Recommended Resources

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When I recently asked nonprofit experts in a range of fields and functions—from public health to fundraising to advocacy—to share the one book that has most influenced their professional lives, I had no idea what I’d learn. Here’s what they told me: Get your free copy now.

I was thrilled to hear so many passionate stories about books that have made a huge difference in the lives of 129 nonprofit leaders, and wanted to put them together for you in an easy-to-digest format: The Book that Changed My Life.

Nancy Schwartz in Recommended Resources | 0 comments
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Nonprofit MarketingI’m so proud of my friend and colleague Kivi Leroux Miller for crafting the excellent Nonprofit Marketing Guide: High-Impact, Low-Cost Ways to Build Support for Your Good Cause (partner link). And Kivi’s been gracious enough to make Getting Attention the first stop on her virtual book tour.

I recommend you purchase the book today. Here’s why:  It’s a source every time-strapped communicator can count on time and time again – comprehensive, accessible and smart. When you buy the book before midnight tonight (June 1, 2010) and forward your receipt to, you’ll be entered to win a free Getting Attention tagline review. You’ll also be entered into a drawing on Friday for several All-Access Passes to the Nonprofit Marketing Guide Webinar Series.

Here’s a small taste of Kivi’s practical nonprofit marketing advice…

“Where do I begin?”

That’s hands down the most frequently-asked question that nonprofit communicators ask consultants like Nancy and me.

Like any good consultant (or therapist), I always respond with a question of my own: What is it that you want people to do?

I can usually tell how long – and difficult – the conversation will be based on the answer I get. Responses like these signal a long conversation ahead:

  • “We want them to support . . .”
  • “We want them to care about . . . ”
  • “We want them to understand . . . ”

The problem with responses like these is that there isn’t any specific action involved. No one is doing anything. So I ask the same question again, but using the language from the response.

  • What does someone do when they are supporting you?
  • What does someone do to show they care?
  • What does someone do when they understand?

Now, we start to get to more specific responses, like

  • “Give us money.”
  • “Call their legislator.”
  • “Talk to their children about it.”

With these more specific actions as our goals, we’re equipped to shape a nonprofit marketing strategy. The conversation continues by discussing

  • Who needs to take these actions (helps us define the target audience)
  • What will motivate them to act (aids in creating a powerful message)
  • How and where to reach them (guides us in channel selection).

Writing an email newsletter or updating your Facebook page may end up as key elements of your strategy, but tactics aren’t the place to start . Instead, take some time – even just five minutes of quiet behind a closed door – to sort through these questions. That’s where to begin.

You’ll find much more in The Nonprofit Marketing Guide! Thanks, Kivi.

P.S. Get more in-depth articles, case studies and guides to nonprofit marketing (and video) success — all featured in the twice-monthly Getting Attention e-update. Subscribe today.

Nancy Schwartz in Recommended Resources | 2 comments
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Progressive Exchange - $1,000,000 Answers to Your Nonprofit Marketing Questions (for free)

I want to tell you about an incredible resource that I discovered a few months ago–The Progressive Exchange. And, as soon as you read this post, I urge you to join me there. It’s free and will help you the first time you use it. I guarantee it.

The Progressive Exchange (PX) is an online community (a.k.a. easy-to-use email list serv or web-based community) for folks doing online organizing, advocacy, marketing and fundraising “on behalf of the public interest.”  I had heard about PX for years, but never really knew what it was, and don’t want you to wait as long as I did.

First of all, there’s a diverse and helpful community of participants with lots of nonprofit marketing expertise. Secondly, there are folks in related functions who can shed some great perspective on marketing issues. Best of all, PX is incredibly easy to use–I’ve set it up to email me daily summaries of questions and replies being asked by other PXers, and replies. I also email my questions out the the list but, if you choose, you can also do it all on the web.

I’ve learned so much in these few months, and gotten great guidance in seeking a proofreader, getting direction on a specific SEO issue and more. Today I want to review discussion on  e-news open and unsubscribe rates.

PX is an incredible community, and the more of us there are, the more valuable it is. Please join me!

P.S. Get more in-depth articles, case studies and guides to
nonprofit marketing success — all featured in the twice-monthly
Getting Attention e-update.
Subscribe today .

Nancy Schwartz in Recommended Resources | 0 comments
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How to Generate Buzz via Social Media Real Life Dos and Don'tsHas this happened to your organization: You experimented with social media tools and found that nothing happened at all?

If so, you’re not alone. One of the most frequent complaints from organizations trying social media out is that after taking the plunge–whether tweeting, blogging or launching a Facebook fan page–nothing happens.

Now there’s help: I partnered with NTEN ED Holly Ross to share guidelines and case studies on using social media tools to build buzz (and reach) via this webinar for the Communications Network. And now the video recording and slide deck are available to you, at no cost.

Our presentation covers the nuts and bolts of social media success, the readiness required to put them to work and a laundry list of dos and don’ts. Although the case studies are about grantmakers, the examples and findings are equally relevant to nonprofit organizations.

I recommend you take an hour out to make sure your social media buzz building is all it can be. Here’s what one participant had to say (and another, just in).

P.S. More effective messaging is a priority for all organizations. Learn how to craft the most essential message — your tagline. Download the free 2009 Nonprofit Tagline Report, filled with must-dos, don’t dos, case studies and 2,500+ nonprofit tagline examples!

Nancy Schwartz in Nonprofit Communications, Professional Development, Recommended Resources, Social Media | 1 comment
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5 Ways to Charge Up Your Marketing Skills -- Reach Beyond Your NicheIt’s typical for most of us humans to focus on keeping up within our fields. That’s more than enough — There’s no way I can keep up with even 60% of “general” marketing and nonprofit communications content (not issue-, field- or audience-specific).

But rather than putting all my energies there, I cherry pick what’s highest value and go elsewhere for learning and inspiration. Digesting other types of content enables me to:

  • Get a clearer perspective, outside the nonprofit communications headspace.
    It’s crucial but challenging to do so if that’s what you focus on. But remember, most folks your organization is  reaching out to aren’t in that space.
  • Harvest strategies from those working in other industries and functions.
  • Refresh your mind and your creativity.

Here is some of my favorite brain candy:

  1. Water Words that Work is written by a communicator in the environmental field for his peers. OK, this is communications but it’s so specialized that I learn strategies that I’ve never thought of before.
  2. Boomers gives me insights I need to know to help organizations motivate this generation so crucial to org impact.
  3. Serious Eats, the world’s most delicious cooking blog, provides a wealth of delicious writing. I’m frequently inspired by the fluent language and tone of these food writers (and have made many of the recipes as well, all superb to date). Food isn’t everyone’s thing but if it’s one of yours, it’s hard to beat a memorable phrase like “the crisper whisperer.”
  4. Zen Habits helps me keep focused and productive. Blogger Leo Babauta walks his talk and shares those experiences. No loosey goosey here — just strong, clear writing and useful insights into how humans work. BTW, Leo is a masterful headline crafter. Take a look at these blog post titles.
  5. Arts Marketing is one of those “I just found this but why didn’t I know about it before” discoveries. Like Water Words that work, this is a specialized blog (arts marketing is quite a difference beast due to the ticket sale element). Fantastic strong opinions, and lots of great ideas to integrate into your communications.

Please share your favorite brain candy with the Getting Attention community by commenting on this post. I’m always hungry for more!

P.S. Get more in-depth articles, case studies and guides to nonprofit marketing success — all featured in the twice-monthly Getting Attention e-update. Subscribe today.

Photo: EvatheWeaver

Nancy Schwartz in Nonprofit Communications, Professional Development, Recommended Resources | 1 comment
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Just Do It Early Bird Registration for 2 Top Nonprofit Conferences Ends 1215Act now to attend two of the finest conferences for nonprofit communicators at a reduced early bird rate. Discounted registration for both meetings ends Tuesday, December 15.

True Spin Conference: Jan. 21 and 22, Denver, CO

Join some of America’s best progressive communications practitioners for two exhilarating days of panels, workshops, networking and fun at True Spin 2010.  Focused on the communications needs of issue-oriented advocacy groups, True Spin offers participants timely, focused sessions on topics ranging from How to Combat Astroturf Campaigns to Taking Advantage of Audience Fragmentation, plus lots of opportunity to brainstorm with colleagues in the field. Register now.

2010 Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC): April 8-10, Atlanta, GA

Full disclosure: I'm a board member of NTEN, which runs this conference. But I became a huge NTEN champion through attending this conference — the only venue I know of where program, fundraising, communications folks and other key nonprofit staffers and consultants learn and talk together about common challenges and strategies! The program is too rich to cover here but I promise you it's mind-blowing (in the best way), the networking superb. Please join me there.

Register now. Early bird registration rates end COB December 15th.

Flickr: normko

P.S. Don't miss out on in-depth articles, case studies and guides to nonprofit fundraising and marketing success — all featured in the twice-monthly Getting Attention e-update.  Subscribe today.

Nancy Schwartz in Nonprofit Communications, Professional Development, Recommended Resources | 0 comments
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Reader Favorites to Power Up Your Nonprofit Communications in 2010This year saw the explosion of social media, online video and mobile content. We’ve friended, tweeted and absorbed more content on the web in 2009 than ever before. This means there’s more content competing for your audiences’ attention, so getting the basics right is an absolute imperative.

Take a look at this list of 2009’s most popular Getting Attention articles for insight into mastering your core marketing components in 2010 and beyond.

1. This Creative Brief Template Helps Ensure Powerful Copy and Design

Taking the time and energy to craft a thorough summary of your goals, preferences and needs for a writing or design project will save time and money, and ensure you get the results you envisioned.  This article and template give you everything you need to succeed.

2.  Nonprofits’ Most Missed Marketing Tool — Email Signatures

Crafting your email signature to feature key information about your organization is a simple and inexpensive way to communicate your message to your contacts. Read this article to learn what works best.

3.  How to Design an Effective Marketing and Communications Budget (Case Study)

More than ever, it’s vital to have a plan and budget to guide and support your marketing efforts.  Dive into this article to learn how to outline a budget that will help you accomplish your goals.

4.  5 Steps to Great Graphic Design for Your Nonprofit

Finding the right graphic designer or team is challenging. But now there’s help: This article breaks the selection process down into five easy steps for developing strong relationships with the right designers. This is a proven path to design work that conveys the essence of your org while captivating your audiences.

5.  How to Write a Letter to the Editor that Gets Published and Read

A letter to the editor is great alternative to a news story for nonprofits, giving your org the chance to state an opinion, offer an alternative viewpoint, or move someone to action, in your own words. Here are 10 proven guidelines for letter to the editor success.

P. S. Don’t miss out on in-depth articles, case studies and guides to nonprofit marketing success — all featured in the twice-monthly Getting Attention e-update. Subscribe today.

Flickr photo: go-mel


Amy Kehoe in Branding and Messages, Case Studies, Copywriting, Getting Attention, Graphic Design, Media Relations and Press, Nonprofit Communications, Planning and Evaluation, Recommended Resources | 1 comment
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Download Free 2009 Nonprofit Tagline Report -- For Messaging that Connects even in Tough TimesNonprofits have a major branding problem in weak taglines. Taglines
are the best way to succinctly convey nonprofits' value, but 7 in 10
nonprofits rate their taglines as poor or don't have one at all.

The just-released 2009 report, based on 1,700 2009 tagline award entries and recent survey responses from 1,900 of your colleague nonprofit communicators, shows that most nonprofits don’t have an organizational tagline that works to make their organizations’ value clear, and easy to remember and repeat.

A highly-effective nonprofit tagline model (and one of the 13 winners of the 2009 tagline awards) is Because the earth needs a good lawyer from Earthjustice. Earthjustice capitalizes on what people do understand–-that a lawyer protects rights–-and uses that framework to dramatically position its role and impact in the environmental movement. And it does so with humor. If your tagline makes people smile or light up, without stepping on your message, then you’ve made an emotional connection…Bravo.

A strong tagline complements your org's name to convey its unique value or impact with personality, passion and commitment. If you fail to make the most of your tagline, you throw that opportunity away.

Dig into this free updated guide to learn:

  • Why a Nonprofit’s Name Isn’t Enough
  • How a Strong Tagline Benefits Your Organization – Useful for developing support among colleagues and leadership
  • The 10 Have-Tos for Successful Taglines
  • Using  Words that Work
  • The 7 Deadly Sins, 9 Snores and 5 Best Ways to Antagonize Your Audience  – What not to do
  • Research, Create, Revise, Test, Repeat – The right steps to take to craft a potent tagline
  • Over 2,500 Nonprofit Tagline Examples to put to work for message brainstorming.

Download the 2009 Nonprofit Tagline Report here. When you do, you'll automatically be added to the mailing list for info on the 2010 Nonprofit Tagline Award Program.

Nancy Schwartz in Branding and Messages, Nonprofit Communications, Recommended Resources, Taglines | 1 comment
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Steve Jobs' Presentation Technique Works Magic for Nonprofit CommunicatorsMany communicators consider Steve Jobs, Apple's co-founder and leader, to be the world's greatest corporate storyteller. One of Jobs' most ardent fans is communications coach Carmine Gallo, who decided to absorb thousands of Jobs' presentations to distill his magic formula.

I'm just finishing up Gallo's recently-released The Presentation Secrets of Steve Jobs and want to share a few of Jobs' most useful strategies with you. They're incredibly useful for program or fundraising communications, whether you're meeting with a major donor or presenting to your board:

  1. Brainstorm before you write a word or slide. Otherwise, your creativity and focus may be derailed by your outline.
  2. Stick to a single concept, the one and one only idea you want your listeners to take away, then support it with three key messages. The concept has to intersect with the interests and/or needs of your base — that's the point of connection.
  3. Express the concept with a memorable, visual headline or tagline. One of Jobs' most memorable headlines is Macbook Air, the world's thinnest notebook.
  4. Find the story in your theme, frame it in a hero/villain dichotomy and structure it as a three-act play (featuring the three key messages). Doing so makes the story easy and compelling to follow, a smooth journey. 
  5. Replace bullet points with a simple word/image combo on your slides. Example: Jobs conveyed the slimness of the Air with an image of the notebook being pulled from an envelope.

Watch Jobs here to see his presentation magic in motion. If you're interested in learning more of Jobs' techniques, I highly recommend Gallo's book!

P.S. Don't miss out on in-depth articles, case studies and guides to nonprofit marketing success — all featured in the twice-monthly Getting Attention e-update.  Subscribe today.

Nancy Schwartz in Nonprofit Communications, Presentations, Recommended Resources | 0 comments
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Get Your Social Media Questions Answered by the Pros -- Gear Up for GivingYou’re invited to participate in Gear Up for Giving, a month-long series of social media tutorials to help you, your colleagues and our base understand how to key social media tools and techniques to build awareness and motivate action for your cause.

These free, live online Q&A sessions — which start September 10th and run until October 1st — are hosted by some of the pros in the field, from Beth Kanter to Katya Andresen and Holly Ross. And, the tutorials are complemented by an encyclopedic resource directory on key social media topics so you’ll be able to easily dig in deeper to topics you want to master.

Get the tutorial dates and times on your calendar today (the first, on 9/10 at 10 eastern, features guru Geoff Livingston). It’s an opportunity too good to miss.

Thanks to the Case and Goldhirsh Foundations, and video production partner See3 Communications, for bringing these no-charge resources to the field. The series is a precursor to the next round of America’s Giving Challenge.

P.S. Don’t miss out on in-depth articles, case studies and guides to nonprofit marketing success — all featured in the twice-monthly Getting Attention e-update. Subscribe today.

Nancy Schwartz in Nonprofit Communications, Professional Development, Recommended Resources, Social Media | 1 comment
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