marketing plan

Right-Place Nonprofit Marketing

Here’s one of the most common pain points nonprofit marketers like you have just shared with me. NOTE: I’m interested in hearing your greatest pain point—Please take 2 minutes to tell me now right now.

There are so many choices these days in choosing the marketing direction forward, that it’s tough to ID the right things to do right now.

And it’s not just you. It’s the world we live in. But I have a way out for you…


Nancy Schwartz in Relevance Rules | 0 comments
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Flickr: QuinnRegister now, seats are filling fast. And you can watch at your convenience if you can’t make it live.

What’s the right way to connect with supporters, and motivate them to act? And how do I know if I’m doing the right things?

These are the questions I hear most from you, followed by your secrets—that not knowing those answers leads to self-doubt, paralysis, or, worse, just doing what you’ve always done, regardless of the impact it has (or doesn’t have).

Being uncertain so unsetttling. I hate not knowing which way to turn, and being forced to just see what sticks via trying various things out. Yuck.

But you don’t have to leave it up to chance. There’s a better wayRight-Things Right-Now Marketing

Nancy Schwartz in Right-Things Right-Now Marketing | 2 comments
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Think it’s possible to learn what you need to know now about nonprofit marketing planning in just 30 minutes?  Well, Kivi Leroux Miller and I are going to give it a try with our next free webinar, 30 Nonprofit Marketing Questions in 30 Minutes!

Please join us on Thursday, July 21, 2011 at 3:00 p.m. Eastern (Noon Pacific). We will answer 30 questions about nonprofit marketing planning in 30 minutes!

All questions will be submitted by participants in advance, and we’ll select the top 30 to answer during this rapid-fire, intensive learning experience. We’ll review all of the questions submitted by July 15 and cull them down to the top 30, which we will answer live during the webinar.

1) There’s no faster way to learn about nonprofit marketing planning. Register Now.

2) Have a burning nonprofit marketing question you’d like us to answer during the webinar? Email it to us right now (

Your investment of 40 minutes (10 to craft and submit your question, 30 to join us on the webinar) will generate huge returns. Promise!


P.S. Learn how to strengthen your nonprofit’s marketing impact with the 2011 Guide to Nonprofit Marketing Wisdom.

Nancy Schwartz in Strategy | 0 comments
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Nothing is more important than communicating the right message to your network at the right place and time! And  leveraging a news item or special day by connecting your organization’s issues to it (when relevant!) is a tried-and-true nonprofit marketing strategy with a strong ROI (return on investment).

That’s why I was looking forward to the emails I expected to receive on Earth Day last week, from the environmental organizations I support and others. Earth Day 2010 had delivered so many effective nonprofit marketing models, that I anticipated some great outreach.

Not that Earth Day has been a global success in any way in mobilizing us all to treat the environment more respectfully, but it is a marker heralded broadly in the media (mainstream and not) and leveraged by many advertisers in the New York Times last week. When an issue is addressed like this, it becomes embedded in our heads. Those advertisers knew that Earth Day presented an ideal opportunity of environmental issues being as front-and-center in the news as they get and piggybacked on the day with relevant advertising. An open-minded moment.

How basic then, you’d think, that environmental organizations – tasked solely on the issues at the core of Earth day – would reach out to the network of current and recent supporters. But most organizations I expected to hear from — e.g. Environmental Working Group (marketing geniuses, in a totally genuine way), Sierra Club, Appalachian Mountain Club — didn’t come through. I was poised to re-up our Sierra Club membership that day, but wasn’t invited to do so. Lost opportunity!

Kudos to Catalog Choice – which sent me this email, so-so in headline but spot-on on tying its campaign to Earth Day and my open-minded moment.

Here’s how to ensure you’re poised to capitalize on notable days (holidays and other days) and headlines.

  • Develop a editorial calendar around known notable days (anything from Mother’s Day, to the anniversary of the signing of the Constitution — any day that’s notable in relation to your issue. Those days that generate mainstream and other media coverage are the priority – as they position your outreach for success by getting folks thinking about the day. Your outreach just plugs right into that open-minded moment.
  • Brainstorm around the likely news events that are worthwhile triggers for your outreach.Be prepared, before the moment of, so you can use that moment asap, when your network is open mind.

How does your organization connect its marketing to stories, news and events that are top of mind for your target audiences? Please share your experiences and recommendations here.

Nancy Schwartz in Content Marketing | 18 comments
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I’m on a personal campaign to decipher  nonprofit marketing jargon  so you’re able to make these strategies and tools useful. And low-hanging fruit is at the top of my list because it’s such a vital concept, but so often misunderstood.

I frequently use the phrase myself, particularly to emphasize the necessity of prioritizing low-hanging fruit in your nonprofit marketing plan. But only last month when a training participant told me she had no idea what I was talking about did I realize I’ve never been specific enough in my definition to make the concept useful. So here it is:

Definition: Low-hanging fruit for nonprofit marketers

  1. The marketing activities that will make the greatest impact with the least investment (of time and/or budget).  Example: fundraising campaign to current volunteers.
  2. The marketing activities that represent the highest risk if you don’t implement them.  Example: volunteer retention campaign.

Low-hanging fruit comes first, always! Please let me know what your  low-hanging fruit is and whether it’s at the top of your to-do list in the Comments box.

Tip of the hat to Kivi Leroux Miller.

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 Strategy | 3 comments
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Join us at the Total Focus Marketing Plan Workshop
Thursday, October 28 in Washington, D.C.

My friend, Kivi Leroux Miller, and I are partnering to offer you a special opportunity to find the solutions to your 2011 marketing challenges: The Total Focus Marketing Plan Workshop.  

Our last workshop this year is this Thursday, October 28 in Washington, D.C., and we still have a few seats left. Grab one!

We premiered the workshop in New York early in the month and got five-star ratings. Here’s what two of our participants had to say:

A Valuable Day Filled with Practical, Expert Guidance and the Opportunity to Think Big
A full, well-structured, useful and refreshing workshop! It provided me with tangible and useful guidance, and a time and space to think big.
–Amy Wolf, Communications Officer, The New York Community Trust

I Now Know How to Shape Our Marketing Plan and Transform It into Action!
As a result of participating in your outstanding workshop, I am re-focused on exactly what I need to do to create an effective marketing plan. And now I know the steps I need to take to transform that plan from paper into actions that are understood and adopted throughout the organization.
–Sandra Lundgren, Communications Specialist, Westport Public Library

Register now. You’ll immerse yourself in marketing planning for a day, as we help you shed the muddled messages and impossible to-do lists that pull you in too many directions and diminish your marketing impact.

And, most importantly, you’ll leave with a clear, focused, practical marketing plan that will work for your organization—one you are fully capable of implementing.

Don’t miss this opportunity–Still a few seats open
Join Us in Washington, D.C. this Thursday, October 28.

Hope to see you there!

Nancy Schwartz in Professional Development | 0 comments
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Nonprofit Marketing WorkshopI’m joining forces with my friend and colleague Kivi Leroux Miller to offer you a special opportunity to find the solutions to your 2011 marketing challenges: The Total Focus Marketing Plan Workshop. Plan in a dayblueprint forever.

Please join us for this intensive, limited-enrollment planning seminar for nonprofit communications Nonprofit Marketing Workshopand development staff members, board members and executive directors who do it all.

Here’s what we have in mind:

  • Give us a day and we’ll strip away the muddled messages and the impossible to-do lists that are pulling you in too many directions and diminishing your marketing impact.
  • You’ll leave with a focused, practical marketing plan that will work for your nonprofit – one that you are fully capable of implementing.

Two Total Focus Marketing Plan Workshop sessions are available, so save the date that’s best for you

  • Thursday, October 7 in New York City (9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.)
  • Thursday, October 28 in Washington, DC (9:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.)

Email us today to be the first to know when registration opens, at a discount

The sessions are limited enrollment and we think they’ll fill up fast. So email us now at (with add me to the list in the subject line) and you’ll be the first to learn when registration opens in early July—and how to get an early bird discount.

Hope you’ll be able to join us!

P.S. To learn more, get on the early bird notification list. Just email us at with add me to the list in the subject line.

Nancy Schwartz in planning, Professional Development | 0 comments
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Your template helps enormously. Thanks so much for the Marketing Plan Template. We’ve just completed our strategic plan and are poised to plan our marketing. We didn’t quite know where or how to start and your plan helps enormously.” — Pam Voss-Page, Executive Director, Student Leadership Services

In response to your requests, I’ve developed this doable nonprofit marketing plan template for you to download. I urge you to jump into completing it.

Block out an hour a day (first thing in the morning is ideal) each day for one to two weeks to complete your marketing plan (download here). Your investment of five to ten hours will give you a baseline plan to guide your daily marketing focus.

I guarantee that your nonprofit communications impact will soar as your communications plan will provide:

  1. A clear path forward for your nonprofit communications, no duplication of effort thinking what next.
  2. Concrete measurable objectives so you know what you are working towards.
  3. Stronger connections with your base and prospects — leading to more giving, volunteering and advocacy.
  4. Increased productivity–making the most of your time and budget.
  5. A pithy overview of your work ready to use to build understanding and support of colleagues and funders.

Go to it!

Nancy Schwartz in Planning and Evaluation, Tools | 14 comments
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