Movement Building Marketing: A Real-Time Case Study

At Next Stage, we talk a lot about movement-building marketing. And while you won’t find this term in marketing textbooks, it’s a hallmark of great nonprofit marketing campaigns. 

For many years, nonprofit marketing has focused almost exclusively on acquiring donors, event participants and volunteers. These are important goals and key personas for any organization that wants to make an impact. The challenge is when organizations get hung up on the what of their mission, focusing almost exclusively on service offerings or donor campaigns. 

Movement-building marketing focuses on the why of a nonprofit’s mission, inspiring action and engagement. It’s more than selling a program – it’s inviting people into the story.

Own Your Journey

Over the last year, Next Stage has partnered with The Center for Community Transitions (CCT), a long-standing nonprofit that supports justice-involved individuals and their families. Its programs are designed to support currently and formerly incarcerated people and their loved ones as they rebuild their lives. 

To celebrate its 50th anniversary, CCT aimed to build a year-long marketing plan to build its constituency and help launch its vision of a second chance city. 

It was important to CCT to build a campaign that fuels not just action – but also understanding of the criminal legal system and how it impacts culture. “We are so often focused on the ‘doing’ that we miss out on the ‘being,” said Patrice Funderburg, Executive Director of CCT. “Our goal is to encourage a pause for awareness and deeper conversation. We believe this understanding will lead to impactful action.” 

It was also critical to the CCT team that the lived experiences of their stakeholders were centered throughout the process. Every element of the marketing plan, from landing page images to email content, was built to reflect true experiences of an impacted individual and how those experiences relate to the bigger picture. It’s an intentionality that we believe sets this campaign apart. 

The first phase of the campaign launches in March with The UnLearning – a month of content that includes weekly emails and live social media conversations. The content is designed to connect participants to the big picture issues of justice involvement, while reflecting on their own relationship with the criminal legal system.

Follow Along

Our team is proud of this campaign. We believe CCT represents an authentic approach to movement building marketing. Follow along by signing up to watch this campaign unfold over the coming months!