Nonprofit Communications

Personal is ProfessionalDo you bring yourself—with your passions, personal history, and personality—to work, or do you check “the real you” at the front door?

Here’s hoping you bring “all of you” to work. It’s the only way to feel fully at ease in your job, to nurture the relationships you need for success and satisfaction (for you and your organization), and to bring the greatest value to your role and responsibilities.

Take James Porter, director of communications at The End Fund. James recently asked me (via email from his personal address) to donate to the END Fund in support of his participation in a marathon this June. He describes the race, and the cause, then links his passion for his work (and participation in the race) with his experience of being marginalized as a gay boy growing up. His story is moving, memorable, and forges a quick and strong connection with readers. For James, the personal is professional:

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Nancy Schwartz on May 24, 2017 in Professional Development | 0 comments
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Hack-Proof Your Life Now!Yes, this has to matter to you. The current global cyber attack, built on ransomware, 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:
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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:

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Nancy Schwartz on April 13, 2017 in Trends | 0 comments
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Guest blogger Karen Petersen is Director of Annual and Planned Giving at the HudsonAlpha Institute for Biotechnology in Huntsville, Ala.

In my previous life, I was a TV reporter. My favorite part of the job was interviewing people and weaving their words together with mine to construct a compelling story. Little has changed since I changed careers.

In fundraising, we are all storytellers!

To tell the best stories, we need to find convincing characters who can provide passionate and powerful quotes. As Nancy has said in previous posts, “testimonials provide credibility.

You may automatically reach out to external donors for your organization’s testimonials. However, you may be surprised by the storytellers you can find in the cube, office or even lab next door.

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Guest Blogger on March 21, 2017 in Branding and Messages | 0 comments
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Call to ActionRemember when you were a teen and your mom told you to clean up your room, call your grandmother, and set the table all within the same five minutes.

Remember how frustrating that was. How even if you wanted to do what your mom wished—not every teen’s desire, for sure—you couldn’t do three things at once. So instead, most of the time, you did nothing!

I was thrown back there this morning when I uncovered this card I had picked up at the Metropolitan Museum of Art (the Met). Just count the calls to action featured on this small postcard:

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Nancy Schwartz on March 8, 2017 in Branding and Messages | 0 comments
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Set Your Marketing Goals

This practical, doable marketing plan template takes you from goals to benchmarks, work plan, action, and impact! 

Eeesh! Those New Year’s resolutions—including the ones we set for marketing and fundraising work—are so hard to keep.

That’s because most resolutions are action items, rather than goals (the real “what we want to get to”). When things in our work worlds change—making those actions irrelevant or too difficult, or throwing them into question or making them too difficult— there’s no clear framework for assessment and adaptation. So the resolutions fade out, leaving you disappointed.

INSTEAD…

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Nancy Schwartz on January 10, 2017 in Planning and Evaluation | 0 comments
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Happy Healthy Nonprofit Book CoverGuest bloggers Beth Kanter & Aliza Sherman wrote The Happy, Healthy Nonprofit, a must read for communicators & fundraisers.

If there is one thing we can agree on, it is that that last quarter of 2016 was especially stressful. Not just the usual hectic workload of year-end campaigns, but a difficult election season—a combination that has left many nonprofit communications professional feeling overwhelmed and

For many of us, the holiday vacation time probably did not come fast enough. We all probably enjoyed a nice reprieve from deadlines, tasks, and deliverables. And, after taking a break, it is hard to get back into the swing of things.

One thing we do know for sure, 2017 will be the year that we will absolutely have to exercise our resilience muscles in order to do our best work and not get slowed down. In our book, The Happy Healthy Nonprofit: Strategies for Impact Without Burnout, we discuss ways that nonprofit professionals can use at work and avoid the stress of competing priorities. Here are three techniques to put to work right now:

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Guest Blogger on January 4, 2017 in Professional Development | 0 comments
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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:

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Nancy Schwartz on December 14, 2016 in Branding and Messages | 1 comment
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We all have an incredible marketing resource right in front of us—our board member, colleague, and loyal volunteer ambassadors. But most of us look right past them, much less make it appealing or easy for them to participate and succeed!

You still have time to launch your team of messengers to spur right now campaigns, registration, and giving. They’re already fans, so many of them will be eager and effective fundraisers. Here’s how to ask for participation, train and support your messengers, and thank them.

Your ambassadors’ reach, engagement, and donation impact is directly related to saying the right thing at the right time. The trick is.. it can’t be a script, repeated from everyone to everyone. That’s just not genuine or relevant.

Provide these three message tools to your ambassadors, and you’re golden. They’ll ensure your team’s comfort and confidence, which means they’re more likely to talk with more donors and prospects. These tools also increase the odds prospects hear the kind of consistent yet personal messages necessary to spur engagement and the actions you want!

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Nancy Schwartz on December 6, 2016 in All-Org Marketing Team | 2 comments
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2017 Nonprofit Communications Trends

Kivi Leroux Miller’s annual Nonprofit Communications Trends Report is one of my “go to” resources for boosting client communications impact. The report provides concrete benchmarks for your marketing, fresh ideas to experiment with, and the proof points you need to lobby for the resources and support you need to do communications right.

Please take 10 minutes right now to respond to the 2017 Nonprofit Communications Trends Survey. Deadline is tomorrow, December 2! Every survey taker will receive a free copy of the report in January and be invited to a preview webinar before the results are released.

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Nancy Schwartz on December 1, 2016 in Planning and Evaluation | 0 comments
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