Summertime Shifts: Nonprofit CommunicationsHey you! I’d love to know how you adapt your organization’s communications for summertime impact, for a blog post!

Do you:

  • Change timing
  • Shift topic, tone or language to make it more seasonally relevant
  • Adapt your campaign focus, channel and/or frequency
  • Tone it summer—light and fun
  • Something I haven’t mentioned yet
  • Change nothing at all?

Please share your summertime approach here. Specific examples appreciated—they’re SO much easier to learn from. Thanks so much!

Nancy Schwartz on June 17, 2015 in Strategy | 2 comments

Mark DessauerGuest blogger Mark Dessauer is Director of Communications at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation.

Frank: A gathering of communicators who work for the common good (or public interest). I found myself there this past winter, delighting in northern Florida rain while the rest of the country was being buried under snow.

Frank brings together communications practitioners, funders, experts, students and speakers in a petri dish of transformative ideas and exceptional people. Here are three key challenges we discussed—can’t wait to hear your thoughts:

How can we best communicate with unbelievers?


Nancy Schwartz on June 16, 2015 in Strategy | 1 comment
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Nonprofit Communications Jobs

Subscribers, we’re working on getting you the ability to opt-in or -out of these listings vs. other job posts. Hold on, please!

Post YOUR comms job here—nonprofits, grantmakers, B Corps & vendors serving nonprofits.

Associate Web Producer, Director of Marketing and Creative Services, Marketing Manager &  Multimedia Associate Clinton Foundation (New York, NY)

Communications Associate
Goldman Environmental Foundation (San Francisco, CA)

Communications Associate PATH (Los Angeles, CA)

Communications Coordinator Good Shepherd Children & Family Services (St. Louis, MO)


Nancy Schwartz on June 15, 2015 in Jobs and Hiring | 2 comments
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Effective HeadlinesThe first line your reader sees means the difference between success and failure. Most leads are clever headlines that play on words. Many are cute, but most aren’t effective.

We can learn to do better from recently-deceased report  Vincent Musetto, who wrote this “most anatomically evocative headline in the history of American journalism. [see photo]

“What endured in public memory far longer than the crime was the headline, with its verbless audacity, arresting parallel adjectives and forceful trochaic slams. The corresponding headline in The New York Times that day proclaimed, genteelly, “Owner of a Bar Shot to Death; Suspect Is Held.” Headlessness was not mentioned until the third paragraph; toplessness not at all,” reports The New York Times.

You can do the same, even with far less sensationalism!


Nancy Schwartz on June 10, 2015 in Messaging | 0 comments
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LisaSargent 2.1

Guest blogger Lisa Sargent is one of the best fundraisers and copywriters I know. She focuses here on donor communications, but her take is relevant for all nonprofit campaigns and audiences. Read on, and we up!

Lately it’s been that the 24/7 donor communications fiesta … is getting a little tired.

Same old players, same old info, recycled the same old ways: more you/less we, Flesch Kincaid and readability, ban all jargon, timely thank-yous, and on and on and on.

Then Nancy Schwartz wrote this. She said:

“[It’s] about WE…not you. This is a critical shift in voice that I’m starting to feel is very important.

For so long, experts have advised cause communicators to address prospects and supporters in second person—you. The shift to WE—signaling the power of collective action for stronger results—is a vital strategic shift.”


Nancy Schwartz on June 9, 2015 in Messaging, Relevance Rules | 1 comment
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Nonprofit Communications JobsPost YOUR comms job here—nonprofits, grantmakers, B Corps & vendors serving nonprofits.

Citizen Outreach Staff Fund for the Pubic Interest: Environment Oregon (Portland, OR)

Communications Associate New York State Health Foundation (New York, NY)

Communications Coordinator Trillium Employment Services (Auburn, WA)

Communications Director National Domestic Violence Hotline (Austin, TX)


Nancy Schwartz on June 8, 2015 in Jobs and Hiring | 2 comments
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Published in Ebony magazine, April 1967, Vol. 20 No. 6 “When the new antenna went live, you’d swear that Dizzy Gillespie was playing right next to you.”

I can easily visualize this scene, and hear it too. Can’t you?

In fact, this excerpt from WBGO’s (NYC’s premier jazz radio station) recent appeal made the listening-enriching value of the station’s new antenna crystal clear—by showing, not telling.

Compare it with another station’s intro of its new antenna:


Nancy Schwartz on June 3, 2015 in Messaging | 0 comments
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Nonprofit Marketing JobPost YOUR comms job here—nonprofits, grantmakers, B Corps & vendors serving nonprofits.

Assistant Social Editor ProPublica (New York, NY)

Communications Director National Hispanic Media Coalition (Los Angeles, CA)

Communications Manager Astrea Lesbian Foundation for Justice (New York, NY)


Nancy Schwartz on June 1, 2015 in Jobs and Hiring | 1 comment
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Passion is Contagious & ConnectsLast summer, my husband and I finally visited The Stickley Museum at Craftsman Farms, which had been on our go-to list for a decade. It’s the former country estate of noted turn-of-the-20th-century designer Gustav Stickley, a leader of “the Arts and Crafts movement in decorative arts, home building, and furnishing styles.” It’s the only house Stickley ever built for himself, so showcases his design esthetic, utopian vision and radical approach to daily life.

Here’s what surprised and delighted me:


Nancy Schwartz on May 28, 2015 in Branding and Messages | 0 comments

Email Subject Line Length Does matterWelcome to our Proof Point series—highlighting research findings to use when advocating for the marketing approaches you know are right. 

Email subject line length DOES MATTER, as proven by Mail Chimp’s research on open rates for 200 million emails.

The best email subject lines are short [50 characters or less]…and provide the reader with a reason to explore your message further.

No surprise, as many email readers and browsers cut off subject lines there. But…


Nancy Schwartz on May 21, 2015 in Proof Points | 5 comments
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