How to get approval for your digital marketing plan, in 12 easy steps

Follow these steps to convince your bosses that digital marketing is a must in today’s modern world.



People love tried-and-true strategies. And nobody loves them more than a nonprofit’s executive director.

Often responsible for raising thousands or millions of dollars every year, nonprofit leaders must stay focused on the bigger picture. They may not understand the ins and outs of marketing best practices. Or they may have started their careers long before digital technology was a must for nonprofits. 

What they likely don’t know is that digital marketing is a tried and true strategy—and that the ROI is higher than more traditional methods. 

As the marketing expert, it’s your job to explain why your organization should dive deeper into digital. Here’s how to go about it.


A Dozen Small Steps to “Yes”

1) Consult with others in the nonprofit community.
Talk to people in your network, especially marketing leaders at other nonprofits similar in size. They can share which digital techniques work best for them. Incorporate this information into your final proposal. Leaders want to hear what other respected organizations are doing.


2) Start the conversation.
You don’t want to blindside leadership with a big ask out of nowhere. Instead, start by bringing up digital marketing techniques in small ways. 


For example: When discussing an important issue or event, pitch a blog post on the topic. Or get leadership more involved in your social media by showing them how to turn on push notifications, so they can like, comment and share posts in real time. 


Finally, start emphasizing how digital strategy can support your fundraising: from cultivating new donors on social media to collecting donations on Facebook. 


When you feel leadership is more comfortable with the idea of digital marketing, ask for permission to present a proposal.


3) Survey your donors.
Send an email survey asking donors how they interact with your organization online, what kind of content they want and how often they want to hear from you. Share the survey with your entire database or a smaller sample of donors. Then use that information to make a list of your potential marketing strategies.


4) Consult with others in your organization.
Find out what your co-workers think about your marketing efforts and get their ideas on other ways to reach donors. They often have more direct contact with your audience than you do. 


5) Do your research.
Learn more about best practices. Check out thought leaders in the industry, like HubSpot, The Content Marketing Institute, Social Media Examiner and, of course, the UpPurpose blog. 


6) Create your presentation.
Use all the information you’ve gathered to customize the UpPurpose Business Case for Digital Marketing presentation, which provides a powerful rationale and results from other nonprofits. Add your own personalized recommendations.


7) Schedule the meeting.
Make sure you give yourself enough time to prepare. Two to three weeks should be enough. Try to include attendees from each department so everyone understands the value of the work. Consider inviting the following people, as relevant to your organization.


  • Executive director or president
  • Operations or financial leader
  • Marketing leader
  • Development/fundraising leader
  • Someone focused on the mission and work of the organization 
  • The volunteer manager
  • IT or technical leader


8) Practice.
Enough said!


9) Give the presentation. 

Divide the sections between members of the marketing team, if possible. Remember: This is a team effort, and your shared belief in digital marketing will go a long way toward convincing leadership. 


10) Answer questions.
Leave time for questions at the end. If you don’t know the answer, don’t make something up. Do your research and come back with more information later.


11) Provide resources.
After the meeting, send a copy of the presentation to all attendees, as well as any other research you think might be helpful.


12) Get feedback and approval.

Follow up with leadership if you haven’t heard back after a week. Be prepared for more questions or partial approval. This is a journey, not a sprint. 


Now that you’ve got the plan, it’s time to build the presentation. Use our free template: The Business Case for Digital Marketing. 


Use our free template: The What, Why, and How of Digital Marketing

Any questions?

Send us a message and we’ll get back to you soon! Adipiscing elit sit amet.