Marketing plan and strategy

One of the first steps in marketing is to have a plan and a strategy.

Working with the media

It’s important for your organization to be visible in the community and media coverage is one of the top ways to gain that visibility.  A common way to contact the media is through a press release (also known as a news release since it should contain news).  A media advisory is sent to announce an event.


Today it’s more important than ever to have an up-to-date  informative and user friendly website.  With the advent of social media, people are used to accessing very current information. People also need to be able to easily find your organization when they are doing an internet search.

Brand identity

A brand is more than just your logo.  It’s who you are, what you do, and why what you do is  important.  Here are some ways you can improve your brand or rebrand, if necessary.

Elevator pitch and messaging

Often you only have a short period of time to explain to another person what your organization does.  Do you know how to effectively, but concisely, capture someone’s attention?  You also need ensure that everyone in your organization is communicating the same message.

Consistency in marketing materials

Not only should your messages be consistent, but your materials need to be as well.  Your logo should always be in the same place, and you shouldn’t alter your organization’s colors.  You may want to consider putting together an organizational style guide to ensure consistency in your messages and materials.

Using video

A video is a great way to engage your audience at a fundraising or recruiting event.  You can also put a short video on your website – highlighting your programs or including an interview with a client.  Here are some ways your organization can use video.

E-mail marketing

E-mail marketing is a cost-effective way to send out monthly newsletters, fundraising appeals, or advocacy alerts.  Below are some ways you can maximize your efforts.

Social media

Social media is becoming an increasingly popular way to communicate.  Here are s
ome ways  your organization can use social media and how you can tie it into your other online communications.


A blog can be a useful way for your organization to provide communications updates, but you do need to use it wisely.  You’ll need to decide if it makes sense to have one.


These days many organizations send out newsletters by e-mail, although some still produce print newsletters.  Either way you need to make sure you create a product that your audience will want to read.

Bulk mailing

You probably will be doing most of your communication electronically.  However, you may want to send out some materials (such as a fundraising appeal) by mail.  It might make sense to look into bulk mailing and nonprofit postal rates.

Using photos/images

A picture is worth a 1000 words.  Using photographs in your marketing materials and on your website is an easy way to catch someone’s attention.  Make sure that you take pictures at your events and  obtain any necessary permission’s before publishing them.

Annual report

Although not required, an annual report is a great way to highlight your organization’s accomplishments.  You may find it useful to create a running list of your accomplishments, so you are not scrambling to come up with them at the end of the year.  Your annual report doesn’t need to be long (four to six pages is fine).  Be sure to include pictures and stories.

Other marketing and communications resources