Creating a 90-Day Marketing Plan for your Nonprofit

nonprofit marketing plan

New year, new you, right? Whether you’re into New Year’s Resolutions or not, it is always a good idea to begin the new year with a new marketing plan for your nonprofit. You don’t have to scrap all of your best practices from the previous year, but you should look at your marketing strategies, campaigns, and metrics from the year to discover what worked best and what areas need improvement. From there, you can start your marketing plan for the year!

If you’re short on time or are overwhelmed with planning out your marketing strategy for an entire year, a 90-day marketing plan might be a better fit for your nonprofit. This tool is different from drafting a plan for the whole year, and has separate benefits that may help improve or streamline your marketing!

What’s the difference between a 90-day marketing plan and an annual marketing plan?

Besides the obvious difference in the time frame of a year versus 90 days, a 90-day marketing plan and an annual marketing plan are structurally different. Annual marketing plans strategize campaigns and initiatives to meet business or operational goals set by the organization at the beginning of the year. These goals are then broken down into deadlines throughout the year in order to make progress in meeting these objectives.

You would think that a 90-day marketing plan would be similar, just with a shorter timeline, right? While there is some truth to that assumption, that’s not entirely the case. 90-day marketing plans are meant for short-term goals, and more specifically, tracking short term progress through the analysis of KPI’s. The frequent analysis of these short-term goals allow your nonprofit team to be more agile and pivot accordingly if a plan, strategy, or campaign is not panning out as you planned. Adapting and pivoting with an annual marketing plan is slightly more difficult, and creates more work for your small team as you have to change the rest of the annual plan from the pivot point. With 90-day marketing plans, changing a part of a campaign or strategy won’t necessarily have long-term repercussions. With less to change as the plan has a shorter timeline, your team saves time!

What are the benefits of a 90-day marketing plan?

For the nonprofit marketer, the biggest benefit of a 90-day marketing plan is the time you’ll save. Not only will you save time in creating a plan for a shorter timeline, with fewer campaigns, goals, and initiatives, but also in the time it takes to re-do a plan if something goes wrong or needs to be adjusted.

With the ability to be agile in your strategy, you can better fulfill the needs of the larger nonprofit operational goals. Additionally, since the timeline of the plan itself is shorter, you can access and use your metrics sooner! Rather than waiting for longer campaigns of an annual plan to end, or summarizing a yearly plan at the end of the year, a 90-day marketing plan provides results in just three months. You can then analyze the results at the end of 90 days to ideate and create an even better plan for the next 90 days, using what you learned from the previous plan.

The turnaround is quicker to allow you to learn, strategize, and improve. Because of the emphasis on frequent analysis, the 90-day marketing plan is often a strong tool for smaller nonprofit teams with less resources available. The quarterly analysis of your plan, campaigns, and strategies become your resource for strategic planning, and will help improve your marketing far better and faster than if you did the same analysis on an annual basis.

How do I build a 90-day marketing plan?

1.  Analyze Key Performance Indicators

To start a 90-day marketing plan for your nonprofit, you need to pull analytics from the last few months for the KPI’s that you want to measure. To keep metrics consistent, and allow them to be both measurable and trackable over time, you should only pull statistics from the last three months. This will serve as a foundation for each of your 90-day plans because you can add in the most recent metrics at the end of each plan.

2.  Take note of top performing strategies and areas for improvement

While this step may feel like pulling teeth, it is crucial to evolve your marketing and reach your goals. You can begin with questions such as:

  • What marketing tactics worked well in the last quarter?

  • Is there an opportunity to leverage new platforms or trends?

  • What areas of your overall marketing strategy didn’t go as planned?

This list could go on, depending on what your nonprofit values and which areas of marketing are key to your operational strategy.

3.  Align with your nonprofit’s operational goals

This is where a 90-day marketing plan ties into a bigger picture. Your nonprofit’s operational or business objectives should be the driving force behind your marketing plans so that it has direction and purpose. If one of your nonprofit’s goals is to bring in 100 new donors in the calendar year, break it down to determine how this would translate to a marketing goal. Be sure this goal is specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and has time-bound deadline (SMART goals!). Then write it down.

4.  Turn marketing goals into a strategy

Once you have your 90-day SMART goals written down, you can turn your plan into an actionable strategy with campaigns, initiatives, and key messaging. Think about all areas of marketing and how it could assist in meeting that goal. Can PR bring in new donors with an event, or can social media reach new people? Should your website have a dedicated page for this campaign?

Please note that this will look different depending on the nonprofit and the resources you have available, but be sure to actually use the resources that you do have! Everything that you have in your wheelhouse is a tool to meet your goals.

With every resource or strategic element that you use in breaking down your 90-day plan, be sure you give specific deadlines throughout the 90 days, instead of waiting for the three months to be over to have a deadline. Having small deadlines, even on a monthly basis, will hold you accountable, gradually help achieve your goals, and allow room for adaption if needed. With the right planning and analysis, the 90-day marketing plan can help you grow your marketing and achieve larger operational goals!


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