1. Know your mission

Why do you do what you do? What makes you show up for work every day? Knowing your mission helps keep you connected to your greater cause, whether it be educating children, supporting the elderly, or saving the environment.

But wait. You also need to know your marketing mission. Is it to raise awareness about your organization? To gather new volunteers? To collect more donations? To share personal stories? This is the next layer of marketing strategy, which helps keep you focused not only on fulfilling your mission, but also knowing how to share it with the world.

TO DO: Make your organizational mission statement. Then, make your marketing mission statement. Some questions to ask yourself: How can I leverage social media to get more people on board with our cause? How can people engage with us now? What are our top priorities?

2. Know your goals

Once you have your marketing mission down pat, let these translate into your goals. Following the SMART goal model by Peter Drucker, goals should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Timely.

Do you want to increase your awareness, your leads, your donations, your website traffic? By how much and by when? How many more signups will you aim for per month? What is your donation goal for this year? Would you like to increase your newsletter open rate? By how much?

You get the point. Goals should not only align with your mission, but should also set a clear time frame, and basic data points, or key performance indicators (KPIs) that can help you determine if those goals are being met.

TO DO: Write out at least 3 goals, and then follow the SMART model (above) to get more specific.

3. Know your audience

Would you speak the same way to your mom as you would your boss? Not likely. Each group serves the cause in a different way and is motivated by different factors to connect with you and invest in you. Digital marketing is the same way. Because if you’re talking to everybody, you’re talking to nobody.

Some organizations go deep into creating different audience personas, delving into their pain points, characteristics, and interests. And this certainly helps. The more you know who you’re speaking to, the more you know how to speak to them. Especially in a world vying for every millisecond of our attention, people love feeling seen, receiving specific, personalized notes instead of general, overarching ideas.

TO DO: List out 2-3 of your target audiences. Include their age, location, what they do, interests, characteristics, challenges, what keeps them up at night, what motivates them, and what digital platforms do they spend most of their time on. Let these personas guide you forward.

4. Know your needs

Going back to our goals, each one should lead to a specific ACTION that you want people to take. In marketing lingo, this is the holy grail – the Call to Action, or CTA. The CTA is the reason to market, to motivate, to share – to activate your audience into action.

What action would you like them to take? Examples include: Read the blog, comment below, share this post, sign up for our newsletter, share your email, watch this video, join the waitlist, etc.

Knowing your CTAs also helps you focus on the kind of content you’d like to create, curate, and crowdsource.

TO DO: List your top 3 calls to action. Make a mind map of the content or links you already have, or need to be created, that you want to call people into action for.

5. Know your platforms

Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn, WhatsApp, TikTok, OH MY. These days there are so many ways to communicate, it can be overwhelming. The notable piece to remember is this: your organization does not need presence on every and all channels. We repeat: You do not need to concern yourself with ALL 103+ social media sites that exist today.

What you do need is to get super focused on which platforms meet your organization’s goals, needs, and audience. For example, if you seek an older crowd, should you bother with TikTok? It’s likely not your shining star.

TO DO: Start with one. Choose a platform based on your goals, your capability, your audience to focus your content planning energy. Start perfecting one platform, and it gets easier to filter content towards a second and third.

6. Know your pillars

Pillars are the broad topics that you’re building content around. What conversations are you looking to start? What value are you offering? How will you position yourself in your industry? How can you fill the gaps in the market and create new ways for your audience to connect?

Your pillars are your marketing foundation, the meat of the marketing sandwich if you will. This is where your content will stem from, so choosing between 5-7 pillars can help you focus your marketing plan downright into manageable.

For example, our pillars at Good Deeds Day are Education, Leadership, Good Business/CSR, Partners, Volunteering, Inspiration. These categories are what matters to us, the kind of content we want to create, and how we relate to our audience.

TO DO: Choose your pillars, at least five main themes or topics that your organization brings to the table. A good way to think about it is actually imaging sitting around a dinner table as your organization, and thinking about what topics you’d like to talk about if you could. In theory, social media platforms are the dinner table of the world hey? Less tasty though.

7. Know your partners

Some people (ahem marketers) may call these your competitors, but in the nonprofit world, we prefer collaborators. We all have our important causes and missions to share, and we’re all trying to make the world a better place. The truth is, we’re stronger together, so who is it that complements your work? Who can you collaborate with to mutually benefit both of your missions?

Who inspires you? What platforms are they using? What works and what doesn’t work? What would you do differently?

None of us need to recreate the wheel. There are certain tactics that work better than others, and it’s in our interest to pay attention to what they are – and focus on what works. Being inspired and connecting with other people doing the similar things can only expand our knowledge and capacity.

TO DO: Spend 15 minutes researching potential partners. Who else shares your mission? How do they do it differently? How can you work together and benefit each other? Make a list of 5 strategic partners and how you might collaborate.

8. Know your plan

Now that you know your why, your who, where you’re posting, and your points of focus, it’s time to PLAN! Choose how often you’d like to post per week. Be realistic here. Its better to show up consistently 2-3 times a week than scattered posts every few kind of days.

When you decide what’s possible, create your routine. Are Mondays blog days? Is Wednesday for wisdom? Set up your own system to remember what to post and when. Once you plan it out, give yourself a few good hours to layout your plan. Doing this is one big pop at the start or end of month will be more effective and productive than random content creation.

Lay the basic framework of a plan, then build. Once you have the skeleton of your system, begin to fill it in.

TO DO: Head to Excel and create a content calendar, or get our free online workshop recording to get our awesome calendar template!

 9. Know how to promote

For nonprofits with no budget, here are some foundational ways to get your posts off the ground.


  • Know exactly who you’re talking to and make sure to infuse some personality into the post. Making your audience feel something is key.
  • Include a high-quality and powerful visual, whether it be a graphic made on Canva, or a free image from Unsplash or Pixabay, or a video.
  • Jump on trending topics and use hashtags that reach specific audiences #nonprofitvolunteer instead of broad ideas #volunteering.
  • Tag relevant partners in your post and build relationships to cross-pollinate content.
  • Use audience insights to find the best time to post. Notice when and what posts did really well, and keep doing what works. And speaking of insights…

10. Know how it performed

The phase that’s often forgotten, but most important. Once we build a strategy and send our social media posts into the world, completing the process means checking the insights, tracking the statistics, and paying attention to any trends.

Yes Excel can be your worst enemy, but it can also be your best friend. Use it right and it will show a direct path to what kind of content you should post, when you should post it, and where your success lies. It may feel hard, but really, it makes content strategy much easier.

Remember that social media is one big experiment. Pay attention to what works, what doesn’t, and commit to tweaking as needed.

TO DO: These days, every social platform has a way to review stats. Based on your goals and CTAs  is what you should keep an eye on. If your goal is audience engagement, you’ll want to track how many clicks, likes, shares for each post, which one did the best, which did the worst, why, and change as needed.


Last but absolutely not least, an extra tip: know your capacity. Digital marketing today can easily be a fulltime 24/7 job, but spreading yourself too thin is simply not sustainable. That’s why being clear on your goals can help you determine what to prioritize and where to place your focus daily.

By knowing what you can do, and actively doing it, it opens doors to success, fun, and connection – and it is safe to say we all share these general goals.

If you’re looking to dive deeper into the content planning and creation process, get access to our free recording of our Conquer Your Content from A to Z workshop , available to you to watch in your own time, for anyone who feels overwhelmed by social media and is looking for clarity on best ways to manage content.


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