Four areas of marketing your nonprofit needs to focus on

We’ve seen time and time again how common it is for nonprofit marketers to get overwhelmed as you juggle all the hats you wear. In our experience, when you focus on the following four areas, you’ll set your marketing team up for success (even if you’re a team of one). Not only will you be able to focus your energy, but you’ll also be able to reach more people who want to support the important work your organization does! 

Woman sitting at a desk writing into a planner

1. Before you do anything else create a strategic marketing plan


A marketing plan is essential to your organization’s success. Before you start listing reasons why you can’t or don’t have time, we’ve heard every well-intentioned excuse. Instead, we suggest you take a moment and think about what could happen if you put the time aside to draft a strategic plan instead? What brain space might open up for more creativity? How could it allow your team to work more collaboratively? 

If the thought of drafting a 12 month marketing plan makes you want to hide, start smaller! In our rapidly changing environment, you can create a marketing plan that is based on your upcoming events or focuses on the next quarter. If you like thinking longer term, planning the next fiscal or calendar year is great as long as it helps you set a strategy based on your current goals and resources.

At this point, you may be even more overwhelmed as to how to structure a strategic plan, and that is completely expected. If you’re looking for guidance, sign up below to be notified when we share our free marketing plan template.

Before you jump into creating your plan, keep reading for the three areas of focus that need to be included. 

2. Your mission doesn’t happen without people – talk to them


Your organization may be thriving internally, but if you haven’t taken the time to tell the public about your success, you are missing out on a great opportunity to build your organization’s brand. People won’t know about the incredible work your organization is doing if you don’t tell them. When you focus on public relations, you’ll set your organization apart and ultimately remind your existing patron base why they donated to you in the first place, all while gaining some new donors in the process. Many areas constitute public relations, but all of them work together to support the positive public image of your organization.

Public relations can include media relations, community relations, influencer marketing and so much more. As you plan your public relations activities, focus on your target audiences and where those audiences will see your communications.

3. Let’s think digital, everyone else is


Did you know that 85% of American adults go online daily? But some groups are plugged in nearly all the time. According to a survey conducted by Pew Research Center in 2021, 44% of 18- to 49-year-olds say they go online almost constantly. Only 7% of adults say they do not use the internet at all. That means you can reach about 93% of Americans online. 

Paying attention to digital marketing can rapidly increase the effectiveness of your overall strategy. Consider the digital marketing areas you already manage such as your website or email – how can you further optimize those or build on them? Make sure you don’t just stop at the implementation phase with digital marketing – tracking and reflecting on what worked and what could be done differently will give you the best return on your investment. 

4. Find those connections and meet up IRL


Sharing optimized messages on social media shines a light on your organization’s work and helps like-minded people find you! Social media builds on your other digital marketing activities and is an opportunity for you to provide a peek into what your organization has going on. 

Social media is always changing, but it’s important to be present and open to communicating with people, the connections you make on social media can turn into event attendees, volunteers and donors.

Your social media posts should ultimately be guiding people to the corners of the internet that you own – your website and email list – so you can bring them closer to your mission.

Looking for some guidance as you plan? Enter your information to be one of the first to receive our sample marketing plan. 
Ready to level up your marketing strategy? If you are looking to start or supplement your internal marketing needs, we are here to help. We’ve been there and we get how multifaceted non-profit staff are expected to be. Because of this, we strive to take the pressure off so staff can focus on their roles. We work with all sizes and budgets. Contact us.
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