Why You Need a Strategy Plan for Your Nonprofit Marketing

Running any organization, especially a nonprofit, is an endeavor that needs direction. All the resources

expended; time, money, skill, and expertise, must be used and channeled towards actions that produce the desired result. An organization can only achieve this by having a strategy. Without it, even a well-meaning nonprofit like yours will not be able to promote its cause or garner the donations it needs.

Nonprofit marketing has many facets, but the first step should always be to develop a strategy. This will help you focus your attention and use resources efficiently.

Goals for marketing a nonprofit

Think of setting goals as plotting your destination on a map. Marketing goals and objectives will help your nonprofit reach its full potential. Before setting any goals, you need to know where your nonprofit is now. This requires a situational analysis.

Perform an analysis for your nonprofit marketing 

Just as you wouldn’t head to the grocery store without knowing what you have in your fridge, you shouldn’t start setting goals or strategizing without first knowing the current status of your nonprofit. You will also need to assess the environment outside your organization for opportunities and threats. Opportunities may include new marketing trends that can benefit your nonprofit, technology advancements, or cultural changes that you can take advantage of. Threats include any external trends or events that might get in the way of your nonprofit’s mission. You should also assess the environment within your nonprofit for strengths and weaknesses in capabilities, resources, and skills. This overall analysis methodology is called SWOT analysis. 

This approach will help you anticipate potential issues and focus your attention on immediate needs. It’s important to consider factors like financial constraint, the margin by which your funds must grow to relieve this pressure, how many donors are still active supporters, and how many have fallen off the grid. When you know where you are, it’s far easier to know where you need to be.

Set your Goals 

Once you have a clear picture of what’s missing and what needs attention, you can set your marketing goals. Your goals will help you address the needs of your organization. For example, your situational analysis might have revealed that you need to:

These will make up the goals from which you can set objectives. You need to make sure that your objectives are practical and “SMART” to maximize their attainability; That is, they must be:

  • Specific – avoid ambiguity and generalization.
  • Measurable – set quantifiable limits; e.g. increase conversions by 15%. Attainable – they should be plausible and actionable.
  • Realistic – make sure they are relevant and applicable to the issues at hand.

Keep your goals and objectives close and refer to them as often as necessary to make sure you have not strayed from the target.

Build your Strategy

After setting your nonprofit’s goals, you are ready to strategize and compile an appropriate plan to attain your objectives. Come up with broader game plans and narrow them down to specific tactics and actions to undertake. Remember: a strategy is “what” you are going to do, while a tactic is “how” you are going to do it.

For example, your strategy might be to drive traffic from brand social pages to your company website and increase engagement, while your tactic might be to add URLs to ‘About’ sections for Facebook, Twitter and Google+.

To ensure effectiveness, your strategy must be implemented in a consistent manner over an extended period and communicated properly to all team members.

Measure the effectiveness of your strategy 

Knowing how your strategy is performing will give you insight into which actions to stick by and replicate, which to improve, and which to eliminate. Many organizations make the mistake of implementing a strategy but neglecting the evaluation phase—measuring efficiency and effectiveness, constructing control methods, and making improvements.

Failure to evaluate your performance puts you at risk of repeating mistakes and inhibiting progress. So take some time to decide which metrics you will track. Suggestions include:

  • Tracking the number of unique visitors to your website during a given time period. They are called “unique” visitors because each is counted only once.
  • Tracking your page views, that is, the aggregate number of specific pages that your visitors go to. You want to see if visitors click through to multiple pages on your site. Compare this to your unique visitors. If page views exceed unique visitors, your content is likely engaging and relevant.
  • Tracking your conversion rate. This is the percentage of people who take the action that your content is driving them towards. For instance, if you have a call-to-action like “become a donor”, your conversion rate will be the percentage of visitors who actually click on the CTA button and register as a donor for your nonprofit.

These are just some of the metrics you can track to determine your strategy’s performance.

We know that marketing a nonprofit can be overwhelming. That’s why we’re dedicated to helping worthy causes grow and make their mark. Get in touch today to learn how we can help your nonprofit thrive.

Learn more ways to help your nonprofit benefit from online marketing. Download your copy of our 10 Questions to Ask Your Marketing Team About Donor Acquisition Strategies eGuide today.