How to Crush Your Nonprofit Marketing Goals in 2020

Julia Claire Campbell Marketing, Nonprofits Leave a Comment

I LOVE goal-setting – and then making an action plan to CRUSH my goals – and the New Year is one of the best times to do it! 🎊🎉

Getting out brightly colored markers and a new calendar makes me happy, just as when I got my back-to-school supplies as a child! Post-its etc. 

No matter when you start, it’s the perfect time to evaluate what you accomplished with your nonprofit marketing in the past few months and to take some time to sharpen your focus.

Ask yourself:

✅ Did you start a blog this year but then desert it?

✅ Did you start tweeting and then get overwhelmed?

✅ What about that stagnant email newsletter?

✅ Did you plan on sharing more video but then stopped?

✅ Is the Board demanding that you raise more money online?

Whether you followed a detailed calendar this past year, or you are starting from scratch, it’s never too late to start planning for success. 

Before we get going, a few ground rules:

  1. I encourage you to only plan out the next 6 months –  you’ll get a chance to see what works and what doesn’t and use those findings to improve for the last part of the year
  2. Take 2 hours to do this – you won’t be able to get it done during this broadcast – i’m giving you the roadmap, but you will have to take some time to go back and do it
  3. Try not to do this yourself – i know most of you are teams of one, but it’s always best to have a second set of eyes
  4. Get office supplies – sharpies, poster paper, white board, notepads, laptops, chargers, coffee, tea, etc. – make it fun!

I also have a worksheet that you can use in your department, with your team, or your team of one – just go to and get your copy. 

Now let’s dive in! 

Step 1 – Set the stage.

I want you to do a true evaluation of the past year. For time-starved and cash-strapped nonprofits, this means taking a hard look at the past year and what worked and what didn’t. 

Evaluate the past year (or even just the past 4-6 months).

Write down your answers to these questions:

  • What activities worked this year?
  • What activities ALMOST worked?
  • How could we tweak the ones that didn’t work and improve them for next time?
  • How can we make slight changes to ensure better results?
  • What do we just want to abandon?
  • What activities have you been DYING TO TRY?
  • What did you not get to work on this year that you wish you could have?
  • What was the year like for you overall?
  • Were you crazed, overwhelmed, stressed out?
  • Did you feel energized, excited, and motivated?


  • We ran a #GivingTuesday campaign and raised 75% of our goal.
  • We tried an Instagram hashtag contest and engagement was more than we anticipated!
  • We attempted to get people to use Facebook Fundraisers for us but it fell flat.

Action Items:

  • Write it all down, no idea too small or insignificant.
  • Choose one marketing activity that you have been wanting to try.
  • You don’t have to know how it’s going to happen, you simply have to commit to making it happen.
  • You can even add “learn more about mobile giving” or “take webinar on video for nonprofits.”

Step 2 – Dream big.

This is where you ask yourself – what would our work look like if we couldn’t fail?

What would a wildly successful year look like?

Take some time to imagine all of the things you would LOVE to accomplish if time, resources, capacity, and other challenges didn’t play a role.


  • We will have an overwhelming amount of positive engagement on our social media platforms.
  • We will be well-known by civic and community leaders who will open doors for us.
  • We will be able to fundraise effectively because people know who we are and understand our work.

Action Items:

  • Put these big dreams down in writing however it works for you: a paragraph, bullet points, key words, etc.
  • No idea too big at this point!

Step 3 – Make it actionable. 

Now you take these big lofty goals and break them down into specific strategies that can be measured and evaluated.

For example, what does “overwhelming engagement” or “increased visibility” look like in practice? What specific strategies do you need to implement to get you there?

Example: Our big goal is “We will have an overwhelming amount of positive engagement on our social media platforms.”

Example specific strategies that will lead to an increased amount of social media engagement:   

  • Start a Social Media Ambassador Program with 20 people.
  • Take a video with a smartphone and share to social media once per week. 
  • Post a Facebook Live broadcast once per month. 
  • Create and run one Facebook Ad per month.  
  • Make a list of hashtags to use on Instagram. 
  • Post 4 times per week on Instagram. 

Big Goal: We will be well-known by civic and community leaders who will open doors for us.

Specific strategies:

  • Create lists on Twitter of people to follow and retweet.
  • Tag community leaders in social media posts.
  • Start an interview series on our blog.
  • Do a Community Spotlight once per month on Instagram. 

Big Goal: We will be able to fundraise effectively because people know who we are and understand our work.

Actionable Objectives:

  • Plan for and launch a 2-week digital storytelling campaign.
  • Create an email welcome series for new email subscribers.
  • Share a thank you video with new donors. 

Step 4 – Strategies become projects.

Specific strategies need to be taken off the general To Do list and become projects with lists of tasks and timelines.

Writing down a long list of actionable strategies is all well and good – but what tasks do you need to check off in order to make them a reality? And who will do this, and when?

That’s why each strategy needs to become a project, broken down into steps required to complete it.

For example, a great way to increase engagement on social media is to start a Social Media Ambassador Program for your nonprofit. But writing down “Start Social Media Ambassador Program” on your To Do list won’t get you very far. 

What do you need to do first? Second? Third? Write down all the steps and when they will happen, and who will carry them out. 

Only bite off what you can chew! This is why I recommend focusing your efforts on one or two overall nonprofit marketing goals every few months to avoid overwhelm and burnout.

Realistically look at your job responsibilities and your week.

How much time do you have to dedicate to this?

Are there other tasks that can be taken off your plate?

When can you schedule time to get this done?

Do you need more buy-in from your boss and your co-workers? 

Good luck, and share your results in the Facebook Group!

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