Veteran’s groups do an important job of filling in the gaps between the services that the U.S. government offers to veterans and what they can come up with on their own. Some of these groups help those who were wounded in combat, those suffering from PTSD, and even homeless veterans. On top of that, they provide those veterans with a sense of camaraderie with others who have been through the same things. The only problems with these groups are that many of them are non-profits. They operate thanks to donations and grants. Getting donations can be tricky, especially when many people don’t realize that the group exists. This is why you need to develop a good marketing plan for your existing veteran’s group.
Why Set Up A Marketing Plan?
The main reasons behind developing a marketing plan are to get increased involvement from your community. If people don’t know that your group exists, they can’t donate time or money to it. The donations are the most important because a non-profit group will have a hard time offering any services without one. On top of this, if you want to do any community outreach, people need to be aware of what you can offer.
Let’s start with involvement. Why do you want people to get involved in your veteran’s group? Well, most veterans in your area probably already know about it. If they’ve received any services from you, then they are aware of your existence. But do the other people in your area know about it? In order to receive donations (monetary or of goods) or to get people to volunteer, you need to make it clear that your group exists. You also need to emphasize what exactly your group does. A good marketing plan will accomplish both of these things.
On top of that, you can do community outreach with your group. Maybe some local elementary schools want some veterans to come in and talk about things like Memorial Day or Labor Day. You can also walk in parades on those holidays. However, if you no one knows that your group exists, you won’t get asked to do this. It’s all about getting the name and purpose of your organization out there.
Setting Up A Plan
The next parts of a good marketing plan involve creating a new logo (unless you don’t have one, in which case you’ll be creating a logo), as well as designing a website and using social media. The last one is the tricky part, which we’ll get to in a minute. Let’s start with the logo. Your logo needs to make it obvious that you’re a group to help military veterans. Your logo should include something that represents the military, such as a tank, or a silhouette of a soldier. If your group is made of up veterans from one single branch of the military or a specific platoon, then you can include some of those elements in the logo. The rest either needs to be in traditional camouflage coloring or in red, white, and blue. You don’t have much wiggle room when it comes to the colors in your logo, unfortunately.
Once your new logo has been approved by your organization’s board, you then need to design a website around it. The logo is an important part of the website’s design, as the site should include some of its colors. The website should have contact information, plus details about what your organization does. Add some pictures, give the stories of some of your members, and make it clear that you help veterans. If you have the space to include a calendar of events, then do so. The more you add to the website, the more professional it will look. People are more likely to donate to an organization that seems professional.
Finally, there’s the issue of social media. Many of your veteran’s, especially if they represent the older crowd, won’t be overly comfortable running a social media account. However, one can bring in some much-needed attention and help create awareness. If nothing else, you should create a Facebook profile, since it allows you to post events and invite people to them. You can also place some inexpensive ads using the medium.
Your Marketing Plan
Now that you have a new logo, as well as a website and some social media accounts, the next step requires you to place some advertising. This is a good time to send out some press releases to your local radio stations and newspapers. If you have any local magazines or television channels, send the press releases their way as well. This will get you some good attention, and you won’t have to place any paid ads at all. If you’re a true nonprofit, operating on razor-thin margins, this positive attention is a very good thing.
Above all else, make sure that you follow through with your plans. Otherwise, you may not get the results that you want. For example, if you have interviews set up with members of the local media, you should make sure that those happen. You never want to be known as the flaky organization; the one that sets things up and never follows through. Instead, make sure that your reputation is spotless.
Thanks to those advertising efforts, word will spread about your organization, and you’ll end up with plenty of volunteers. Be prepared to set up some sort of schedule to keep everything organized.
Developing a good marketing plan for a veteran’s group isn’t difficult. Since this is about spreading awareness, in order to get volunteers, money, and donated physical goods, you just need to put some plans into place. You might have to get some of your members outside of their comfort zones and start social media accounts. You also have to send out some press releases. However, the results will be worth it when your group gets asked to do community outreach, your members increase, and you end up with some much-needed funding.