Leadership

Leadership support nonprofit marketingI have some exciting news to share –

I’ll be holding a special, free webinar for all organizations that enter the 2010 Nonprofit Tagline Awards Program.

Here’s why:  You’ve told me time and time again how much marketing work you want and need to do to advance your organization’s mission. But frequently meet a roadblock in convincing your leadership (and sometimes colleagues too) of the value (a.k.a. ROI) of investing in key marketing projects.

Building understanding is first step to building support and this webinar will walk you through, step-by-step, how to build leadership understanding and support.

You’ll leave with a clear sense of what it takes, examples of what works and doesn’t work and a comprehensive checklist to work from in your initial “building awareness and support” campaign and on an ongoing basis.

Trust me. When your leadership feels like part of your marketing team – rather than like outsiders – you’ll be much more likely to get the support and budget you need to execute the marketing campaigns you know will make the greatest impact. You’re the marketing expert but leadership support is a key to success.

So, don’t waste a minute. Enter today – The 2010 Getting Attention Nonprofit Tagline Awards (a.k.a. The Taggies) close on July 28! Please enter today. And this year, for the first time, you can submit your organization’s program, fundraising campaign and/or and special event taglines, in addition to your organizational tagline.

When you do, your name will be placed on the invite list for the webinar, to be held mid-fall.

P.S. Learn more about building leadership support for critical nonprofit marketing projects:

Building Internal Support for Communications

How to Defend Your Marketing Budget, Even in Tough Times

Why Communications Advocacy Should Remain #1 on Your To-Do List

Nancy Schwartz in Leadership, Taglines | 0 comments
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Just Added — December 18th!

  • Taking the Initiative (Sierra Club)
    • Blogger: Executive Director Carl Pope has been blogging for almost two years now, and he’s a pro at it. He writes zingy, pithy posts on issues that are relevant to audiences lives, so they catch readers’ attention.
    • A recent post on Illinois’ recently signed bill to restrict pollution, partially focused on ensuring that regional fish are as mercury-free as possible pulled in readers with Pope’s focus on:
      • Many fish have dangerously-high levels of mercury
      • Illinois is ahead of the game in signing this new bill
      • Detailing aspects of the bill which are great models for other states.
    • So he pulls readers in via a personal concern (mercury-laden fish), then hooks them into the legislative/advocacy agenda. Masterfully done, Carl.
    • Subscribe to this blog’s feed and track Carl’s posts. He’s one of the best nonprofit bloggers I know, and the top of the list of advocacy bloggers.

Don’t forget to email me when you hear of a new blog from a nonprofit or foundation CEO.
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  • President’s Blog (Trinity University)
    • Blogger: President Patricia McGuire is a natural blogger — disarmingly straightforward, tackles the hard issues, writes in a conversational voice.
    • She gives her point of view on two fronts — University news and current affairs. In Her November 16th post, McGuire hones in on Nancy Pelosi’s (a Trinity alum) perceived loss of power after her appointment of Steny Hoyer as whip (Pelosi had supported Murtha, but was out voted). She uses this event as a springboard to discuss “losing and leading, learning the art of compromise in order to make progress.”
    • McGuire’s clear, strong voice is compelling. If I was a student considering Trinity, or a prospective donor reviewing giving opportunities, I’d source her blog for a powerful sense of what I’d be getting into.
    • BTW, comments are accepted only through an email form, with McGuire blogging her responses only to selected comments and queries.
  • President’s Blog (Oregon Institute of Technology)
    • Blogger: Martha Anne Dow, Institute president, blogs on issues as wide-ranging as the campus physical plant to the Institute’s GRAD program for high school graduates. No comments are accepted.
    • Dow’s posts are in “admin voice,” so don’t make as much impact as they could.
    • Nonetheless, she posts on some controversial issues. See Dow’s October 23rd post on the decrease in state support, results in increased tuition.
    • However, Dow needs to post more frequently. I’m writing this on November 17th and the last post was made on October 30th.
  • Beneblog
    • Blogger: James Fruchterman, social entrepreneur, founder of Benetech and 2006 MacArthur Genius award winner. Benetech creates innovative technology solutions that address social needs. Its Bookshare.org initiative created the world’s largest accessible library of scanned books and periodicals, providing people with visual or print disabilities access to a dramatically increased volume of print materials.
    • Fruchterman’s blog is a great example of what studio 501c blogger Celeste Wroblewski calls the “business lunch blog.”
      • In a simple and clear, short to medium-length posts  Fruchterman discusses Benetech news and comments on current events related to the mission and  work of the organization. Definitely stays at the overview level but his comments supplement the reader’s understanding of Fruchterman’s vision,and where the organization is going.
      • Just the kind of interesting but finite content you’d discuss over lunch with a donor, staff member, colleague or board member over a roast beef sandwich, when you have a 2pm meeting coming. Enough, but not too much.

Here’s a fairly comprehensive listing of leadership blogs across the world.

Nancy Schwartz in Blogging for Nonprofits, Leadership, Nonprofit Communications, Philanthropy | 4 comments
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Here’s the most striking observation from last week’s DMA Nonprofit Conference in New York: There were only 4 other marketing/communications folks, plus me, among the 450 conference participants. That means only 1% of attendees were marketers/communicators.

So where was that crucial conversation and alignment? Lots of discussion about the musts of integrating online and print fundraising communications, but next to none on organization-wide integration of effort and brand.

I was astonished. Donors are volunteers are spokepeople are prospective board members, etc. Prospective funders and donors are news readers are parents of volunteers and program participants. Volunteers are prospective donors are referrers are spokespeople are board members. Program participants are prospective donors are news readers. You get the idea.

This gap amazed me. Gotta say — I always guide my clients to ensure marketing/communications and fundraising teams work together, and know what the other is doing.

The marketing/commmunications and fundraising partnership is equivalent to the marriage of sales and marketing folks in the corporate world. The researchers behind Sales & Marketing Alignment, a new report on this vital relationship just released by MarketingProfs, tell us that companies in which the sales and marketing teams are closely aligned grow more quickly, close more proposals (a.k.a. gifts) and lose many fewer customers (donors, in your case). You can certainly extrapolate these advantages to the value dervied from close alignment of your nonprofit’s communications and fundraising teams.

So why aren’t nonprofit fundraising and communications folks working closely together? What’s to lose? There’s everything to gain.

Any ideas? We’ve got to solve this problem, asap.

Nancy Schwartz in Leadership, New Challenges, Nonprofit Communications, People | 4 comments
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I’ve been doing a lot of thinking on this topic. No surprise, since it’s one of the most frequent questions I’m asked by clients and Getting Attention readers. So I was pleasantly surprised when I read what New York Times writer Randall Stross had to say about CEO blogging in a recent Digital Divide column.

What Makes a Great Executive Director Blogger
Let’s just say great minds think alike. Stross profiles corporate blogging star Sun Microsystems Fortune 500 CEO blogger Jonathan Schwartz (the only F500 CEO blogging publicly). Here’s why Schwartz (no relation) shines:

    • “My No. 1 job is to be a communicator,” Mr. Schwartz told (Stross). “I don’t understand how a C.E.O. would not blog if committed to open communication.”
    • Schwartz’ blog post on Sun’s most recent quarterly earnings announcement are a "tonic," writes Stross.
      • He not only summarizes the announcement, but adds his own spin on why, and what’s coming up in the future.
      • He sounds — although I have no idea — like he’s writing himself, without handling, editing, a ghost writer. Let’s assume he is.
    • So what’s effective, and not too common, about Schwartz’ blogging? He:
      • Writes candidly, and naturally. You can get a perspective on his blog that’s not available anywhere else. An effective CEO blogger has to be comfortable with the informality inherent in blogging.
      • Blogs only when he has something to say.
      • Conveys a sense of who he is, beyond Sun’s CEO. Schwartz’ enthusiasm is absolutely infectious. I can relate to him, and I bet that would be true for most folks. Take this example –On July 30th, the day the NYT article was published, Schwartz blogged about the thrill of sitting down to lunch with Tony Blair. If I was a shareholder, I’d be thrilled to have this guy in charge of a my financial future.
      • Wants to communicate, and to blog, directly.

If your nonprofit’s or foundation’s Executive Director is a good writer, and fits the other criteria outlined above, encourage her to to dive in now. Here’s how your nonprofit will benefit…

The Value of Executive Director(ED) Blogging for Your Organization
A well-executed ED blog:

  • Motivates emotional connection with your audiences. The more "personality" (assuming it’s the right personality), that your organization makes accessible, the more your stakeholders will connect with you.
    • A ED blogger has to show his or her personality.
    • undefined worse than a blog that reads like an annual report.
  • Is a highly efficient means of communication, reaching multiple stakeholders in a single stroke — donors, board members, employees, volunteers, members, program participants and colleagues in the field.
  • Spurs interest, and dialog. Schwartz’ post on quarterly earnings (OK, lots of people are very interested in that info, and his take on it) generated more than 50 comments before Sun stopped accepting them on that post.

Make Sure Your ED Doesn’t Blog Alone — Multiple Touch-Points Ensure Your Audiences Find Connection
When your nonprofit or foundation ED does launch a blog, make sure it’s one of two or more. No EDO blog should stand alone, since the "on-the-ground" perspective — from program staff, volunteer coordinators, etc. — is an important counterpoint.

As blog analyst Steve Rubel comments, "Every nonprofit should also have people blogging from the gut of the company to demonstrate that their entire workforce is fully engaged in dialog. Multiple online touch-points, not just at the executive level, is the best scenario. It lets readers find individuals they can relate to." 

Sun does a great job of this, making its blog platform available to any employee who wants to blog. I’d suggest a middle-ground, maybe one or two individual bloggers or topical blogs (with a team of bloggers) in addition to your ED blog.

Does Your Nonprofit ED Blog, or Want to Blog?
Please share your experiences and questions below.

(via Debbie Weil and Jeff Jarvis)

More about nonprofit blogging here.

Are you Getting Attention? Subscribe to our free e-newsletter today. 

Nancy Schwartz in Blogging for Nonprofits, Leadership, Nonprofit Communications, Strategy | 0 comments
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BoardNet, in partnership with the updated Verizon Foundation Resource Center for nonprofit organizations, is offering a special matching service for those nonprofits seeking
communications expertise for their boards.

I’ve worked through BoardNet myself in seeking the right board position, and find their service (a matchmaking service joining nonprofit organizations and prospective board members) to be an ideal use of the web. It’s like online dating that works. Through capitalizing on web technology, BoardNet enables nonprofits and prospective board members  with common interests or needs to find each other. They have lots of success stories to share.

Whether you are a nonprofit staffer seeking to bring some marketing expertise to your board leadership, or a marketing and communications expert interested in sharing your skills with an organization working on issues that mean something to you, BoardNet is the place to be.

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Nancy Schwartz in Leadership, Nonprofit Communications, Special Opportunities | 0 comments
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I was confronted (yet again) a couple of weeks ago with a pointed reminder of one of philanthropy’s biggest Achilles’ heels–the often overlooked or misunderstood importance of integrating innovative communications strategies into every program.

Peter Goldmark, head of Environmental Defense’s Climate and Air Program, headlined the Finding Philanthropy’s Sweet Spot Forum.  He’s smart and visionary, in many ways. But, when talking about a recent ED partnership with Federal Express to hybridize their trucks, he didn’t mention marketing as one of the strategies used to maximize the impact of this initiative. And, when asked by a forum participant how to get the word out, he replied that there’s no good way to do so in this age of information overload.

Yikes, so defeatist. And so disappointing coming from a philanthropic leader so smart and articulate. But so important in emphasizing that our job as advocates for the vital role of communications in philanthropic programming (on the foundation and nonprofit sides) isn’t done. And will never be done.

Read more here for guidelines on being an effective advocate, and my recommendations for marketing strategies that will build the impact of the ED/FedEx partnership.

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Nancy Schwartz in Leadership, Nonprofit Communications, Philanthropy | 0 comments
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