Audience Research 4 nonprofitsThere’s a proven way for your organization to start and strengthen vital relationships with the people whose support, loyalty, and actions you want—donors, volunteers, and even staff (too often overlooked here).

This approach is easy to learn and execute. And it’s something you do on a personal level all the time: Getting to know and understand others with whom you want to build a friendship—learning what’s important to them and how their days go. These insights enable you to focus in on what’s important or interesting to both of you, and how best to keep in touch via a commonly-used channel (social, mobile, text, mail) at the time that your folks will be most receptive.

Here are four proven methods of harvesting these priceless insights:

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Nancy Schwartz in Audience Research | 0 comments
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So many organizations I follow or work with have become strong and savvy communicators. It’s thrilling to see nonprofits like yours put communications to work effectively despite time, talent, and budget constraints.  

However, there’s one communications method that remains poorly utilized by most organizations—media relations. That’s a significant gap because organizations that do work skillfully with reporters, editors, and opinion makers are more visible, advocate for their missions more effectively, and raise more money to support their work.

Now—thanks to the practical guidance in Modern Media Relations for Nonprofits—you can close this gap. Authors Peter Panepento and Antionette Kerr, both former journalists, provide a set of concrete, doable steps for media relations success based on this clear definition of today’s broad-ranging media landscape

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Nancy Schwartz in Media Relations and Press | 0 comments
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Best Buddies International

Like many of you, I’ve been working with storytelling for more than a decade now. And, like many of you, I know we need to do it better.

We use too many over-simplified stories—black-and-white stories that don’t ring true. Stories that are all about us, don’t have relevance to our supporters, or don’t map to our organizational identity. Stories that leave the reader or listener thinking “so what.”

That’s a real waste of our supporters’ and prospects’ time and attention. In fact, it’s alienating. Telling one-offs or weak stories like these makes your people feel you don’t understand or care about them. That means they’re less likely to stay engaged and provide the help you need. There’s a better way.

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Nancy Schwartz in storytelling | 1 comment
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Flickr: Robyn Anderson

The opportunity you have in front of you today is SO big, that it’ can seem overwhelming. …
You’ve decided to take another look at your engagement practices (Yea, yea, yea!), rather than just doing it. Breathe deep—the changes you make will have a huge impact on results.

What are YOU going to change? What will stay the same? PRIORITY NOW is the proven path forward.

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Nancy Schwartz in Right-Things Right-Now Marketing | 0 comments
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Thanks to guest blogger Rachel Carnegliaa, a nonprofit marketer and graphic designer promoting parks, trails, and green spaces at the Austin Parks Foundation

Hey, I have the inside scoop on Facebook, from Facebook (take it with a grain of salt, I guess), and I want to share it with you. You see, I was lucky enough to get some first-hand answers on effective engagement strategies for nonprofits, directly from Facebook employees, at a recent panel here in Austin. During the Q&A portion of the afternoon, the question on everyone’s mind finally came bubbling up to the surface—the new algorithm, a.k.a. the elephant in the room.

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Nancy Schwartz in Facebook | 0 comments

Listen! I’m booked to speak at Cause Camp and I’d love you to join me.  There are still some seats left for this intimate, lively, and FUN learning experience coming up.  

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

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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.
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Nancy Schwartz in Relevance Rules | 0 comments
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When you gather compelling stories—about beneficiaries, donors, or volunteers, or other players—to share in campaigns, thanks, and other communications, you gain a powerful complement to your data and anecdotal understanding of the people you want to engage. Together, these insights forge a shortcut to engaging hearts, minds, and wallets.

But it can be tough to source the right stories. Stories Worth Telling, a useful guide from the Meyer Foundation, reveals a damaging disconnect in the way organizations collect stories. Almost universally, organizations rely on program staff knowledge and relationships to gather stories, though the department overseeing the storytelling process is typically fundraising (54%) or communications (42%). Yikes!

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Nancy Schwartz in storytelling | 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:

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Nancy Schwartz in All-Org Marketing Team | 2 comments
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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?

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