messaging

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.

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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.

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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.
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Nancy Schwartz on April 30, 2013 in Relevance Rules | 0 comments
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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: 

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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:
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Nancy Schwartz on March 20, 2013 in storytelling | 3 comments
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Nonprofit Storytelling #1-9

Today you’ll learn to shape and share another of the six types of stories your organization has to tell—the stories of the people who support your cause and make your goals come true.

People stories are hugely valuable in moving people to take the actions you want. Craft these stories to make it easy for your prospective donors, partners and more to stand in the shoes of your current supporters, and they’re golden.

Remember, you have many of these people stories to tell, and the potential for using them to move your people to the actions you want is huge. Here’s how to develop them most powerfully:

Two Aha! People Stories—
They make it easy for your prospects to see themselves in these peoples’ shoes
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Nancy Schwartz on March 6, 2013 in storytelling | 2 comments
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Last week, I had the absolute pleasure of diving deeper into the science of communications with Ira Flatow, host of radio show Science Today, and Sendhil Mullainathan, Professor of Economics at Harvard, who specializes in behavioral economics.

These rare birds—science specialists fluent in bringing scientists and the public together in dialogue—quickly jumped into a compelling discussion on how the mind interacts with messages and data to understand the world around us, and decide how to act.

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Nancy Schwartz on March 5, 2013 in Branding and Messages | 1 comment
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Nonprofit Storytelling #1-9

Today I’m going to show you how to shape and share another of the six types of stories your organization has to tell—your success stories.

Success stories (a.k.a. impact stories) are the stories most frequently told. And, when done right, these stories are unequaled in showing the value of your organization’s work in moving your issue or cause forward and matching the personal goals of prospects and supporters. 

The great thing is that you have many of these success stories to tell, and the potential for using them to move your people to the actions you want is huge. So invest the time and effort it takes to do them right.

Two Aha! Success Stories—
Showing the Before and After in a Memorable Way
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Nancy Schwartz on February 27, 2013 in storytelling | 2 comments
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Nonprofit Storytelling #1-9

Today I’m going to show you how to shape and share another of the six types of stories your organization has to tell—your focus story. This is so vital in connecting your work and impact with what matters to your prospects and supporters, so make sure to do it right.

Warning: Telling a good focus story is particularly challenging (and especially important vital) for policy organizations, intermediary organizations (e.g. community foundations, United Ways, nonprofit support orgs and others that help nonprofits do their work better and more broadly) and really, for most organizations that don’t provide direct services. Here’s how to do it well.

The Typical Nonprofit Focus Story
Is your focus story as inaccessible (and boring, let’s just say it) as this one?
Many are, especially for the organizations that need strong focus stories to clarify what they do and why folks should care.

 Nonprofit Storytelling Don't

 What? I don’t even understand this. It makes me tired.

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Nancy Schwartz on February 20, 2013 in storytelling | 1 comment
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New Nonprofit Elevator Pitch

Part One: New Pitches 1-3

“From the minute the first elevator zoomed up in 1853, people have been polishing their elevator pitches. The idea was that if the big prospect ever strode into your elevator, you’d be able to  smoothly explain your organization and your role there by the time you reached your floor.”

But that traditional elevator pitch is dead!  Here’s why, and how to persuade people to give, volunteer and support your cause today:  READ MORE

Nancy Schwartz on February 13, 2013 in Branding and Messages | 0 comments
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