web3Andy Robinson provides training and consulting for nonprofits in fundraising, board development, marketing, earned income, planning, leadership development, and facilitation.  Along with training people to raise money,

Andrea Kihlstedt writes, speaks and coaches about campaign campaign fundraising.

Do you dream of a board composed of wealthy people with wealthy friends, people who are fearless about asking those friends for big gifts?

Unless you’re very lucky (and these types of boards come with their own challenges), that’s not your board. So, looking beyond that fantasy, what’s your Plan B?

How about a board filled with committed people who give as much as they can, and who tell your story in a deeply personal and compelling way?


Nancy Schwartz on August 20, 2014 in All-Org Marketing Team | 1 comment
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Shutdown ResponseNonprofit communicators!

1) Is the Federal government shutdown affecting your nonprofit?

2) Are you addressing that impact in your content? If yes, what, where and how?

3) Have you decided to hold on any planning or posting?

Please share here a.s.a.p.! I hope to blog on how-tos first thing tomorrow morning. Thank you!

P.S. Take a look how D.C.’s Sixth & I Synagogue, which doubles as a vibrant Jewish community center, opened its doors to provide community (what else?) to those displaced by the shutdown, including Political Ping Pong.

The staff did a great job prepping ahead of time for the possibility of the shutdown, giving folks a heads up and was all set to open doors at 10am this morning. You can join in via the Synagogue’s Facebook page. That’s relevance. communications.

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

Nancy Schwartz on October 1, 2013 in Relevance Rules | 5 comments
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MN United—Campaign Message

Go ahead. Call me a message geek! When I see a memorable message success story like this one, I get happy.

Minnesotans United for All Families (MN United) did a great job in putting Love is the Law front and center in its campaign for passage of the marriage equality bill last spring.

MN United lucked out on this one: Chan Poling—a passionate supporter of the Minnesota same-sex marriage campaign and former lead singer of 80s new wave band, The Suburbs—contacted MN United to offer up the song just as the campaign was heating up. But Poling wouldn’t have made the connection if he hadn’t first been touched by campaign outreach.


Nancy Schwartz on September 19, 2013 in Branding and Messages | 0 comments
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Blackbaud just released a must-read report—findings from its Next Generation of American Giving study on charitable giving trends and engagement behaviors and attitudes across Matures (68+), Boomers (49-67), Gen X (33-48) and Gen Y (18-32). I recommend you read the entire report and share out your top-ten findings and implications for your org with colleagues and your leadership. It’s too important to miss!

But there are two critical findings I want to share with you a.s.a.p.:


Nancy Schwartz on August 15, 2013 in Fundraising: Innovations & Research | 5 comments
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Strengthen RelationshipsOur daughter, Charlotte, is away at Camp Harlam for 3 1/2 long weeks this summer. It’s her first time, and our pleasure in relaxed evenings and quiet weekend mornings is punctuated by severe pangs of missing her.

Most evenings we can quiet our pangs by going to the private website where photos from the day are posted. Charlotte frequently shows up in a photo or two, and we can get a sense of what she’s up to and how much she’s enjoying it (or not). I can’t tell you the pleasure we got when we spotted the biggest smile ever after she had completed the ropes course last week. We’re really getting to feel like part of the Camp Harlam family.

Harlam has done a great job of building our relationship in a natural way from the moment we shared our interest in registering Charlotte for the summer. I urge your organization to do the same, from the moment you first connect with folks who show interest as participants, supporters, clients, partners and/or volunteers and actively throughout the course of your relationship—BETWEEN your asks. Here’s how:


Nancy Schwartz on August 6, 2013 in Relationship Building | 0 comments
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Nonprofit Storytelling #1-9

This is the last in my six types of stories your organization has to tell series on how to find, shape and share your strength story. Strength stories showcase how your organization’s particular focus or approach adds value to the community you serve and/or and moves your issue or cause forward in a way unmatched by other orgs (a.k.a. differentiation).  

Guru-of-most-things Seth Godin recently summed up the value of differentiation: If there’s not at least one thing that’s distinctive about your organization—OR if you have that unique strength but don’t highlight it—you’re toast. Prospects will think you’re just like every other nonprofit, and that’s death to us marketers and fundraisers.


Nancy Schwartz on June 11, 2013 in storytelling | 0 comments
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Relevant Nonprofit MessagesWhat if you were skilled at the most critical marketing process necessary to engage your target audiences with clarity and purpose?

What if you mastered a proven 11-step message development process so you had a positioning statement, key messages and a sparkling tagline that connected with your supporters and energized your staff, board and volunteers?

And what if you could perform this marketing transformation with expert guidance in just 6 weeks?

Well now you can, starting Tuesday, May 7. But there are just three seats leftLearn more here.

Note: No worries if you’re unable to make the first live webinar on May 7. I’ll guide you into the program and webinar recordings (video and audio) including all Q&As, plus the slide deck, will be available for review at your convenience.


Nancy Schwartz on May 6, 2013 in Branding and Messages | 0 comments
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We’re long-time members of the local JCC (Jewish Community Center, sort of a Jewish Y). Our daughter was there for daily pre-K care but now we’re there mostly for the pool and gym rather than the Jewishly-oriented cultural and learning programs.

Big Change: New members with diverse cultural perspectives
There’s been a big change at the JCC over recent years, as the membership has grown to include many who are not Jewish. When the JCC needed to funded a major facilities redo a few years ago,  the leadership decided to invite the larger (i.e. beyond Jewish)  community to join—focusing on use of the athletic facilities—and made changes, such as opening on Shabbat, to support their wants.

Challenge: How to connect with new members without losing the base
Brilliant idea and it’s worked well, but I watched eagerly for the JCC to revise their core messages (shaped to a shared Jewish context) too.

Nancy Schwartz on April 30, 2013 in Relevance Rules | 1 comment
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Flickr: Calixto BentoIt’ll take you about two minutes to read this. Do you think you’ll make it? 

It’s not likely.

People usually read just 20% of any content that’s 100 words long or more. Since this post is longer than that, you’re most likely to scan it for keywords that are relevant to you, plus highlighted elements I showcase with bolding or italics.

Most of us wish, when we write, that people read every single word. But the reality is that people read far less than you think, or want.

Here are six ways to up the odds that your nonprofit’s content is read, digested and acted on: 


Nancy Schwartz on April 24, 2013 in Content Marketing | 4 comments
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Nonprofit Storytelling #1-9

This last post in my six types of stories your organization has to tell series illuminates how to find, shape and share your future story—the tale of where your organization’s work will take your issue or cause, beneficiaries and supporters.

Future stories (a.k.a. vision statements) can be very powerful but are rarely told. Future story power comes in bringing to life—in a tangible, visible, visual and personal way—what is most frequently left as a vague, abstract and overly-wordy concept (if your organization even has a vision statement at all).

When done right, future stories have perhaps the greatest potential of all story types to hook your people at a gut level and motivate them to take the actions you need because you’re putting your dreams out there making it easy for them to link their dreams to yours! 

The great thing is that every one of your organizations has a future story ready to be shaped into a powerful movement-building tool, whether you have articulated a vision statement or not. So do it!

Here’s one of the best future stories I know:

Nancy Schwartz on March 20, 2013 in storytelling | 3 comments
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