Listen! I’m booked to speak at Cause Camp 2018 and I’d love you to join me.  There are still some seats left for this intimate, lively, and FUN learning experience coming up March 26-27.  So please.. Register today, for either the in-person (in Lincoln, NE) or online conference. Use the promo code NANCY for $50 off!

Here’s why I’m speaking at Cause Camp this year. Dig in—I think you’ll see why you should join me there:


Nancy Schwartz on March 14, 2018 in Professional Development | 0 comments
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Relevance Rules Messages

From soulful to silly, heartfelt to heavy, no matter the approach, organizations like yours are using Valentine’s Day to get attention and motivate the actions they need this week and beyond. You still have time to leverage Valentine’s Day TODAY if you act now.

The secret sauce here is piggybacking on what’s top of mindYour people are already thinking about this stuff, so are far more likely to connect with your Valentine’s mini-campaign right now. They’ve been helping their kids write out cards for the entire class, buying that last-minute box of chocolates for their partner, or grabbing a bunch of roses on the way home from work. 

They couldn’t forget Valentine’s Day even if they wanted to. So use St. Valentine as a springboard to engagement. That’s Relevance Rules Messaging! Here’s how:

1) Find your cause’s genuine connection to love. It’s crystal clear for causes/issues like heart health, blood and organ donation and human services. The link may be less evident for other causes but is often findable with a bit of probing. Brainstorm with your colleagues over coffee asap.

Nancy Schwartz on February 14, 2018 in Relevance Rules | 1 comment
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all-org team of messengers

We’re springboarding into 2018 fundraising with all of its challenges. Tax bill, anyone?

Joking aside, it may seem like your team’s hard work and limited resources aren’t enough. You know how much you could bring in, if only…

Good news! There is a way to move past this seemingly insurmountable barrier—Launch a team of messengers to drive your 2018 campaigns to a strong finish. Enlist your colleagues and board members to boost your nonprofit’s reach and relationships for little or no cost. The best part? They’re already motivated to help you reach your goals.

Take these three steps to identify, inspire, and launch your giving ambassadors:


Nancy Schwartz on December 19, 2017 in All-Org Marketing Team | 1 comment
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Dear Nancy: I saw how stories about our clients—powered by a photo or two—fueled our last two year-end campaigns. They were highly successful and I planned to feature the same kind of profiles this year.

That plan changed radically last month when our social workers urged us to put our clients’ privacy first and stop using client photos. Our staff has agreed to respect their expertise and honor their request.

What are some practical alternatives I can put to work in these last few weeks? And how do I move forward with client photos in the future, as our stories aren’t as strong without them?


Nancy Schwartz on December 12, 2017 in storytelling | 0 comments
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Boost Nonprofit Video ViewsGuest blogger Mark Horvath founded and leads Invisible People. Today he shares how to boost your YouTube views from meh to magnificent.  BTW, Mark’s video version of this post features bonus tips not found here! Here’s Mark…

I was thrilled with the performance of Invisible People’s YouTube channel for the last few years. With a focus on homelessness education, an average of 40,000 monthly views was fantastic, or so I thought.

That changed after we joined Patreon a few months back and I started to pay more attention to YouTube. The lightbulb went off when I typed “homeless” into the YouTube search bar. Invisible People undoubtedly has more videos from homeless people than any other content creator. All that came up was prank videos and other awful content that was so far from the truth about homelessness. None of our videos were showing in search with the keyword “homeless.” I knew I had to fix this, and here’s how:

Guest Blogger on August 1, 2017 in Video | 0 comments
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Follow up. It’s vital but so tough to do right.

Either we don’t know what to say, fear “bugging” the very folks we want something from, or both. So we don’t follow up enough or well, which undermines engagement and results—no matter how compelling our campaigns may be!

Follow up shows we care
It also signals realism and camaraderie; conveying our understanding that (just like us) our folks get asked for a lot of things by a lot of people; are busy and need reminders; and that changing habits or behavior is hard. When we follow up consistently, with thought and evident effort, we’re building the ongoing relationships likely to foster long, loyal relationships with our people. Priceless.

Nancy Schwartz on June 8, 2017 in Strategy | 1 comment
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Hack-Proof Your Life Now!Yes, this has to matter to you. Maybe you dodged the bullet of the most recent global cyber attack.  But the next one or the ones after that could wreck your communications impact and a lot more. If or when your organization gets hacked, it’ll bring all activity—including communications and fundraising—to an absolute standstill. Even worse, it will require an enormous investment of time and budget to repair and get back up and going; even with that, critical donor data, program stats, and email lists may be lost or corrupted.

So do something about it, even if your ED or IT staff or consultant is standing still.
My husband, Sean M. Bailey, happens to be an expert on cybersecurity and the recent author of Hack-Proof Your Life NowWhat’s great about Sean’s advice is that it’s efficient and doable. He advises you take three steps asap to protect yourself and your organization:

Nancy Schwartz on May 15, 2017 in Strategy | 1 comment
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Liz Polay-Wettengel is National Director of Marketing and Communications for InterfaithFamily, a Jewish non-profit based in Newton, MA.

For three years in a row, my colleagues from InterfaithFamily and I have participated in the annual Nonprofit Tech Conference (from NTEN). It is, by far, the conference that we learn the most from. Every year, we have come back with new ideas, fresh perspectives, and tools to do what we do better.

This year was no different. Held in Washington DC, the 3,000 attendees at the 2017 conference brainstormed on topics far beyond the “traditional” definition of technology—nonprofit marketing, development, leadership, and organizational infrastructure.

Key takeaways from my deep-dive into NTC learning include:


Nancy Schwartz on April 13, 2017 in Trends | 0 comments
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The clock is running out on year-end fundraising.

Whether you’re exceeding expectations or are barely meeting the bare minimum, you can do even better. I know what you’re thinking: “There’s so little time.” But I want to share five doable adjustments you can make right now to increase year-end donations.

1) Expand your prospect pool program participants, volunteers, and advocates (Low-hanging fruit alert!).


Nancy Schwartz on December 27, 2016 in Fundraising: Innovations & Research | 0 comments

Consistent MessagesWhether you’re all in on year-end fundraising or working in some 2017 prep, I bet you have some pretty ambitious goals to meet. You wouldn’t be reading this otherwise.

Here’s a proven but frequently overlooked method to help you get there: consistent communications. Consistency enables your people and prospects to recognize your organization’s communications in a flash. Time and time again, I’ve seen consistency across channels, programs and services, and audiences help nonprofits like yours motivate the actions they need. Those are the same messages likely to be remembered and repeated. Here’s how to get there:


Nancy Schwartz on December 14, 2016 in Branding and Messages | 1 comment
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