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Reaching your key audiences

publication date: Nov 3, 2011
author/source: Lisa MacDonald

Without question, one of the biggest challenges for a nonprofit is to differentiate their organization from the competition by building brand awareness and value.  While no one would argue the benefits of an effective marketing communications strategy it can be difficult to know where to start.

In her book Marketing to Win, author Susan Sommers advocates the four phase approach known by its acronym, R.A.C.E.    

Phase 1 - Research: Where are you now?

This is the fact-finding stage and your goal is to understand and describe your organization. Listen to your key audiences and take an objective look at your organization.  Examine the trouble spots, problems, issues and potential crises.

Phase 2 - Analyze: Where are you going?

Using the research data collected in Phase 1, this step includes a number of activities:

  • Assess potential partners.
  • Understand your organization's reputation with your key audiences.
  • Develop short-term and long-term objectives, as well as a program to measure results.
  • Determine your strategies, design your key messages, and develop tools to deliver these to your key audiences.
  • Create a one-year marketing communications strategy and program.
  • Develop a preliminary budget and a critical path with assigned responsibilities.

Phase 3 - Communicate: How will you get there?

This is the execution phase of your marketing communications plan and provides the chance to create a customized marketing toolkit.

Phase 4 - Evaluate: How did you do?

Measure and evaluate your program and make adjustments as required. Specific elements of the evaluation phase will depend on the type of program involved, but typically include:

  • collecting and tracking data
  • research with your key internal and external audiences
  • assessing the effectiveness of your tools and tactics
  • document your promotional materials, analyze media coverage and prepare a written report
  • plan for the future; return to Phase 1 to begin the research phase of the next R.A.C.E. cycle

The R.A.C.E four-phase approach can give any nonprofit organization a framework to create, execute and evaluate a marketing communications program.  In Marketing to Win, Sommers also provides tools, check-lists and case studies to help you create dynamic promotional materials, develop an online personality and gain visibility through various speaking and networking opportunities. 

Order your copy today.  



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