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:

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Nancy Schwartz on February 23, 2016 in Email and E-Newsletters | 10 comments
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Nonprofit Website Error PageWe’re so focused on “urgent” to-dos and right-now campaigns that it’s easy to overlook a valuable engagement opportunity: Your website’s “page not found” page (a.k.a. 404 error page).

Error pages alert visitors that the page they were seeking no longer exists, or they typed in or clicked on a broken link, and redirects them to the content they want. When crafted well, your error page becomes excellent customer service, providing an engaging intro to your organizational personality, impact, and content.

Flip Frustration to Satisfaction
Hitting a dead end is frustrating and
time consuming. But the right error page—featuring a clear explanation of why visitors are on the page; a simple, bold graphic connected to your organization’s brand; and easy navigation to what “lost” visitors are looking for—can flip their frustration to satisfaction. Here’s how to delight your “lost” visitors as you get them where they want to go:

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Nancy Schwartz on February 17, 2016 in High-Impact Websites | 2 comments
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Read Part One

Thanks to NYC’s 501 Tech Club for inviting knowledgeable nonprofit video makers from Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS and International Rescue Committee (IRC) to share tips, tools, and case studies with us video expert wannabees. Here’s more of what I learned from them:

What’s Happening with Video at
International Rescue Committee (IRC) & Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS
Cathe Neukum is Executive Producer for IRC, where she’s responsible for all video content. In her two-and-a-half year tenure, she’s increased the organization’s visibility on Facebook and YouTube by over 800%.

Cathe’s latest video (at top) features actor and activist Mandy Patinkin standing with IRC aid workers in Greece to welcome families fleeing Syria and other war-torn countries for a better life. This video has been viewed 5 million times on Facebook.
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Nancy Schwartz on February 9, 2016 in Video | 1 comment
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Flickr: jorimzzz

Proof Points: Research findings to use when advocating for the marketing approaches you know are right.

Talk about a perennial challenge! Inadequate time and budget remain the two primary hurdles to nonprofits’ marketing impact. But thanks to the 1,600+ nonprofit communications and fundraising staff members surveyed for the 2016 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report, we now know more.

Here are top hurdles to communications impact, straight from you and your peers in the field:
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Nancy Schwartz on February 3, 2016 in Planning and Evaluation | 0 comments
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via GIPHY

Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring this morning, and I’m thrilled we’re not going to get stuck in the snow. In fact, it’s melting fast in the 50-degree sun right outside my New Jersey window.

Your marketing doesn’t have to stay stuck either. Instead, turn to comic genius Bill Murray for guidance on breaking out of your same old, same old marketing approach. He’ll help you take the rest of the year by storm.

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Nancy Schwartz on February 2, 2016 in Branding and Messages | 0 comments
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Nonprofit WritingStuck on that membership renewal email series or the petition-signing campaign due to launch on Facebook last week? Ready to move from making mediocre messages to crafting content that connects quickly, and is repeated and acted on?

Then learn and laugh as you gobble your way through Jeff Brooks’ new guide to writing great nonprofit content:  How to Turn Your Words Into Money: The Master Fundraiser’s Guide to Persuasive Writing. Whether you’re newish to the field, sick of the same old messages and methods, or obsessed with breaking into the all-star league, there is a way out of this message mess. Jeff provides the specific, concrete and frequently counterintuitive to-dos—and the kick in the patootie—we need.

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Nancy Schwartz on January 28, 2016 in Writing | 0 comments
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Nonprofit Video Tips & Tools

Read Part Two

It’s so challenging for nonprofits to get video right, especially with limited budgets and bandwidth. That’s why I so appreciate the practical guidance shared by NYC’s 501 Tech Club presenters Cathe Neukum, Executive Producer at International Rescue Committee (IRC), and Lane Beauchamp, Manager of Marketing and Media at Broadway Cares. Here’s a brief summary of what I learned:

Know Before You Go

  • Why us and why now? Ensure that the video is designed to advance priority goals, and is one of the best methods of doing so. Don’t just do it to do it. (Lane)
  • Powerful videos require planning, lots and lots of planning. Know what you’re getting into before showtime. (Cathe)
  • Make your video shareable. It’s not enough for people to like it, they need to share it. (Lane)
  • Earmark some of your video budget for paid distribution; social is a pay-to-play world at this point. (Cathe)

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Nancy Schwartz on January 27, 2016 in Video | 1 comment
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Nonprofit Audience Personas

Thanks to See3 for sharing this useful case study, originally published on the See3 blog.

Learn more: Create personas to bridge the gap with your target audiences

Many nonprofits fall into the trap of believing that their audience is the general public, when the truth is that your supporters are much more nuanced than that.  By putting together a comprehensive profile of your audience, your nonprofit is better able to create personalized content that speaks to your audience and drives them to action.

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Guest Blogger on January 6, 2016 in Audience Research | 0 comments
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Nonprofit Employee Messengers

We all have a powerful communications resource right in front of us—our colleagues and board members. But most of us look right past them.

Here are four compelling reasons—backed up by the kind of research findings nonprofit decision makers adore—to launch your team of board and staff messengers a.s.a.p.: READ MORE

Nancy Schwartz on January 5, 2016 in All-Org Marketing Team | 3 comments
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2016 Nonprofit Marketing TrendsI relish the roll out of trends at the end of each year, digesting them in the context of what’s working for our clients and passing on what matters most to nonprofit marketers. I’ve seen typically broad-ranging predictions for 2016, but these two constants central to our work have been heralded by multiple sources:

  • Data, drawn from all channels, will continue to grow exponentially in volume
  • Marketers like us will continue to struggle to share it, interpret it, and put it to work in a productive way.

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Nancy Schwartz on December 15, 2015 in Trends | 1 comment
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