Our Coachella Valley is a beautiful land of extremes. Just as dramatic mountains tower over a desert floor not much higher than sea level, so does great wealth lie just miles away from grinding poverty.
But our valley is also a place where many offer their “time, talent, and treasure” to the organizations who feed the hungry, as well as shelter battered women. We support those that provide heath care and social services to our neighbors…educate tomorrow’s leaders…rescue at-risk animals…nourish our souls with art and music … and so much more.
Thankfully, Americans believe in helping their neighbors. According to Giving USA, 2015 was our nation’s most-generous year ever. Donations from individuals, estates, foundations, and corporations reached an estimated $373.25 billion, setting a record for the second year in a row.
With so much generosity, it might seem that the dozens listed in the Nonprofit Directory at the back of this issue would have all the funding they need. But while many of our Valley’s good causes have a plan for how they will provide their services, they often struggle to meet tomorrow’s expenses.
Chart the road from mission to vision
Let’s suppose one of our local organizations has the admirable vision of ending hunger throughout the Valley. To realize that vision, its daily mission might include making sure no child starts school with an empty stomach or no senior has to choose between food and medicine.
Even with an endowment or a deep-pocket benefactor, they’d need a strategic plan for engaging and continually re-enrolling donors and volunteers. They can inspire supporters, on a deeply personal level, by telling the success stories of those they serve. But first, they need a roadmap for the journey.
Create a strategic nonprofit marketing plan
1. Conduct a fearless organizational audit. Determine what you’re doing right, wrong, or not at all. Define your stakeholders and each of their roles in your mission. Decide your strategic messages — yes, even the “elevator speech” for staff and board members.
2. Set goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics. Each goal should be supported by objectives that outline specific outcomes and timeframes. Strategies are how you’ll meet those objectives, while tactics are the specific tools used.
3. Determine your organization’s unique value proposition. You’ll find it at the intersection of a) what’s most important to those you serve, b) what your organization is particularly good at, and c) what you’re doing that no one else is.
4. CRAM for outreach with Connection, Reward, Action, and Memorability. While it’s essential to engage … aim even higher. Inspire!
5. Test to find your optimal mix of online and offline marketing tools. Today, if you can’t be found online, you’re undiscoverable for many people. Choose the mix of digital and traditional tools that best support the objectives and strategies of your goals.
6. Set a budget for this marketing mix and create its calendar. Put together a grid of when each step is taken, at what cost, and who will be responsible for it.
7. Measure and track the effectiveness of what you’ve done. Once you’ve assessed the relative value of your plan’s actions, you can determine which tactics worked and why.
Now, taking the lessons learned, course-correct as necessary, and “rinse and repeat,” to serve your mission in pursuit of your vision.
With more than 30 years of experience, Barry Dayton most recently worked as the Director of Marketing & Communications for Desert AIDS Project, where he produced three consecutive award-winning public service campaigns. To see if he might have a Marketing Solution for you, contact him at 323-533-9848 or firstname.lastname@example.org.