Nonprofits Need Marketing Plans, Too

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Nonprofits Need Marketing Plans, Too

December 21, 2021

Does your nonprofit organization have a marketing plan?

If not, you’re not alone. Studies show that only 50% of businesses have a marketing plan, and that percentage is much lower for nonprofits.

Historically, marketing has been considered a business function, defined as a set of activities a company undertakes to promote the buying or selling of a product or service.

But your nonprofit organization isn’t a business selling products or services to consumers, so why is marketing important? If we change a few words in the definition to fit the nonprofit sector, the significance becomes clear.

Nonprofit marketing is a set of activities an organization undertakes to promote its mission and generate financial support for its programs.

Your marketing can support high-level objectives, such as:

  • Engaging existing donors to contribute more regularly and at higher levels
  • Attracting prospective donors to your mission and securing an initial gift
  • Recruiting people who need the programs or services your organization offers
  • Increasing credibility with funding sources such as government entities and foundations
  • Organizing civic action on issues related to your organization’s mission

A marketing plan focuses on specific marketing goals that support those high-level objectives, and as the saying goes, “what gets measured gets done.”

Your team likely executes nonprofit marketing initiatives regularly, such as email newsletters, events, annual donor mailings, etc. In the absence of a marketing plan, those initiatives might get overlooked, especially if your workload is heavy.

Benefits of a Nonprofit Marketing Plan

The process of creating a marketing plan forces you to look at the big picture – your audience, products/services and business goals, plus any challenges that exist in the competitive landscape.

  1. A marketing plan pushes you to articulate how you position your organization’s message, the language you use to describe your programs and services, and how you tie those attributes to constituent expectations and outcomes.
  2. It requires a group effort. You’ll need input from your board members, key stakeholders, community leaders and constituents.
  3. You’ll be able to set measurable goals for your team and outline the strategies they’ll use to work toward those goals. A good plan puts everyone on the same page and helps your team prioritize their time, efforts and resources.

Ready to create a marketing plan for your nonprofit organization? Let’s talk about it.