Professional Development

Reboot Nonprofit MarketingOur daughter Charlotte is finishing up a blissful summer at a few different day and overnight camps. At the end of each and every day, her mind and creativity are stimulated, she’s made new friends, and she sleeps solidly with a smile on her face. She finishes the summer inspired, energized and smarter than ever.

I envy her greatly. But you and I are too old for summer camp (find me an adult camp, please!). Instead, I set out an a discovery mission—asking fellow nonprofit staffers and consultants how they reboot to tee up for a great fall and forward.

There’s still time for you to reboot. Dig into these inventive approaches a.s.a.p.:

1) Seek a different point of view: Gillian Ream Gainsley, who works in Communications and Development at the Ypsilanti District Library (MI), takes a unique approach:


Nancy Schwartz on August 11, 2015 in Professional Development | 6 comments
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Communications Bad HabitWhat’s that one bad work habit you want to change but just can’t do it?

C’mon—we all have at least one. But be it one or many, these habits can drive us crazy. OMG!

Here’s my biggie bad:

  • Whenever I speak or train, I learn a ton from folks like you who are in the room or on the webinar.
    • These learnings hugely enrich my understanding of the topic (let’s say, writing for social media vs. websites). I know that weaving them into my presentation will make next time even better.
    • Plus many are the start of 5-star blog posts.


Nancy Schwartz on May 6, 2015 in Professional Development | 14 comments

You CAN Have It All  Guest blogger Stephanie Bowen leads communications and marketing for Mobile Alliance for Maternal Action (MAMA).

Howdy y’all! Just back from Austin and this year’s NTEN Conference (#15NTC), and I’m buzzing with energy from all I learned and  those I met.

But about halfway through the conference, I felt totally depleted…


Nancy Schwartz on March 10, 2015 in Professional Development | 3 comments
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Stay Smart & EngagedShe got me…

The rain was pouring down this morning as our daughter, Charlotte, was getting ready to walk to school, so I caved and drove her. And I’m glad I did. Because as I dropped her off to join the gaggle of noisy, drenched kids waiting outside the middle school, I started thinking.

Here were all these kids crowded round the dripping doorway to march in for another day of challenge, learning and growth. I was jealous—they were walking into this incredible opportunity to be exposed to new content, to digest it in the context of what they know now, and to arrive on the far side with a fresh perspective and new skills.

Few of us have this kind of formal growth opportunity anymore, but ongoing intellectual and creative growth is our oxygen. It’s the ONLY way to ensure our marketing and fundraising content is relevant, while fueling our personal satisfaction.

My call to action for all of us fundraisers and nonprofit communicators? Let’s schedule some learning—via conversations, reading, participating—into every day, even if for just five minutes.


Nancy Schwartz on October 22, 2014 in Professional Development | 8 comments

recalibrateI know your fall is booting up big time—on right-now to-dos, end-of-year campaigns and thinking/talking on what to do differently and better next year. Same here, and for our client orgs.

But—thanks to pulling myself away from work for a much-needed sabbatical—I’m seeing what’s ahead for me and Getting far more clearly than ever before.

Now, two months later, I’m back to work and focused on bringing my new professional vision to life. That’s:

  1. Finding a way to keep doing what I love (that stays put—guiding nonprofits like yours to build & strengthen relationships with donors, volunteers and more, via marketing & communications);
  2. While making enough money to co-support our family (no change there); BUT…drum roll here
  3. Shifting my decision-making framework to center on family, friends and the issues that mean the most to me.


Nancy Schwartz on September 17, 2014 in Professional Development | 12 comments
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Flickr: Alan EnglishThe adventure in question is my first-time sabbatical which runs through early September.

I’m taking this time to reboot, and to see what bubbles up. And I hope to return with a practice for personal nourishment firmly in place, and the confidence and ability to mesh that more effectively with my job. That’s the work behind the work I want to do better.


Nancy Schwartz on June 25, 2014 in Professional Development | 4 comments
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Use summer to rejeuvenate I’m seeking your ideas this time round!

Please tell me (in the comments below) what your summer camp looks like—i.e. how are you planning to use summer to get inspired, energized and even smarter? And how will you integrate that experience and the results into your work approach and/or activities in the fall.

Pls share your ideas and hopes here. I’ll report out via a guest post for Network for Good.

BTW, here’s my plan.

P.S. Get more nonprofit marketing tools, templates, case studies & tips delivered right to your in-box! Register here for the Getting Attention blog & e-news.

Nancy Schwartz on June 10, 2014 in Professional Development | 0 comments
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carolGuest blogger, Caroline Avakian is the founder & CEO of SourceRise, a social enterprise connecting journalists to nonprofit subject matter experts and sources, and managing partner of  Socialbrite, a social media for nonprofits consultancy and digital learning hub.

Conference season is ongoing these days. So I was particularly pleased when, at the recent, Harvard Social Enterprise Conference, keynote speaker and Echoing Green president, Cheryl Dorsey, shared some valuable hints to us attendees on conference participation best practices.

Here are the helpful tips I learned—all easy to manage but packing a big punch. Bet that you’’ll be glad you set these in motion when you return from your next conference.


Guest Blogger on May 15, 2014 in Professional Development | 3 comments
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Keep-fire-burningWelcome to the Nonprofit Blog Carnival round-up on The Work Behind the Work—the methods and tools you use to stay focused, productive and happy on the job (or the barriers that keep you from getting there). Alas, most of us can’t count on a sunny afternoon at the pool to recoup.

I’m thrilled to share with you this sampling from the powerful posts submitted by you and your nonprofit peers. The thought, focus and care with which contributors shaped their shared guidance is awe inspiring, and I so appreciate it (and them/you). Here are the most relevant submissions:

1) When things are hectic and your To-Do list is long, its easy to get overwhelmed and unproductive. Avoid these three common pitfalls that lead to burnout, cautions Megan Keane, membership director at NTEN.

2) Working in a small (ok, tiny) development shop, means that Carrie Packard, development director at The Delores Project, deals with an endless To-Do list married with constantly-changing priorities. She relies on these tools to make it through the day, week, and year (with her sanity intact).


Nancy Schwartz on April 29, 2014 in Professional Development | 14 comments
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Productive-Creative-MindMake that the cactus flowers, and they are GORGEOUS. It was an absolute joy to be surrounded by them when I was in the Sonoran Desert recently with my family, taking some time to relax and rejuvenate.

I crave more nourishment like this…open space that gives my mind and soul time to rest, reflect and recharge. But that opportunity is all too rare for me, and probably for you in our always-connected 21st century


Nancy Schwartz on April 24, 2014 in Professional Development | 40 comments
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