So your nonprofit is ready to take a new step into campaign territory?
Whether you’re an established nonprofit organization or an organization just getting into the game, you’ll need a solid course of action to reach potential donors. Raising awareness requires much more than setting a yearly goal. You need strategy.
Strategy that is not just about tactics. Strategy will also promote development within your committee.
We’ve come up with these ten steps that will further your chances on establishing a solid and strategized nonprofit campaign! We salute you on your brave campaigning journey!
1. “Siri, Where Am I?”
Look at where you stand. Planning can seem very overwhelming. We assure you it’s not going to be rocket science, but it is an art worth mastering. You’re currently at a starting point so look around. Who are you with? How strong is your team?
Ask yourself what has worked in your previous campaign efforts? Understanding where your committee rests in its soon-to-be-progression, will guide you through all of this with self-awareness.
2. Perform a Committee Self-Assessment
When beginning your campaign, it is important to begin with an assessment of the current state of your nonprofit organization. Make sure to take a step back and view the big picture of “who” your nonprofit is and “what” it stands for, “what’s” occurring or not occurring, and “who” your audiences are at this moment.
Maybe this campaign is targeted towards a different audience. Make sure you define your constituents in the most basic of terms. Is this audience a make up of your current donors? If not, begin to map out your messages in order to captivate their attention, which comes next in step three.
3. Set Goals and Tactical Strategies
Make sure to define your channels, set your mission and value statements in stone, and keep that elevator pitch in your back pocket! Once your brand is concrete, move into your strategic goal planning. A properly organized nonprofit plan supports itself like a pyramid. Each strategy implemented will have its tactics. More or less, each goal you bring to the table should have a tactical strategy along with it displaying how your goals will be achieved.
Once you’ve identified your audience, state the desired outcome of your campaign. Is that outcome attainable? If so, how long in terms of a time frame will it take, and what amount of tactical effort will have to go into it?
4. What Makes You Different?
In order to succeed with your strategy, you’ll need to stand out from the crowd. Your campaign will need a “point of differentiation” to put it in textbook terms. Your point of differentiation is what makes your nonprofit and this current campaign the only one of its kind. But how can you go about finding your differentiator? Simply break your campaign down like you did in your self-assessment, only this time bring in an outsider to cast his or her opinion.
Try completing the phrase “Our nonprofit is the only _____ that_______.” If your answer sounds too similar to any other nonprofit or campaign in existence, go back to the drawing board!
5. Create Your Content!
Now that you have an understanding of whom you are as an organization, who your audience is, and on what territory you’d like to make some ground, it’s now time to make some moves! How do you get there? Marketing.
Instead of focusing on yourself and pushing those donations as hard as you can, focus on the people who are tuned in or who you want tuned in to what matters. These people want to learn more, so cater to them with messages that speak to their needs. Start to focus on writing content that captures the attention of the potential donor who might be a little unsure of what steps to take.
Writing content focusing on how to become a donor that matters, or tips on how to become more educated on your cause will enlighten your audience and give them more confidence in your nonprofit.
6. Choose Your Tools
You’ll want to primarily focus on your platforms when choosing your tools. What are your platforms? Your platforms are the outlets in which you’re displaying your content for the world to see and understand your campaign. Your website, social media, paid advertising (Google Adwords), special events, donation page, and your contact outreach all have a huge influence on your tactical advancement. It’s time to focus on where and when you’re broadcasting your efforts. Start to utilize social publishing applications for all of your media, set aside a budget for your paid searches, and bust out your SEO knowledge to allow your content and website to become more visible on search engines.
7. Act It Out
Once your marketing strategies are laid out, act upon them! Give your plan a trial run. Get your name and cause out there as much as possible. Establish a timeline for your action phase and then later come back to measure your metrics.
Actions speak volumes and will give you analytics later for what to improve upon.
8. Track Your Progress
Okay all of you number nerds out there, this is your time to shine! After you’ve completed your first stretch of marketing efforts in your established time frame, analyze everything. Set a schedule when performing this “self-audit.” Analyzing on a monthly or quarterly basis will probably be best at the early beginnings of your campaign. Annual measuring can commence when you have a stronger grip on things.
When performing your measurements you’ll need to outsource some important tools such as Google Analytics to monitor your web traffic, Hubspot for your collected contact lists and blog/social insights, and Google Adwords to see how your keywords are ranking. There are other applications out there to measure these analytics, but from our experience these guys have held tried and true!
9. Try Again
After you’ve analyzed your efforts you should find one of two things:
#1 “You totally rocked it!” or #2 “Ehh, it could use some work.”
In almost all cases after your initial assessment you’re going to be feeling the blues of #2. Don’t worry! This isn’t a bad thing, in fact this is a great time to improve upon your plan, or even to turn your assessment into a new plan. Have your committee ask itself questions like “What if I tried this, instead of that?” or “If we did that again, but tweaked this, would it result in that?”
Brainstorming may come back into play here. Be sure not to let it get too experimental and remind yourself of the goals you did well on and increase their performance.
10. Get Right Back At It
After your committee has revamped the efforts that needed the most work, it’s time to give it another go! Follow through as you did before hitting your platforms hard with all of that great content you’ve developed. Try initiating your new tactics whether it may be adjusting your SEO, or holding a new event in a different region. When the wheels start turning and your tactical approaches, start achieving goals your donor base will flourish.
Through these 10 steps you will not only achieve your campaign’s goals, but you will also strengthen your organization’s committee. The sense of team work will prove to be very strong and connect your team passionately in its efforts. Relationships will grow internally and externally with your new-found family of donors.