messaging

Relevance Rules Messages

From soulful to silly, heartfelt to heavy, no matter the approach, organizations like yours are using Valentine’s Day to get attention and motivate the actions they need this week and beyond. You still have time to leverage Valentine’s Day TODAY if you act now.

The secret sauce here is piggybacking on what’s top of mindYour people are already thinking about this stuff, so are far more likely to connect with your Valentine’s mini-campaign right now. They’ve been helping their kids write out cards for the entire class, buying that last-minute box of chocolates for their partner, or grabbing a bunch of roses on the way home from work. 

They couldn’t forget Valentine’s Day even if they wanted to. So use St. Valentine as a springboard to engagement. That’s Relevance Rules Messaging! Here’s how:

1) Find your cause’s genuine connection to love. It’s crystal clear for causes/issues like heart health, blood and organ donation and human services. The link may be less evident for other causes but is often findable with a bit of probing. Brainstorm with your colleagues over coffee asap.
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I’m on vacation and NOT WORKING (unlike what’s become a bad pattern) . Instead, I’m rejuvenating, clearing space, and building energy for a productive fall and winter. I hope you get the chance to do the same. It’s a necessity for good creative and intellectual work, and sense of wellbeing. Join me!

Nonprofit Marketing GuidanceThanks to guest blogger Heather Ratcliff. Heather is a web content and social media strategist who blogs at How to Reach People.

Despite shifting online trends, such as growing social media platforms and the rapid growth of text messaging, email should still play a vital role in your communication strategy. Should you send newsletters or emails? How should you segment your list, and how often should you email?

We took on these challenges at a recent NetSquared DC meetup, in which Roshani Kothari and I invited three email experts: Janelle Mackereth with DC Central Kitchen, Erik Leaver with Blackbaud, and Virginie Combet with TechnoServe. (Recording here).
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distractedHow many times did you get distracted already today?

It’s no secret that we need to communicate quickly, briefly and on point to grab the attention of folks in a near constant stage of distraction. That’s been one of the most significant fundraising challenges since the advent of the Internet, compounded over time by our reliance on more content on more platforms on more devices more of the time. But the first step to connecting in our age of distraction is understanding what’s going on.

Consider your habits. How much attention do you give your 8-year-old daughter’s first-time request to host a sleepover, your BFF’s distress over her mom’s increasing dementia, or your colleague’s wrangles with her boss? For most of us, the answer is “not as much as I would like to.”

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via GIPHY

Punxsutawney Phil predicted an early spring this morning, and I’m thrilled we’re not going to get stuck in the snow. In fact, it’s melting fast in the 50-degree sun right outside my New Jersey window.

Your marketing doesn’t have to stay stuck either. Instead, turn to comic genius Bill Murray for guidance on breaking out of your same old, same old marketing approach. He’ll help you take the rest of the year by storm.

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Nonprofit Message Magic: Surprise

Shaping messages to be relevant to the people we want to to engage and spur to action is the most reliable path to productive marketing. Relevance rules!

But there’s more you can do, once you get to relevance. Over the last few months, my passion to find, analyze and guide you to the most effective messaging possible has uncovered a few additional secret ingredients that are absolute magic. Today, let’s talk surprise…

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Effective HeadlinesThe first line your reader sees means the difference between success and failure. Most leads are clever headlines that play on words. Many are cute, but most aren’t effective.

We can learn to do better from recently-deceased report  Vincent Musetto, who wrote this “most anatomically evocative headline in the history of American journalism. [see photo]

“What endured in public memory far longer than the crime was the headline, with its verbless audacity, arresting parallel adjectives and forceful trochaic slams. The corresponding headline in The New York Times that day proclaimed, genteelly, “Owner of a Bar Shot to Death; Suspect Is Held.” Headlessness was not mentioned until the third paragraph; toplessness not at all,” reports The New York Times.

You can do the same, even with far less sensationalism!

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Published in Ebony magazine, April 1967, Vol. 20 No. 6 “When the new antenna went live, you’d swear that Dizzy Gillespie was playing right next to you.”

I can easily visualize this scene, and hear it too. Can’t you?

In fact, this excerpt from WBGO’s (NYC’s premier jazz radio station) recent appeal made the listening-enriching value of the station’s new antenna crystal clear—by showing, not telling.

Compare it with another station’s intro of its new antenna:

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Relevance RulesThere’s no better way for your organization to get your supporters’ and prospects’ attention (media attention, too) than piggybacking on what’s already top of mind. Your people are already thinking on this stuff, so are far more likely to connect with your campaign than at any other time. Relevances rules!

So, make the most of Mother’s Day—you still have time if you act now. Mother’s Day campaigns are right-things, right-now marketing and I’ve seen some fantastic examples from nonprofits like yours in recent years. Take a look and act NOW:

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17-year-old Malala Yousafzai gave an unforgettable speech as she accepted her Nobel Peace Prize today. Despite her youth, Malala’s words show her insight and communications finesse! In fact, this core message from the speech is an unbeatable combo of passion, specificity and brevity.

Use this triad as a checklist for your organization’s messages. Less IS more—much harder to craft but totally worth it.

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Keep Relationship CurrentI’m a huge fan of the charity clearinghouse GlobalGiving, and have donated through them several times to causes I wouldn’t have been able to connect with otherwise.

That’s GlobalGiving’s sweet spot—connecting donors like yours (and you, and me) with causes that we may not find, know of and/or be able to easily donate to. They do a fantastic job of it: Since 2002, GlobalGiving has raised $151,783,082 from 407,034 donors who have supported 10,812 projects.

So I was surprised to receive this could-be-better email from them, updating me on the work they’ve done with my donation 3 1/2 years ago to the Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund.

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