Many nonprofit marketers often skip the planning stage for marketing and jump right into tactics. By making time to step back and plan ahead, you can fine tune your nonprofit outreach to be laser focused on your audience and what motivates them to get involved and give. Here are five questions to ask before any nonprofit marketing effort -- two about your organization and three about your audience:
- Who are you? Tackle this one quickly and succinctly. What do you do? Think about why your organization was started in the first place and what work you're currently accomplishing (programs, mission activities, etc.).
- Who cares? Pardon the bluntness of this question, but you have to keep this mind: Just because you serve people who are in poverty or you help people get well doesn't necessarily mean people should care. There has to be more personal relevance or something unique that you bring to the table.
- Whom do you serve? Get a clear picture of your audiences. What are the different constituency groups you serve?
- What do they need? Now that you have a clear idea of whom you serve and how you're currently serving them, consider the needs and benefits for your donors, clients or volunteers. This piece is critical, but a lot of us miss it because we're so committed to our causes. At this point, find the hook or sweet spot between what your audiences need and your unique value.
- How do you reach them? After all of this organizational soul-searching and research, you can begin to tackle the tactical questions. Think about your available channels and which channels are most appropriate for reaching your target audiences.
Once you've worked through the important questions, you can move on to these tactical questions that will aid you in creating your nonprofit marketing plan:
- Who would be good partners for your nonprofit?
- Who are your competitors? What can you learn from them and how will you differentiate your organization from others like it?
- What's going on in your marketplace or your local environment that you can piggyback onto?
- What is the best way you can craft your message?
- When are the best times, places, states, and minds to reach your unique audience?
Source: Adapted from the Nonprofit 911 Presentation "The Experts Are In! Your Online Fundraising and Nonprofit Marketing Questions Answered."