Grrr, I’m Angry — They Stole My Article on Budgeting for Nonprofit Marketing

Grrr, I'm Angry -- They Stole My Article on Budgeting for Nonprofit MarketingWhat a way to start the week. I jumped online crack of dawn this morning to get the week rolling productively, and started cranking through email. Bad choice.

You see I’m always tracking new coverage on nonprofit communications through Google Alerts and other tools, as well as coverage on related terms and on Getting Attention and Nancy Schwartz & Company. (You should be tracking coverage on your organization’s name, key colleague and competitive orgs and issue areas. Here’s my how-to guide: Everybody’s Talking About You — Why Your Nonprofit Needs to Listen, and Listen Hard).

This tracking is one of my main strategies to 1) come up with new ideas for e-news articles and blog posts; 2) stay up to date on news in the field; and 3) see who’s covering or linking to Getting Attention posts and articles.

But, back to today’s story. So I open up my Google Alert on "nonprofit communications" this morning, see a link to a post on budgeting for nonprofit marketing from a eastern european blog on nonprofit communications and click. Was I dismayed to click on that link (to, a free article distribution service) and see the article I wrote for Getting Attention e-news readers on the topic, attributed to another author (a junior person at a DC-area communications firm) who had changed a word or two at most.

Aaagh! I went crazy. I spend a lot of time and energy creating content for you blog and e-news readers and to have someone steal it so blatantly is just beyond the pale. Here’s what I did:

  • Called the perp (who had the nerve to feature his photo at article top — ideal for a dartboard — with the attribution) who works at a marketing firm. He caved, "I think I know what you’re talking about," and passed me to his supervisors.
  • Presented my case to the higher-up, who blamed a search engine optimization firm for the work, and told me the article would be removed immediately (it was). He apologized profusely and I let him off the hook.
  • Reviewed the copyright statement, which allows for republishing with correct attribution, and is included on every article page.
  • Updated Sean, my husband and coach, who followed up again, threatening action if necessary.

Beware. This could very easily happen to you, just as it did to two of my fellow nonprofit bloggers in the last two weeks. Folks are taking short cuts to get content up, and it may just be yours they harvest next time.

Remember, your organization’s content is one of your most valuable resources and a critical branding tool. Take good care of it. Tracking is the first place to start.

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Nancy Schwartz in Branding and Messages, Nonprofit Communications | 2 comments

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