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How To Build a Marketing and Communications Team to Achieve Results

communication strategy marketing marketing strategy Apr 22, 2022

As the leader of your nonprofit organization, it is vitally important not only to advance the mission of your organization, but also to make your audience -- current and potential -- aware of what your organization does and what kind of impact you’re making.

In order to spread your message far and wide, you must rely on your marketing and communications teams, which could be internal or an outside agency that you trust with the task. That’s why building a top-notch team is a top-tier priority.

We at Cindy May Marketing know first-hand how challenging this can be for nonprofit groups large and small, with big budgets and small budgets alike. Finding the right people, the right size team, and the right strategic structure to spread your message is a mission all unto itself.

 Here are some insights into how and why we structure our own team at Cindy May Marketing that allows us to provide impactful marketing to nonprofit clients.

How Big Should My Nonprofit Marketing and Communications Team Be?

Your nonprofit “MarCom” team will largely be determined by your budget and staff size. 

If you’re in charge of a smaller nonprofit, you may not have the funds for a multi-person, multi-level team. According to the 2022 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report, 41% of organizations with budgets between $500,00 to $1 million and 35% of organizations with budgets of $1 million to $5 million have single-person communications teams.

This means these teams generally operate as a CEO-led team, with a great deal of crossover responsibility between staff and the executive director determining the workload. It means wearing multiple hats and shouldering much of the burden. 

That said, it is not just the larger organizations that have bigger teams. Approximately 47% of nonprofits have at least two full-time communications staff, making it easier to use their team strategically to advance the organization’s mission.

But when the efforts of marketing and communications teams really start to soar is when they reach three or more full-time staff members. This is known as the “effectiveness sweet spot,” able to manage additional communications channels at an increased frequency and produce better marketing results overall. It allows for more regular website updates and blog posts, greater social media marketing strategies and engagement, increased email marketing, and a superior grasp on marketing data analytics. 

 

What is the Best Way to Structure My Nonprofit Marketing and Communications Team?

The most common and most effective communication team structures are Centralized Teams and Integrated Teams, which make up a combined 61% of nonprofit communications teams.

 

  • Centralized Teams - Communications staff set the strategy and prioritize their workload with input from across the organization (36% of teams)
  • Integrated Teams - Communications and fundraising staff jointly decide on communications goals and workload (25% of teams)

 

 

What Roles Should My Nonprofit MarCom Team Have?

Strategy is the name of the game when it comes to your MarCom Team. As you read, there are a number of different models to structure your team, but defining the roles and responsibilities of your staff is equally important -- if not more so!


Here’s how it works for us at Cindy May:

 

  • Executive Director/CEO (Strategic Thinker/Leader) -- At the end of the day, someone has to call the shots to define the specific marketing goals and objectives that will best serve an organization. This is the role of the Thinker, the Leader, the Captain of the ship that knows which way to sail and builds the crew to get there.
  • Strategic Developer -- This person identifies the processes and the procedures, assigns the right people to the right tasks, and ensures the correct means are in place in order to reach the most ideal ends. They’re like the navigator, mapping out your trip ahead.
  • Content Creator(s), Writer(s), and Designer(s) -- The people entrusted to create your messaging across mediums and platforms. They write blogs, craft e-communications, draft social posts, create eye-catching flyers, design conversion-rich websites, and so on. This crew mans the mizzen masts and runs up the top-sails to get your ship moving.
  • Implementer -- Finally, this person puts all the marketing pieces in place to spread the word of your organization and ensure that your efforts all come together in the most effective way. They ought to be tech-savvy and know all the digital how-to’s of making your mission happen. This is your helmsman (or helmswoman), who properly communicates and executes the steering and rudder orders and keeps your ship on track. 

 

How Do I Start Building My Nonprofit MarCom Team?

Whether you have a staff of 100 or you’re a one-person army tackling it all yourself, marketing and communications are not just an important aspect of your nonprofit efforts, they are fundamental necessities for the success of your mission itself.

All of this can feel overwhelming at times, but never fear! We’ve got your back.

We have more fantastic and useful content heading your way, including advice on How To Build Your Nonprofit MarCom Team and Nonprofit Marketing Strategies in 2022

On top of that, if you feel you need outside help, we are ready and willing to listen, advise, and even take on some of those MarCom efforts ourselves.

The success of your nonprofit is our number one priority. Follow our blog, check out our podcast, or book a call with us to discuss your marketing needs. We’d be honored and delighted to help you change the world for the better, in the way that only you can.

Thank you so much for reading. Stay tuned for more.

 

 

“Charitable nonprofits embody the best of America. They provide a way for people to work together for the common good, transforming shared beliefs and hopes into action. They give shape to our boldest dreams, highest ideals, and noblest causes. America’s 1.3 million charitable nonprofits feed, heal, shelter, educate, inspire, enlighten, and nurture people of every age, gender, race, and socioeconomic status, from coast to coast, border to border, and beyond. They foster civic engagement and leadership, drive economic growth, and strengthen the fabric of our communities. Every single day.” - Council of Nonprofits