All nonprofits are created equal, right? Not when it comes to marketing and public relations (PR).
Marketing and PR is perhaps the only business function where one size doesn’t fit all. Accountants do accounting. Managers manage. Employees do their jobs. But when it comes to marketing, it is the ultimate tailored function. No marketing plan from one nonprofit or for-profit corp. can be automatically transferred to another with ease. Each must be tailored to the specific organization, their goals and objectives, capacities, audiences, budgets and so forth.
Hence all marketing/PR campaigns must be tailored to the organization. Having a fresh perspective is often helpful as long as the fresh perspective doesn’t ignore history and challenges the organization faces. If these are not recognized and understood, then a fresh perspective will result in facing the same challenges.
There are numerous template marketing plans on the web. A quick Google search and you’ll find hundreds of “fill in the blanks” plans. It won’t take long to realize they are all pretty much the same. There are basic marketing tasks, strategies and techniques that need to be done. But what you won’t find on the web is a plan that speaks to your specific organization’s goals and objectives, audiences you are trying to reach, budget you have available, staffing issues, history and on and on.
I don’t want to make it sound as though creating a marketing PR plan is rocket science. Much is common sense. But common sense will not give you the experience of having gone through the process dozens of times, the knowledge of what works and what doesn’t, the research that has been done in your market segment, goals that are achievable and goals that are out of reach. All that, and more, comes with experience.
Professional marketing and PR is an investment. No doubt. And, if you don’t keep a close eye on what is happening, budgets can get out of hand. Worse, marketing can go in the wrong direction.
Our guidance for every nonprofit seeking a fresh marketing perspective is to look closely at your past with an open eye on the future. The beauty of marketing is that it is dynamic. What works today, may not work next year. Organizations that do the same marketing tasks year after year will usually find support starting to decline as there are only so many times you can say the same things to the same people.
On the other hand, marketing is fun. It is creative and can show quick results.
It also is among the best investments a nonprofit or a for-profit organization can make.