Must-Knows from #15NTC

As Technology Program Manager at the Harold Grinspoon Foundation, guest blogger Kevin Martone helps nonprofits use technology to meet their business goals.

NTEN’s Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) is one of the best learning opportunities I know. Then there are the wonderful folks who participate, but that’s another story.

I know many of you weren’t at the recent NTC, so I want to share my greatest takeaways with you—insights from great sessions like #15NTCvisualmedia, #15NTCemaileq, #15NTCsurround and #15NTCembracesm.

Be Visual—Here’s How
Despite recent news that photos no longer outperform other types of content on Facebook, orgs DO benefit from creating, curating and sharing relevant visuals. Here’s why:


Guest Blogger on March 18, 2015 in Strategy | 6 comments
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Connect First

Part Two: Content, THEN Channels, Follows Connection

I had a real treat this past Monday, when I guided 400 smart and focused fundraisers to build their marketing skills at the Practical Planned Giving Conference (PPGC).

Whenever I speak, on whatever topic in whatever format, I get one question more frequently than any other—What is the marketing magic bullet?

That may take the form of asking me what specific combination of emails, social, letters and face-to-face meetings works best, or what messages to feature in which campaigns, or how to get colleague and leadership support for your marketing work or…., but ultimately, it’s all about your quest for that magic bullet.


Nancy Schwartz on September 25, 2013 in Strategy | 2 comments
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Diana Nyad’s epic 110-mile uncaged swim (video here) from Cuba to Key West was a tremendous achievement. But even more remarkable than setting this record was 64-year-old Nyad’s perseverance in reaching her goal (this was her fifth attempt in 35 years).

There’s so much nonprofit communicators like us can learn from her. Here are 6 vital lessons we can take from her experience:


Nancy Schwartz on September 4, 2013 in Strategy | 0 comments
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Change is hard!This week has been a tough one for me.

After more than five years of heavy reliance on one email distribution platform/service, change was overdue. And even though I knew it would be hard work—our list of 30,000 precisely-segmented, long-time loyal subscribers to the blog and e-update is a huge asset for us—I had no idea how hard. I bet you know what I mean.

I partnered with our 1/2-time manager (and yes, we have the same “not enough time” challenges most of you do) to prepare as much as was humanly possible. We:


Nancy Schwartz on June 20, 2013 in Strategy | 0 comments
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Thanks to co-guest-bloggers Amy Sample Ward and Allyson Kapin. Allyson is acclaimed for her leadership role in technology and social media, and runs Rad Campaign. Amy is the Membership Director for NTEN and blogs for Stanford Social Innovation Review.

Getting the attention of your supporters and engaging them in your campaigns on one platform is hard enough. But the key to campaign success comes in engaging people across platforms—email, social media, your website, and even offline. In the just-released Social Change Anytime Everywhere: How to Implement Online Multichannel Strategies to Spark Advocacy, Raise Money, and Engage your Community, Allyson Kapin and Amy Sample Ward guide nonprofit staffers through developing and powerful integrated approaches to asking for money, time or support.

To start, Amy and Allyson recommend you take these four simple steps to ensure your next multichannel campaign generates the most attention (and action) possible:


Nancy Schwartz on May 22, 2013 in Strategy | 0 comments
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Spread the word.jpgYour supporters and partners are one of the most productive marketing channels you have, and one of the least expensive. But I see so few orgs that ask supporters to spread the word on vital asks, and even fewer who make it easy (and far more likely) for them to do so.

This “spreading the word” strategy has been top of mind lately for, as it’s core to the program launch we’re marketing for a huge and complex New England human services org. I was  surprised to learn that these folks had NEVER asked supporters to serve as marketing messengers. A huge opportunity missed but one to be harnessed a.s.a.p., and we’re doing just that.

So the pump was primed when I received an email from Aaron Bramley, CEO and Co-Founder of Lights.Camera.Help.

Aaron’s warm, brief email (full email here, with my annotations) covers all the bases, as he asks me to get the word out on the submission deadline for the Lights.Camera.Help Film Festival. He:


Nancy Schwartz on May 16, 2013 in Strategy | 2 comments
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I was truly moved last week when I stumbled on this wonderful hug-in-a-video created by ONE to thank volunteers during Volunteer Appreciation Week.  This fun but heartfelt four minutes quickly conveys how much the ONE folks value their volunteers. It’s an absolute winner.

“We got very positive feedback from our top vols (so much that we sent it to our high-action takers, offline action takers as well). It’s a [powerful] tactic that we’ve seen other orgs do really well,” says Garth Moore, ONE’s US Digital Director.


Nancy Schwartz on May 2, 2013 in Strategy | 5 comments
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Flickr: Andrew Beebe

Welcome to the Nonprofit Blog Carnival round-up for January.

My dad, Manny Schwartz, together with Martin Luther King, Jr., inspired me to ask fellow bloggers to  speak out on their big dream for their organization, cause or the nonprofit community this year, and how they’ll make it real, as they did in last January’s carnival.

This was a tough assignment, being so open ended. I purposefully left it the bloggers to frame it, and so many of them did that so beautifully—most on the theme of forward momentum.

I am inspired and energized by the creativity of these visions and the passionate commitment to getting there. Hope you are too:

More organizations doing more planning is Erik Anderson’s dream, to generate small victories and step closer to goal setting, risk-taking and moving the needle.

Nancy Schwartz on February 1, 2013 in Strategy | 0 comments
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You're InvitedThis is such a wild approach and opportunity that I had to share it with you pronto, and invite you to join me today at 4:30PM ET (and/or tomorrow at 12PM ET) to see what it’s all about.

The folks at Creating the Future (CTF) believe that the way that nonprofits and consultants supporting orgs operate (in general) is ineffective. More specifically, CTF leaders believe that nonprofit leaders and consultants can grow their changemaking power hugely by need to work together sharing processes and products now held close. CTF’s mission is to increase .orgs’ impact on social change by changing that way of operating across all core functions.

CTF walks the talk, and uses its own evolution and practices as a demonstration project open to all organizations, a.k.a. Full Frontal Engagement. Opening up all of their planning meetings is a key component.

Join them (and me) today at 4:30-6PM ET (fine to cycle in and out) for the “first meeting on branding, identity and messaging strategy with a new client/consultant.” They’re meeting one marketing consultant today, and another tomorrow at 12-1:30 PM ET. If you can’t make these times, stop in via video at your convenience.


Nancy Schwartz on January 10, 2013 in Strategy | 1 comment
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The first round of trends I shared with you came from big-name marketing experts, were strategic in nature, and all centered the single most important must-do for 2013. The second round featured predictions on activities, challenges and hopes from nonprofit marketers like you.

Today I’ve added my ideas to those from experts Rohit BhargavaKatya Andresen and Marketing Profs.

Next I’ll synthesize all trends in one place, and recommend three significant but doable changes you must make to boost relationships and responses this year. Subscribe here to get that email!

1) Social media continues to gain influence. Your use of social media is officially a must in 2013, no longer an option. It’s where most of your prospects and supporters spend their digital time, so you have to be there too.


Nancy Schwartz on January 7, 2013 in Strategy | 0 comments
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