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Marketing for nonprofits, what is the desired outcome?

Published 10:52am Monday, April 2, 2012

As the nonprofit Leadership column continues discussing marketing for nonprofits, this article will focus on the desired outcome of the marketing plan.
For many of you nonprofit leaders reading this when I say the next few words I can already imagine your eyes rolling – but please don’t stop reading yet. Your marketing plan normally stems from a strategic planning process and unfortunately we all know to well about the strategic planning process.  With this process what normally happens is a lot of money is spent to bring in a consultant, there is blood, sweat and tears that go into the plan and for a couple months after the final plan is presented all is well.  But, after some time passes the plan ends up on the shelf collecting dust.  The reason this is a wide range of problems, however the most common reason is the plan was not specific enough and did not include a timeline and who is responsible.  If this happens, then it is left up to the staff to fill in the blanks and we all know that nonprofit staff members wear too many hats and something has to give somewhere.  For the marketing portion of the strategic plan the problem is similar in that not enough time was taken to determine the desired outcome.  If you are embarking on a planning process for marketing,  ensure that you spend time on the desired outcome and that the final plan includes a timeline and who is responsible.  Responsible parties should include board, staff and volunteers – not just solely staff.

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