Creative Partnering

Let's Do Lunch Simple but Surprising Marketing Works for Bag a Lunch DayJoin me in donating one day’s lunch money to Table to Table, a NJ regional organization working to fight hunger in our communities (which frequently appear more affluent than they really are). This is the 10th year of the Bag a Lunch program, but it’s more meaningful (and likely to be more successful) than ever now when big giving is less possible for many folks. 

The bag (with description, see above) was front and center at the check-in desk at my local JCC (gym, community center, day care center and more), just one of many local venues and companies asking its members, visitors or employees to donate that cash they’d normally spend for lunch. The bag, as simple as it is and perhaps BECAUSE it is so simple and part of daily life (especially if you’re making school lunches every day), grabbed my attention like no brochure or huge sign could. It surprised me: I’ve never seen a bag that doubles as a brochure and donation collection device. Brilliant!

Not only was I drawn by the bag, I was drawn further in by the JCC inviting me to participate. Since the JCC is a community I’m already involved with, this invitation was more meaningful than if it had come directly from Table to Table, which I didn’t know. Brilliant again to build on existing relationships, rather than asking for $ while trying to build a new relationship (never works)!

Congrats to Table to Table. They’ve put a low-cost, simple but highly effective marketing campaign to work for Bag a Lunch Day. Win-win, all in a paper bag.

P.S. Learn how to craft a compelling story for your org in 8 words or less. Download the free Nonprofit Tagline Report for must-dos, don’t dos, case studies and 1,000+ nonprofit tagline examples!

Nancy Schwartz on October 16, 2008 in Branding and Messages, Case Studies, Creative Partnering, Fundraising: Innovations & Research, Nonprofit Communications | 0 comments
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Nonprofits Filling Govt Gaps to Help Still-Recovering New Orleans HoodsYesterday I took an incredibly compelling, dismaying yet somehow hopeful tour of four areas still devastated by Hurricane Katrina — Gentilly, the 9th Ward, St. Bernard Parish (where only 5 homes remained in the county post storm) and Lakeview. 2 1/2 years post-Katrina, these areas remain blighted with huge expanses of open land where homes were torn down, dead trees and other storm debris never removed and street lights are still out. More photos here.

The media doesn’t broadcast Katrina images anymore, but these stories are here. Many of them. Grocery stores just reopened in three of these areas, with residents crying with joy in the aisles. Imagine 2 1/2 years without a grocery store nearby. The post office in Lakeview just re-opened earlier this month.

As you know, the federal government failed to provide the help that New Orleans and surrounds needs. What’s incredible, and what I didn’t know, is how nonprofits have stepped up to fill the gaps, trying to build a better city, not just the same city. Here are some of the projects I saw during yesterday’s tour:

Nonprofits Filling Govt Gaps to Help Still-Recovering New Orleans Hoods 1Barnes and Noble Chairman Leonard Riggio’s family foundation just committed $20 million to building homes for low-income families through a newly created nonprofit development arm, Project Home Again (PHA). The new homes are for those who lost theirs as a result of Hurricane Katrina. The pilot will build 20 wind-resistant homes in Gentilly, to offered at no cost via lottery to eligible families willing to swap their damaged homes or vacant lots, where PHA will build another hurricane-proof home.

Nonprofits Filling Govt Gaps to Help Still-Recovering New Orleans Hoods 2The grassroots Beacon of Hope Resource Center provides services key to daily living for residents in three of these areas. Services are practical and much-needed, ranging from acting as a communication link between city agencies in restoring services and utilities such as mail delivery, electricity, sewerage and water, and vetting home repair vendors from structural engineers to mold remediators. This is a huge help when insurers are requiring policy holders to get three or more valid estimates for every necessary repair. The trailer at left holds washers and dryers available to residents still doing without.

Nonprofits Filling Govt Gaps to Help Still-Recovering New Orleans Hoods 3The self-organized City Park Mowrons are New Orleans residents who stepped forward to help the 30 (of 260 pre-Katrina) remaining employees restore and maintain this famed park. They mow, weed and plant this city haven which served as a post-Katrina camping ground for refugees.

These are just a few of the many nonprofits helping New Orleans come back to life. I’m hugely moved and impressed by the creativity, energy, focus and generosity of the people behind these initiatives who have stepped up to the plate, and are making a huge difference to residents and and their institutions and communities still striving to rebuild.

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Nancy Schwartz on March 20, 2008 in 08NTC, Creative Partnering, Nonprofit Communications, Unique Approaches, Volunteers | 0 comments
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Get Your Experts out on the Speaking Circuit -- Market Your Organization, and Get Paid for ItI was intrigued to read in today’s NY Times about book publishers placing authors in high-profile, well-paid speaking engagements. Supplementing the traditional author tour strategy — which only the best-selling authors get anyway since it costs dearly — publishers have launched their own speakers bureau to place authors after post-publication publicity campaigns wind down.

What’s great is that authors — who, like your organization, always need to earn more — can increase earnings and book sales while establishing themselves as experts (thus paving the way for more sales next time out of the gate). So it’s a win-win for author and publisher alike. Read more at "A Way to Give Authors a Lucrative Second Platform."

Listen in.

  • There’s an equal, if not greater, opportunity for nonprofit experts (or foundation grantees) like yours.
    • The credibility your issue experts offer is even greater than an author’s, since there’s clearly no financial agenda in store (not trying to sell books).
  • "A speakers bureau ‘goes beyond the traditional marketing opportunities. It’s a way for authors to continue to raise their profiles and reach new audiences,’"says HarperCollins’ James Brickhouse.
    • Placing your experts as speakers keeps your issues and your organization unique role in the arena front and center, even when there’s no crisis to address or other issues are hot.
  • Corporate clients (think pharma company, investment firms with charitable arms, etc) tend to pay more than libraries and schools but remember, this is free marketing. And,bookstores are frequently recruited to sell books at the events.
    • You can have a staff member table with membership, fundraising and volunteer information.
  • For forever and a day, I’ve recommended that you position your experts as sources for the press, using ProfNet. This takes it one step further.
  • So start a speakers’ bureau for your nonprofit, or even better, form an issue-based bureau with colleague organizations whose experts complement your own (think Coalition on Darfur Speakers Bureau). There’s everything to win, nothing to lose
    • Open the bureau on your Web site.
    • Promote it, and make it easy for prospective takers to find the speaker they want, and understand the terms.
    • Market it to the ‘low-hanging fruit"
    • And let me know what happens.

Take a look at Penguin’s author speaking bureau, and steal some great ideas…today.

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Nancy Schwartz on June 4, 2007 in Creative Partnering, Nonprofit Communications, Unique Approaches | 2 comments
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Selfish Giving (Self-Interest + Idealism) is the tongue-in-cheek title of this blog on "doing well and doing good." This anonymous cause marketer offers frequent, pithy observations on the world of cause marketing, usually based on a case study. The way s/he brings illustrates these examples, and comments on them, so clearly conveys her/his perspective on cause marketing. Great strategy.

Take a look today. Recent posts include:

Thanks mystery cause marketer for your great examples and observations.

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Nancy Schwartz on April 28, 2006 in Cause Marketing, Creative Partnering, Nonprofit Communications, Recommended Resources | 1 comment
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The new Network for Good, created in December, 2005 with the merger of Network for Good with with Groundspring, plans to deliver a suite of online fundraising and donor management tools (perhaps something like what Kintera offers?) by summer 2006. And, according to Philanthropy Journal, will customize for nonprofit use the web-based database that Salesforce.com already provides for more than 400 nonprofit clients.

This merger makes great sense. Both organizations found themselves working independently with  Salesforce.com to integrate their tools with its database system, saw other synergies, and decided to become more than the sum of their individual parts. At this point both organizations are maintaining their own brand identities (and websites), but we’ll see how the transition evolves.

So what’s the difference between using a service provided by Network for Good vs. Kintera or Salesforce.com?  The difference is that Network for Good is a nonprofit organization. What that means is up for grabs (better or worse customer service, understanding of your needs, pricing) but keep your eye on the new Network for Good. Let me know what you learn and I’ll do the same.

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Nancy Schwartz on April 19, 2006 in Creative Partnering, Fundraising: Innovations & Research, High-Impact Websites, Nonprofit Communications, Nonprofit Marketing News | 0 comments
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In a great example of creative partnering, the National Mental Health Association (NMHA) has joined with The History Channel (THC) to promote its upcoming biography of Abraham Lincoln. The Lincoln documentary, scheduled to air Monday, Jan. 16, at 8 p.m. /7 p.m. (central), is a powerful and telling story of one of America’s greatest leaders who used his own personal turmoil to fuel grand achievements. 

The film argues depression was the driving force behind Lincoln’s ultimate transcendence from modest origins to the American Presidency. The THC and NMHA collaboration will focus on educating Americans on mental health through Lincoln’s experiences and work to dispel the stigma surrounding mental health problems and treatments.

Is there an event or organization that your nonprofit can partner with to promote its issues?  The most likely candidates should have a broad reach among your nonprofit’s audiences, and share your organization’s perspectives on those issues.

Nancy Schwartz on January 6, 2006 in Creative Partnering, Nonprofit Communications, Unique Approaches | 0 comments
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