A marketing plan is a document that defines future strategies for developing your community or organization. This document should serve as the compass for the unfolding of future efforts and keep you on track.  

Basic Overview of Marketing Plans
Most marketing plans follow a general outline. All are tailored to meet specific needs. It is a wise investment to seek the advice of a marketing specialist when developing a long term strategy.  

Common themes that are addressed in marketing plans include:

  • An executive summary-usually around one page
  • A detailed analysis of target markets and demographics
  • A review of market needs, trends, and forecasts
  • Opportunities for growth
  • A review of strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, and competition
  • Potential future promotions, services, or products
  • An overview of keys to success
  • An in depth look at critical needs that should be addressed
  • Financial controls

The Message - Positioning
Marketing messages should be simple; establishing clear goal allows for effective marketing. The message should define the top five objectives of your organization or community and it should list the target audiences and describe them. Where do they live, how are old are they? What are their common characteristics?

Who is the Target Audience?

  • Elected Leaders
  • Donors
  • Volunteers
  • Corporations

For each group, your organization should understand and be able to answer the following questions. Answering these questions leads to effective marketing strategies:

  • What do you want them to know?
  • What do you want from them?
  • Why do you want it?
  • When do you need it?

(Keep in mind that target audiences can change as marketing efforts develop.)

Understanding your product or service:
It is important that your community or organization understand what message they want to send. The message should be consistent and directly relate to your organization’s mission.  Understand what makes you unique. 

Where to spend the dollars?
Once you have identified the goal and target audience, it is time to connect dollars to ideas and market your community or project.

Depending on your budget/resources allocate funds for :

  •     A website
  •     Logo
  •     Email service w/list updater and reports
  •     Web tracking and analytics - look for nonprofit discounts and free stuff
  •     Printed materials - use minimally - use recycled paper
  •     Broadcast and print public service ads