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10 Questions Your Nonprofit’s Campaign Marketing Plan Needs to Answer
Campaign Marketing

A successful capital or comprehensive campaign balances effective fundraising strategies with effective marketing strategies. Nonprofits that perform this balancing act experience many benefits: a well-equipped corps of campaign ambassadors, a broader base of community-level gifts, and a philanthropic brand that inspires support and engagement long after the campaign is over. But good campaign marketing does more than help you reach your campaign goal. A detailed campaign marketing plan is an investment in the long-term success of your organization.

What is a Campaign Marketing Plan?

A campaign marketing plan is your north star, guiding all campaign marketing activities throughout the entire campaign timeline. Even if your organization already has a marketing plan for annual fundraising, a capital or comprehensive campaign comes with its own set of specific key messages and goals. Your campaign marketing efforts need to highlight your organization’s big, high-priority philanthropic goals. You cannot afford to be quiet about your campaign!

A campaign shines a spotlight on your nonprofit organization, and a campaign marketing plan will help you capitalize on this increased visibility. It’s often easier to attract new donor prospects to your organization when there is something tangible and exciting for them to get behind—and your campaign is just the thing. By engaging these new prospects with consistent campaign marketing, you will cultivate connections that can turn into lasting relationships.

What Should Be Included in a Campaign Marketing Plan?

A campaign marketing plan needs to clearly answer these 10 questions:

1: What is the current state of your organization’s marketing efforts?

As you prepare to launch your campaign, understanding the strengths and weaknesses of your organization’s existing marketing strategy is crucial. Is your current messaging and case for support resonating with your target audiences? How are your audiences getting information about your organization? These are the types of questions your campaign marketing research should answer. And a quality consultant should ask these questions during the campaign feasibility study.

2: Who are you trying to reach, and what motivates them?

It’s critical to define and segment your key audiences so you can craft and distribute campaign messages that will resonate. Think beyond your pool of top donor prospects. Are there aspects of your campaign that would benefit local business leaders? Are there affinity groups and clubs in your area whose interests overlap with your mission? Defining these audiences will affect your marketing content. Some of your audiences may be most interested in the tactical information about your campaign, such as statistics about your impact, while others may be moved to support your campaign through storytelling.

3: What is your campaign marketing plan aiming to achieve?

Are you looking to spread awareness about your project throughout your region? Are you hoping to raise a certain amount in community-based donations? Stating your goals and objectives will focus your campaign marketing efforts so you can act intentionally and generate real results. Consider using a proven method like the S.M.A.R.T. (Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-Bound) Goals framework to define these as clearly as possible.

4: What is the overarching direction for your campaign marketing activities?

Now that you know your audiences and your goals, how will you approach them? This is where the strategy of your campaign marketing plan comes into play. This is the guiding principle that will ensure that all the components of your plan are moving in one cohesive direction. And, most importantly, this campaign marketing strategy will work in tandem with your fundraising strategy for maximum results.

5: What is the visual and verbal identity of your campaign?

A campaign brand sets your project apart, ensuring that your campaign-specific messaging isn’t drowned out by your organization’s other marketing and fundraising activities. A simple campaign logo and tagline go a long way. Your campaign brand should be unique and complementary to your existing organizational brand. Incorporating brand colors, fonts, icons/emblems, and parts of common language like your mission statement will make your campaign brand a natural extension of your core identity.

6: What themes, messages, and ideas need to be communicated consistently so people understand your campaign?

Your campaign marketing plan should provide an overview of your key messages. Outline a mix of inspiring and informational ideas that speak to both the head and the heart of your key audiences. A combination of rational and emotional appeals will help your cause resonate with all kinds of donors. Your campaign’s case for support should contain a wealth of material to be incorporated into this section of your campaign marketing plan.

7: What avenues will you tap into to get your messages in front of your key audiences?

Meeting donors where they are is non-negotiable. Different audiences will engage with your messages through different methods and venues. List all the different channels you will use to establish a consistent cadence of communication with your key audiences. For example, a tech-savvy community member may keep up with you via social media and e-newsletters, while a more tenured donor may hear about your campaign through traditional media or direct mail. Ensure that no one is left out by incorporating multiple channels into your campaign marketing plan that will reach each persona.

8: What activities will you execute in order to achieve your goals?

This is the most actionable portion of your plan. Outline in detail all the campaign marketing tactics you will utilize. Each tactic must be tied directly back to one or more of the goals and key audiences listed in your campaign marketing plan. As they’re being implemented, each tactic should weave in one or more of your key messages.

9: How much money are you planning to dedicate to your campaign marketing efforts?

If any of your tactics have costs associated with them, make sure to account for those in a written campaign marketing budget. Include expenses such as venue rentals for donor events, food and beverages for cultivation meetings, printing direct mail materials, web design for your campaign landing page, and costs for paid advertising. And be sure to account for non-cash resources, like the additional time your staff will spend to put your campaign marketing plan into action.

10: How will you and your team know if you’re on track with your campaign marketing efforts throughout the entire campaign timeline?

A campaign marketing plan includes many moving parts. How will your team stay on top of it all? A robust operational timeline can help. This is the place to map out every single one-time and recurring campaign marketing activity mentioned in your plan, in addition to all the action items you’ll need to take care of leading up to and following each activity. Break it down by quarter, by month, or even by week and reference it regularly. It will act as a working campaign marketing ‘to-do list’ throughout the whole campaign.

Good campaign marketing doesn’t just happen. It takes consistent, concerted effort from many people to get the word out about your organization’s philanthropic vision and goals. That’s why you need a comprehensive campaign marketing plan. If you invest the time and energy in campaign marketing now, you will not only achieve short-term fundraising wins, but long-term community impact.

Considering launching a campaign? We’d love to hear about where you’re at in the process. Contact us with more information, and we’ll be in touch to chat about your dream campaign and the role that marketing can play in bringing it to life.

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