marketing planning

Join Kivi and Me for this Free Webinar
Learn How to
Set the Big-Picture Marketing Goals that
Take You Where You Want to Go!

My friend and colleague Kivi Leroux Miller and I have heard so many of you say that your marketing isn’t all it could be. And worse, you don’t know where to start to fix it.

You’re frustrated by how hard you’re working without generating the results you expect, and that your organization needs. Aargh!

So we’ve decided to show you exactly where to start, with setting your goals, in this free 30-minute webinar.
Register Now – Seats are Limited
Monday, May 2, 2011
3:00 – 3:30 pm ET (12:00 – 12:30 pm PT)

When Kivi and I first put our heads together on how to team up to help nonprofits strengthen their marketing impact, marketing planning was at the top of our list.

Join us for this free 30-minute webinar to learn how to set clear marketing goals for your organization. They are the first crucial step towards an ambitious but fully-doable nonprofit marketing plan.

Register now for this free webinar on Monday, May 2, 2011, at 3:00 pm Eastern (Noon Pacific).

Seats are limited so register today.

Nancy Schwartz in Planning and Evaluation | 0 comments
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We’re thrilled to welcome our newest guest blogger, Kimberlee Roth, one of our valued writers for consulting projects, writer for the Chicago Tribune and The Chronicle of Philanthropy among other publications, and author of Surviving a Borderline Parent. Here’s Kim…

They waste paper, money, time; they’re a project management bear; besides, no one reads them anyway. Know what I’m talking about? Yes (cue scary music): Annual Reports.

With budget woes that have touched us all in some way, it’s hard not to think about the resources and energy that go into producing an annual report. (And to wonder, as The Agitator did recently, “Are Annual Reports Dinosaurs?“)

But I assert that there is value in producing an annual report!

As a writer and storyteller specializing in nonprofit marketing and communications, I can’t help but think annual reports have gotten a bum rap. To me, and to most of my clients, they’re less drudgery than opportunity, satisfying even, to produce. Talk about a fantastic chance to convey not only the personality and zeitgeist of an organization, but its impact.

So many annual reports, though, are bo-ring. Donor lists, numbers served, satellite offices opened, equipment purchased. Me, me, me. Statistics and, often, buzzwords that lack enthusiasm, let alone context or a human face. No wonder the report is draining to produce.

Showing impact — through concise but compelling narratives, vibrant photos and interactive features — is what can excite and engage donors, volunteers, partners and clients. That doesn’t mean dozens of  glossy pages with a snazzy (read: expensive) design. What it does mean is authenticity, effective storytelling and a connection to your organizational strategies — in a welcoming tone that conveys both passion and competence.

This year, when “it’s that time again” and thoughts turn to all that goes into your annual report, don’t forget to focus on what you want out of it. Ask yourself, and your team, these questions:

  • What do we want this year’s annual report to accomplish? (Hint: Keep multiple audiences in mind, not only large donors.
  • What are some ways our annual report can advance our strategic marketing and fundraising goals?
  • How can our annual report complement, enhance and reinforce our other marketing tactics?

And, the $64,000 question:

  • How do we execute — within our budget and in ways that reflect our organization’s mission, personality and marketing and strategic plans — so that it delivers?

You already know my vote; what do you say? Drudgery or opportunity? I’d love to hear your thoughts here!

_______________________________
Readers, here are a few high-impact online alternatives to the traditional printed annual report. Worth some thought!

BTW, master fundraiser Tom Ahern is 100% aligned with Kim: “Think of your annual report as a once-a-year golden opportunity to deeply connect with your customers’ (i.e., donors’) feelings, dreams, aspirations, hidden and sometimes even embarrassing needs — like the need to be liked; or the need to do something good in the world, a need as common as the air in our lungs,” he says.

P.S. Get in-depth case studies, templates and tools, and guidance for nonprofit marketing  success — all featured in the twice-monthly Getting Attention e-update. Subscribe today.

Guest Blogger in Annual Reports | 8 comments
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I have so much to do but don’t know where to start!

That’s the crucial–but seldom acknowledged or discussed–challenge on which I co-led a vibrant mind meld at the Nonprofit Technology Conference (#11NTC), along with superstars Katya Andresen, Kivi Leroux Miller and Sarah Durham.

We were thrilled at the number and engagement level of the hundreds folks squished in the room. In fact, discussion got so lively we were hushed by the organizer of the session in the next room! That request exemplifies the excitement of the crowd in discussing this stuff and in meeting each other–brainstorming partners in the making!

Katya created these summary slides on the fly as we provided one-minute consulting and participants shared their bright ideas on how to:

  • Get priorities right
  • Balance is crucial between marketing and fundraising efforts, not just within marketing
  • Manage up and build leadership buy-in on priorities you set
  • Balance incoming requests (agency model) when you’re acting more strategically (i.e. you have your own job to do)
  • Do the internal marketing necessary to build support, investment and a team of messengers among your colleagues
  • Cut down your program (hint – don’t cut a channel if it’s working, just scale back your effort)
  • Break up with social media if the ROI isn’t there.

Here are a few other outtakes on the session:

What do you have to add to these bright spots? Please share it here.

P.S. Get a jump start on your marketing planning via the Total Focus Marketing Plan Workshop led by Kivi Leroux Miller and me. Karen and Tara participated last fall with great result! 2011 workshops are scheduled for June 16 in Seattle and October 12 in New York City. Learn more nowthe workshops sold out last year and 2011 seats are going fast!

Nancy Schwartz in Planning and Evaluation | 0 comments
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Last week I had the opportunity to join three fantastic colleagues to share guidance on this crucial nonprofit marketing challenge at #11NTC (NTEN’s annual conference). And I want to share that guidance with you.

What a pleasure to work with Kivi Leroux Miller of NonprofitMarketingGuide.com; Karen Secular, Communications Director at the Arnold P. Gold Foundation; and Tara Collins, Communications Director at the Watershed Agricultural Council! And what a thrill to have so many focused, sharp, engaged session participants asking questions and sharing their wisdom.

Weaving your loose ends together is a prerequisite to your nonprofit marketing success but remains, for so many of you, a stubborn barrier. Here are two key tools we shared at the session; they are a huge help in getting started with your weaving:

Here are 12 steps to weaving a tight, powerful marketing plan, highlighted by session participants via Twitter:

  1. Moving marketing from support function to a strategic player is the game changer. (@stacyjclinton)
  2. Stop acting as the in-house marketing agency at your org, and take control of the situation (@egratto) A.K.A., “Stop taking the tickets and start driving the bus,” as Tara says.
  3. Only 16% of nonprofits have marketing plans. You need one to make the move to strategic player. (@ksuzj)
  4. A marketing plan is essential because it directs your focus and keeps you on a clearly defined path. (@elimcgon)
  5. However, marketing planning is ongoing series of refining and understanding. Don’t plan more than 1 year out. (@volmatch) Then break it down further to 3-month chunks @wendymarinaccio)
  6. Rule of 3: Identify no more than 3 target audiences for your messages or you risk diffusing your efforts. (@stacydyer)
  7. Meet your audiences where they are (channels and perspectives) (@weinrichc)
  8. Your brand is not just “clothes you wear” (e.g., logo and colors) It’s your organization’s whole personality-the way you walk & talk. (@linzbilks)
  9. Put all of your marketing material on a table; see if there is consistency through ’em (@weinrichc)
  10. Unless your blog is supporting your brand or a call to action it’s just words. (@ksuzj)
  11. Vital part of mktg planning is outlining every single task down to the nitty gritty – who is doing what when (@volmatch)
  12. Failures are what our successes are built on. (@mkdm, @andystitt829)

If you don’t have a plan, or have one that lives in your head or hopes, is just notes, not formalized and approved, or simply not working, get on it right now! It’ll change your life, and your marketing impact.

Please let me know what’s getting in your way, and I’ll give you some recommendations for pushing through!

For more insights from the session, review the slide deck and crowdsourced notes.

P.S. Get a jump start on your marketing planning via the Total Focus Marketing Plan Workshop led by Kivi Leroux Miller and me. Karen and Tara participated last fall with great result! 2011 workshops are scheduled for June 16 in Seattle and October 12 in New York City. Learn more now–the workshops sold out last year and 2011 seats are going fast!

Nancy Schwartz in Planning and Evaluation | 0 comments
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Join us at the Total Focus Marketing Plan Workshop
Seattle Early Bird Rate Runs through March 31 – Saves You $100

We’re back! I’m partnering with my friend, 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 day—blueprint forever!

We premiered the workshop in New York and D.C. last fall, and received great ratings. Here’s what two of our participants had to say:

Would Have Taken Me Forever on My Own
I learned so much about marketing planning today. It would have taken weeks or months to do so on my own.

Now I 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 for our organization. Now I know the steps I need to take to transform that plan into actions that are understood and adopted throughout the organization.

We hope you’ll join us for this intensive, limited-enrollment planning seminar for nonprofit communicators and development staff members, board members and executive directors who do it all.

You see this day is going to be different from other workshops you’ve participated in.

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 —

Learn more now! The Seattle early-bird rate runs through March 31 but we expect seats to fill up fast.

Hope to see you there!

Nancy Schwartz in Professional Development | 0 comments
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2010 delivered cause-marketing shockers, highly-effective disaster relief communications, a tougher-than-ever fundraising environment and the continued emergence of Facebook, even as the basics remained the cornerstone of nonprofit marketing impact.

Here are the tools, case studies and recommendations that nonprofit marketers like you found most valuable in guiding them through this tough year:

7 Easy Ways to Boost Your Nonprofit Marketing Impact with Google Analytics

10 Ways to Make Your Online Press Room Perform for Your Nonprofit

Busted Nonprofit Brand: Anatomy of a Corporate Sponsorship Meltdown (Case Study)

How to Write a Letter to the Editor that Gets Published and Read

Messaging Crisis for Nonprofits

My Top 6 Guides to Effective Fundraising—What Are Yours?

New Nonprofit Tagline Database and 2011 Report: Free and Open for Use
“These are great tools for crafting effective messages, and so easy to use,” says Peggy Kebel, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation – Local Funding Partnerships.

Nonprofit Marketing Plan Template—Ready-to-Use

Red Cross’ Communications Innovation in Haiti Disaster Relief Effort — Smart Stuff

There’s More to Marketing than Social Media

Unleash the Power of Your Email Signature

P.S. Get in-depth case studies, templates and tools, and guidance for nonprofit marketing  success — all featured in the twice-monthly Getting Attention e-update. Subscribe today.

Nancy Schwartz in Strategy | 0 comments
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Join us at the Total Focus Marketing Plan Workshop
D.C. Early Bird Rate Runs through Oct. 22 – Saves You $100

I’m partnering with my friend, 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 day—blueprint forever!

We premiered the workshop in New York last week and received great ratings. Here’s what two of our participants had to say:

Would Have Taken Me Forever on My Own
I learned so much about marketing planning today. It would have taken weeks or months to do so on my own.

Now I 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 for our organization. Now I know the steps I need to take to transform that plan into actions that are understood and adopted throughout the organization.

We hope you’ll join us for this intensive, limited-enrollment planning seminar for nonprofit communicators and development staff members, board members and executive directors who do it all.

You see this day is going to be different from other workshops you’ve participated in.

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 —
Join Us in Washington, D.C., Oct. 28

Learn more now! The D.C. early-bird rate runs through Friday, Oct. 22 but seats are filling fast.

Hope to see you there!

Nancy Schwartz in Professional Development | 0 comments
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