By Steven D. Peterson, Peter E. Jaret, Barbara Findlay Schenck

Marketing is an important part of any business plan .All you have to do is watch the public service ads on television to see that some of the biggest and most high-profile nonprofits spend a lot of time — and money — trying to get their message out to the public.

The big reason is to attract financial support, of course. But nonprofits also want people to know what they’re doing in order to polish up their image and make sure that people in need know they can find assistance.

Your nonprofit may not be ready to produce its own television spot, but even the smallest charitable organization should have a marketing strategy in its plan. Your strategy may be as simple as producing a simple brochure or as complex as sending volunteers door-to-door. Whatever your strategy for attracting dollars and donors, it should be spelled out in the plan.

The Internet, Twitter, Facebook, and a wide range of other social networking sites offer creative new ways to get the word out about your good work and to enlist support. Many nonprofits have discovered that their web presence is key to keeping donors informed and to raising cash. Donors are often willing and grateful to receive periodic email newsletters about how their money is being spent.

Don’t be reluctant to toot your own horn. If you really believe in the work you’re doing, you should be proud of it. Let the world know.