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Follow-up to Right-Things Right-Now Marketing Webinar, Part II

Below is a follow-up by Nancy Schwartz, Speaker-Author-Strategist,, to three questions submitted by participants during the February 5, 2013, webinar “Right-Things Right-Now Marketing: Move People to Act Now With This One-Page Plan.” She answered additional questions in a blog post earlier. To view the presentation or listen to the recording of the webinar, please click here.

Nancy Schwartz Nancy Schwartz

Q: How are calls to action different from organizational or marketing goals?

Let me start with sharing some definitions (examples here):
Organizational goals (a max of three at a time) are the steps to take over the next year that will take your organization closer to achieving its mission.

Marketing goals are the best ways you can put marketing to work to help achieve those organization goals.

Calls to action come into play only after you have your marketing goals in place and have identified your target audiencesthree or fewer groups who can do the most to help you reach them.

Once you hone in on your target audiences, get to know them via conversations, surveys, how they interact with your emails, websites and social media channels and more.

Only then can you outline the specific actions you want them to move on. But so many nonprofit fundraisers and communicators forget this key element.

Once you have their attention, what is the series of incremental, doable actions they should take to the desired action. That’s your call to action. Make sure that action(s) links clearly and strongly with your goals, and you’re good to go.

Then ask your audiences—early, clearly and repeatedly—to act…to register online, refer qualified clients or share their stories. Highlight what’s in it from them, and tackle any obstacles likely to be in the way of their actions. And finally—be specific, and make it easy to do so with the least effort possible.

Q: Do you have strategies to enlist your whole organization into your marketing initiatives?

The first step in getting anyone to do anything you want them to do is to ensure they feel that you share a common goal, rather than them carrying out what’s simply your wish.

So demonstrate your interest (on an ongoing basis in the work of your colleagues—program, administrative and everyone else—via casual conversations over time (this isn’t a one-day miracle cure). Think about how your position the conversation from their point of view—what’s in it for them. They’re just like any other audience.

You’ll learn things that will strengthen your content and approaches, and they’ll build their understanding of how your work will help fund their programs or positions, and engage program participants, partners and others key to organizational success.

Once you have nurtured these relationships and baseline understanding with at least one person in each function or department, suggest a meeting to discuss how you can help each other. You can do it as an all-org meeting or a fundraising/marketing and one other department at a time.

Be as concrete and specific as possible in sharing ideas and in this initial meeting, suggest ways (periodic training to be effective messengers, an easy way for them to share updates and stories with you) to keep the communication going.

It’s an ongoing process and labor intensive but there’s no better way to build an all-organization marketing and fundraising team!

Q: If you are just starting your non-profit, what is the first step of developing a marketing plan?

Instinct is to go out there and shout from the rooftops. After all, everyone should know how great your organization is. Right?


Your fundraising and marketing focus will succeed only when it’s centered in the sweet spot where your wants overlap with those of your target audiences.

So start with some basic marketing planning (here’s a one-page template to use) and use that plan as a template for all decision making, including where to start.

You’ll be looking for the actions that will take the fewest resources to make the greatest impact, to start!

Nancy Schwartz helps nonprofits like yours succeed through effective marketing. For more nonprofit marketing guidance like this, subscribe to her e-update at

Topics: Communications