Years ago I attended a workshop where a marketing expert shared this handy dandy project to get you started on a marketing plan – and I’ve used it ever since!
Everything we do here at NPBB is cyclical – there’s not much that’s a straight line. This exercise is one of those. You can use it when you’re in the beginning of a strategic plan or afterward as the first step toward a marketing plan. Any maybe “plan” is too structured of a word. Tracking sheet?
And like all things on the World Wide Web, not everything is for everyone, so if this exercise is too elementary for your nonprofit, thanks for stopping by and we hope to see you again soon!
If you have a small nonprofit, new nonprofit, or new staff, this might be just the thing to get your creative juices flowing. It’s also a FANTASTIC exercise to do with your board of directors. I recommend taking 15-minutes at each board meeting to delve deep into one segment of this chart. What we as staff know about our organization may be opposite of what your board knows. This exercise captures their observations so that you can incorporate them into your marketing and fundraising.
What do we want our various audiences to think, feel, and do? Click here to download the sample chart.
In the first column of your spreadsheet, make an extensive list of your various audiences – and there are many! “Donors” is too generic. Break it down into types of donors – widow women with no children (our target, but that’s a different blog), people of wealth, mid-level donors, entry-level donors, special event donors, planned giving donors, and so on. That’s exhausting right there!
Next: professional advisors such as attorneys, accountants, and wealth managers. Regardless of how fabulous your donor thinks you are, the moment they meet with their professional advisor and instruct them to cut you a big check or add you to their estate plan, that professional advisor can poo-poo it in an instant…and all of your hard work is down the drain. If the professional advisors are well-versed on what you do, they’ll be able to not only take donor instructions, but might even broach the topic with their clients! BUT the message to professional advisors is different than your message to your various donor types – usually.
Next: broad categories of the public, such as local media (Yes, your message to media can be targeted so that they do more than post your press releases), the faith community, the business community, and residents of particular towns, especially if your services vary or simply that transportation is a barrier to services for residents who live outside your main service town.
Lastly, partners such as other nonprofits, your United Way, and your Community Foundation. Your organization’s message to them may not be “give to us” but instead might be “here’s how our services are important to your clients.”
Next column of the spreadsheet: What do you want each audience in column A to THINK about your organization? There’s no right or wrong answer in any of this exercise. Possibilities include “Oh, I didn’t know they do that,” “My sister needs to know this,” or “Wow…they really know what they’re doing.”
Next column: What do you want each audience in column A to FEEL about your organization? Pride? Relief? Comfort? Let’s hope it’s not Confusion or Competition! If so, you have some re-writing to do.
Next column: What do you want each audience in column A to DO after reading your marketing piece? Pass it along to someone who needs your services? Volunteer? Donate? Go to their attorney and add you to their estate plan?
Donors respond to very specific requests – not demands and not desperation. There can be a sense of urgency on behalf of your clients and services, but desperation is not something you want readers to think or feel.
This exercise is a also pre-exercise to case statements (another blog). A case statement is a formal document (sometimes short; sometimes long) that ends with a specific call to action. They are mostly used toward capital campaigns or the launch of a new program. But really a case statement is a way of demonstrating “why.” Why should donors care? Why do you need a new building? Why should the community support your endeavors?
Earlier we said it’s all cyclical? Creating this chart of Think, Feel, or Do will help you capture your fleeting thoughts on paper and then build items around them, whether marketing pieces, case statements, donor lunches, and more.