-time gift is $128—so this might be a great goal for you if your org isn’t meeting its fundraising goals.)
Your goals may be related to publishing content and sending newsletters for education. Or, they might revolve around growing your social media presence to raise awareness for your services.
Additionally, they might expand into quarterly volunteer and donor drives or events.
Whatever they might be—they should be SMART goals. Meaning: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. Basically, it’s essential to quantify your success, have the goals be relevant to the big picture, and have them based on a specific timeline to ensure they happen.
3.. Know Your Audience
With any marketing effort, it’s essential to tailor it to your target audience—ergo, “buyer personas.” And nonprofit marketing plans are no exceptions. So, your messaging should be crafted towards whoever you’re trying to attract.
Doing so requires that you fully understand who you’re aiming for. And understanding your audience entails collecting quantitative and qualitative data on your audience’s demographics, psychographics, behavioral characteristics, etc.
By knowing who you’re talking to, you’ll be able to differentiate your messaging depending on their persona and your goals. And, you’ll be able to keep track of these metrics and see how they change.
A donor management system (DMS) and customer relationship management (CRM) tools will come in handy to keep track of all these audience segments and the effectiveness of your efforts.
4. Draft Your Narratives and Messaging
Creating cohesive messaging will help your marketing efforts in many ways. For one, it’ll keep your marketing team and your wider org consistent about your mission and give you key talking points to include in your marketing collateral.
Key messages will also help you with audience segmentation. Depending on whether you’re reaching out to donors, volunteers, supporters, and the community, you’ll be able to tailor your messaging based on what is most important to them.
Community members may be looking to use your services—whereas volunteers may be looking to make a tangible impact. These personas contrast in their motivations to be involved with your cause—and your messaging should be specific to each of them.
5. Choose Your Nonprofit Marketing Plan and Platform(s)
With your knowledge of previous campaigns, audience, goals, and key messages in mind, it’s time to start building out your nonprofit marketing plan.
Some plans may involve:
- Redesigning your website for enhancing your donor and volunteer conversion funnel
- Social media campaigns to raise awareness
- Hosting fundraising or educational events
- Email marketing to boost engagement and participation
Whichever aspects you choose to incorporate in your nonprofit marketing plan, you should ask yourself:
- What will the execution look like? (Who’s in charge of what, with what timeline, and with what platform.)
- Why is this strategy important, and how does it progress our goals?
- What is your budget for each marketing activity?
- What will success look like, and how will you measure it?
6. Observe, Track, and Analyze Your Success
Finally, we come back to step one.
Once you’ve launched your nonprofit marketing plan, keep tabs on its progress.
By choosing SMART goals, you’ll already have the KPIs and metrics in place to measure its performance—so all you need to do is establish where you store that data and how you’ll analyze it.
With these insights, you’ll be able to not only iterate in the future on your next nonprofit marketing plans but iterate as you execute the current one.
For instance, you can run A/B testing to see which donation page design receives the most donations. Or, you can test different email subject lines and copy to see which have a higher open and clickthrough rate. By running these experiments, you’ll be able to inform and iterate on your current strategies—and know how to improve them.
Well, this was a lot. We know.
Coincidentally, hi, we’re Goji Labs—a product and software development consultancy with experience in designing, “rescuing,” and deploying hundreds of products.
Have any general questions about who we are and our authority on the subject?
– Goji Labs