Creating a Marketing Plan for a Nonprofit Organization

Creating a Marketing Plan for a Nonprofit Organization

Nonprofit organizations deeply care about their mission, cause, and community. That’s why they don’t need marketing to sell their product or services. They need marketing to spread the word about their cause and bring in new members, donors, volunteers, and anyone else who is willing to help them continue their good work. Nonprofits often struggle with how much time and attention to give to marketing activities. They may view themselves as a service organization first and a business second. Or they might get caught up in the details of day-to-day operations, making it difficult to find time for the things that lie outside of those everyday responsibilities. Regardless of where your nonprofit stands on the spectrum of marketing activities and responsibilities, a marketing plan can be an invaluable tool for boosting your organizational visibility among potential donors and volunteers. A well-designed plan can help you streamline your efforts so you can spend less time reacting to problems as they arise and more time proactively addressing issues before they become serious concerns.

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is a document that outlines your strategies and tactics for increasing your visibility and attracting new customers. It’s often divided into three sections: the environment, strategy, and tactics. The environment segment describes the current state of your marketing efforts, as well as potential growth opportunities. The strategy section offers suggestions for how to increase visibility and expand your customer base. The tactics section describes the specific activities you’ll use to execute your marketing plan. Marketing plans often include specific goals and metrics that you can use to judge the effectiveness of your efforts. That way, you can continuously improve your marketing campaigns and stay ahead of the competition.

Why assess before creating a marketing plan?

If you jump into creating a marketing plan without first taking an in-depth look at your organization’s current marketing practices, you could end up with a plan that’s based on faulty assumptions. Your assessment might reveal that some of your current marketing activities are working against you. Or it might reveal that you’re neglecting an important part of your marketing efforts. For example, your assessment might show that you’re doing a good job of reaching potential donors, but that you’re not doing enough to connect with volunteers. Or it might show that you’re neglecting a specific segment of the population that could benefit greatly from your services. Reaching these conclusions requires a careful examination of your organization’s current marketing efforts. That way, you can identify the strengths and weaknesses of your current strategy, and use that information to inform your new marketing plan.

What should you include in your nonprofit’s marketing plan?

When you’re creating your marketing plan, you should look at every aspect of your organization’s marketing efforts and ask yourself, “How can we improve on this?” Your marketing efforts should all work together to create a cohesive picture of who you are and what you do. If you have a website, your marketing plan should include ways to improve the site and make it more effective. If you have a newsletter, your marketing plan should include ways to make that newsletter relevant and engaging. If you have social media accounts, your marketing plan should include ways to make those accounts engaging and encourage followers to take action. The specifics of what you include in your marketing plan will depend on your organization’s size, budget, and goals. But, in general, you should consider your current marketing efforts and ask, “What could we do better?”

Marketing tactics for your plan

When you’re putting together your marketing plan, you’ll need to decide which tactics you’ll use to execute your marketing efforts. Depending on your organization’s size, budget, and goals, you’ll have a wide array of marketing tactics from which to choose. – Advertising – Advertising is the process of getting your message in front of the people you want to reach. You can do this through a variety of channels, such as print, digital, television, radio, and more. This is often one of the first marketing tactics entrepreneurs think of, but it’s also one of the most expensive ones. – Content Marketing – Content marketing is a type of marketing in which you create relevant, valuable content that encourages your audience to take action. You can create blog posts, ebooks, videos, podcasts, and more. You can also use your website to engage your audience by creating a resource library and encouraging them to comment on posts and ask questions. – Direct Marketing – Direct marketing is any marketing tactic that directly connects your product or service with potential customers. This can include everything from sending out handwritten notes to publishing a quarterly newsletter. – Email Marketing – Email marketing is the practice of sending emails to your audience to encourage them to buy your products or donate to your cause. It’s an effective marketing tactic that engages customers on a one-to-one basis and is relatively inexpensive to implement. However, you must be careful not to spam your subscribers or run afoul of the law, as spam regulations have become increasingly strict. – Events – Marketing events encourage your audience to interact with your brand in person. You can host conferences, seminars, workshops, conferences, or any other type of event that allows people to engage with your company and brand. You can also host events that directly benefit your cause, like fundraising events. – Social Media – Social media is a marketing tactic that can take many forms. Whether you choose to focus on platforms like Facebook and Instagram or more niche platforms like Reddit and Quora, social media offers a wide variety of ways to engage with your audience. – Partnerships – Partnerships are arrangements in which you collaborate with another company for mutual benefit. You can form a partnership with another nonprofit, with a for-profit company, or with another organization in your industry.


Marketing can be a difficult and confusing process, especially for small businesses and nonprofits. If you don’t know where to start, the best way to begin marketing is to create a marketing plan. A marketing plan includes information like your business goals, audience, and marketing strategies. You can then use your plan to track your progress and improve over time. Once you have a plan in place, you’ll see that marketing is easier than it seems.