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5 Simple Steps to Creating a Nonprofit Marketing Campaign



While there is no magic formula to guarantee a successful nonprofit marketing campaign, there are several key points to think about and questions to ask yourself as you embark on campaign development. No two organizations or campaigns are the same, so each one requires a unique approach. However, by rooting campaigns in the needs of your intended audience, followed by a focus on several key campaign elements, you can ensure you are positioning your next marketing campaign to be a success.


Marketing campaigns can be expensive, stressful, and/or time consuming. But in many cases, nothing can be more powerful in getting an intended audience to think or act a certain way. Since marketing campaigns are so resource-intensive, it is critical to start thinking early and often about how to make them a success in the eyes of all stakeholders.

Strategy is Key

It can be easy to get caught up in the details of campaign execution without taking the time to put a solid strategy in place that will address the needs of the intended audience. Without this type of planning in place, the campaign could miss the mark entirely and fail to get the intended audience to act. Marketing campaigns can be an effective and efficient way to raise sales, increase donations, encourage participation, and many other desired results. The positive return that an effective campaign receives will be well worth the time and effort required in the upfront planning process.


Successful marketing campaigns have a positive impact on the organization running the campaign, to be sure, but they also have a positive impact on their intended audience. When a campaign resonates with a customer in a way that meets their current state of needs, they will most likely gain a positive affinity for the company. And within the organization itself, many people will be impacted. Beyond the marketing department, positive ramifications from a successful campaign can extend to all employees of an organization. Therefore, it is critical to emphasize the planning process of a marketing campaign in order to increase the satisfaction and wellbeing of as many people as possible.

The following are five steps you should take as you begin planning any marketing campaign:

  1. Take an audience-centered approach: To begin outlining a successful campaign you must first think about your intended audience. Who are they? What do they want or need? What problems do they face? How does your company, and its product or service fit into their life? What do you hope your audience will do after interacting with your campaign? These are all important questions to answer before you begin outlining your campaign strategy. Once you have a firm understanding of your intended audience, you can dive into the “four P’s” that make up the classical marketing mix, and relate each one back to your audience’s needs:

  2. Think through your product (or service): What is your organization’s offering, and how does it fit into your audience’s life? Perhaps you are working on an awareness campaign to persuade people to volunteer for your nonprofit. Think about the unique opportunity that your organization presents to those looking to volunteer their time to a good cause. Think about all the possible benefits you have to offer, and how you might be able to communicate them.

  3. Name your price: No matter what you are offering, your intended audience will have to pay a price in order to engage. That price may be monetary, or it could come in the form of time and commitment. Whatever the format, you will need to understand how much your audience is willing to pay, and how you can convince them that your product or service is worth their while. Back to the volunteer recruitment campaign, think about how often your audience might be willing to volunteer. Perhaps you can persuade busy potential volunteers to donate their time by emphasizing the low time requirement, flexible schedule, or simply by persuading them that the time they give will offer them a strong value in return.

  4. Pick your place: Before you start blasting your campaign message all over the place, think about where your intended audience spends their time. Do they take public transportation, where they might be likely to engage with out-of-home advertisements? Are they active on social media? Do they shop heavily on Amazon? Understanding where your audience spends their time will allow you to decide where to invest your marketing dollars and efforts.

  5. Create a promotional framework: Finally, think about your audience’s psychographics. Doing so will help determine the tone of voice you take, the type of messaging that will resonate, and the sort of campaign (Traditional? Experiential? Interactive?) that will get through to them. Once you have answered these questions, you will have a framework ready to build your promotional plan from. By tying your marketing campaign back to your intended audience, you can be sure your efforts will break through the clutter.


CLASS Is Here to Help

It is not uncommon for organizations to look to outside firms to help guide their marketing campaign strategies, and this is where CLASS comes in. As an objective third party with plentiful marketing knowledge and expertise, CLASS has been able to help nonprofits create successful marketing strategies that allow them to work toward achieving their goals. If you or a nonprofit organization you know is in need of strategic marketing planning assistance, apply today for an introductory meeting.

About The CLASS Consulting Group


The CLASS Consulting Group is a trusted advisor to the board of directors and senior leadership of the Bay Area nonprofit organizations. It is a boutique management consulting firm headquartered in the San Francisco Bay Area that provides consulting services to senior management and board of directors of nonprofit organizations and offers community leadership opportunities to professionals.   


Since 2002 CLASS’ volunteers have been assisting nonprofit organizations in the SF Bay Area and supporting the communities in which, we all live and work.  Learn more about our mission and story. 


Interested in finding more about our services for nonprofit organizations? Simply request a meeting here and we’ll get in touch to tell you all about this opportunity and how our passionate volunteer-run teams are helping nonprofits make the Bay Area a better place, one community at a time.