Every time you launch a new campaign or implement a new program, I am sure you give yourself ample time to sit down and think through the very best marketing strategies and communications tactics. I have no doubt that you have ample funding to do market research, to hire the most creative talent, to always follow best practices, to test your marketing, and to launch your campaigns with great fanfare.


OK, here’s the real world. You have what is supposed to be a major fundraiser next week and you are just now thinking about a press release. You received a little grant for a new program that you think will really help your community, but it doesn’t include a line item to market the program to the people who need it. Your board is sick of that other group down the street getting all the attention and they expect you to do something about it.


Take a deep breath. Grab a sheet of paper (or a napkin) and a pen (type if you want, but I personally find sketching these out much easier). We are going to do a “back of the napkin, quick and dirty” marketing strategy. I’ll explain this concept in much more detail with real examples during the “How to Write a Quick and Dirty Marketing Strategy” webinar on Wednesday, June 11, 2008. Details here.

1) What are you trying to accomplish? What’s the goal?

Trying to get a certain number of people to an event? Need to let a particular group of people know about a new program? What do you want to happen and whom do you need to engage to make it happen?

2) Why should they care? What’s in it for them?

Yes, this is important to you, but why should it be important to these people you want to communicate with? What do they get out of it? How are they going to be better off as a result of listening to you and acting on what you say?

3) What’s the easiest, most direct way to get information to them?

What are they already reading? Where are they already going? Who are they already talking to? Take the answers to #2, draft some marketing copy, and get it out there.

Yes, this is a really oversimplified, bare bones approach to nonprofit marketing. But if you can quickly work through these three questions before you start throwing pixels and print out there, you’ll be much better off.

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