April 13, 2024

How this nonprofit is stockpiling content on a shoestring


You know it’s true, right?

You know you need to be marketing online to get new customers. You know you need to be marketing online to build awareness of your brand. And you know your competitors will get the inside track if you aren’t present.

It’s what you don’t know that’s holding you back.

If you are like other small organizations, you face similar barriers to diving in:

  • Where will I find the budget or human resources to execute a program?
  • How could I possibly create a steady flow of content to post online?
  • Can I keep a content marketing program going once I get started?
  • How do I know, with confidence, where I should even start?

These are the worrisome questions that can hold you in check.

But waiting for the ideal set of circumstances is not a winning marketing strategy. It only puts you further behind the competition.

The good news is there is a way through—if you have a plan.

A blueprint for content marketing on a budget

Let me give you an example.

I have been working with Dunrovin Retreat Center, a small faith-based nonprofit located in the Twin Cities metro area. Dunrovin’s mission is to give middle school and high school students opportunities to build self-confidence and leadership skills through summer camp and youth retreats. It also rents its scenic facilities to adult groups for offsite meetings.

Earlier this year I presented an overview of the content strategy for rebranding the Dunrovin website. At the conclusion of the presentation I showed how they could extent the content strategy to a blog and social media marketing program.

The room went quiet.

“We need to be on Facebook and Twitter, but I don’t see how we can pull that off,” the Director finally said. “We don’t have the resources.”

“Don’t worry,” I told him. “I’m not going to just drop a strategy in your lap and skip off into the sunset. I have a plan for making it happen.”

The plan enables them to focus on the right strategies for the right channels. It also maps the way for managing the process of creating and posting content consistently on a shoestring budget using summer interns. The slide deck below outlines the process.

Using interns to build a reserve of content

Besides getting interns up-to-speed with content creation, The Dunrovin plan has another goal. That is to use them to build up a reservoir of evergreen content for its blog and Facebook page which can be used down the road after the interns return to school.

This approach sounds great in theory, but making it work has its challenges.

The first challenge is to find the right people. Dunrovin budgeted for two interns, plus it got two more volunteers. We were fortunate to get a talented, enthusiastic team together.

The second challenge is managing the process. No team of interns, internal staff or volunteers will do you any good unless you have a coordinated effort. That means you still have to roll up your sleeves and lead the team.

Here are key success factors for managing a high-performing team:

  • Communicate the business objectives and audience characteristics for each project
  • Make sure they understand the brand themes and key messages
  • Establish editorial guidelines and an editorial calendar
  • Encourage them to contribute content ideas
  • Develop tools to help them plan, edit and revise content
  • Give coaching feedback to improve productivity of workflow

Dunrovin is like other small-to-midsized organizations. It has a need to tell its story on the Web, but not a lot of resources to do it. This process has taught Dunrovin it is possible if you put a plan in place and work it. Our motto this summer has been, “Start where you’re at, and focus on where you’re going.”

Struggling to ramp up your content marketing efforts? Not sure where to start? I have a plan! Message me to set up a time to talk about your digital marketing plan.

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