distractedHow many times did you get distracted already today?

It’s no secret that we need to communicate quickly, briefly and on point to grab the attention of folks in a near constant stage of distraction. That’s been one of the most significant fundraising challenges since the advent of the Internet, compounded over time by our reliance on more content on more platforms on more devices more of the time. But the first step to connecting in our age of distraction is understanding what’s going on.

Consider your habits. How much attention do you give your 8-year-old daughter’s first-time request to host a sleepover, your BFF’s distress over her mom’s increasing dementia, or your colleague’s wrangles with her boss? For most of us, the answer is “not as much as I would like to.”

READ MORE

Nancy Schwartz on May 17, 2016 in Branding and Messages | 0 comments
Tags:, , ,

Nonprofit TestimonialsSearching for more effective ways to build interest and action for your nonprofit? There’s no better way than letting your supporters and partners do the talking with testimonials. They’re one of the easiest to develop, but most underused, marketing tactics you have. And can double as the heart of a longer story! So let’s get going.

Testimonials are one of the easiest to develop, but most underused, marketing tactics you have. And can double as the heart of a longer story! So let’s get going.

A testimonial is a brief quote from a member of your nonprofit’s network—donor, volunteer, client, staffer, member, or community stakeholder—that clearly and briefly expresses how your organization’s work has benefited her life or that of her family or community. Few of us, however, use testimonials to full effect.

Take a look at what could be! These powerful testimonial models are drawn from the websites of organizations just like yours: 

READ MORE

Nancy Schwartz on May 11, 2016 in Testimonials | 2 comments

One-to-One Review ProcessYou guys are so smart! I love it when you share a marketing technique that’s made all the difference in the world to you. There’s no better model for the rest of us.

Thanks today to Jennifer Johnson, director of marketing & communications at Advocates. I worked with Jen to develop a first-time brand for this human services agency providing a breadth of programs and services throughout Massachusetts. Here’s the inventive approach she designed to solicit prompt input throughout the brand development process:

READ MORE

Nancy Schwartz on May 4, 2016 in All-Org Marketing Team | 1 comment
Tags:, , , , ,

Nonprofit Marketing Job

Looking for your next communications job? Hiring? Reassessing your own role or team configuration? Turn to these top sources for nonprofit marketing and communications job postings:

READ MORE

Nancy Schwartz on April 13, 2016 in Jobs and Hiring | 9 comments
Tags:, , , ,

Guy Arceneaux

Guest blogger Guy Arceneaux is Director of Marketing and Communications at Meals on Wheels of Central Maryland

My last Meals on Wheels communications case study touched on the advantages of communicating and fundraising for a smaller nonprofit. Today, I’d like to share one of the greatest challenges—Many smaller organizations, like mine, don’t have an explicit, documented process for creative workflow.

Perhaps these organizations’ smaller staff size creates the illusion that a process is not needed. I’m not sure. But what I do know is that most of my career successes were built on the foundation of a documented creative workflow. Here’s how to put a creative brief to work:

READ MORE

Guest Blogger on April 6, 2016 in Planning and Evaluation | 0 comments
Tags:, , , , , ,

I’m riding the tide of energized learning and conversations at the recent Nonprofit Technology Conference (#16ntc), and thrilled to share my takeways with you.

Use these insights from The Future of Email: From 2016 to 2026 to shape campaigns that motivate action despite the clamor of our multi-channel world:

Email Still Important but Can’t Stand Alone

Email remains the ultimate push notification. It’s also tied to everything you do on social.

READ MORE

Nancy Schwartz on April 5, 2016 in Email and E-Newsletters | 1 comment
Tags:, , , , , , , , ,

Better Nonprofit ContentNeed help with that campaign email or program registration mini-site due to launch last week? Ready to move from making mediocre messages to the most audience-delighting, highest-impact calls to action of your life? How about getting there via a captivating romp through the life—and laws—of one of the most motivating fundraising writers around?

You can get it all with Jeff Brooks’ Turn Your Words into Money: The Master Fundraiser’s Guide to Persuasive Writing. You’ll learn and laugh as you gobble your way through this guide to writing good—then great—messages that spur the actions you need.

READ MORE

Nancy Schwartz on March 16, 2016 in Writing | 0 comments
Tags:, , ,

Flickr: Ben Solah

How many of your communications projects go nowhere because the approval process is a landmine? For many of us, that happens way too often. We diligently do our homework, developing buy-in from colleagues (by highlighting what’s in it for them) and sourcing practical insights on audience habits and wants.

We use these guidelines to get “it” right, whether it’s a first-ever formalized organizational talking points, campaign mini-site, new program marketing plan, an anniversary celebration approach, or… Then, we sit down again with those colleagues (or send a reply-to-all email with requests for specific feedback if folks are in multiple locations) to get interim or final approval.

Suddenly everyone’s a graphic designer, or a writer, or a creative director. Chaos ensues, even though we shaped the deliverable to what we heard from these same colleagues. I think you know what I mean.

There is a better way—be as strategic in your review and approval process, as you are with your marketing and fundraising work.

READ MORE

Nancy Schwartz on March 8, 2016 in All-Org Marketing Team | 0 comments
Tags:, , , , ,

Re-engage email list

Guest blogger Karla Capers specializes in using the internet to raise visibility for progressive issues and engage people more deeply in campaigns. She has worked for advocacy organizations since 1996. 

The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), where I’m Director of Engagement, faced a daunting challenge a couple of years ago: How to re-engage the many folks who were not reading or acting on our emails. It’s a common problem, for nonprofit organizations and beyond, and one that’s crucial to address.

Here’s how we tackled our “dead” email list:

READ MORE

Nancy Schwartz on February 23, 2016 in Email and E-Newsletters | 10 comments
Tags:, , , , ,