One thing that separates successful nonprofit marketing campaigns from the unsuccessful ones isn’t ad budgets or audience size. And it certainly isn’t that viral video.
All successful marketing campaigns start with a written marketing plan that serves to:
- Inspire action – A solid plan inspires action. Partners, sponsors, fundraisers, and supporters all need to feel a sense of mission about their involvement.
- Measure success – Your plan should have specific metrics that you’ll track before, during, and after the campaign. The most important metrics follow the actions you expect people to take.
- Build relationships – Your plan should also serve to nurture the various relationships you’ve worked so hard to develop.
What does a social media strategy look like?
In my experience working with hundreds of nonprofits, simple gets done. KISS wins every time.
The POST method (coined by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff in their book, Groundswell) is a proven framework for developing almost any social media marketing plan.
It outlines the “order of operations” for any nonprofit marketing plan: People, Objectives, Strategy, Technology (infographic below).
P – People
You can’t achieve even a basic level of success on social media if you don’t understand your people. No one will like, retweet, or repin your blog post if you haven’t answered the only questions that really matter: What’s in it for them? What do they care about? What actions are they likely to take? Your nonprofit marketing plan should include these details.
O – Objectives
Clear objectives help you determine success during and after any campaign. Long-term success on social media requires a lot of trial and error. But you have to know what’s a trial and what’s in error. Clear objectives help you discover what you’re doing right.
S – Strategy
Your strategy is more than just a plan. It’s a plan that will meet your objectives based on what you know about your people.
A smart strategy focuses on a value exchange between you and your supporter. What are you going to give in exchange for their email, money, time, influence and attention?
Whether it’s a meaningful pledge or a sweepstake, write down exactly how you will offer enough value to encourage them to help you achieve your objective. Your nonprofit marketing plan’s strategy has to be about them.
T – Technology
Once you understand your people, objective, and strategy, you can confidently select the tools and tactics you’ll use for your campaign. For example, if your strategy is to engage Millennials on Instagram, crowdsourcing content around a hashtag would be a tactic.