Nancy E. Schwartz

This baseline marketing plan for non-profit organisations provides strategies to connect with supporters and partners and to motivate them to take actions such as volunteering, signing a petition, or giving money. It focuses on the following action items:

  1. Articulate goals - One example given is that of an organisation whose purpose is to improve regional health by significantly reducing exposure to toxic chemicals. One of the marketing goals in this scenario is to motivate 15 area residents to attend a 2-part community meeting (to be held in each of 4 neighbourhoods in the region) to build their understanding of the relationship between health and the environment and train them as effective advocates. In order to accomplish this goal, the template offers a chart with situation analysis outlining ways to analyse conditions inside and outside one's organisation (e.g., ask: What are the perceptions, hopes, ideas and concerns of staff and leadership in relation to the marketing agenda?). Next, call for action, being specific about what steps you would like the intended audience to take in order to achieve marketing goals - e.g., ask that they "like" a Facebook page and share a question about environmental dangers there.
  2. Figure out your intended audiences and what their points of view are so that you can connect with them - Use data to shape your marketing plan, then update it regularly to keep it relevant. One idea is to segment the intended audience by, for this example, building their understanding of the environmental health dangers in the region and how they can improve the situation so they are motivated to advocate for cleaner environmental behaviour on the part of corporations. For example, if the connection involves parents seeking to keep their children healthy, the audience could be segmented into: parents of children 12 and under, parents of children 12 to 18, school administrators, and homeowners.
  3. Clarify messages, methods, and tactics - This stage starts with framing of the message, which involves steps such as asking: Why should your supporters care? What's it in for them? Here, the organisation should also assess barriers to motivating the actions it wants supporters to take. In one scenario outlined here, such a barrier would be that industry owners in the region have already implemented well-resourced campaigns to promise safe and healthy living to residents. Next, the organisation analyses what methods can best motivate supporters to act. Options outlined include: branding/positioning, message development, content creation, training, relationship building, and community building/organising. The next question: How can you connect with your supporters via these methods? It is suggested that the decision be based on the intended audience's habits and preferences, as well as which tactics work best to achieve the organisation's goals.
  4. Put it all together - This involves: exploring what resources are required; outlining 3-5 concrete, specific, and measurable steps to complete on the way to achieving each marketing goal; and developing a step-by-step work plan that involves questions such as: What do you need to do to build understanding, buy-in, and participation among leadership and colleagues?
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Getting Attention blog, July 9 2013. Image credit: Expand Your Impact