You’re Not Alone — 70% of Non-Profits Don’t Have a Marketing Plan

Posted by Ashley Scherer on Feb 6, 2015 10:01:00 AM

As I perused through the January issue of Association TRENDS I couldn’t help but notice the colorful pie chart on the back cover. The chart represented data from’s 2013 Non-profit Communications Trends Report. The group collected data through an online survey of 1,435 non-profit organizations. At first, the data startled me, but at second glance I realized that the organizations I have worked with weren’t much different. The survey revealed that only 1/3 of non-profit marketers have written and approved plans for 2013. 

Before AH brought on an internal team of communications professionals, most of the marketing efforts were developed and carried out by volunteer leaders and dedicated client teams with little or no marketing experience. It’s no surprise that a written plan hadn’t existed — the truth is you don’t know what you don’t know.

We worked to create marketing plans with several of our client partners to ensure they have clearly defined goals, objectives, deliverables, and metrics. Here are five reasons every non-profit organization needs a marketing plan.

  1. Laying out a clear plan for the year ahead is cost effective. You can be sure that your members’ dollars are not being miss-spent.
  2. A plan allows your organization to be proactive in approaching communications.
  3. Having a clear plan in place fosters smarter decision making.
  4. Deadlines for projects are clearly stated so the staff stays on track.
  5. Looking back at last year’s plan builds a roadmap for the future and will help you avoid efforts that were unsuccessful in the past.

Developing a marketing plan doesn’t come easy. It should be a working document to help strategize, make intentional decisions, and stay on track, resulting in measureable growth for your organization.

Having a marketing plan pays off! Our team is in Washington, D.C. today to accept the Association TRENDS’ Gold Award for their marketing efforts in social media.


Ashley Scherer currently serves as Marketing Coordinator at AH where she is referred to as the “email guru.” Ashley’s expertise includes email marketing, social media, content development, public speaking, and event management. Her talents are not just limited to the field of marketing; she was a Junior Philadelphia Eagles Cheerleader and is an avid crafter. Ashley earned her Certificate in Association Management in 2012 and looks forward to continuing her education. She graduated from Albright College in 2008 with a bachelor of art degree in communications and elementary education. Ashley resides in Audubon, New Jersey and enjoys spending time with her dogs Izzy and Haddie. She can be found volunteering in her community or with her MarCom crew thinking up fabulous marketing strategies for AH’s client partners.

Topics: Marketing, red chair communications