How to Lead Your Marketing Team

communication strategy digital marketing email marketing May 05, 2022

As the Executive Director of your nonprofit organization, you’re going to grapple, often, with one singular fact:

You can do anything, but you cannot do everything.

Does that make sense?

By this I mean: you have the skills, the experience, and the tenacity to reach the position you’re in. That, in and of itself, is no mean feat. Maybe you’ve worked in marketing, accounting, event planning, donor relations, program management,  or even all of the above. You know what you’re talking about. But because of your position - and the responsibilities that follow - you simply cannot tackle every organizational objective yourself.

It falls on you, thus, to communicate the Big Picture Goals to your team. And one of the biggest parts of these is marketing - spreading the word, raising awareness, garnering followers and donors, and making the impact you envision.

As we’ve discussed in previous blog posts, marketing is not simple, avoidable overhead - it is foundational to the success of your mission, vital to your organization, and not merely a line item to be checked off.

So how do you communicate your vision to your Marketing and Communications Team? How do you keep on top of the latest trends, and both encourage and execute on what needs to get done for the most effective results?

We at Cindy May Marketing are here to tell you just that: how to communicate what marketing is needed for your nonprofit - even if you don’t have the time or bandwidth to do it yourself.


Make a plan

Having a stated, long-term marketing plan gives the community around your nonprofit confidence. This includes everyone from your board to your staff to your volunteers. This is the key to following through on your vision.

It’s also not an easy task. But it is vital.

For an effective executive director of a nonprofit, you must have:

  • A concise statement of long-term goals. Write this down. Put it on paper. Plaster that paper around your office, virtually or physically, so everyone understands what you are trying to achieve. 
  • Clear, achievable milestones, with a realistic framework on how to reach them, so everyone understands how you intend to meet those goals. 
  • Consensus from your marketing and/or communications specialists/team, so everyone understands that you’re not just barking orders, but see this as a collaborative effort and that you’re appreciative of their efforts, capabilities, and input. 

This is your thesis statement. (Remember that from your high school English class?). It gives direction and focus to the everyday operation of your marketing. If all else fails, this is the goal, the prime directive, the mission of spreading the word about your mission. If your team is not only aware of this idea, but a part of it, you’re already leagues ahead.

Be Consistent With Your Marketing

This applies both to the frequency and content of your messages, and boosts your credibility across the board.

Regularity of posts/emails tells your followers that you are serious and committed to spreading the latest information, even as you yourself are learning it. Once a week, once a month, whatever schedule you decide upon, stick to it. Your followers and fans will appreciate and acknowledge the consistency of your messaging, as it clearly unfolds as reliable and recognizable.

Consistency is also needed in the tone and voice of your messaging. Shifting from optimistic to pessimistic, from hopeful to dire, sends mixed messages and creates uncertainty about your nonprofit. It becomes a credibility issue, as your followers, donors, and potential partners wonder: “What’s next?”

Find your tone, find your voice, and follow through with that message. This will instill confidence in both acknowledgement and acceptance of your purpose.


Encourage Engagement

It doesn’t have to be “donate here” or “sign up to volunteer.” Sometimes the best ask is to “check out our calendar of events” or “see our list of services.” Turn your readers from passive consumers to more active, engaged participants.

It’s tough, at times, to ask for what you need. But humans will forever be humans, and sometimes the most basic ask is exactly what they need to hear. Don’t be afraid to ask for, encourage, or even require engagement with your organization. These are trying, information-overloaded times. You have to be forthright with your intentions. Don’t be mean or belligerent about it. But communicate unabashedly. Those who will support will support, and in greater numbers.


Measure success

Whether we’re talking open rate, click rate, sign-ups, email registrations, or actual donations, data is your friend and analysis of it is your key to success. 

You’ll find out what posts work, which emails register, what kind of content inspires action or engenders reaction. Some metrics will prove to be those of “vanity,” but tracking all of the available data will give you a better understanding of what’s happening, what’s working, and what’s (decidedly) not working.

Again, this cannot fall solely upon your shoulders. The responsibility of your team, whether large or small, marketing- or communications-based, internal or external, is to figure out how to propel your vision. The analytics are the answers to most of your questions. Don’t take this lightly.

Stay informed

Probably the most abstract yet challenging of these steps is keeping up with modern marketing trends, current communication tendencies, and novel platforms (which do seem to pop up out of nowhere, more and more).

But again, that’s what we’re here for.

Follow our blog, subscribe to Cindy May Marketing emails, and even feel free to schedule a call - the success of your nonprofit efforts and the mastery of your nonprofit marketing is what we do best.

We’d be honored and delighted to help. And, as always, we have more information headed your way soon, across platforms and in every format accessible, so we can help you learn, grow, and make the impact that only you can.

Thanks for reading, fellow world-changer. To be continued.