DeathtoStock_Desk7You’ve been told a million times, “Content is king” and “Content marketing is the future.”


You’ve listened to the arguments and they make sense….  But where do you start? 

Today I want to answer that question by letting you behind-the-scenes of a project I’m currently working on: raising money for Movember RDU.

The Project: Raising Money by Using Content Marketing for a Nonprofit

Last year several friends of mind came together to raise just under 10K for Movember.

If you’re not familiar with Movember, it’s a global non-profit that seeks to have an everlasting impact on the face of men’s health, primarily through education and awareness (largely accomplished during November). To help raise awareness participants grow out their mustaches and teams fundraise (including holding fundraising events).

This year I decided to get in on the action and, not surprisingly, am heading up Movember Team RDU’s marketing efforts. I’m partnering with another teammate, whose focus is education.

Together, we’re starting on a content strategy (after all, November is only 6 months away).

A Peek Behind the Curtain: Getting Started with Strategy

Since I’m dedicating a chunk of my time to this project, and it’s something we’re starting pretty much from scratch, I thought I’d share how we go about setting up the content strategy step-by-step.

Going in we have a few pieces of the puzzle already, but we’re starting with a mostly blank slate.

Here’s what we have:

  • A website (, created last year
  • An old email list (from about 2 years ago) that wasn’t used last year
  • A list of emails of participants from last year

…. and that’s pretty much it.

Website Updates: Creating a Homebase

The first step in any content marketing strategy — for a nonprofit or otherwise — needs to be having a strong home base to send people back to, either via email or social or …. where ever, basically.

So the very first thing I did when getting started with content marketing for this nonprofit was update our team’s website. I deleted out-of-date information, updated the info that would carry over, added new information, etc.

I paid careful attention to each page, making sure that there were clear Calls to Action and that it was easy for someone who was interested in getting involved to figure out how they could do so and who to contact (and how).

Email Goals: My Very First Point of Contact

Since we have email addresses, it made sense to me to start our campaign there. In the next few days I’ll be sending out an email to everyone on our list. However, since that list is old and I don’t want to me marked a spammer, it’ll be the ONLY email I send to that list.

I’ll actually be emailing them to ask if they want to re-sign up to be kept up-to-date for this year.

I’ll use the email to do 2 things — first, I’ll be aiming to convince them to sign up for the new email list, so that they’ll hear about all the awesome things we have in store for this year.

Second, I’ll invite them to a “Movember Social” we’re having next month to introduce the key players and talk about some of the ideas and goals we have for this year.

The idea here is to establish right off the bat that I don’t want to spam them and that I respect their time, while also (hopefully) convincing them to engage with us in one of those 2 ways.

Blog Content Ideas: Brainstorming

Our second tool is the website itself. We’re planning to keep a blog this year. The blog will have a few goals, some of which are still under discussion — it’ll serve as a public outreach tool, so that someone who lands on the site can easily get an idea of what we’re working on and what we’re about. It’ll also serve as a central place to keep announcements that can be shared via social media.

I also see it as an educational tool — so we’ll share content about Movember, about Team RDU and about the causes that we’re fundraising for.

With those goals in mind I did some brainstorming around potential post ideas. Here’s what I came up with.

  • Mo Sistas – women can participate too. I want to highlight this (maybe an interview with the winner from last year?)
  • Share goals for 2014
  • Share fundraising winners from last year, and how much they raised with 1-3 tips from each on how they did it.
  • Reach out to sponsors from last year for a quote or two on why they participated last year and their thoughts (good for them, since it shows their involvement with the community and that they give back but also might help bring in new sponsors)
  • What Movember Means to Me: Short interviews with organizers (video? text?) & with members of the community.
  • Educational pieces on men’s health issues: some surprising statistics, etc.
  • Share content from Movember headquarters and their website.

You can see this is really just the start, but it’s a pretty solid start—most of these ideas will spawn at least 2-3 short posts for the site.

Social Media Strategy: Follow You, Follow Me

We’ve definitely decided we want to have a dedicated hashtag this year and have started thinking about possible ideas.

But more than that, we need a strategy on social beyond simply, “update regularly” and “use a mix of text, images, and other fun things.”

So, while it’s not fully fleshed out yet, I penned this simple strategy: Find major brands and important community influencers in Raleigh and follow them with the Movember twitter and facebook accounts; engage with these brands as much as possible between now and November.

Not too complicated, right? The goal is to convey the message that we’re an active part of the community and by following key community members and engaging with them it should help smooth the way for our fundraising/sponsorship team when they get in touch, as well as helping with the bigger mission of general awareness.

Getting Started with Your OWN Content Marketing for a Nonprofit

…or, well, a for profit. The process is remarkably similar.

To start: Take stock of what you have

Regardless of the type of company, your first step should always be to take stock of what you have. Once you’ve done that, you can decide where there are holes and what the logical next step is.

For us it was to update the site and then send out an email. For most companies (again, nonprofit or not), it’ll be to update your “home base” and make sure the pages work to further your content marketing goals.

You DO have content marketing goals, don’t you?

Next, decide what platforms you want to use in your content marketing strategy.

For Movember at our core we’ll be using a combination of “free” tools — blogging, social media and email (free is in quotes because all it takes is time…and time isn’t really free. But that’s a post for another day.)

We’ll also do some more specific marketing around individual events and campaigns, but those tools will be our backbone for the next six months.

Finally, connect the two — how will your tools lead to your goals?

While still *very* rough, you can see an example of this with our social media strategy. Our goals are both fundraising and education, so I’ve set out a strategy (engage with influencers & businesses) to help us do that using social media.

Although I was less explicit, you can also see how our blog content will further those goals — by creating “proof,” sharing “how to” information, and being the educational content that will get shared.

Have you put together a content strategy? What tools are you using? If not, tell me a bit about a nonprofit you believe in—why are they special? What do they do that connects with you?

PS. I’ll be speaking at the June Raleigh Nonprofits Communicators group’s brown bag lunch on June 17th. Click here to RSVP (it’s free!).