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Modern nonprofit organizations looking to stay in touch with supporters have to balance their communication on multiple channels including email, text message, direct mail, and social media. You can keep all of your outreach organized by using an editorial calendar.
An editorial calendar can help your nonprofit plan, schedule, and implement a content strategy that promotes your programs and services on multiple platforms. To help your nonprofit leverage this tool, we’ll break down what a nonprofit editorial calendar is and the best practices for using it.
What is a nonprofit editorial calendar?
An editorial calendar (also called a content calendar) is a tool nonprofits use to plan and implement their content strategy, which includes any written or graphic material you plan to share with supporters through your website, email, social media, or direct mail.
Items of content are planned in advance and added to the content calendar for publishing at some time in the future. All the assets needed for that post, like graphics, quotes, and links, are also planned in advance and included on the calendar so your entire team knows what is being posted and when it will appear in your marketing channels.
Using a content calendar helps nonprofits be consistent with messaging and their overall marketing strategy. The further in advance you plan, the more organized and efficient your team will be.
9 things you should track with your nonprofit editorial calendar
There’s virtually no limit to what you can plan and track with your content calendar. Track every piece of marketing material you post, or use it to track large projects with dozens of separate small tasks.
Here are a few types of content you can start planning in your nonprofit editorial calendar.
1. Website pages
Whether you’re planning a website redesign or you just need to add a new fundraising page to your site, tracking the necessary content with your content calendar will streamline the process.
Most website pages are a combination of text and images. Special pages, like volunteer or fundraising pages, will require forms and possibly integrations with external software like a nonprofit CRM or credit card processor. These can be entered into your content calendar under the main website redesign task as subtasks, each with its own unique deadline.
2. Blog articles
A blog post is an easy piece of content to track with your calendar. Track components of upcoming posts like the article author, any images or graphics that are needed, and the body text.
Plus, since you’re likely to create new ones on a regular basis, you can also add reminders to share links to your newly published blog posts on social media.
3. Social media posts
Plan your social media content in advance, just like you would your web pages and blog posts. When you publish a blog post, try also publishing a social media update about that blog post on the same day. To continue promoting it, queue up a similar, but different, social post scheduled for a few days later. Then post another one on the same topic a week later and then two weeks later. Use different text and sometimes different graphics, but have all links point back to the same blog post or resource.
Remember, not every member of your audience is online at the same time. Creating a posting schedule helps you get maximum exposure for your content and drive more traffic to your nonprofit’s website.
Keeping track of your nonprofit email marketing is easy to do with an editorial calendar. Planning ahead with an editorial calendar gives you the ability to take your time composing each email, checking the links, and making sure the graphics look just right.
A simple GIF is easy enough to find and add to your website or an email quickly. Other images, like infographics, charts, and presentations are more involved and may require more time to create.
Try using your editorial calendar to keep your graphic design and marketing teams on track. Schedule projects for more complex graphics and encourage your team to provide feedback through the content calendar. That way you can get your projects done efficiently and with your entire team on the same page.
6. Flyers, brochures, and other print material
Content calendars aren’t just for digital content. Oftentimes, print material needs to be handed off between different teams or go to an external company for printing and mailing. A content calendar is a great way to track your direct mail campaigns all the way from initial development to delivery to recipients.
Track webinars and other online events in your content calendar to keep track of all the necessary planning and division of tasks.
Webinars generally consist of four steps:
- Create the presentation outline.
- Fill it in with text and graphics.
- Complete a few practice run-throughs.
- Present it to your audience.
On your calendar, assign one person to be responsible for putting together the webinar template. Another will be responsible for starting the slides and any research or citations that might be needed. Someone else is responsible for adding contextually relevant graphics, then someone else is responsible for sending out email reminders to guests. If you’re planning on recording your webinar, you’ll need an additional task for uploading the video to your website.
As this example demonstrates, there are a lot of moving parts for just one type of event. Tracking an in-person event can add even more steps to the process, but you can still plan them all out using your content calendar.
If your nonprofit has a podcast, you can easily add it to your content calendar. For podcasts that feature guests, track potential and confirmed guests in the calendar, along with tasks for practicing and the actual recording dates and times.
Since the final product will result in an audio or video recording, these are also great pieces of content to share on social media.
9. Large projects and individual tasks
Sometimes your nonprofit might work on an internal development project that doesn’t need to be published publicly. You can still track these on your calendar, planning milestones and delivery times for individual tasks required to complete the overall project.
Assign tasks to team members or external partners, keep links to documents in one place, and track your progress all from inside the calendar.
Start planning your nonprofit’s content
An editorial calendar is a game-changing organizational tool for nonprofits of all sizes. Use a spreadsheet, database, or content calendar-specific platform to start tracking your nonprofit’s outreach projects.