marketing planning

Think it’s possible to learn what you need to know now about nonprofit marketing planning in just 30 minutes?  Well, Kivi Leroux Miller and I are going to give it a try with our next free webinar, 30 Nonprofit Marketing Questions in 30 Minutes!

Please join us on Thursday, July 21, 2011 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern (Noon Pacific). We will answer 30 questions about nonprofit marketing planning in 30 minutes!

All questions will be submitted by participants in advance, and we’ll select the top 30 to answer during this rapid-fire, intensive learning experience. We’ll review all of the questions submitted by July 15 and cull them down to the top 30, which we will answer live during the webinar.

1) There’s no faster way to learn about nonprofit marketing planning. Register Now.

2) Have a burning nonprofit marketing question you’d like us to answer during the webinar? Email it to us right now (nancyandkivi@nancyandkivi.com)

Your investment of 40 minutes (10 to craft and submit your question, 30 to join us on the webinar) will generate huge returns. Promise!

 

P.S. Learn how to strengthen your nonprofit’s marketing impact with the 2011 Guide to Nonprofit Marketing Wisdom.


Nancy Schwartz on July 5, 2011 in Strategy | 0 comments
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Every marketing task your organization tackles should incorporate a frequent analysis of ROI (return on investment).

It’s the only valid, vital framework for running an effective marketing program especially when resources are limited, as they are for most nonprofit organizations.

I encourage you to apply an ROI analysis to all that you do. Consider this…

  • Take my recommendation and strengthen (or shape) your organization’s messaging by enrolling in the Tagline Focus Project (TFP).
  • Follow the proven 11-step message development process as you work closely with your target audiences, your colleagues and with me. Work with me one-to-one to fine tune your final tagline draft and then roll it out.
  • And then, six months to a year later, look at your ROI in terms of what you learned and produced in the Tagline Focus Project.

For your investment of tuition and effort, you’ll learn how to shape messages that connect. The Tagline Focus Project process and product will lead to:

  1. New supporters: As you take your place among the only 18% of organizations with taglines that work to engage the supporters you depend on. And it’s always hardest to build new supporters.
  2. Increased loyalty: Your current network will understand your organization’s unique value and impact more clearly than ever, which will strengthen their sense of appreciation and connection. Everyone likes being a part of a winning organization.
  3. A team of powerful messengers: As your network of supporters more clearly understands what’s so special about your organization (they always knew it—that’s why they support you—but they couldn’t easily articulate it) and has a recognizable, memorable tagline to work with, it’s far easier for them to spread the word to family and friends. Especially when you ask them to do so.
  4. Stronger skills for all messaging components: Learning how to craft a tagline equips you with the skills to write high-power taglines for your organization’s programs, services and campaigns, so those marketing agendas are equally successful; and gives you a great base to work from in writing the other key components of your organization’s (and programs/services/campaigns) message platform—the positioning statement and talking points or key messages.
  5. Less stress and better marketing outcomes: When you have to start from scratch writing content for your organization, trying to get it right time and time again, it’s a huge drain. It’s just plain hard to crank it out, and then to revise content through the countless rounds of review and approval.

With a well-researched and tested tagline in hand, you’re ready to go with the essence of your messaging, and can build from that proven foundation each and every time.

We’re starting on July 6 and have just a few seats still open.
So if you’re interested in using this summer to vastly improve your organization’s messaging, I encourage you to go ahead and register today for the Tagline Focus Project.

It would be great to work together!

Nancy Schwartz on June 28, 2011 in Branding and Messages | 0 comments
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Does your organization have a distinctive voice?

Months and months ago, my husband Sean and I snagged tickets to a Rosanne Cash (singer/songwriter and Johnny’s daughter) concert.

We bought the tickets six months pre-show and, as we waited, I started to follow Rosanne on Twitter.

She’s a Twitter natural, conveying a deep sense of her perspective and personality. For example, one March afternoon, she tweeted that her bus broke down en route to play at Folsom prison (where her Dad had so famously played). Through the tweets that followed, I got a clear sense of how she thinks, feels and speaks as she shared what the experience meant to her. I felt I got to know her a bit.

That kind of connection is what nonprofit communications is all about. Rosanne on Twitter reinforces what I advise but seldom see–the critical importance of finding your real voice as an individual speaking for an organization (incorporating elements of both personalities) and using it on the channels that fit it (only those your target audiences prefer, of course). And doing it in a full way, so that you are putting yourself (and the organization) out there to be known. That’s what gives your target audiences something they can relate to.

What’s your organization’s voice and how did you find it? How do you use it? Please share your stories here.

P.S. Rosanne was gracious enough to meet with me after her fantastic show and told me about the three charities she is actively committed to.

Nancy Schwartz on May 26, 2011 in Branding and Messages | 7 comments
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Join Kivi and Me for this Free Webinar
Today-Monday May 2-at 3pm ET (Noon PT)
Learn How to
Set the Big-Picture Marketing Goals that
Take You Where You Want to Go!

My friend and colleague Kivi Leroux Miller and I have heard so many of you say that your marketing isn’t all it could be. And worse, you don’t know where to start to fix it.

You’re frustrated by how hard you’re working without generating the results you expect, and that your organization needs. Aargh!

So we’ve decided to show you exactly where to start, with setting your goals, in today’s free 30-minute webinar.
Register Now – Seats are Limited
Today, Monday, May 2, 2011
3:00 – 3:30 pm ET (12:00 – 12:30 pm PT)

When Kivi and I first put our heads together on how to team up to help nonprofits strengthen their marketing impact, marketing planning was at the top of our list.

Join us for this free 30-minute webinar to learn how to set clear marketing goals for your organization. They are the first crucial step towards an ambitious but fully-doable nonprofit marketing plan.

Register now for this free webinar today, Monday, May 2, 2011, at 3:00 pm Eastern (Noon Pacific).

We’re really looking forward to discussing this critical step to nonprofit marketing success with you! Join us.

Nancy Schwartz on May 2, 2011 in Planning and Evaluation | 0 comments
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Nothing is more important than communicating the right message to your network at the right place and time! And  leveraging a news item or special day by connecting your organization’s issues to it (when relevant!) is a tried-and-true nonprofit marketing strategy with a strong ROI (return on investment).

That’s why I was looking forward to the emails I expected to receive on Earth Day last week, from the environmental organizations I support and others. Earth Day 2010 had delivered so many effective nonprofit marketing models, that I anticipated some great outreach.

Not that Earth Day has been a global success in any way in mobilizing us all to treat the environment more respectfully, but it is a marker heralded broadly in the media (mainstream and not) and leveraged by many advertisers in the New York Times last week. When an issue is addressed like this, it becomes embedded in our heads. Those advertisers knew that Earth Day presented an ideal opportunity of environmental issues being as front-and-center in the news as they get and piggybacked on the day with relevant advertising. An open-minded moment.

How basic then, you’d think, that environmental organizations – tasked solely on the issues at the core of Earth day – would reach out to the network of current and recent supporters. But most organizations I expected to hear from — e.g. Environmental Working Group (marketing geniuses, in a totally genuine way), Sierra Club, Appalachian Mountain Club — didn’t come through. I was poised to re-up our Sierra Club membership that day, but wasn’t invited to do so. Lost opportunity!

Kudos to Catalog Choice – which sent me this email, so-so in headline but spot-on on tying its campaign to Earth Day and my open-minded moment.

Here’s how to ensure you’re poised to capitalize on notable days (holidays and other days) and headlines.

  • Develop a editorial calendar around known notable days (anything from Mother’s Day, to the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution — any day that’s notable in relation to your issue. Those days that generate mainstream and other media coverage are the priority – as they position your outreach for success by getting folks thinking about the day. Your outreach just plugs right into that open-minded moment.
  • Brainstorm around the likely news events that are worthwhile triggers for your outreach.Be prepared, before the moment of, so you can use that moment asap, when your network is open mind.

How does your organization connect its marketing to stories, news and events that are top of mind for your target audiences? Please share your experiences and recommendations here.

Nancy Schwartz on April 25, 2011 in Content Marketing | 17 comments
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Join Kivi and Me for this Free Webinar
Learn How to
Set the Big-Picture Marketing Goals that
Take You Where You Want to Go!

My friend and colleague Kivi Leroux Miller and I have heard so many of you say that your marketing isn’t all it could be. And worse, you don’t know where to start to fix it.

You’re frustrated by how hard you’re working without generating the results you expect, and that your organization needs. Aargh!

So we’ve decided to show you exactly where to start, with setting your goals, in this free 30-minute webinar.
Register Now – Seats are Limited
Monday, May 2, 2011
3:00 – 3:30 pm ET (12:00 – 12:30 pm PT)

When Kivi and I first put our heads together on how to team up to help nonprofits strengthen their marketing impact, marketing planning was at the top of our list.

Join us for this free 30-minute webinar to learn how to set clear marketing goals for your organization. They are the first crucial step towards an ambitious but fully-doable nonprofit marketing plan.

Register now for this free webinar on Monday, May 2, 2011, at 3:00 pm Eastern (Noon Pacific).

Seats are limited so register today.

Nancy Schwartz on April 18, 2011 in Planning and Evaluation | 0 comments
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We’re thrilled to welcome our newest guest blogger, Kimberlee Roth, one of our valued writers for consulting projects, writer for the Chicago Tribune and The Chronicle of Philanthropy among other publications, and author of Surviving a Borderline Parent. Here’s Kim…

They waste paper, money, time; they’re a project management bear; besides, no one reads them anyway. Know what I’m talking about? Yes (cue scary music): Annual Reports.

With budget woes that have touched us all in some way, it’s hard not to think about the resources and energy that go into producing an annual report. (And to wonder, as The Agitator did recently, “Are Annual Reports Dinosaurs?“)

But I assert that there is value in producing an annual report!

As a writer and storyteller specializing in nonprofit marketing and communications, I can’t help but think annual reports have gotten a bum rap. To me, and to most of my clients, they’re less drudgery than opportunity, satisfying even, to produce. Talk about a fantastic chance to convey not only the personality and zeitgeist of an organization, but its impact.

So many annual reports, though, are bo-ring. Donor lists, numbers served, satellite offices opened, equipment purchased. Me, me, me. Statistics and, often, buzzwords that lack enthusiasm, let alone context or a human face. No wonder the report is draining to produce.

Showing impact — through concise but compelling narratives, vibrant photos and interactive features — is what can excite and engage donors, volunteers, partners and clients. That doesn’t mean dozens of  glossy pages with a snazzy (read: expensive) design. What it does mean is authenticity, effective storytelling and a connection to your organizational strategies — in a welcoming tone that conveys both passion and competence.

This year, when “it’s that time again” and thoughts turn to all that goes into your annual report, don’t forget to focus on what you want out of it. Ask yourself, and your team, these questions:

  • What do we want this year’s annual report to accomplish? (Hint: Keep multiple audiences in mind, not only large donors.
  • What are some ways our annual report can advance our strategic marketing and fundraising goals?
  • How can our annual report complement, enhance and reinforce our other marketing tactics?

And, the $64,000 question:

  • How do we execute — within our budget and in ways that reflect our organization’s mission, personality and marketing and strategic plans — so that it delivers?

You already know my vote; what do you say? Drudgery or opportunity? I’d love to hear your thoughts here!

_______________________________
Readers, here are a few high-impact online alternatives to the traditional printed annual report. Worth some thought!

BTW, master fundraiser Tom Ahern is 100% aligned with Kim: “Think of your annual report as a once-a-year golden opportunity to deeply connect with your customers’ (i.e., donors’) feelings, dreams, aspirations, hidden and sometimes even embarrassing needs — like the need to be liked; or the need to do something good in the world, a need as common as the air in our lungs,” he says.

P.S. Get in-depth case studies, templates and tools, and guidance for nonprofit marketing  success — all featured in the twice-monthly Getting Attention e-update. Subscribe today.

Guest Blogger on March 30, 2011 in Annual Reports | 8 comments
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I have so much to do but don’t know where to start!

That’s the crucial–but seldom acknowledged or discussed–challenge on which I co-led a vibrant mind meld at the Nonprofit Technology Conference (#11NTC), along with superstars Katya Andresen, Kivi Leroux Miller and Sarah Durham.

We were thrilled at the number and engagement level of the hundreds folks squished in the room. In fact, discussion got so lively we were hushed by the organizer of the session in the next room! That request exemplifies the excitement of the crowd in discussing this stuff and in meeting each other–brainstorming partners in the making!

Katya created these summary slides on the fly as we provided one-minute consulting and participants shared their bright ideas on how to:

  • Get priorities right
  • Balance is crucial between marketing and fundraising efforts, not just within marketing
  • Manage up and build leadership buy-in on priorities you set
  • Balance incoming requests (agency model) when you’re acting more strategically (i.e. you have your own job to do)
  • Do the internal marketing necessary to build support, investment and a team of messengers among your colleagues
  • Cut down your program (hint – don’t cut a channel if it’s working, just scale back your effort)
  • Break up with social media if the ROI isn’t there.

Here are a few other outtakes on the session:

What do you have to add to these bright spots? Please share it here.

P.S. Get a jump start on your marketing planning via the Total Focus Marketing Plan Workshop led by Kivi Leroux Miller and me. Karen and Tara participated last fall with great result! 2011 workshops are scheduled for June 16 in Seattle and October 12 in New York City. Learn more nowthe workshops sold out last year and 2011 seats are going fast!

Nancy Schwartz on March 23, 2011 in Planning and Evaluation | 0 comments
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Last week I had the opportunity to join three fantastic colleagues to share guidance on this crucial nonprofit marketing challenge at #11NTC (NTEN’s annual conference). And I want to share that guidance with you.

What a pleasure to work with Kivi Leroux Miller of NonprofitMarketingGuide.com; Karen Secular, Communications Director at the Arnold P. Gold Foundation; and Tara Collins, Communications Director at the Watershed Agricultural Council! And what a thrill to have so many focused, sharp, engaged session participants asking questions and sharing their wisdom.

Weaving your loose ends together is a prerequisite to your nonprofit marketing success but remains, for so many of you, a stubborn barrier. Here are two key tools we shared at the session; they are a huge help in getting started with your weaving:

Here are 12 steps to weaving a tight, powerful marketing plan, highlighted by session participants via Twitter:

  1. Moving marketing from support function to a strategic player is the game changer. (@stacyjclinton)
  2. Stop acting as the in-house marketing agency at your org, and take control of the situation (@egratto) A.K.A., “Stop taking the tickets and start driving the bus,” as Tara says.
  3. Only 16% of nonprofits have marketing plans. You need one to make the move to strategic player. (@ksuzj)
  4. A marketing plan is essential because it directs your focus and keeps you on a clearly defined path. (@elimcgon)
  5. However, marketing planning is ongoing series of refining and understanding. Don’t plan more than 1 year out. (@volmatch) Then break it down further to 3-month chunks @wendymarinaccio)
  6. Rule of 3: Identify no more than 3 target audiences for your messages or you risk diffusing your efforts. (@stacydyer)
  7. Meet your audiences where they are (channels and perspectives) (@weinrichc)
  8. Your brand is not just “clothes you wear” (e.g., logo and colors) It’s your organization’s whole personality-the way you walk & talk. (@linzbilks)
  9. Put all of your marketing material on a table; see if there is consistency through ‘em (@weinrichc)
  10. Unless your blog is supporting your brand or a call to action it’s just words. (@ksuzj)
  11. Vital part of mktg planning is outlining every single task down to the nitty gritty – who is doing what when (@volmatch)
  12. Failures are what our successes are built on. (@mkdm, @andystitt829)

If you don’t have a plan, or have one that lives in your head or hopes, is just notes, not formalized and approved, or simply not working, get on it right now! It’ll change your life, and your marketing impact.

Please let me know what’s getting in your way, and I’ll give you some recommendations for pushing through!

For more insights from the session, review the slide deck and crowdsourced notes.

P.S. Get a jump start on your marketing planning via the Total Focus Marketing Plan Workshop led by Kivi Leroux Miller and me. Karen and Tara participated last fall with great result! 2011 workshops are scheduled for June 16 in Seattle and October 12 in New York City. Learn more now–the workshops sold out last year and 2011 seats are going fast!

Nancy Schwartz on March 22, 2011 in Planning and Evaluation | 0 comments
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Join us at the Total Focus Marketing Plan Workshop
Seattle Early Bird Rate Runs through March 31 – Saves You $100

We’re back! I’m partnering with my friend, Kivi Leroux Miller, to offer you a special opportunity to find the solutions to your 2011 marketing challenges: The Total Focus Marketing Plan Workshop. Plan in a day—blueprint forever!

We premiered the workshop in New York and D.C. last fall, and received great ratings. Here’s what two of our participants had to say:

Would Have Taken Me Forever on My Own
I learned so much about marketing planning today. It would have taken weeks or months to do so on my own.

Now I Know How to Shape Our Marketing Plan and Transform It into Action
As a result of participating in your outstanding workshop, I am re-focused on exactly what I need to do to create an effective marketing plan for our organization. Now I know the steps I need to take to transform that plan into actions that are understood and adopted throughout the organization.

We hope you’ll join us for this intensive, limited-enrollment planning seminar for nonprofit communicators and development staff members, board members and executive directors who do it all.

You see this day is going to be different from other workshops you’ve participated in.

You’ll immerse yourself in marketing planning for a day, as we help you shed the muddled messages and impossible to-do lists that pull you in too many directions and diminish your marketing impact.

And, most importantly, you’ll leave with a clear, focused, practical marketing plan that will work for your organization—one you are fully capable of implementing.

Don’t Miss this Opportunity –

Learn more now! The Seattle early-bird rate runs through March 31 but we expect seats to fill up fast.

Hope to see you there!

Nancy Schwartz on February 24, 2011 in Professional Development | 0 comments
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