Nonprofit Marketing Made Easier Part 1: Creating a Plan

Marketing strategists talking about a nonprofit marketing plan

Nonprofit Marketing Made Easier Part 1: Creating a Plan

June 20, 2023

This is the first in a series about developing a marketing plan for your nonprofit, including setting goals and implementing different analyses.

Developing a Nonprofit Marketing Plan

It’s important to know where you want to end up before you start planning. What are some big-picture outcomes you want your organization to accomplish in the next year or five years?

Here are some goal ideas to consider:

  • Increase your service capacity
  • Expand the donor base
  • Recruit more volunteers
  • Target a specific group of constituents
  • Meet a fundraising goal

Once you have an idea of what you want to achieve, you can start researching marketing strategies that support your goals. This discovery period is often the longest part of marketing plan development. Discovery gives you a sense of direction, so you know what to expect before you execute your strategy. A successful discovery gives you and your marketing team the insight you need to make informed decisions before implementation.

Environmental Analysis

As a nonprofit organization, you’re not only competing for attention and funds with organizations that have similar missions, you’re competing with ALL nonprofits. Conducting an environmental analysis will help you understand your specific market.

Online tools such as CauseIQ can answer questions such as:

  • How many organizations are there in your area?
  • Which nonprofits have missions, constituencies or services similar to yours?

Look for statistics related to your core programs to determine if the need for your services is growing or declining.

Review IRS data to assess the propensity for giving in your local market. The Individual Income Tax ZIP Code Data can help you answer questions such as:

  • What percentage of the population claimed a charitable deduction on their tax return?
  • Which zip codes have the highest concentration of taxpayers who claimed a charitable deduction on their tax return?
  • What’s the average amount donated by taxpayers?
  • Which income bracket is the most charitable?

Competitive Analysis

Once you understand your local nonprofit market, you can identify your primary competitors. Start with three organizations that are similar to your nonprofit in annual revenue, staff size and programming scope.

Answer these questions about each competitor:

  • What collateral or marketing materials do they have, and how do they present themselves?
  • How active are they on social media?
  • Do they have online reviews? If so, what are people saying about them?

GuideStar provides information about a nonprofit’s background, annual revenue and expense reports so you can further analyze their financial structure.

SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis highlights your organization’s internal strengths and weaknesses, as well as external opportunities and threats that might shape your future operations.

When creating a marketing plan, complete a SWOT analysis to assess the state of your current initiatives, activities and collateral. It’s also a good way to brainstorm with your team for new perspectives on your nonprofit’s operations and goals.

Doing so allows you to focus on what your organization does well, identify potential areas for improvement, take advantage of opportunities and minimize threats to success as you develop your strategic goals.

You can also conduct a focused SWOT analysis of individual strategies, such as social media campaigns, content marketing and email marketing.

MadAveCollective is committed to providing nonprofit marketing insight that helps you optimize your brand and achieve your organization’s goals. Stay tuned for the future articles in this series that will address other steps in the marketing plan development process, including:

  • Branding
  • Target audience identification
  • Persona development
  • SMART marketing goal setting
  • Budgeting
  • Calendar development

Give us a call at 419-725-6500 or email us to learn how we can help.