Online-Engagement-Tool-GuideGuest blogger Maureen Wallbeoff, Vice President at Firefly Partners, brings a people-focused, collaborative influence to the Firefly team and clients. 

If the title of this blog post resonates with you, you have lots of company. 
In fact, most nonprofit organizations have a degree of dissatisfaction with their online engagement tools – primarily because there is no perfect platform. Nothing like the pressure of year-end to highlight those lacks.

Fundraising, advocacy, email marketing, events, eCommerce, and CRM are all standard components of most nonprofits’ online engagement software. They’re all critical to the smooth functioning and ultimate impact of every nonprofit using websites, online tools, and technology to communicate, advocate, and raise money to further their missions. You just want to provide a great experience for your supporters and an easy-to-manage tool for your colleagues (mostly accidental techies), right?


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I’m pleased to welcome guest blogger Leslie Kerns, Senior Vice President and Director of Campaigns at M+R Strategic Services.

As communicators for nonprofit issues like land conservation and human rights, it’s natural to be drawn to work that plays up our strengths. As a group, we tend to like writing press releases, blog posts, reports, stories, position papers, tweets,and factsheets that make the case for our causes.


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I’ve always admired the work, style and smarts of Kaboom, which helps communities nationwide to build and restore playgrounds. So I was thrilled to interview a few Kaboom staffers — including Jim Hunn, Vice President, Mass Action — in my discovery process for a client’s web strategy.

Engagement is the success factor for every program, including the project I’m working on, and a primary topic of my work.  Jim and colleagues outlined several key motivators for community participation in the work they do, ones they’ve identified through getting to know what’s important to these communities. Knowing that, and what’s top of mind for the network you need to engage is the prerequisite to relevance, which drives engagement.

Nancy Schwartz in Advocacy | 0 comments
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Nothing Raises Awareness like In-Your-Face AdvocacyI was vacationing last week, doing some winter unwinding in warmer climes. In that relaxed state, it was particularly startling to walk by this graphic banner outlining the foie gras production process.

These multiple graphic images of force-feeding geese helped me understand how foie gras is produced, in a few seconds. Those dining in the restaurant these protesters were targeting didn’t stop eating, but I know they learned something too.

What worked here was:

  • Relevance: The protesters made their case on site, right in front of a restaurant serving foie gras.
  • Strength of messaging: Messaging was mainly graphic here. These strong, unforgettable images told the story. More than you wanted to know.
  • Call to action, with a clear, doable act outlined: The brochure distributed a card from the Humane Society stapled to it, ready to be detached to give to the waiter or owner of a restaurant serving foie gras. Easy.

But here’s what could work even better:

  • When I asked the protesters what organization they were with, they couldn’t answer. One said they were just individuals, not an organization. Another handed me a brochure from In Defense of Animals.
  • That was confusing, and raised a question of credibility for me. Have your story straight, and be consistent in sharing it.

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Nancy Schwartz in Advocacy | 2 comments
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