12 Steps to Weave Your Nonprofit Marketing Loose Ends Into a Tight, Powerful Plan
[Editor's Note: This article originally appeared on Nancy Schwartz's Getting Attention! blog, "Weave Your Nonprofit Marketing Loose Ends Into a Tight, Powerful Plan," summarizing her session at the 2011 Nonprofit Technology Conference held in Washington, D.C., last week.]
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:
- Nonprofit Marketing Plan Template
- DIY Communications Audit Worksheet (your first step in planning, once you’ve determined your marketing goals and target audiences — the folks you need to engage to meet those goals)
Here are 12 steps to weaving a tight, powerful marketing plan, highlighted by session participants via Twitter:
- Moving marketing from support function to a strategic player is the game changer. (@stacyjclinton)
- Stop acting as the in-house marketing agency at your organization, and take control of the situation (@egratto) A.K.A., “Stop taking the tickets and start driving the bus,” as Tara says.
- Only 16 percent of nonprofits have marketing plans. You need one to make the move to strategic player. (@ksuzj)
- A marketing plan is essential because it directs your focus and keeps you on a clearly defined path. (@elimcgon)
- However, marketing planning is an ongoing series of refining and understanding. Don’t plan more than one year out. (@volmatch) Then break it down further to three-month chunks. @wendymarinaccio)
- Rule of 3: Identify no more than three target audiences for your messages or you risk diffusing your efforts. (@stacydyer)
- Meet your audiences where they are (channels and perspectives). (@weinrichc)
- Your brand is not just “clothes you wear” (e.g., logo and colors). It’s your organization’s whole personality — the way you walk and talk. (@linzbilks)
- Put all of your marketing material on a table; see if there is consistency through them. (@weinrichc)
- Unless your blog is supporting your brand or a call to action, it’s just words. (@ksuzj)
- A vital part of marketing planning is outlining every single task down to the nitty-gritty — who is doing what when. (@volmatch)
- 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.