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Time for a refresh? A 6-step marketing checklist to reset your nonprofit

If you find yourself struggling to keep up with consistent messaging and donor relations throughout the year, this one is for you. Over the past few months, nonprofits have been challenged with navigating uncertain times while still trying to navigate marketing and donation efforts. For some who have been creating content on the fly, it’s been a bit of a wake-up call. For others, what they found worked in the past wasn’t always the right answer during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Planning is key. When we find ourselves in the midst of uncertainty, we can put ourselves in stressful situations and cause ourselves more work. When we engage our donors year-round, we provide value and are more likely to increase donation amounts when it comes time to give.

Before you begin, set goals. These goals may have changed due to current economic factors and that’s OK. Identify your needs and use those to craft your messaging. Be sure to outline your target audiences; these may have also changed or can be different throughout the year. Knowing who your targets are (and where to reach them online) is an important part of the process.

Next, set yourself up for success by focusing on the following six areas. While there are many marketing tactics to invest in as you go, starting here can provide an ongoing process that is easy to change as needed and follow throughout the year.

1. Invest in a CRM

Organize your donor data, track giving history and marketing interactions in a Constituent Relationship Management system. Setting this up ahead of time provides an effective tool for tracking success and marketing to niche audiences as determined from data with the CRM.

2. Establish your donation pages

Think of your website as your home base. This is where your donors will go to learn more about you and ultimately, make an online donation. Ensure your donation pages are easy-to-use with direct calls-to-action.

3. Optimize your social media channels

Choose social media channels that align with your audience’s demographics. Post consistent, relevant content that coincides with your email marketing, blog, direct mail, etc. Review cover photos, avatars and about sections regularly. Pull metrics monthly to track success.

4. Create a content calendar

Use a spreadsheet to plan your content throughout the year. Organize by week, month or quarter. Add in key dates to plan ahead—holidays, monthly observances, annual fund drives, events, etc.

5. Choose an email marketing platform

Tell your story through email marketing; monthly e-newsletters, bi-weekly updates, annual giving solicitations and event invites. Use an email marketing service such as MailChimp, Constant Contact or Campaign Monitor to build your list, track open rates and re-target those who are engaged.

6. Craft your story and key messaging

Think about stories of impact and how you will showcase them year-round. Use your content calendar to set key timeframes and dates throughout the year.

As you reset for the year, think about ways to tie your content to direct calls-to-action. Include your audience in board positions, as event volunteers or street teams to spread the word. Showcase your impact throughout the year as a way to continue marketing efforts outside of direct donations.

Ronald Pruitt

Ronald Pruitt

Ronald is the President and Founder of 4aGoodCause, the fundraising CRM that makes recurring, monthly giving a breeze for small nonprofits.

For over 25 years, Ronald has had the joy of doing what he loves, building online solutions that make a difference in the world. He’s helped raise millions of dollars online for small nonprofits across the country. Connect with Ronald on LinkedIn.

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