With the flurry of year-end holiday fundraising, many nonprofits may not have much time to dwell on their development campaigns for the next year. To make a successful impact in 2015 however, it’s important to look ahead – and a marketing plan is the first step to keeping your campaigns on track. Keep your donors committed.
A well-defined strategy has the same benefits for nonprofits as it does for any for-profit businesses: it creates guidelines to set goals, organize resources, and effectively reach out to your target audience.
Before you can draw a map, you need to know where you’re going – and where you are. A strategic marketing plan outlines what you hope to accomplish as an organization, then assesses how well-positioned you are to reach those goals – including your mission and values, your strengths and weaknesses, any challenges or opportunities, and of course, your position relative to competing nonprofits. It also helps clarify the marketable value of your work. What unique benefit will donors gain by supporting your cause? How do you want supporters and the community to perceive your organization?
Research is essential to be certain your message targets the right audience, in the right ways. A strong nonprofit marketing plan should include a detailed donor persona to give you a good idea of what’s emotionally relevant to your potential supporters, and to help ensure that your development strategies make the greatest impact, and the highest return on investment. Then, once you’ve defined your target audience, you can think about the best ways to reach out and engage them. Where and how will you show prospects what’s unique about your organization, and illustrate how they’ll benefit from supporting your cause? Outreach makes up a huge part of nonprofit campaigns, especially for first-time donors – and a marketing plan will map out the right communication strategies for a consistent, powerful message.
Finding potential sponsors is an important part of an effective marketing strategy, but nonprofits need to keep building strong, stable relationships with their supporters after the conversion. Once prospects make that first contribution and become donors, how will you keep them committed to your cause, and inspire them to give again? A solid marketing plan will guide you in cultivating first-time donors into sustainable supporters – or even better, inspiring them to become evangelists of your cause.