All-Org Marketing Team

Flickr: Ben Solah

How many of your communications projects go nowhere because the approval process is a landmine? For many of us, that happens way too often. We diligently do our homework, developing buy-in from colleagues (by highlighting what’s in it for them) and sourcing practical insights on audience habits and wants.

We use these guidelines to get “it” right, whether it’s a first-ever formalized organizational talking points, campaign mini-site, new program marketing plan, an anniversary celebration approach, or… Then, we sit down again with those colleagues (or send a reply-to-all email with requests for specific feedback if folks are in multiple locations) to get interim or final approval.

Suddenly everyone’s a graphic designer, or a writer, or a creative director. Chaos ensues, even though we shaped the deliverable to what we heard from these same colleagues. I think you know what I mean.

There is a better way—be as strategic in your review and approval process, as you are with your marketing and fundraising work.


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Nonprofit Employee Messengers

We all have a powerful communications resource right in front of us—our colleagues and board members. But most of us look right past them.

Here are four compelling reasons—backed up by the kind of research findings nonprofit decision makers adore—to launch your team of board and staff messengers a.s.a.p.: READ MORE

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Our first post in the new Do-It-Differently series, featuring fresh ideas from the field. Thanks to Renee Thompson, director of philanthropy, Second Harvest Food Bank of Middle Tennessee

Nonprofit StorytellingTested Turnaround! Introducing a new fundraising spokesperson—one of our clients (an individual who’s benefited from our donors’ support).

Keeping It All about Our Donors, Not Our Organization
Traditionally, our ED produced all year-end content, reviewing the past year’s work and impact. That’s how most organizations do it, after all.


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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?


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Nonprofit Marketing PartnershipAre you in a tug of war with program colleagues for control of your communications?

Raise your hand if you’ve run up against any of these challenges:

  • Your colleague on the program side makes an outrageous communications demand based on a consumer marketing model. You know it’s likely to hurt, rather than help, build relationships with prospective supporters and participants.
  • You share your email and social campaign plan to support the coming advocacy campaign with your program colleagues, and they are totally annoyed that you didn’t bring them into the planning process.
  • Your program colleague share a memo outlining the components, timing, lists and budget for the campaign you’re planning to support a new program launch. It’s given to you as a done deal to execute.

I think you see what I mean.


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BowieGuest blogger Susan Bowie is the Director of Nonprofit Strategy at the Community Foundation of Sarasota County She’s a passionate and talented force for good,  helping organizations in the region develop their nonprofit marketing finesse.

Have you crowned your board members yet?

These Kings and Queens of Communications are–or should be–your organization’s number one messengers. To uphold the royal crown, each board member should be

  • A donor, making at least one financial gift that is meaningful to her each year, without being asked.
  • An ambassador, talking about your organization in her various networking circles of friends, family, colleagues and business associates.
  • An informant, always holding up her antennae for news, events and discussions that could influence your organization’s mission and work in the community.


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Have marketing naysayers among your colleagues or leadership? Take these quick steps to open their hearts, eyes and minds. It’s the best way to motivate their interest and participation in marketing via sharing critical insights on supporters and competitors, and learning to be effective messengers:


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AmandaaldrichOur guest blogger Amanda Aldrich is Regional Communications Specialist with the American Red Cross of Northwest Ohio. Her experience as a volunteer, board member, executive director and regular-old-employee shape the opinions she shares here, which do not represent those of the American Red Cross.

I’m always moving a million miles an hour, and I know it’s likely the same for you. When you’re flying, it’s all too easy to forget the little things that help keep us afloat as we’re running from one meeting to the next. But it’s vital to keep your team (and others) in the loop.

I’m sure you’re thinking, “One more email to read? No thanks!” Seriously though – keeping your team, other colleagues, volunteers, and board members abreast of your activities pays off in the long run.

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People First! by Tom PetersI’m in the middle of Tom Peters’ most recent e-book, People Firstand want to share four vital takeaways with you. These four steps—clear and doable by every organization, really—have the potential to absolutely transform your organization, so take some time here.

  1. FORMAL and ongoing marketing training for all employees, leadership and others who touch your organization’s supporters.
  2. 100% of employees involved!
  3. EVERY job is a “marketing job,” and says so in the job description with specific responsibilities outlined.

Here are some examples of how all-org marketing teams work:

  • The person who answers general calls directs callers on with warmth, interest and enthusiasm.
  • The new fundraiser tries to get her idea taken seriously.
  • Program staff members provide a sense of “Welcome” and invitation for continued participation.
  • Your CEO is “marketing” to the person staffing the info line and the customer service team (the importance of that welcoming attitude) as well as to her board members…and these examples are just the beginning.

And now #4—required to make it a two-way street:
FORMAL training in “Aggressive Listening:” 100% of employees!

Learn more about developing your all-org marketing team:
8 Ways to Build a Team of Effective Messengers
Communications Is Everyone’s Job: Proof Point (Video)
Why Can’t We Be Friends

P.S. Get this free e-guide, The Book That Changed My Life. 129 top reading picks from nonprofit leaders around the world.

Note: I’ve substituted “marketing” here, for Peters’ “sales.”

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