Building your marketing plan

Substitute “donors” for “customers” in Marcia Bagnall’s Inside Business column in today’s Statesman Journal, and you have a handy prescription for increasing a nonprofit’s donor base.

Here’s how it works. Marcia writes and we substitute: “‘How do I increase my customer (donor) base?’ The answer is almost simple. ‘By knowing who your customers (donors) are and how to reach them.’

“To effectively attract and retain customers (donors), your greatest tool is a marketing plan. This plan  needs to reflect the very unique aspects of your customers (donors).”

Marcia outlines what a business (nonprofit) needs to include in its marketing plan:

Understand your market. Nonprofits usually know their market niche. If there wasn’t a need for the services they provide, they wouldn’t exist.

Understand your customer (donor). “Know who they are, where they are, what they want and what motivates them to buy (give),” she writes.

Find your niche. “You do not have the resources to market to everybody.”

Develop your marketing message. “Create two messages. Your first one is the elevator speech. This tells people what you do in a brief, concise, and informative way. The second message is the more complete dialog once you have your client’s (donor’s) attention. This should be compelling and persuasive. It needs to explain the benefits your solution has to the customer’s (donor’s) need.”

Decide on advertising medium. Most nonprofits (particularly small ones) do not enjoy the resources to buy advertising, but they do have the capability of using relatively inexpensive media (social media, direct mail and personal face-to-face contact).

Set your goals. “A good goal is SMART. S-specific; M-measurable; A-achievable; R-responsible person assigned; T-time specific.”

Develop your budget. “Do your research; develop the cost per message and the cost per customer. Be sure that you actually attract the niche customer you are aiming for.”

MVDP spotlights nonprofit marketing at its April 26 meeting. Featured speaker is Jim Gochenour, who has extensive experience in both for-profit business and nonprofit marketing. He is development director at Living Opportunities in Medford. Hear his message on Marketing: A Critical Tool for Development at 3 p.m. at the Central Willamette Community Credit Union, 7101 Supra Drive SW, Albany.

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