Were you like me at the start of the new year and ambitiously mapped out your goals for 2021? Perhaps you vowed to stick to a solid marketing plan that would help you beef up your donor base, amp up your list of volunteers and reach more clients? For better or worse, we look at every new year as 365 days of opportunity and a promise that things will be different. But then around March we fall back into our old habits or things come up and suddenly we need to play catch up to get back on track. If that sounds like something happening at your nonprofit, keep reading!
Today I am sharing how I manage to commit to my own and my client’s marketing campaign efforts and stay organized throughout the year. By following these best practices I have found it easier for me to achieve my goals and avoid burnout (even during a heck of a year like 2020).
Write Out Your Marketing Goals and Objectives
I love technology, push notifications and automations to keep me on track, however, when I am planning marketing campaigns, I like to start things out the old-fashioned way and write it out. I recommend blocking off a couple hours and committing to the following steps:
- Write out your goals and what you want to achieve. Include everything that comes to mind. You can consolidate your list later.
- Pick apart each goal and think about what you need to accomplish it. Think about the marketing campaigns you will need and within each campaign the collateral, email marketing and social media content you will need to properly support your goal.
- Last, print out a calendar and write everything down. This is especially helpful when planning social media campaigns. I know there are a lot of online tools to plan out social media campaigns but something about looking at a blank calendar helps me make sure I am committing to a consistent post schedule and giving each campaign the attention it deserves.
Starting out my marketing planning process on paper allows my brain to process everything I want to accomplish and opens up room for creativity and bigger picture thinking than if I had started the process with a project management system. There’s also something about actually writing with pen and paper that makes it seem more real. And apparently I am not making this up. According to a study done by Dr. Gail Matthews at the Dominican University in California, you are 62% more likely to achieve your goals if you write them down and share with a friend or colleague.
If you need help organizing your goals and campaigns, check out my Nonprofit Marketing Essentials.
I include worksheets to help you break all of this down into manageable steps. In addition to helping you create a plan, I also include a social media campaign calendar with suggested content you can easily personalize for your nonprofit. The guide is normally $20, but use code BLOG50 and grab the guide for $10. Click here to purchase.
Create Accountability with a Project Management System
Okay, now is when computers and the internet become our best friend! The next step is to transfer your marketing goals and campaigns into a project management system. I absolutely love ClickUp for this. I’ve tried so many other systems but I find that ClickUp has all the bells and whistles I need (and so much more) for a fraction of the cost of other project management software. For most people, the free version will be plenty.
Once you’ve selected the software you’re going to use, now is the time to get specific about when you want to accomplish everything. Set realistic deadlines. In the description of each task, layout what you will need so that you’re prepared to accomplish the task when the time comes. Make sure you have supporting tasks assigned prior to project completion dates.
Let each campaign and higher level task be its own folder or section. For example, separate donor goals and activities from what your program department needs to accomplish.
Hold yourself and your team accountable and assign people to each task. Communicating as a team can be hard, especially when a lot of us are still working from home. By assigning tasks you’re not only holding everyone accountable, but also setting a clear communication method that allows everyone to know exactly what is expected of them and what everyone else is responsible for.
Get Ahead on Social Media
Social media is so ingrained in everything we do to market nonprofits. When planning out our marketing goals and campaigns, it can be easy to get overambitious, especially when it comes to social media. As much as possible, plan out your social media copy, graphics and schedule ahead of time using programs like Hootsuite or Buffer. This is especially helpful in the midst of busy seasons such as donor campaign drives or program registration when it can be hard to keep up and find the time to post on social media. By pre-scheduling these posts you’ll be ahead of the game and feel on top of the world.
Stay tuned for more information on content calendars and a deeper dive on managing social media next month!
I hope your 2021 is off to an amazing start and you are crushing your marketing goals! But if you feel you need a power boost, take an afternoon to plan out how you want the rest of the year to go, hold yourself accountable with a project management system and get ahead on your social. There’s so much momentum that can happen when we start off with a strong (and organized) foundation!