Creating the Calendar: Scheduling your Nonprofit Video Marketing Campaign

How to plan your campaign to avoid stress and create the best work

You’ve probably been there before: You’re less than a week away from campaign launch, and you don’t yet have your video edited, landing page built, or emails scheduled to go out.  You’re multi-tasking with no end in sight, and nothing is getting done, despite your best planning.  The stress is building up, and you’re wondering, “will I get this done on time?”

You can avoid this fate with proper scheduling of your campaign. But how long does it actually take to plan and execute a campaign?

The cheeky answer would be “well, how long is a piece of string?” But in reality, a campaign can be planned and executed within a day if needed and if you have the resources available, or it could take years, in the case of a nonprofit documentary film and impact campaign.

Portrait of Mark Locki

Article by Mark Locki

With that in mind, this article will walk you through the factors to consider, how to work backward based on your desired launch date, and tools you can use to help your scheduling.

Download your free Campaign Schedule Template to help you plan your next campaign

Download your Free Scheduling Template Here



You might think planning your campaign starts when you’re ready to get into the nitty-gritty of the campaign. But actually, your best bet is to plan your annual campaign schedule at the beginning of the year and create a rough timeline of each campaign’s schedule. Doing the heavy lifting upfront gives you a better picture of your communications and marketing team’s anticipated workload as you move through the year and what resources you’ll need to accomplish your tasks.

 Depending on your nonprofit’s resources, we recommend planning between 2-6 major campaigns annually. These campaigns should coincide with important dates in your nonprofit’s calendar – a large fundraising gala or event or a specific day, week or month dedicated to your organization’s cause (World Mental Health Day or Brain Tumor Awareness Month, for example).  

Quick tip – evenly spread out your fundraising campaigns to ensure your donors don’t experience donor fatigue!

Some nonprofits (particularly advocacy nonprofits) will need to leave flexibility in their calendars to rapidly plan and execute campaigns related to changes in their world – a change in policy, a crisis, or a natural disaster. Advocacy nonprofits may also have multi-year campaigns with numerous sub-campaigns to plan for.


Now that you have your yearly schedule planned out, it’s time to move down to the individual campaign level.

I find it’s best to start with the end in mind. Is there a day you need the campaign to launch or a day it should be finished? Working backwards from this date will help you plan the best starting point for your campaign.

If your campaign is a general awareness campaign to introduce more people to your organization, your campaigns may look different. You might leave the campaign running indefinitely (if using paid advertising on Google or Social Media) as long as the campaign is delivering results. However, at some point, you will need to change the creative to keep things fresh.

In our example campaign, we’ll use Earth Month in April as the timeframe our hypothetical environmental nonprofit will use as their most important campaign of the year. This campaign will be an awareness campaign to educate our target audience of potential supporters and donors of the work we’re doing in our community.

We’ll keep our content simple with one hero video (~3-minute story), two social media cut-downs (15-30-second trailer-like videos for the main story) and a series of photos or design elements to post over the month. We will also need to set up a simple landing page, schedule emails, and set up our ads on our favourite social media platforms. 


The Creative Content

We’ll keep our content simple with one hero video (~3-minute story), two social media cut-downs (15-30-second trailer-like videos for the main story) and a series of photos or design elements to post over the month. We will also need to set up a simple landing page, schedule emails, and set up our ads on our favourite social media platforms. 

Creating the Plan, Working Backwards

Our launch date is April 1st, and our campaign will end on April 30th.

We want to make sure everything is on time and avoid missing our campaign launch, so we’ll give ourselves a week buffer to have everything in place and ready to launch. 

The last items that need to be finished before our campaign is ready are our scheduled emails, social media posts programmed, and ads set up. We will ensure these tasks are completed by March 25th in our calendars. 

This process may only take a day or two, so we plan to do this task and get approvals on March 24th and 25th. Bonus points are that we’ll be able to breathe easy in the last week before the campaign rather than rushing around trying to get the last elements in place!

Next, we’ll need to set the date our landing page is ready. 

We will set our deadline for March 21st to have our landing page ready. Our landing page could take between one day and two weeks to concept, write copy, design, build and get approvals. For our example, we’ll schedule a week to take care of this process, meaning our start date will be March 14th. 

The next task we must schedule is final approvals for the visual assets (hero video, cut-downs, and photos/design). We’ll make our approval date March 14th, so we can start working on the landing page as soon as the visual elements are complete.  

Postproduction (video editing, photo editing, graphic design) on a project like this could take anywhere from 2-8 weeks, depending on the specific project. If you’re working with a video production company or professional, they should give you an accurate time frame for postproduction. Be sure to allow sufficient time for your key decision-makers to review and approve the assets at each postproduction stage!

In our example, we’ll allow six weeks from the beginning of postproduction through rough cut, fine cut, final cut, social media cut-downs, and photo editing/design/retouching as needed. Working backwards from March 14th, postproduction needs to start February 1st.

Now that we have our postproduction schedule, we know production needs to occur sometime in January. Production may only take a day or two for this project, so we’ll schedule that for January 30th and 31st.

Preproduction typically takes 2-3 weeks, so we’ll allow two weeks to prepare for our filming days for this project. That puts us at January 16th to start preproduction. 

Our strategy and development phase can take 3-8 weeks to be fully fleshed out. In this campaign, because the holidays take place three weeks out, we’ll give ourselves a bit more time and extend our development period to the max, starting November 21st

Lastly, we need to allow time at the end of the campaign to develop the report to determine if our campaign was a success and where we can improve for future campaigns. We’ll allow a week for this process, making the deadline May 7th.

Now that we’ve fully worked out our calendar, we can put it in a more readable format like this, including our key milestones along the way:

Image of a campaign calendar

As you can see, a well-developed video-oriented digital campaign may need multiple months to plan and execute. Remember to allow time for your busy EDs, CEOs, and/or board members to provide input and feedback at each stage if needed.


There are many different project management tools you can use to keep track of your schedule and tasks that have been assigned. My favourite is Clickup, a fully featured project management app with a free version to start with. Other popular options include Asana, Monday, Notion or Trello. You could even go super-basic with a spreadsheet and calendar, available through Google Workspace, Microsoft Office or Apple iCloud. 

Want a free spreadsheet template like the one you see above?  Well we’ve made a free one for you here!

Download your Free Scheduling Template Here

I can’t stress this next point enough: please allow enough time for everyone who needs to review and provide feedback on the various stages of the project. Delays occur when not enough time is given to the extremely busy people in your organization to provide their input. Plan out in advance who needs to give approvals at each stage, and ensure they have time to review and provide their input during the approval process.

Plan for contingencies: Allow extra time for anything that could go wrong, and plan how you’ll overcome the problem. If postproduction is going long on the video, you could start designing the landing page while the video is still being edited and leave a placeholder where the video will go on the landing page.


Planning and executing a video marketing campaign for your nonprofit organization can take a long time. However, proper planning and a clear schedule with milestones and deadlines will help you allocate your resources and time effectively and lead to more impactful stories and more significant impact in your campaign.  


Let me know in the comments section below!

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