Special Opportunities

Your Chance to Hone Your Video Skills, and Win a Trip to Frisco -- 2nd Annual DoGooderTV AwardsCalling all nonprofit marketers! See3 Communications and the Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN) invite you to submit your videos to the contest, hosted on DoGooderTV.

The theme of this year’s contest is From the Ground Up: Using Technology to Engage Constituents and Make the World a Better Place.  Last year’s winner, Avaaz’ “Stop the Clash of Civilizations” has been viewed over 1.5 million times on YouTube. (Take a look–this is fabulous, compelling and catchy. You’ll want to view it at least twice.)

I love contests and awards. They get me off my b___ to create, to push myself, to experiment for client organizations (and to win a great prize on occasion). Use this opportunity to do this same with a few videos for your nonprofit, even if its a first-time production for you.

The dets:

  • Videos can focus on almost any issue area.
  • Submission deadline is February 15th, 2008, with finalist videos posted on DoGooderTV March 1st so viewers can vote on winners
  • Winner will be announced at NTEN’s annual conference (NTC) on March 21.
  • The winner will be awarded an all-expense paid trip to the 2009 NTC to be held in San Francisco.

Jump into this no lose, little cost, a bit of risk and effort opportunity with great potential for fun, marketing impact and perhaps even a trip to Frisco.

More information here.

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Nancy Schwartz in Awards, Nonprofit Communications, Special Opportunities, Video | 1 comment
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Seems it’s all the rage for corporate media entities to go nonprofit. Last week YouTube, Google and MTV announced nonprofit initiatives.

Most interestingly, YouTube announced Broadcast Your Cause, a way to make it even easier for people to find, watch and engage with nonprofit video content on the site. YouTube’s 2007/2008 Clinton Global Initiative commitment enables nonprofit organizations (501c3 tax filing status required for US orgs) that register for the program to receive a free nonprofit-specific YouTube channel where they can upload footage of their work, public service announcements, calls to action and more.

The channel will also allow you to collect donations with no processing costs using the newly-free Google Checkout for Non-Profits. YouTube’s global platform enables nonprofits to deliver their message, showcase their impact and needs, and encourage supporters to take action.

Meanwhile, the recent launch of ThinkMTV, MTV’s social activism social network (that’s a mouthful) has angered nonprofits planning or running social networks and turned down for funding by the same foundations (Case and Gates among others) who are funding this initiative. More from The New York Times here.

Obviously corporate media entities see that affiliation with nonprofits is of value to them. I see these initiatives as a complement to nonprofit-only networks if they partner with the right nonprofits on focus, strategy and communications. More is more. Reach audiences where they are. Yada yada yada.

Others are angered and/or threatened by these big boys stepping into the nonprofit world. Only time, and the nature of the partnerships these entities develop with nonprofit organizations, will tell how their involvement impacts nonprofit results. Stay tuned.

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Nancy Schwartz in Nonprofit Communications, Nonprofit Marketing News, Special Opportunities, Video | 0 comments
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Star Light, Star Bright -- Don't Miss These Ops for Your Nonprofit to ShineKivi Miller, mastermind behind the Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants, asked for input on some of nonprofits’ most commonly missed or overlooked opportunities to share success stories, good deeds, accomplishments. What should nonprofits be bragging about, but aren’t? What tools can you use to help your organization shine more brightly?

I anticipate an incredibly useful conversation among the experts who participate in the Carnival. Here are a few of my ideas:

  • Comment — Every time you read about another nonprofit’s accomplishment, innovation, success or new program, you have an opportunity to talk about your organization’s related accomplishment etc.
    • Blog comments, list servs and MySpace pages are all great venues for doing so.
  • Speak and share — Toot your own horn while you share your expertise and the experience with colleagues in nonprofit communications, via Webinar, conference, workshop:
    • I just finished participating in a Webinar (web-based conference call) with players in the powerful communications success enjoyed by the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists when it moved its doomsday clock closer to midnight.
    • Participation is a benefit of my membership in The Communications Network, an association of communications specialists working for and with foundations.
    • Speakers included the Bulletin’s ED and the various communications experts who shaped the very innovative campaign.
    • The result was a great learning experience for me, and a wonderful opportunity for the Bulletin to spread the word on the hows, whys and results of its innovative campaign.I’m going to write about it, and I’m sure others will spread the word too.
    • Also, a great way for a professional association to offer a benefit for its members — a win-win for The Communications Network and the Bulletin.
  • Quit Thinking so Much, and Make it Quick and Easy — Sometimes I think we all overthink. One of the most effective communications I absorbed recently was a simple letter-size flyer I picked off the circulation desk at the local library. Titled Facts and Figures for 2006, it cites number of patrons served, books checked out, volumes purchased and other stats that say a lot, without any comment from library staff. Less is more in action.

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Nancy Schwartz in Blogging for Nonprofits, Nonprofit Communications, Special Opportunities, Unique Approaches | 8 comments
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How do you keep your nonprofit marketing skills and interests fresh, when we’re all fighting against not enough time and money? That’s what I asked colleagues to share in this week’s Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants.

The Big Top is here at Getting Attention this week (call me Ringmistress), and your peers have some great professional learning strategies to share:

Marc Sirkin of NPMarketing Blog takes a three-fold path to professional learning, built on a foundation of love of learning and reading, willingness to try new things and sheer curiosity.

Whitewater’s Michelle Taylor always seeks a way to zig while others are zagging  to keep the creative juices flowing, and get a fresh perspective on communications and fundraising.

Beth Kanter at Beth’s Blog is a passionate continual learner who pursues learning with a discipline I’ve rarely seen (she dedicates 30 minutes daily to learning). Her learning strategies include searching for, digesting, capturing and organizing perspectives and data online (blogs plus) — an activity which in itself enables Beth to process new ideas (much as taking notes in the classroom did for me as a student) — and getting to face-to-face meetings (mostly vlogger and blogger meet ups) on a regular basis.

Kivi Miller at Nonprofit Communications learns most when she teaches — as a speaker, writer or trainer.

Kerri Karvetski of KK’s Blog counts on LinkedIn as a powerful network to query on the challenges you’re facing or the best way to pursue your new communications goal (she’s right on target here, what a creative strategy for learning),  reading cutting -edge blogs (live conference and campaign blogs and wikis) and volunteering to keep learning and invested.

And finally, yours truly recommends writing (all the time, all media, all topics), nurturing a community of peers as a network (mine’s a combo of offline and online, folks in the field and in related fields),  getting away from the desk to face-to-face meetings (irreplaceable) and finding your nonprofit marketing muse.

What’s your method of continual learning? Share your strategies in the comments box below.

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Nancy Schwartz in Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants, Nonprofit Communications, Professional Development, Special Opportunities | 5 comments
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The Knight Foundation is inviting entries to a $5 million competition to find innovative new ways to ensure communities get the news they need. Knight’s 21st Century News Challenge is focused on using online channels to power physical communities much like newspapers (Knight’s heritage) have done in the past.

It’s all about what Knight is calling the need for "community news experiments," says Eric Newtown, Director of Journalism Initiatives. To motivate, "smart, new ways to help communities act in their own true interests," Knight will award a total of $5 million to individuals, organizations or businesses worldwide that can show their ideas will transform community life, Newtown says.

News Challenge awards will be made in five categories:

  • Ideas — Those who receive awards in this category must agree to share their ideas with others, further developing them publicly in a blog on a Knight-designated web site for at least a year. (Individuals)
  • Pilot Projects & Field Tests — To support the development of innovative pilot projects, prototypes, field tests or trials that use news and information to create physical, geographic community. (Individuals, groups, organizations or companies)
  • Leadership — To achieve large-scale impact. (Educational institutions, nonprofits or think tanks)
  • Commercial Products & Investment — To launch products that might not yield the return a venture capitalist is looking for, but are likely to be profitable and address a social need. ("Double bottom-line" products or companies.)
  • Other — Wide open.

Beware though. Knight isn’t looking for the obvious. As stated in the What We’re NOT Looking For section of the contest Web site, "We  love citizen bloggers, but to qualify for one of these awards, you’ll have to show how what you’re doing will transform the field. Blogging about a school board meeting is valuable, but not unique."

This is a great opportunity for community-based nonprofits, or national organizations working on regional or local projects, to be funded to experiment with online communications innovations. I’m interested to see what happens with this Challenge.

PS The communications strategy for the Challenge itself is also a great model. This RFP looks far different from the standard. And the ‘quick and dirty’ application form is designed to solicit key info from applicants, without sucking them dry. Nice job, Knight Foundation.

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Nancy Schwartz in Grants and Other Funding, Nonprofit Communications, Special Opportunities | 1 comment
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If you don’t who know Seth Godin is, get on it. He’s a free-wheeling, free-thinking marketing innovator who’s turned the field on its ear in the last few years. With his blog, his books and his few personal appearances, Seth has helped to shape a cohort of creative marketers who are engaging audiences better than ever.

Now Seth has an opportunity for you — in New York City, on December 12th. He’s leading an all-day seminar (best word I can find, although that’s not quite it–more interaction, more case studies) beginning with “a long presentation with plenty of micro-explosions and macro-ideas to turn your head inside out along with heavy interaction in which we talk about your problems and your organization and your marketing,” as he puts it.

Only 60 seats total, with a few freebies for nonprofit marketers. Here’s what to do:

  • Build a lens on Squidoo outlining what you do (be creative here, remember — Seth is a non-traditional thinker)
  • Send him an email with your lens address
  • He’ll invite his favorites
  • Let me know if you get in, and what you learn.

PS You can download Seth’s book “Unleashing the IdeaVirus” for free on his website.

Nancy Schwartz in Nonprofit Communications, Professional Development, Recommended Resources, Special Opportunities | 0 comments
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carnivalHey marketing, fundraising, and nonprofit bloggers, I have a great opportunity for you to spread the word on your blog, and your perspective. It’s finally my turn to host the fabulous Carnival of Nonprofit Consultants, and I’d like to invite you to submit a post on nonprofit marketing (one you create especially for the carnival, or one you’ve posted within the last two weeks).

This fabulous blog carnival compiles the best advice and resources that consultants and other support organizations are offering to nonprofits through their blogs each week. I’m looking for your post (either an existing post, or a new one you’ll quickly write for this purpose) on nonprofit marketing – either a case study, or a do or don’t that you’ve seen implemented by a nonprofit.

Please don’t limit yourself to the marketing standards. Consider marketing in its broadest sense…. as it relates to fundraising, messaging, technology, etc.

Here’s what to do:

  1. Some time between now and 2pm ET Monday, September 25, post your nonprofit marketing case study, do or don’t to your blog.
  2. Once you’ve done that, email me the URL (permalink) of your post Deadline  is September 25, 2PM ET.
  3. By COB Monday, September 25, I’ll post the carnival.  It will comment on and link to the seven best nonprofit marketing posts I’ve read.  I’m sure one of them will be yours.

Being part of this carnival is a great way to boost traffic and be found by new readers.  The weeks my posts have been in it, I’ve seen a modest but persistent increase in traffic. C’mon. Submit your post URL to me right now.

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Nancy Schwartz in Nonprofit Communications, Recommended Resources, Special Opportunities | 0 comments
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I promise you it’ll be an incredibly worthwhile three hours when you do. In E-Newsletters: Five Steps to High-Impact, Low-Cost Communications, you’ll learn everything you need to get an e-newsletter going for your nonprofit, or to strengthen the one you have.

You’ll learn how to :

  • Clarify realistic goals for your e-newsletter, and who you have to reach to achieve them.
  • Shape the right approach — content, style, how much interactivity with readers.
  • Design the most effective delivery — frequency,"look and feel."
  • Master the mechanics — opt-in vs. double opt-in, list management, in-house vs. outsource.
  • Promote your e-newsletter to get the most from your effort.

Best of all, you’ll walk out of the workshop with a plan for your e-news launch or revision, ready to be implemented.

Register today. Just a few seats are left.

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Nancy Schwartz in Blogging for Nonprofits, Nonprofit Communications, Professional Development, Special Opportunities | 0 comments
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Keep eyes and ears open for my blog report-outs from next week’s DMA Nonprofit Conference in New York. BTW, still time to register if you haven’t already.

I’m looking forward to hearing about innovations in mail and online direct marketing, particularly where fundraising is concerned. That’s an area that I’m determined to become more of an expert in, and a bit different from my up-till-now focus on overall marketing strategy, message development, new communications tools — both online and off, and product and service development.

The speakers’ list looks great, and I know I’ll meet some expert practitioners there as well, who are likely to approach nonprofit marketing from a different perspective. Should be really useful. I’m excited.

Nancy Schwartz in Fundraising: Innovations & Research, Nonprofit Communications, Recommended Resources, Special Opportunities | 0 comments
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PR News is calling for entries for its second annual Nonprofit PR Awards, with all entries due August 18. The awards are open to all associations, nonprofits, government agencies, NGOs and their agency partners, and are made in a broad range of categories, including advocacy campaigns, crisis management and membership communications.

Thank you, PR News. It’s been way too long that our sector has been without these award programs, that are so popular in the for-profit marketing sector, and bring satisfaction to winners and great models to their peers. And here, finally, is an addition to the handful of reward programs that cover nonprofit marketing. Go nonprofit marketers, go.

I urge you to enter. First of all, you deserve the recognition. Secondly, entering is a great motivator for reviewing your work over the last year, analyzing the greatest successes and framing them for the marketing universe at large. Do it.

Need inspiration? Take a look at last year’s award winners.

P.S. There is a fee of $225 per entry. I don’t quite no why but didn’t receive a response when I queried the appointed contact at PR News. I’d say that’s a bad PR move for PR News.After all, they get great attention from the program. Wouldn’t you think that would be fair trade for the time it takes to run it?

Nancy Schwartz in Awards, Nonprofit Communications, Special Opportunities | 0 comments
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