Marketing Planning for Non-profits (or for anyone else for that matter)

I was asked to submit this to a reporter. Thought I would share this with my readers.

Five Most Important Steps for Non-Profits to consider:

1. Understanding the Board’s needs: What are the personal motivations of the volunteer board? Since most non-profits are headed and run by volunteers, it is important to understand the personal motivations and objectives of the leadership. It is important to understand how to keep your valuable volunteer leaders and ensure your mission incorporates their interests.
2. Agreeing on the long term vision: What are the long term goals of the organization? This is often called the “BHAG” or big hairy-a$#ed goal”. What does your organization aspire to be? In 10 years, what does your organization what to be known for? All your short-term objectives and strategies should lead toward your long-term vision.
3. Developing your positioning: Your positioning is where you derive all of your strategies. It helps define you and direct you for your optimum returns. Your positioning defines:
a. What you are
b. Who you are for
c. Why you are different
d. How that matters to your target
4. Setting specific short term objectives and strategies: Now your leaders can develop measureable short-term objectives and strategies that lead to your long-term vision and supports the positioning. The objectives should be measurable and specific so they are trackable in a timely manner. Monthly targets are the most typical. Strategies are then developed to reach those objectives.
5. Establishing Tactics, budgets, and Dashboards: Each tactic, budget and action steps needed to accomplish each strategy are then developed. The top executive and financial executive along with any other key members deemed necessary put the budget requests together to ensure they meet the overall organizations goals. The entire board then agrees to that budget. These measureable tactics and budgets are then used in dashboards. Dashboards are regular reports on the key objectives for the leadership to be accountable for. These dashboards are a key component of the communication to help each board member to understand the status of the organization and to see how their responsibilities fit within the whole team.

Benefits of writing a marketing plan
1. Energizing your team: When your team is on the same page and working on reaching their own personal goals, the team is energized in accomplishing their objectives.
2. Easier decision making: If the team is clear on their objectives and positioning, it is easier to make decisions on new initiatives. If the initiative does not fit into the plan and the positioning then the new initiative does not move forward.
3. Efficiency: When team members are clear on what they are supposed to do and have helped create their plan, then each member can work more efficiently. There are less questions and more doing.
4. Accountability: Especially with volunteers, it can be difficult to get commitment and have them be accountable. By measuring and reporting the planned objectives and tasks, team members are more likely to accomplish their tasks needed to reach the objectives.

Puget Sound Chapter of the American Marketing Association (PSAMA) Success in a tough economic year

1. Surpassed core luncheon meeting attendance from previous year’s average.
2. Increased membership from the previous year
3. Tripled attendance at our annual marketing conference
4. Retained more than 80% of the executive board members for next year’s board

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