Setting a Marketing Budget for Your Nonprofit
September 15, 2022
We recommend you start planning your marketing budget within three months of the start of your fiscal year. That will give you time to assess your marketing needs with your team and adjust your budget if necessary.
Planning a nonprofit marketing budget is similar to a for-profit business, with one caveat. In the nonprofit sector, a typical marketing budget is roughly 5% of an operating budget. For-profit businesses typically set their marketing budget around 12 to 13% of projected gross revenue.
For example, if your operating budget is $500,000 per year, your marketing budget would be about $25,000-$75,000.
Set High-Level Objectives
Consider the big-picture aspirations your nonprofit organization has for the coming year.
- Do you need to recruit more volunteers?
- Would you like to bring in younger donors to offset the loss of older supporters?
- Do you want to raise funds for a specific initiative, such as expanding to a second location or launching a new service?
When planning, remember that each objective’s target audience, strategies and tactics may look different and require different budgetary commitments.
Establish Marketing Goals
Think about the marketing goals you’ll need to meet to achieve your nonprofit’s objectives. It’s important to set measurable goals so you can track your progress throughout the fiscal year and report to your board about the return on investment (ROI) your marketing efforts generated.
Measurable goals may include:
- Increasing the number of volunteer form submissions
- Boosting website traffic
- Attracting more leads
- Growing your donor base
Consider establishing short-term marketing goals. Those goals will help you implement and track the success of daily actions. That gives you a chance to check in on the success of your marketing efforts and readjust as needed.
Identify Your Audience
Once you’ve established your goals, you’ll need to determine your ideal audience. Think about who you’re trying to reach, where you might reach them and what messaging will be most attractive to generate your desired responses. That will help you select the marketing channels you’ll use to distribute your content and connect with the right people.
Define Your Tactics
Your tactics will vary depending on your strategies. They’ll also affect how much money you’ll need to allocate to your marketing budget. For instance, will your goals require traditional or digital media?
Traditional marketing strategies include print and broadcast advertising, direct mail campaigns and billboards. Digital marketing may require you to budget for social media and email campaigns, display and pay-per-click (PPC) advertising and/or search engine optimization (SEO).
Work with your team to prioritize the most critical objectives and define your marketing goals to achieve them. That will help you stick to your budget.
MadAveCollective is committed to providing your nonprofit organization with management and technical resources to boost the success of your marketing efforts. Contact us for more information.