5 details not to overlook when planning a nonprofit marketing campaign

Get the most out of your nonprofit marketing campaign by using these tips.

Over the last four months, I’ve been talking with leaders about developing nonprofit marketing campaigns that build awareness for their organizations. The thought is that as our world “normalizes,” supporters’ sentiments about our world will continue to become more optimistic and stable. Because of this, causes that are visible and can best define their position have an opportunity to gain attention from new and familiar supporters. I agree with this thinking and believe that nonprofits that can create strategically creative, well-targeted awareness campaigns will be most successful in reaching their programming and fundraising goals over the next year.

So, as you consider an awareness campaign for your nonprofit, here are five details you don’t want to overlook in your planning and execution:

1. Determine the perceptions surrounding your nonprofit’s brand before building a marketing campaign strategy.

When was the last time you asked your donors, clients or partners to share their perspectives about your cause? It’s important to gather and learn from these perspectives as you develop your campaign strategy and message.

What do they know? What do they wish they knew more about? How does your cause make them feel? Do they know your organization’s why and where your mission is headed? How is your organization solving a problem differently? Why do they trust you?

Once you’ve gathered interviews, look for consistencies and determine how to best use those insights within your nonprofit marketing campaign strategy. Responses can help shape personas and direct targeted content for each audience. Knowledge gaps that are uncovered can spark ideas for educational content that can help people develop a deeper understanding of the problem you’re working to solve, and why your solution matters. Finally, responses should provide insights on ways to keep audiences engaged so that you can eventually move them to action, be it advocating, volunteering or donating.

Extra tip: Ask supporters ways they like to receive communications from your organization. These insights can help inform your campaign’s channel strategy.

2. Build understanding of your mission in rich and diverse ways.

As mentioned, interviewing your supporters can help you uncover knowledge gaps about your organization’s mission. These gaps are opportunities for your organization to bridge education-focused content during your marketing campaign. Your plan should consist of various types of content that can provide people with multiple perspectives of your mission, work and impact. Here’s a list of great educational content to consider:

  • Q&As with program and leadership team
  • Client stories and testimonials
  • Process and service comparison infographics
  • Campaign case for support video
  • Facebook and Instagram stories that share the “behind-the-scenes” of your mission at work

It’s important to showcase your diverse educational content in one central place, allowing people to easily navigate and access contents. Consider how different types of educational content can live and scale on your campaign’s web page.

Tip: Infographics continue to be a strong way to visually educate supporters about an organization’s mission and facts about a problem it’s trying to overcome, differentiation in the market and organizational successes.

3. Create usable campaign content that empowers your board and staff to spread your message.

Your organization most likely has turnkey brand ambassadors, consisting of board members, junior board members and staff. Most likely, they just need a clear roadmap on what to say and when to help evangelize for your campaign. So, develop a campaign guide that includes a timeline, agreed upon goals and milestones, key talking points and shareable content like client stories, campaign graphics and videos.

Tip: During your nonprofit marketing campaign, remember to recognize those that are participating by acknowledging them with public and direct “thank you” messages.

4. Leverage strategic partners to expand your campaign’s reach.

Your organization is probably connected to local corporations and other public organizations. These relationships are strategic assets for a nonprofit marketing campaign. Evaluate your relationships and determine what your organization can do to recognize them and engage their stakeholders in your campaign.

Can you speak at an upcoming employee lunch and learn? Can you provide educational materials to employees? Can you share how your organization’s cause is impacting their organization?

Tip: Modify already-produced educational content to accommodate the interests of your partners’ audiences rather than starting content from scratch.

5. Have a plan to track performance, advance successes and pivot on failures.

When it comes to execution, your organization must have a plan that identifies your nonprofit marketing awareness goals, audiences, content, budget and channels you’ll need to be successful. Your plan should have a timeline that includes content development, channel setup and asset launch milestones. You need to include times designated for evaluating your campaigns performance as well. Is your campaign tracking towards goals? Are all of your target audiences being reached? What content and channels are most effective in reaching them? What’s not working?

Not everything in your nonprofit marketing campaign is going to work as planned, but with the right data, you can make decisions on when and how to pivot your plan for the best results.

Tip: Project management tools like Monday.com, Asana or Basecamp are great for creating a collaborative workspace that makes your plan’s timelines and tasks clear for all involved. These three offer discounted or free versions for registered nonprofits.