Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants

Your Path to Year-End Communications Fundraising Success

As the host of this month's Nonprofit Blog Carnival, I was pleased to receive a few well-thought-out perspectives on this key issue: At a time when resources are scarcer then ever, and competition for attention is tough, how can your org use Q4 to close 2009 with bang and move strongly into 2010?

I recommend that nonprofit communicators focus on these big three steps to ensure that your communications work is contributing as much as possible to advancing your organizational goals:

  1. Evaluate how you're doing in reaching your communications goals (you have to have tracking system in place to do so, if it's not getting that up and running is your Q4 priority.
  2. Fine-tune your communications plan to reflect what's working and what's not, and the changes (they are there, and significant, even if you're blind to them. Look harder.) in the environment in which you work.
  3. Ramp up to launch the revised approach in January. Even if this work takes you off of cranking out planned Q4 communications products, it's a must, and well worth it.

Fundraising superstar Sandy Rees shares this guidance:

  • Communicate with your donors, ideally via stories. Donors want to hear about the good work you’re doing.  It affirms their decision to give, and inspires them to give again.
  • Thank donors for their past support. Simple but highly effective. Donors appreciate and remember organizations that show their appreciation. It's not as many as you think.
  • Ask. Make it clear that your organization is asking for a donation. Don’t assume that people will give if they can. 

Barbara Talisman, specialist in nonprofit management and fundraising, urges organizations to add social media to the mix in Q4. She blogs about the power of friend-raising, reaching out to your friends and followers (including your literal Facebook friends) and urging them to spread the word.Initial impact may be modest but these friends become part of your organization's larger communities and if you're common friend continues to act as a communicator/fundraiser on your org's behalf, you build a powerful network.

What are you strategies for Q4 communications and fundraising success? Please share in the comments box below.

P.S. If you're daunted by marketing planning for Q4 or beyond, break it down into more approachable 90-day chunks. Learn how here: How to Do Grand Plan Marketing 90 Days at a Time (Case Study)

Nancy Schwartz in Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants, Nonprofit Communications, Planning and Evaluation | 0 comments
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What Tops Your Marketing To-Do List for Q4 -- Nonprofit Blog Carnival Wants to Know

Like most of you, I’m sure, I’m sharply focused on my top three my priorities for Q4 2009. And I’m wondering what tops your list. Where should experimentation into social marketing fall? How about honing the relevance of your messaging? Are you cutting back on reach or expanding to engage new audiences?

I’m hosting the always-provocative Nonprofit Blog Carnival here next week, and want to hear from you — whether you are a nonprofit staff member or consultant to nonprofit organizations — on this key issue.

If you write a blog post this week that fits, please send the permalink to me by Friday COB, September November 25th at nonprofitcarnivalATgmail.com or via the Blog Carnival form.

P.S. If you’re daunted by marketing planning, break it down into more approachable 90-day chunks. Learn how here: How to Do Grand Plan Marketing 90 Days at a Time (Case Study)

Missing out on the Getting Attention e-update? Subscribe now for in-depth articles and case studies on nonprofit marketing.

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Pull Your Base into Your Org for Powerful Marketing (and More) -- Carnival of Nonprofit ConsultantsThis is it. The boiled-down, essential, greatest potential takeaway I have from the Nonprofit Technology Conference
is the value of
imperative for nonprofit marketers to fully involve our bases in our organizations.

It’s not just about Web 2.0, social marketing gewgaws, getting attention, or capitalizing on our constituencies’ (external audiences, partners, boards, colleagues or…) creativity or intellects to create high-impact content. The whole dynamic has shifted, and you have to embrace it.

Here’s confirmation and some exciting models:

  • ServingYouth’s Amy Jussel is passionate about engaging communities in program design and content creation. She points to HopeLab’s global idea competition to get kids exercising as a great example. Contests are definitely a great way to crowdsource (get ideas from the field) and get your audiences involved and excited.
  • I just love this one! Joanne Fritz recommends Peter Shankman’s matchmaking service to connect journalists expert sources like you. Jump onto Shankman’s Help a Reporter today to register for this no-charge, grassroots version of ProfNet.
  • Ashoka intern David Stoker points to the power of an engaged citizen base, as outlined in this great overview from Ahshoka’s Citizen Base Initiative.
    • “…That a nonprofit can engage a community like a church or sports team does is very interesting. Team fans do all sorts of crazy things: sacrifice large amounts of their time and money, and more.  And what they get in return is much more complex than ‘entertainment’.  The idea that a nonprofit can engage its community in a way that satisfies similar needs is exciting, and seeing so many examples [in this paper] of creative ways orgs are already doing so intrigues me,” says Stoker.

I couldn’t have said it better myself, David. Don’t wait till your base goes elsewhere; remember, loyalty is to issues, not to organizations. Open up your arms today.

Missing out on the Getting Attention e-newsletter? Subscribe now for in-depth articles and case studies on nonprofit marketing.You’ll get first access to research like this, plus other coverage to ensure marketing impact.

Nancy Schwartz in 08NTC, Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants, Citizen Participation/Crowdsourcing, Nonprofit Communications, Strategy, Trends | 0 comments
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Your Org's Base is Most Vital Nonprofit Marketing Power You Have -- Pull Your Peeps In, NowThis is it.

The boiled-down, most essential, most vibrant, most potential (you can sing that) takeaway I have from the NTC Conference is the value of imperative for nonprofit marketers to fully engage our citizen bases, aka crowdsourcing. It’s not just about Web 2.0, social marketing gewgaws, getting attention, or capitalizing on our constituencies (and that can mean external audiences, partners, boards, colleagues or…) their creativity or intellects to create high-impact content.

They are you and you are them, or not (and that’s trouble). The whole dynamic has shifted, and you have to get with it. This is the natural continuum of ceding control of our brands — ala Everybody’s Talking About You–Why Your Nonprofit Needs to Listen, and Listen Hard, and we’ve moved ahead very quickly.  Now it’s clear that proactivity is key to growing and strengthening your org. Don’t wait till you have no other choice.

Read my posts from the 08NTC (Nonprofit Technology Conference) for several inspiring models and hands-on how-tos. Then get to work, today.

Missing out on the Getting Attention e-newsletter? Subscribe now for in-depth articles and case studies on nonprofit marketing.You’ll get first access to research like this, plus other coverage to ensure marketing impact.

Nancy Schwartz in 08NTC, Branding and Messages, Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants, Citizen Participation/Crowdsourcing, Nonprofit Communications, Social Networking, Trends, Web 2.0 | 0 comments
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Talk to me About the New Nonprofit Marketing ToolApproachModelIdea That's Intriguing You…or are intrigued by.

I’m here at the Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC) and absorbing ideas, models, tools like a sponge. So realize how much power there is in drawing out the same from other bloggers for next week’s Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants.

So, nonprofit bloggers, tell me what’s intriguing you? What nonprofit marketing model, tool, tip approach or idea is compelling you to find out more or put it into action for your organization?

Talk to me by midnight, Saturday, March 22nd. Just go to BlogCarnival.com to submit your post using the form there or send an email to npc.carnival AT yahoo DOT com with your name, your blog’s name and the URL of the post (not your blog homepage).

I’ll report out next Monday with what should be a powerful "to explore" list for us all.

Signing off from New Orleans,
Nancy

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Nancy Schwartz in Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants, Fundraising: Innovations & Research, Mobile Tools, Nonprofit Communications, Professional Development | 1 comment
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Lead off 2008 with these Nonprofit Marketing Priorities -- Carnival of Nonprofit ConsultantsAs hostess with the mostess for this week’s Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants, I asked fellow bloggers to share the top 3 “to do’s on their 2008 nonprofit marketing agenda.

Here are several recommendations to consider in finalizing your 2008 marketing priorities:

  • Sherri Garrity at Make it Count whittles top priorities down to one — creating a culture of giving: Creating more givers than takers, and giving them fulfilling and rewarding opportunities and experiences.
  • See3‘s Michael Hoffman plans to 1) help nonprofits increase connection with their audiences, via the right tools and the data to prove it works; 2) guide nonprofits to make the best use of video by creating a well-placed message and using video to reach people who respond 3) guide orgs to optimize social media marketing strategies and viral video techniques to create quantifiable action.
  • Kivi Miller at Nonprofit Communications outlines three straightforward but crucial musts for 2008, that are all too frequently overlooked: 1) Use a clean copy of your logo; 2) add easy online giving to your Web site; and 3) ensure all staff and leadership can deliver your elevator pitch.
  • Katya Andresen links Trendwatcher‘s eight top trends for 2008 to nonprofit marketing. Her take on snack culture (quick, cheap, easy to digest bites…of anything) is right on target — “Short, great, snacky stories about specific people are better.  And be sure you have online giving – [Network for Good’s] research shows the #1 reason people like it is it’s easy.  Convenience is king.
  • Fundraising Coach
    Marc Pitman will focus only on what’s a must (for him promoting his new book), continue to experiment with pay-per-click advertising like that on Facebook.com and widget type marketing like ChipIn.com, and automate promotion of his speaking and training offerings.
  • Yours truly outlines “to dos” that need to be at (or near) the top of every nonprofit’s 2008 marketing agenda:
    • Review 2007 marketing impact (now), and shape your 2008 plan accordingly
    • Reinforce your org leadership’s understanding of the value of marketing, and its support for your work.
    • Bury Web 1.0 to fully embrace participatory communications.

What topping your 2008 marketing agenda? Let us know by clicking the comments link below.

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Nancy Schwartz in Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants, Nonprofit Communications, Planning and Evaluation | 3 comments
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Crisis Communications Report Card Red Cross Responds to Exec Hanky Panky

UPDATE: 11/30/2007, 1PM EST

Now the cat is out of the bag — Everson’s playmate has been IDd and more questions are raised. ARC I urge you to get out front with this pronto — with all the info you have on what happened, and your strategy for fixing it (including an audit of ARC’s Katrina relief spending).
__________________

The American Red Cross(ARC) is facing its own disaster, that of another incapable president/CEO. Yes, the ARC board acted quickly in requesting president/CEO Mark Everson’s resignation once his dalliance with a staffer was discovered. But once again, the Red Cross finds itself in the middle of crisis (four ARC presidents have been forced out in the last six years). Too bad for ARC, but a great learning op for the nonprofit marketing community.

Commentators inside and outside the nonprofit world are spewing their takes — some positive (relatively) on the speed of the board’s action, some negatively on the damage that this crisis wreaks not only on the Red Cross but on other nonprofit organizations (especially coming at the height of end-of-year fundraising).

My take is that the Red Cross folks are doing a good job of crisis communications. But there’s room for them to do better (utilizing some of the same strategies they use when handling disasters, like RSS and “reverse 911“). Here’s what I’m seeing:

  • ARC’s press release on the resignation request and appointment of an interim CEO is linked from  its home page.
    • The content is clear but succinct, covering key details on ARC’s immediate response. Model crisis communications — fast on the draw but sticking to key facts.
    • The release was published on 11/17/07, immediately after news broke.
  • The New York Times featured these proactive quotes from ARC leadership in its first story, showcasing how ARC leadership is striving to re-focus attention on the mission of the organization, and the strength its staff:

“Although this is difficult and disappointing news for the Red Cross community, the organization remains strong and the life-saving mission of the American Red Cross will go forward,” Bonnie McElveen-Hunter, chairman of the Red Cross board, said in a statement.

“The Red Cross is more than one person,” said [Suzy C.] DeFrancis, ARC public affairs officer. “It’s 750 chapters and thousands of volunteers,” she said.

So far, ARC is following these crisis communications musts:

  • Having a plan (they must)
  • Sticking to messaging
  • Not delving into political agendas; staying above the fray.

Here’s where they need to do better:

  • The Times reported that the board chair is supposedly out of the country and unavailable for further comment. Rings false. And her voice is missing from the latest Times article. Make the board chair available 24/7, and make sure she’s strong and consistent in her messaging.
  • Deliver a second, and fully comprehensive, communication, accessible right from the ARC home page. If they don’t frame the conversation, others will.
  • Get involved where others are talking about the scandal — on blogs, MySpace pages, message boards, etc, rather than expecting audiences to come to the ARC site.
  • Design a distributed crisis communications plan for ARC affiliates (here’s where they are now), donors and volunteers.

I’ll keep my eye on this bubbling brew, and report back as it develops.

Meanwhile, make sure you’re ready for crisis communications. Or get that way quick by digesting these recent case studies.

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Nancy Schwartz in Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants, Crisis Communications, Nonprofit Communications | 2 comments
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Tracking Impact Leads 2008 Nonprofit Marketing AgendaAs host of next week’s Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants, I asked participants to share the top 3 “to dos” on their 2008 nonprofit marketing agendas. You have to finalize these now to jump in on January 2nd.

These are the priorities I’ll focus on for clients and Getting Attention readers alike:

  1. Review 2007 marketing impact, and revise your 2008 plan accordingly
    • All too frequently, nonprofit marketers never dig into the data and feedback they have on their initiatives.
    • 35% of nonprofits surveyed prioritized strengthening relationships with target audiences as top priority for 2007 marketing. But you have to know what’s working to do more of it.
    • Cumulate and organize data now, for review asap. It’ll ensure you make the most of your 2008 marketing investment.
    • If you’re not tracking the impact (only 37% of nonprofits do — more here) of your marketing work, that is your absolute priority for 2008. Get going or you’ll continue to drive blind.
  2. Reinforce your org leadership’s understanding of the value of marketing, and its support for your work.
    • 55% percent of nonprofit marketers cited lack of resources and leadership support as greatest barriers to 2007 marketing success.
    • Don’t fall into this trap again; educate, engage and involve your leaders in your marketing dilemmas, decisions and impact — 24/7. Really. This isn’t a one-off.
    • Show them ROI, the best reason to increase your marketing budget. Workplans don’t mean much.
  3. Bury Web 1.0  to fully embrace participatory communications
    • Your org is no longer the sole authority on your issue area. That’s Web 1.0.
    • So, make sure your Web sites are written for conversation, not for dissemination.
    • “Create the sense that there’s plenty of space for others to share their views, opinions and experience,” advises writing-for-the-Web expert Nick Usborne advises.
    • Integrate community tools into your site and make sure you’re where audiences are participating online — so its easy for supporters to form community around your organization and the work you do.Invite visitors (think of them as members) to enter their profiles and join in online conversations on key issues, and enable them to rate your programs and blog posts.

P.S. Don’t forget to check in here on on Monday to read what tops the nonprofit marketing agenda of colleagues in the field.

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Nancy Schwartz in Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants, Nonprofit Communications, Planning and Evaluation, Web 2.0 | 0 comments
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carnivalLike most of you, I’m sure, I’m busy listing my priorities for 2008. And wondering what’s at the top of your list. Where should more experimentation into social marketing fall? How about direct mail? Are you cutting back?

The timing is great. I’m hosting the always-provocative Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants here next Monday, and will cast a wide net on this question to the thoughtful and imaginative bloggers who participate.

So bloggers of the nonprofit world, what are the top 3 "to dos" leading your 2008 nonprofit marketing agenda? If you write a blog post this week that fits, please send the permalink to me by Friday COB, November 30th at npc.carnival AT yahoo.com or via the Blog Carnival form.

P.S. If you’re daunted by the specter of marketing planning, break it down into more palatable 90-day chunks. Learn how here:
How to Do Grand Plan Marketing 90 Days at a Time (Case Study)

Missing out on the Getting Attention e-newsletter? Subscribe now for in-depth articles and case studies on nonprofit marketing.

Nancy Schwartz in Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants, Nonprofit Communications, Strategy, Trends | 1 comment
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How to Use Online Video to Strengthen Your Nonprofit Marketing Impact -- Carnival of Nonprofit ConsultantsHow do you put online video to work to boost your nonprofit marketing? That’s what I asked colleagues to share in this week’s Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants.

Here goes:

  • Alia McKee of Sea Change Strategies Direct remembers how Video Killed the Radio Star (not a bad song 20 years later). She recommends that online video should complement — not replace — more traditional and online channels at this point. She also shares 5 key tips for online video success, including keeping it under 2 minutes.
  • Steve Andrews at the UK-based Whitewater agency shares the SolarAid (a nonprofit he’s helping to establish) online video strategy — they’ll be using video primarily to deliver timely, tangible, powerful feedback to donors. Donors and beneficiaries will be able to converse via blogs and vlogs (video diaries).
  • Higher ed marketing guru Bob Johnson suggests that online video is an expectation for many nonprofit audiences (definitely for prospective college students) and warns against talking heads and other staged approaches. He also stresses the importance of quality production — as budget permits.
  • Katya Andresen advises on how to succeed in nonprofit marketing in a quick-and-dirty (but effective) video, with links to easy directions for doing it yourself. Katya, you win the “most original” prize by a landslide. Enthused by her video experiment, she goes on to critique Neiman Marcus’ anniversary video campaign, concluding that show, don’t tell is the ultimate video must.
  • This startling video from Greenpeace absolutely captivated me because it’s startlingly original, short, a bit frightening and hugely compelling because I get blamed for a huge world crisis. I clicked on the call-to-action link at the end of the video.
  • Hatef Yamini at Frogloop interviewed video experts at Online Video Services (OVS) who advise that knowing your audience and selecting video “stars” that appeal to that group is key. Another  important guideline — quality counts, e.g. you get what you pay for. OVS estimates the cost for a professional video shoot, including editing, at $1K for each minute of on demand finished content.
    • Caveat — There is an active debate what quality means, and adds, in online video. Some Carnival bloggers hold out for the authenticity of amateur video. My take — that amateur video will soon become tedious as the novelty of the medium erodes. Expectations for higher-end production values will begin to increase very quickly. I’ve watched this cycle before, most recently with blogging.

Some Nonprofit Video Successes
There are many powerful nonprofit videos out there to inspire and guide you. Here’s a list of top picks from Carnival bloggers:

  • The Buffalo Movie — Video evidence connects donors and beneficiaries
  • This video from UNC’s Kenan-Flagler Business School lets students talk about how they advance their careers in a great example of “storytelling” content that’s more effective delivered in video than written out as text.
  • The Central Dallas Ministries Transition Resource Action Center produced this video, which motivated NPowerDC’s Jocelyn Harmon to become a first-time donor.
  • Kids radio program Kidcast put together this simple video to spread the word. Thanks to David Brazeal for the heads up.
  • Alia points to IRC communications officer Emily Holland who recently traveled to Darfur to document the lives of displaced Sudanese survivors. Her video diary shows us that IRC is working on the ground in key areas and is an absorbing story. Again, authenticity rules.
  • NC environmental organization RE3.org is using video for online training, with the long-term goal of reducing training-related travel. This is a very simple and clever use of video — RE3.org simply video tapes a PowerPoint presentation with the audio, resulting in a full-fledged Webinar. Simple but elegant.
  • OVS credits the California Bar Association with setting the bar in using video as a fully-integrated component of its anti-smoking campaign. Here’s Carol Burnett.

Let me know (click the Comments link below) how your nonprofit is using video, and what’s working best. I’ll spread the word.

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Nancy Schwartz in Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants, Case Studies, Nonprofit Communications, Video | 4 comments
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