During your credit union’s planning season, two of the things your team will discuss are developing a budget and a calendar. These essential items play an important role in your overall marketing plan because they outline what you’ll spend, what you’ll do and when they’ll happen. However, rather than creating two separate documents, this process can be easily streamlined by combining the two into an appropriately named budget calendar. But what does that look like, exactly? No worries, we’ve got you covered.

When you’re developing a budget, there are two ways you can go about it – forward and backward. When you create a backward budget, you are first given a budget, and then you develop the goals and initiatives to work within that budget. For example, you know you have “X” amount of dollars to spend, so with that number in mind, you begin to decide which marketing initiatives or goals are the priority for tackling in the new year.

A forward budget, on the other hand, is the opposite in that you are first given goals and metrics, and then you figure out what it will cost to achieve. In this case, you would know upfront what marketing initiatives you wish to pursue next year, and you then assign a budget to those jobs. There is no right or wrong — both backward and forward methods will work when creating your budget calendar.

Once you know the direction you’re moving, you’ll know how and when to start creating the budget calendar. In it, you’ll want to list out the initiatives and projects you want to accomplish each month and then assign dollars to each, either annually or monthly. You can also include product promotion timing and determine when each project will hit the market. By housing your credit union’s budget and calendar all in one place, you see everything in one view and can easily answer any questions later on.

Creating a budget calendar may be new to you, but the good news is that we went ahead and provided a blank budget calendar just for you! Plus, we’ve also got a stand-alone calendar for you that you can download here. To download the budget calendar, you can find it here. We’re just scratching the surface in this article, and we’d be more than happy to dig in and help you out. Feel free to email us with any questions. Good luck, and happy planning!

The fourth and final blog post in our strategic planning series, which will discuss tracking as well as the difference between ROI and KPI, will be coming your way next month.