Getting Attention

I’m pleased to welcome back Rebecca Leet, author of Message Matters, who helps nonprofits and foundations sharpen their goals and connectwith the people who can achieve them.  Rebecca covered the importance of knowing your base in her last post.

“I had lunch recently with a long-time client, the head of a national environmental organization.  Even before we ordered, she shared her worry that a major program just wasn’t living up to expectations.

She wondered if developing a message specifically for that program might help.  She glanced over her shoulder a little sheepishly and asked how do I know if we need a message?

She shouldn’t have looked around nervously because she asked a good question. And its a question more orgs should ask before they jump into the message development pond. Instead, they start by saying I think we need a message rather than asking will a strong message help?

Here are nine questions to ask to gauge whether messaging will help you reach your goal:

  1. Am I satisfied with how well people listen when we talk about the program?
  2. Does the conversation reflect an understanding of the program’s focus and impact?
  3. Do our team members discuss the program in basically the same way?
  4. Are we talking to the right people, the specific groups that will help us achieve our goal?
  5. Do we connect quickly with our audiences – do they engage or are they staring at us blankly or with confusion?
  6. When we talk about our program, do we use language our next-door neighbor will understand or are we using jargon?
  7. Do we understand what desires motivate our target audiences and connect with those wants in our messages?
  8. Will we use a message if we develop one?  (Yes, that’s a legitimate question!)
  9. Are we willing to involve colleague departments (e.g. development, research, chapter relations) in creating the messaging because we need their insights and want them using the messaging, too?

Although much of my professional life is focused on developing messages, I’m the first to say that a powerful message is not the answer to every floundering program or reluctant donor.  It’s worth asking yourself, before you start, whether a strategic message is really what you need.”

P.S. Messages that connect are a priority for all organizations and the prerequisite for motivating your base to act. Learn how to craft the most essential message — your tagline. Download the Nonprofit Tagline Report, filled with must-dos, don’t dos, case studies and 2,500+ nonprofit tagline examples!

Guest Blogger in Branding and Messages | 1 comment
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I’ll be leaving for NTC 2010 crack of dawn on Wednesday and I can’t wait!  Here’s why NTC is such a learning machine for nonprofit communicators.

Hope to see you there. If you are going, please say hello. Just tweet or DM me at @NancySchwartz to set up a meeting spot.

P.S. Here’s a learning machine that comes to you — the in-depth articles, case studies and guides to nonprofit marketing success featured in the twice-monthly Getting Attention e-update. Subscribe today.

Nancy Schwartz in Professional Development | 0 comments
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“We’re working so hard, but we’re not getting the results we want.”  That’s a tune I hear, again and again, from nonprofit communicators exhausted from their efforts, disappointed at hitting a wall and frustrated by not knowing how to do better.

All action and no traction. That’s what most marketing is, nonprofit and for profit. A series of discrete actions—a direct mail invite for a fundraising event, a two-part email campaign to introduce a new program, a blog launched for an advocacy campaign—with no connection between them.

My response is immediate and assured, as I’ve seen it work time and time again: There are two clear and doable ways for even the smallest organization to generate marketing impact—planning and evaluation.

These are the two keys to nonprofit marketing success, and a topic I’ll be focusing a lot on in coming months. I’m going to break it down for you so you understand each and every step, and provide checklists and worksheets to help you execute them in the time you have.

Review this outline to learn the benefits planning and evaluation will bring to you and your organization’s marketing impact, all through practices that are doable (for even one-person shops) and productive.

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 Planning and Evaluation | 0 comments
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I’m pleased to introduce you to Julia Hartz (at far left) and Tamara Mendelsohn of Eventbrite for Causes. Julia and Tamara focus day in and day out on making events more productive for nonprofits. They are my third guests in a periodic series of posts from other authors, and it’s great to add their perspective to the mix.

“With all the ways to connect online, we’ve increasingly heard the question ‘do you  think live events are dying?’  In fact, we see quite the opposite, and believe that online connections—especially social media—are the catalysts to more live events. Here’s why:

  • In a world where information is delivered at fire hose speed, many nonprofit organizations feel the difficulty of delivering a memorable message.
  • A recent Getting Attention study found that 86% of nonprofits characterize their messages as difficult to remember.
  • It is more and more difficult to cut through the clutter and chatter to create memorable experiences.
  • In response, many nonprofits are bringing it back to the ‘real world’ to make an impact: Gathering people in person to exchange real handshakes and real smiles, leveraging the magic and excitement of events to make their organization’s message more memorable, to put real faces to names, and to inspire people to support their cause.
  • As many orgs see it, throwing a live event may not be as scalable or broad-reaching as an online campaign, but it can be much more meaningful.

To us, social media is the genesis of more live events, not less:

  • Before social media, if you had a niche passion it was difficult — if not impossible — to connect with others sharing the same passion. But that’s precisely what social media is great for: enabling like-minded individuals to connect.
  • Since social media tools enables us to easily discover what causes our friends are supporting and what events they are going to, their causes (because they’re something important to our friends) become relevant to me. Your friend Sheila can easily share her favorite cause’s event through her social network, and those that are interested will dig in.

It’s the power of social media that strengthens live nonprofit events today, enabling causes to come to life in a meaningful and tangible way.”

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

Guest Blogger in Events | 0 comments
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fundraisingThis afternoon, a client asked me about to share my top fundraising resources. Her organization is shifting gears, re-orienting its focus to
better match audience wants and interests, and eager to find funding to make it happen.

In crafting this list, I realized it may be of interest to you and that I’d like to know where you turn for fundraising guidance. Do keep in mind that my core learning strategy is to read/listen to (and talk with, when possible) the best heads on a topic. I learn most easily from case studies that give me the specifics I need to relate what I’m learning to the client project at hand.

Here are my top six fundraising guides. Please share your favorites now in the comments box below (click comments link at bottom or, if you’re looking at the permalink version of this post, just scroll down to bottom):

  • Tom Ahern–Lots of great case studies and fundraising models analyzed and annotated. Easy to learn from, and absolutely on point.
  • Tom Belford & Roger Craver:The Agitator–These guys love to present multiple points of view on a topic which makes the reader work, in a good way. Again, case studies, strategy and a wicked sense of humor.
  • Jeff Brooks: Future Fundraising Now–Formerly blogging at Donor Power, the incredible Jeff Brooks is cranking out almost-daily to-dos now, and every one is golden. Go, Jeff, go!
  • Network for Good: Fundraising 123–This online donation service goes way beyond their donate button to provide top-quality articles and webinars (all free) to strengthen fundraising and marketing skills.
  • Pamela Grow: Grantwriting Blog–Pamela brings a fresh perspective to her sage fundraising advice, as in today’s post pointing out how nonprofit fundraisers can learn (what NOT to do) from Food Network star Paula Deen. Good learning that’s fun and provocative, with lots of examples.

Click on the Comments link below to add the fundraising guides you rely on, and to read about the very important 7th guide I forgot to mention in this post.

P.S. Marketing and fundraising are two halves of a whole. 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 Fundraising: Innovations & Research | 34 comments
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Rebecca LeetI’m pleased to introduce you to Rebecca Leet, author of Message Matters, who helps nonprofits and foundations sharpen their goals and connect with the people who can achieve them.  She’s my second guest blogger in a periodic series of guest posts and it’s great to add her perspective to the mix. Welcome, Rebecca…

“I discovered years ago that the best time to shop for a near-new stationary bike or treadmill is February. Why? Because those who made a New Year’s resolution to exercise realized pretty quickly that although they need to work out, they don’t want to.

Those gleaming treadmills ready for re-sale remind me of a truth we communicators often overlook: people’s actions are driven more by what they want than by what they need. It’s a lesson that message developers can’t afford to forget.

Focusing on desire affects every aspect of creating a message that connects.  It affects the focus.  It affects the words. And focusing on desire may totally change how you  target audiences for your message. Here are two examples of how it has:

  • I once worked with a social service agency that was making a giant shift in the way its 6,000 professionals would work going forward.  The agency needed a message to motivate them to change.  By focusing on the desires that drove the staff, we realized there were two distinct segments among the target audience (the workers): one saw the change as an opportunity and the other saw it as a threat.
  • Another client was introducing a radically-different approach to preventing child abuse.  Three years after launching it, some stakeholders wanted to know how to implement the new practices, and nothing more.  Others wanted to be involved in improving the approach.  When we began developing a message, we thought our audience would break down by profession – social workers, early childhood professionals, etc.  They didn’t. They were the Implementers and the Innovators.

Next time you craft a message for your organization or program, consider what desires lay behind the actions your audience takes.  You’ll be surprised how groups that looked different suddenly look similar.  And groups that looked the same may look different.”

Thanks much, Rebecca, for a crucial reminder!

P.P.S. Messages that connect are a priority
for all organizations and the prerequisite for motivating your base to act.
Learn how to craft the most essential
message — your tagline.
Download the Nonprofit Tagline Report, filled with must-dos,
don’t dos, case studies and 2,500+ nonprofit tagline examples!

Nancy Schwartz in Branding and Messages | 0 comments
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convioIt’s a must read for all of us, the most in-depth study to date of how donors of different generations learn about our organizations, and give. Don’t miss it.

Here are six key takeaways:

  1. Core donor groups to understand: Matures, Boomers, Gen X and Gen Y.
  2. Matures and boomers give more than younger generations, because they give to a greater number of organizations. They don’t give more for each cause.
  3. Most donors first learn of an org via mainstream media. Gen Y’s mainstream media is the Web.
  4. A friend’s request is the main reason for giving, across generations.
  5. Word of mouth is a must. So tell your org’s story well and motivate and train your supporters to tell it too.
  6. THE critical element for fundraising success is messaging that connects. (Yes!)

I urge you to read this report today. It’s the most valuable 16 pages I’ve read in a long time.

P.S. This report is more evidence that effective messaging is a priority for all organizations, and a key to motivating your audience to give. 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 Fundraising: Innovations & Research | 3 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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Two Don't-Miss Tools for More Effective Nonprofit EventsIn a time when we rely more and more on virtual interaction, face-to-face gatherings are more important than ever.

Don’t get me wrong–I’m a big believer in building relationships, and community online. But face-to-face can’t be replaced. So often, face-to-face gatherings can bring a movement or a campaign to the next level, further engaging your base.

Here are two tools I’ve discovered that will help you take your organization’s events to the next level.

1. Event-management service Eventbrite has just introduced Eventbrite for Causes, a discounted program (no fee for free events) are  designed for nonprofit needs. This new program that makes it easier for
orgs to leverage tech tools and best practices to manage,
promote and raise money through successful events. In talking to colleagues about Eventbrite, I’ve found several fans of its capabilities such as the once-click opportunity for attendees to share event info with their Twitter and Facebook networks.

Current org users include The Craigslist Foundation, Full Circle Fund, Citizen Effect and NTEN. You can see how it works with this dinner invite for 2010 NTC (NTEN’s annual conference) attendees.

2. Analyze This, just released by Event 360 is 18 pages packed with practical guide on event analytics. You’ll learn how to pinpoint what’s working best so you can do more of it in the future, and what’s not working well, so they can avoid it down the line. Traditionally, event managers have used this data to review events once they’re over; it’s even more valuable to shape those coming up.

The featured case study on the Komen Global Race for the Cure is particularly useful, as it highlights how analytics showed the way to transform a popular event into a fundraising phenomenon.

P.S. More effective messaging is a priority for all organizations, campaigns and events. 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!

Photo: OneWoman

Nancy Schwartz in Events | 3 comments
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glenn-beck-attacks-nancy-schwartz

I immediately clicked on the email invite to to the latest in MoveOn.org‘s “you’re in the  news” video video series. This one–on Glenn Beck’s attack strategies–is one of the best ever. For Facebook users, it’s integrated Facebook Connect to pull info and photos from your profile. Here’s the video.

Here’s why it works so well: As my mom told me when I was in 5th grade (part of her “teach the kids some etiquette” program), everyone loves to hear their own name. So if you want to make someone feel good, or engage their interest, use their name in conversation.

You can imagine how many more points photos plus friends’ names gets, as incorporated in the video (privacy issues are another matter, for another day). It’s irresistible to share it via email as I was invited to do at the end of the video.

In addition, MoveOn makes it easy to share the video via social media platforms, serving up a one-click method to embed the video in your Facebook page and a few-click way to embed your video in a blog post.

Notes that those not on Facebook will get a different, somewhat less personalized experience. MoveOn.org is counting on most of its supporters being there and I feel fairly confident they’re right.

P.S. Read this recent Getting Attention e-update article to learn 9 Steps to Nonprofit Video Success, Plus Our Mistakes to Avoid.

P.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 Video | 0 comments
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