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A Marketing Plan is the Secret to Campaign Success
Campaign Marketing

You know you need a strong fundraising plan for your next campaign. But what about a campaign marketing plan?

We get it. Campaigns mean a lot of additional hard work for nonprofit professionals who already wear multiple hats. With a hefty financial goal on the horizon, your focus may be stuck on fundraising alone. But if you funnel some of your focus into a well thought-out campaign marketing plan, you could actually bolster the overall success of your campaign.

Just as your day-to-day development and marketing efforts should work together, so should your marketing and fundraising strategies for your capital or comprehensive campaign. Taking a siloed approach to these two crucial campaign elements can lead to conflicting messages, a general lack of awareness, and failure to meet your goal.

Our team has had the honor of working alongside nonprofit leaders in all sectors on hundreds of campaigns. We’ve truly seen it all, and we’ve increasingly seen that campaigns are more successful when they balance effective fundraising strategies with effective marketing strategies.

Here are four key ways that campaign marketing makes a difference:

1: Marketing keeps your campaign momentum strong throughout the entire timeline.

You should be consistently talking about your campaign—even during the “quiet phase”! When your key audiences get regular updates about the vision and progress of your campaign, they feel like they’re a part of it. They become invested in the process, and they are more likely to stay engaged clear through to the finish line.

You don’t need to spend a great deal of time and energy creating campaign marketing content, either. You likely already have “create a compelling case for support” on your campaign to-do list. Maybe you’ve even crafted this important tool already. Why not capitalize on that messaging to drive your campaign forward? The various components of your case for support can and should be segmented out into informational and inspirational messages. Distribute these smaller messages broadly and consistently through various marketing channels to keep your vision top-of-mind for your audience. Over time, they will gain greater awareness of your organization and a sense of ownership of your campaign.

2: Strong, clear campaign messages and stories help your volunteers and staff fundraise.

An effective marketing plan equips your board, volunteers, and staff members to be great ambassadors. When they know how to describe your campaign vision and tell your story with confidence, they are more likely to spread the word among their friends and connections and inspire them to become donors. Also, members of your key audiences are likely to be more informed about specifics of your campaign, because they won’t be hearing conflicting messages from different members of your organization.

Make sure your marketing messages appeal to the head and the heart. Describe the impact your campaign will have using concrete figures whenever possible, such as how many people you will serve per year in your new facility. But balance numbers with moving stories about individuals whose lives will be improved when the campaign goal is met. Donors are more likely to be generous when you can clearly articulate the difference they will make with their pledge.

3: Intentional campaign marketing cultivates a broader base of community-level donors.

Transformational and major gift donor prospects are a crucial part of any capital or comprehensive campaign. But they aren’t the only prospects you should be communicating with. Your campaign will impact the community at large, so community members should be a part of the process.

Don’t underestimate the importance of cultivating many smaller donations. Not only do these gifts add up to contribute to your campaign goal, but with the right balance of continued marketing outreach and fundraising stewardship activities, a $100 donor in this campaign could grow into a top donor prospect for your next campaign. You could even reach someone with an affinity for your mission and the capacity to give big to this campaign who was not previously on your radar. Good campaign marketing can bring these great prospects out of the woodwork and onto your list of recurring donors as they engage with your organization over time.

4: Broad campaign marketing strengthens your organization for long-term sustainability.

A campaign is an amazing opportunity to be loud and proud—not just about your campaign objectives, but also about your organization’s overarching mission, vision, and impact. Campaigns put nonprofits in the spotlight, and if you leverage your spotlight, more people will become aware of who you are and what you do. Attracting new eyes and ears through intentional marketing is critical.

Traditional campaign strategies focus on narrow, targeted fundraising. But by tapping into social media, email marketing, and other marketing channels designed to reach broader audiences, you open the doors to a larger pool of new donors, volunteers, and community influencers. When you distribute consistent and engaging content through these channels, you will build authentic connections that last well beyond your campaign.

Don’t neglect marketing when you’re fleshing out your campaign strategy! If your campaign strategy ignores marketing and focuses solely on fundraising, you might a leave money on the table and miss out on great opportunities to build lasting donor relationships.

A strong marketing plan adds serious value to your campaign by providing a map of key audiences, messages, channels, tactics, and goals. This important part of your campaign toolkit keeps your campaign on track, your goal in sight, and your organization thriving.

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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Considering launching a campaign? Contact us with more information about where you're at in the process.

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