Thanks to guest blogger Rachel Carnegliaa, a nonprofit marketer and graphic designer promoting parks, trails, and green spaces at the Austin Parks Foundation

Hey, I have the inside scoop on Facebook, from Facebook (take it with a grain of salt, I guess), and I want to share it with you. You see, I was lucky enough to get some first-hand answers on effective engagement strategies for nonprofits, directly from Facebook employees, at a recent panel here in Austin. During the Q&A portion of the afternoon, the question on everyone’s mind finally came bubbling up to the surface—the new algorithm, a.k.a. the elephant in the room.

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Nancy Schwartz on April 19, 2018 in Facebook | 0 comments

Listen! I’m booked to speak at Cause Camp 2018 and I’d love you to join me.  There are still some seats left for this intimate, lively, and FUN learning experience coming up March 26-27.  So please.. Register today, for either the in-person (in Lincoln, NE) or online conference. Use the promo code NANCY for $50 off!

Here’s why I’m speaking at Cause Camp this year. Dig in—I think you’ll see why you should join me there:

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Nancy Schwartz on March 14, 2018 in Professional Development | 0 comments
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Relevance Rules Messages

From soulful to silly, heartfelt to heavy, no matter the approach, organizations like yours are using Valentine’s Day to get attention and motivate the actions they need this week and beyond. You still have time to leverage Valentine’s Day TODAY if you act now.

The secret sauce here is piggybacking on what’s top of mindYour people are already thinking about this stuff, so are far more likely to connect with your Valentine’s mini-campaign right now. They’ve been helping their kids write out cards for the entire class, buying that last-minute box of chocolates for their partner, or grabbing a bunch of roses on the way home from work. 

They couldn’t forget Valentine’s Day even if they wanted to. So use St. Valentine as a springboard to engagement. That’s Relevance Rules Messaging! Here’s how:

1) Find your cause’s genuine connection to love. It’s crystal clear for causes/issues like heart health, blood and organ donation and human services. The link may be less evident for other causes but is often findable with a bit of probing. Brainstorm with your colleagues over coffee asap.
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Nancy Schwartz on February 14, 2018 in Relevance Rules | 1 comment
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When you gather compelling stories—about beneficiaries, donors, or volunteers, or other players—to share in campaigns, thanks, and other communications, you gain a powerful complement to your data and anecdotal understanding of the people you want to engage. Together, these insights forge a shortcut to engaging hearts, minds, and wallets.

But it can be tough to source the right stories. Stories Worth Telling, a useful guide from the Meyer Foundation, reveals a damaging disconnect in the way organizations collect stories. Almost universally, organizations rely on program staff knowledge and relationships to gather stories, though the department overseeing the storytelling process is typically fundraising (54%) or communications (42%). Yikes!

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Nancy Schwartz on January 17, 2018 in storytelling | 2 comments
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all-org team of messengers

We’re springboarding into 2018 fundraising with all of its challenges. Tax bill, anyone?

Joking aside, it may seem like your team’s hard work and limited resources aren’t enough. You know how much you could bring in, if only…

Good news! There is a way to move past this seemingly insurmountable barrier—Launch a team of messengers to drive your 2018 campaigns to a strong finish. Enlist your colleagues and board members to boost your nonprofit’s reach and relationships for little or no cost. The best part? They’re already motivated to help you reach your goals.

Take these three steps to identify, inspire, and launch your giving ambassadors:

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Nancy Schwartz on December 19, 2017 in All-Org Marketing Team | 1 comment
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Dear Nancy: I saw how stories about our clients—powered by a photo or two—fueled our last two year-end campaigns. They were highly successful and I planned to feature the same kind of profiles this year.

That plan changed radically last month when our social workers urged us to put our clients’ privacy first and stop using client photos. Our staff has agreed to respect their expertise and honor their request.

What are some practical alternatives I can put to work in these last few weeks? And how do I move forward with client photos in the future, as our stories aren’t as strong without them?

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Nancy Schwartz on December 12, 2017 in storytelling | 0 comments
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Nonprofit Communications TrendsInvest 13 minutes A.S.A.P. to complete the 2018 Nonprofit Communications Trends Survey. Payback?

  • In the short term, you’ll be invited to an exclusive preview webinar and be the first to see the results.
  • For the duration, you’ll get data vital for decisionmaking and for convincing the powers that be and your colleagues that your approach is spot on. And strengthen the community of which you’re an essential part.

Between us, the annual Nonprofit Communications Trends Report is one of my top resources for guiding and supporting my recommendations to nonprofit clients. Here are just a few of the trends the 2018 Report will cover:

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Nancy Schwartz on November 29, 2017 in Trends | 0 comments
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Boost Nonprofit Video ViewsGuest blogger Mark Horvath founded and leads Invisible People. Today he shares how to boost your YouTube views from meh to magnificent.  BTW, Mark’s video version of this post features bonus tips not found here! Here’s Mark…

I was thrilled with the performance of Invisible People’s YouTube channel for the last few years. With a focus on homelessness education, an average of 40,000 monthly views was fantastic, or so I thought.

That changed after we joined Patreon a few months back and I started to pay more attention to YouTube. The lightbulb went off when I typed “homeless” into the YouTube search bar. Invisible People undoubtedly has more videos from homeless people than any other content creator. All that came up was prank videos and other awful content that was so far from the truth about homelessness. None of our videos were showing in search with the keyword “homeless.” I knew I had to fix this, and here’s how:
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Guest Blogger on August 1, 2017 in Video | 0 comments
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Follow up. It’s vital but so tough to do right.

Either we don’t know what to say, fear “bugging” the very folks we want something from, or both. So we don’t follow up enough or well, which undermines engagement and results—no matter how compelling our campaigns may be!

Follow up shows we care
It also signals realism and camaraderie; conveying our understanding that (just like us) our folks get asked for a lot of things by a lot of people; are busy and need reminders; and that changing habits or behavior is hard. When we follow up consistently, with thought and evident effort, we’re building the ongoing relationships likely to foster long, loyal relationships with our people. Priceless.
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Nancy Schwartz on June 8, 2017 in Strategy | 1 comment
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Volunteer MessengersYou face an uphill battle to recruit volunteers and retain them at ever higher and more effective levels of engagement. For those of you with small or all-volunteer organizations, there’s absolutely nothing more important. And, as time and budgets get tighter, and reliance on volunteers increases, it’s harder than ever.

There’s a proven yet seldom-used method to boost success in both dimensions AND extend your organization’s reach and impact without adding budget or hires: Building your team of passionate volunteer messengers.

The value of launching your volunteer messengers is huge; a real win-win doable with limited time and expense. Take these seven steps to launch your team of passionate volunteer messengers. I’ll follow up with posts on each step, starting with the most productive pilot program I know:
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Nancy Schwartz on June 1, 2017 in All-Org Marketing Team | 1 comment
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