20 Ways to Make Your Nonprofit Stand Out

This great list of questions to ask yourselves as you shape your nonprofit’s messages was written by Kathy Widenhouse, a freelance writer for nonprofits, and featured in the always useful Writing for Nonprofits e-newsletter.

Use these questions to shape a list of attributes that make your organization unique, then focus on the one or two that are most compelling. Features those consistently in headlines and other high-profile marketing messages, and weave the balance into body copy. Here’s Kathy’s list:

Distinguishing your nonprofit from the competition

1. How is the organization different from its closest competition or colleague organization?

2. What additional services does your organization provide that others don’t?

3. What services are more effective through your organization?

4. Does your organization offer a competitive price or greater value?

5. How does your service excel in quality (from your audiences’perspective)?

6. What specific or timely event(s) does your nonprofit address?

Demographic Differentiators

7. Within a certain geographic radius, are you the only/among the few organizations that offer your type of product or service?

8. What particular age group, gender or income level finds appeal in your services?

9. What secondary demographic group finds appeal in your services?


10. How do your staff members’ skills make your organization more attractive?

11. How do your staff members’ unique training and experience enhance your nonprofit?

12. How does their passion or excitement for your group’s mission augment your effectiveness?

Track Record 

13. How long have you successfully been in business?

14. If you are new, how do you explain your success in such a short time?

15. How do your outcomes measurements look?

16. What are your donor satisfaction statistics?

17. What do clients and donors say about your organization?


18. Is your mission or are the services you provide visionary in any way?

19. Do you find that your services are not duplicated elsewhere–or only in a cursory way?

20. Do you repeatedly develop new approaches and services to stay ahead?

Are you Getting Attention? Subscribe to our free e-newsletter today.

Google Grants Provides Free Advertising to Nonprofit Orgs

Google is demonstrating its commitment to sharing its success with the nonprofit sector with its new in-kind grant program:

"It harnesses the power of our flagship advertising product, Google AdWords, to non-profits seeking to inform and engage their constituents online. Google Grants has awarded AdWords advertising to hundreds of non-profit groups whose missions range from animal welfare to literacy, from supporting homeless children to promoting HIV education. "

Google Grant recipients use their award of free AdWords advertising on Google.com to raise awareness and increase traffic to their websites. Each organization that receives a Google Grant gets at least three months of in-kind advertising. Here are some recent success stories:

  • Room to Read, which educates children in Vietnam, Nepal, India and Cambodia, attracted a sponsor who clicked on its AdWords ad. He has donated funds to support the education of 25 girls for the next 10 years.
  • The US Fund for UNICEF’s e-commerce site, Shop UNICEF, has experienced a 43 percent increase in sales over the previous year.
  • CoachArt, supporting children with life-threatening illnesses through art and athletics programs, has seen a 60 to 70 percent increase in volunteers.

Click here for details on how to apply.

Top Dog Media Guide for Nonprofits: The Publicity Hound

I just discovered The Publicity Hound, an info-packed blog written by publicity expert Joan Stewart. Joan provides quick, useful tips on topics from working with media photographers to when to pass up publicity. Take a look. I think you’ll find Joan’s insights very useful for your nonprofit’s media work.

Are you Getting Attention?

Where to Begin with Nonprofit Marketing

I’m so proud of my friend and colleague Kivi Leroux Miller for crafting the excellent Nonprofit Marketing Guide: High-Impact, Low-Cost Ways to Build Support for Your Good Cause (partner link). And Kivi’s been gracious enough to make Getting Attention the first stop on her virtual book tour.

I recommend you purchase the book today. Here’s why:  It’s a source every time-strapped communicator can count on time and time again – comprehensive, accessible and smart. When you buy the book before midnight tonight (June 1, 2010) and forward your receipt to book@nonprofitmarketingguide.com, you’ll be entered to win a free Getting Attention tagline review. You’ll also be entered into a drawing on Friday for several All-Access Passes to the Nonprofit Marketing Guide Webinar Series.

Here’s a small taste of Kivi’s practical nonprofit marketing advice…

“Where do I begin?”

That’s hands down the most frequently-asked question that nonprofit communicators ask consultants like Nancy and me.

Like any good consultant (or therapist), I always respond with a question of my own: What is it that you want people to do?

I can usually tell how long – and difficult – the conversation will be based on the answer I get. Responses like these signal a long conversation ahead:

  • “We want them to support . . .”
  • “We want them to care about . . . ”
  • “We want them to understand . . . ”

The problem with responses like these is that there isn’t any specific action involved. No one is doing anything. So I ask the same question again, but using the language from the response.

  • What does someone do when they are supporting you?
  • What does someone do to show they care?
  • What does someone do when they understand?

Now, we start to get to more specific responses, like

  • “Give us money.”
  • “Call their legislator.”
  • “Talk to their children about it.”

With these more specific actions as our goals, we’re equipped to shape a nonprofit marketing strategy. The conversation continues by discussing

  • Who needs to take these actions (helps us define the target audience)
  • What will motivate them to act (aids in creating a powerful message)
  • How and where to reach them (guides us in channel selection).

Writing an email newsletter or updating your Facebook page may end up as key elements of your strategy, but tactics aren’t the place to start . Instead, take some time – even just five minutes of quiet behind a closed door – to sort through these questions. That’s where to begin.


2012 Nonprofit Tagline Awards (a.k.a. The Taggies)

Great Words Promoting Good Causes

Congratulations to the 2012 Getting Attention Nonprofit Tagline Award Winners! The 18 winners were selected by more than 3,300 voters from 63 nonprofit tagline finalists that had been identified by our expert panel of judges. The finalists were drawn from the 1,400 nonprofit taglines entered.

The organizations behind the winning taglines range from the regional (Elder Services of Worcester Area, Inc.) to the national (Wounded Warrior Project) and global (The TARA Project). All did an admirable job in putting a few select words to work to build their brands, programs and fundraising impact.

Get free access today to the updated Online Tagline Database, with 5,000+ searchable taglines for your own message brainstorming, and the Nonprofit Tagline Report!

The report features more on the winning taglines plus:
  • The 10 Have-Tos for Successful Taglines
  • The 7 Deadly Sins – Examples of what not to do.

Celebrating the Best in Nonprofit Taglines—The Taggies

A strong tagline does double-duty — working to extend your organization’s name and mission, while delivering a focused, memorable and repeatable message to your base.

But our recent Nonprofit Messages Survey showed just 29% of organizations like yours have a tagline that connects and spurs action.

The Awards program is designed to inspire and guide your organizations to deliver taglines that connect quickly and strongly with your target audiences—Aha! messages that build and strengthen key relationships for the long term.

Since 2008, the GettingAttention.org community and other nonprofit communicators, other staff and supporters have been enthusiastic participants in the Nonprofit Tagline Awards program (a.k.a. The Taggies)—entering their own taglines and spreading the word to peers to do the same, voting to select award winners and learning what works and what doesn’t via the Nonprofit Tagline Database and Report.

Getting to Aha! is doable, for every organization. Go for it!

Thanks for the inspiration, advice and encouragement.
We couldn’t have done it without The Taggies!

“About the time you were holding the first Taggies, we were knee-deep in developing our first strategic marketing plan—with the help of a couple of talented, local board members, we managed to get thru the process and finalize our branding guidelines developed in four months!

‘We are Smiles Change Lives and we provide essential, life-changing orthodontic treatment for children from low-income families: Bracing kids for a better future!’

“Your emails during the contest helped fuel our desire to develop the right tagline and we believe we have. Thanks for the inspiration, advice and encouragement thru your emails and webinars. We couldn’t have done it without the Taggies!”

   —LeAnn Smith, Chief Operating Officer, Smiles Change Lives


This program is made possible thanks to the generous sponsorship of
Change.org and See3.

P. S. Follow Tagline Award news on Twitter via the hashtag #taggies12

Previous Tagline Award Winners

Previous Winners—
Nonprofit Tagline Awards

Great Words Promoting Good Causes

A high-impact tagline is an essential tool for any nonprofit fighting to deliver its message in a crowded, competitive world.

To guide and motivate more organizations to strengthen their taglines, the annual Getting Attention Nonprofit Tagline Awards (a.k.a. The Taggies) recognizes organizations both large and small that have earned top honors for their attention-getting taglines, demonstrating again that an organization of any size can craft a powerful, pithy motto to build awareness and connect with its key audiences.


Organizational Taglines

Arts & Culture
Tagline: Where good books are brewing
Organization: Coffee House Press

Tagline: E.R. You Watch It…We Live It!
Organization: Indiana State Council of the Emergency Nurses Association

Civic benefit
Tagline: Instruments of Mass Percussion
Organization: Drums Not Guns

Tagline: Because Curiosity Knows No Age Limit
Organization: The Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Clemson University

Employment & Workforce Development
Tagline: Our Vision Does Not Require Sight

Organization: Volunteer Blind Industries

Environment and animals
Tagline: Finding good homes for great dogs
Organization: Save the Strays Animal Rescue

Faith-based & Spiritual Development
Organization: Religions for Peace
Tagline: Different Faiths, Common Action.

Tagline: Connecting People Who Care…With Causes That Matter
Organization: Greater Menomonie Area Community Foundation

Health and sciences
Tagline: When time matters most.
Organization: United Hospice of Rockland, Inc.

Human Services
Tagline: Help is a four-legged word
Organization: Canine Companions for Independence

International, Foreign Affairs, National Security
Tagline: Healing a hurting world
Organization: Episcopal Relief & Development

Tagline: Spread the words.
Organization: Edmonton Public Library

Tagline: Your Guide To Intelligent Giving
Organization: Charity Navigator

Fundraising Taglines

Tagline: Bring Back the Roar!
Organization: Oregon Zoo Foundation: Capital campaign to fund lions’ return after 10-year absence

Program Taglines

Tagline: Your Mouth Can Say A Lot About You
Organization: Massachusetts Dental Society: Awareness campaign to educate the public about the important relationship between oral health and overall health

Tagline: Serve a Semester. Change the World.
Organization: Youth Service America: Semester of Service

Special Event Taglines

Tagline: Little feet. Big strides.
Organization: Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research: Kids Can Cure Fun Run, LA Cancer Challenge



Arts & Culture
Tagline: Big Sky. Big Land. Big History.
Organization: Montana Historical Society

Tagline: Building community deep in the hearts of Texans
Organization: TexasNonprofits

Civic benefit
Tagline: Holding Power Accountable
Organization: Common Cause

Tagline: A Mind is a Terrible Thing to Waste ®
Organization: UNCF — The United Negro College Fund

Environment and animals
Tagline: Because the earth needs a good lawyer
Organization: Earthjustice

Tagline: If you want to be remembered, do something memorable.
Organization: The Cleveland Foundation

Health and sciences
Tagline: Finding a cure now…so our daughters won’t have to.
Organization: PA Breast Cancer Coalition

Human Services
Tagline: Filling pantries. Filling lives.
Organization: Houston Food Bank

International, Foreign Affairs, National Security
Tagline: Send a net. Save a life.
Organization: Nothing But Nets

Jobs and Workforce Development
Tagline: Nothing Stops A Bullet Like A Job
Organization: Homeboy Industries

Tagline: Telling stories that make a difference
Organization: Barefoot Workshops

Religion and spiritual development
Tagline: Open hearts. Open minds. Open doors.
Organization: The people of The United Methodist Church


Arts & Culture
Tagline: Where Actors Find Their Space
Organization: NYC Theatre Spaces

Civic benefit
Tagline: Stand Up for a Child
Organization: Court Appointed Special Advocates of Southwest Missouri

Tagline: Stay Close…Go Far.
Organization: East Stroudsburg University of Pennsylvania

Environment and animals
Tagline: Helping Preserve the Places You Cherish
Organization: LandChoices

Tagline: Make the Most of Your Giving
Organization: The Greater Cincinnati Foundation

Health and sciences
Tagline: Improving Life, One Breath at a Time
Organization: American Lung Association

Human Services
Tagline: When You Can’t Do It Alone
Organization: Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Sarasota-Manatee, Inc.

International, Foreign Affairs, National Security
Tagline: Whatever it takes to save a child
Organization: U.S. Fund for UNICEF

Jobs and Workforce Development
Tagline: All Building Starts With a Foundation
Organization: Building Future Builders

Tagline: Because facts matter.
Organization: Oregon Center for Public Policy

Tagline: The Art of Active Aging
Organization: EngAGE

Religion and spiritual development
Tagline: Grounded in tradition…open to the Spirit
Organization: Memphis Theological Seminary

How to Create a Nonprofit Style Guide: 7 Steps to Greater Consistency and Impact

Here’s a problem nonprofit communicators like you share with me time and time again: Due to the ubiquitous nature of information and promotion, we’re all bombarded by content—every waking minute.

In the face of this flood, inconsistencies in your organization’s content—both editorial and graphic—make it difficult for your audiences to digest, at a glance, that these varied communications are all coming from your organization.


Here’s the problem with that: When you’re recognized, it’s much more likely your email or envelope will be opened, which is the only way it will be digested and acted upon.

Consistency Is the Long-Term Solution

Consistency – cross-channel and over time – is the key to your audiences absorbing your messages, and for them to be able to “whisper down the lane” – repeating those messages to friends and family. Keep in mind that this consistency must stay flexible, to be adapted when the channel, audience or other factor is radically different from the norm.

No other form of communication is as powerful as this natural network which exponentially extends your organization’s reach. And a style guide helps you make it happen.

A Style Guide Is Your Path to Consistency

An easy way to ensure clear and consistent communications is to create an editorial and visual identity style guide, made available organization-wide as an ever-accessible PDF.

Everyone needs to be on the same page when it comes to getting the word out. The standards featured in your style guide will make it easy for them to do so, reducing time spent, errors made and endless frustration.

A style guide also makes it unnecessary for you and your colleagues to re-invent the wheel each time, saving you a great deal of effort while increasing your marketing impact.

How to Create Your Organization’s Style Guide

Here is a step-by-step approach to putting together, or updating, your style guide.

  1. Review your communications by spreading a full range of them out in front of you, including pages printed out from your website, e-news, blog, Facebook page and online fundraising campaigns, as well as print materials.
  2. Jot down standards that work best for the editorial and graphic guidelines outlined below. Traditionally, style guides covered punctuation, spelling and other editorial guidelines. I suggest you expand this concept to include visual guidelines as well so you and your colleagues have a single point of reference to shape communications.
  3. Craft a usage policy, outlining who (partners, volunteers) can and should use your organization’s graphic identity elements and how.
  4. Get input on your draft from colleagues and external audiences if possible. These conversations are a key way to get insights from the folks who matter most (your audiences) and buy-in from your colleagues who you want to use the guide.
  5. Make it as brief as possible—ideally a max of 6 pages—so people can quickly find what they need.
  6. Feature the contact info for the Consistency Czar—the person on your team in charge of the style guide—so that your colleagues can easily ask questions. You’ll revise the style guide to include responses to frequently-asked questions, and revise existing content more clearly when you hear that colleagues don’t understand it.
  7. Launch it with a training session for your colleagues—See below.

Editorial Guidelines

The primary purpose of editorial guidelines is to address topics specific to your organization that are not adequately covered in the standard published style guides, such as The Chicago Manual of Style or The Associated Press Style book.

In addition, your style guide summarizes your organization’s approach to the most-frequently-raised questions of style, topics that are dealt with in greater detail in these manuals, in order to offer a quick, but more comprehensive, reference tool.

Questions of style, unlike many questions of grammar, usually do not have a right or wrong answer. Instead, establishing a preferred style is helpful so that your consistent presentation can be maintained throughout an array of materials that may be produced by many different individuals.

Having a set of predetermined guidelines will also save those individuals the time and energy required to develop their own guidelines.

Guidelines should include:

  • Your organization’s name (spelling, abbreviations or acronyms that work)
  • Names of your programs and services
  • Your address, phone number, emails, website and social channels (should you begin writing your url with “http://” or simply with “www”)
  • Your tagline
  • Your positioning statement: The two or three sentences that establish your position in the philanthropic world and how it should be included, as a whole, in most communications
  • Talking points for staff and board members: Key messages that briefly cover the who, what, when, where, and how of your group, and how they should be incorporated in most communications
  • Person, tone and voice
  • Word style preferences (preferred spelling and capitalization, e.g. web site vs. website, grant making vs. grantmaking)
  • Words not to use
  • The title of the published grammar style guide that your group uses: Share the title of the guide that your writers need to follow when deciding whether to insert that final comma or not, or selecting the right preposition to follow the word parallel (to or with). Most importantly, buy print or online copies for all who need to use it!

Review these top two published grammar style guides, talk to colleagues, and select one if you haven’t already (partner links):

Graphic Guidelines

Since the power of a strong visual identity can only be realized through consistent application, these standards are crucial for colleagues throughout your nonprofit to follow.

Elements should include:

  • Organizational and program logos: Sizing; colors; position on the page; what elements should be included when logo is used
  • Color Palette: Official colors and details on how those colors are to be used
  • Typeface (e.g. all newsletter headlines are in Times New Roman, Bold, 14 pt.).
  • Layouts, templates
  • Web, e-news and other online templates
  • Photo and image library.

Putting Your Style Guide to Work

Your next step is to distribute the guide and ensure that staff and consultants are clear on its content and how to use it.

An in-person training session is often an effective way to introduce the guide, answer any questions and ensure that your colleagues view it as an aid (fewer open issues, decisions, delays) to them, rather than a dictum imposed upon them.

Remember to refresh your guide on an ongoing basis as questions come up and preferences are determined.

Useful Models–Nonprofit Style Guides

You’ll see that these examples range from a one-pager, which might be enough for your organization, to Rutgers’ multi-page guide. The more complex your organization, programs and audiences, the more depth (and, unfortunately, length) you’ll need in your style guide.

Consider contacting your communications colleagues at these organizations to learn more about the development or implementation of these guides:

Does your organization have an editorial and/or visual standards guide? If so, please share the link and/or how the guide has helped (or not) here.

Communicating in the Shadow of Disaster – Practical Tips for Nonprofits

What is the place of nonprofit communications in the wake of disaster, particularly when this most recent crisis of epic proportions—the March 2011 earthquake and tsunami disasters in Japan—is rightly dominating our minds and conversations, as well as the media?

For a nonprofit, the answer lies in the way (if any) your organization is involved in the relief effort. The following guidelines derive from an analysis of news of, and fundraising for, recovery efforts around the Japanese earthquake and Pacific tsunami disasters.

For organizations providing disaster relief services in Japan

Make it clear why your organization is well-equipped to help. Be as specific as possible.

  • The Salvation Army, having worked in Japan since 1895, was well positioned to provide immediate rescue help and medical care before many other organizations could get going.The Salvation Army immediately crafted compelling messaging emphasizing the value of its long-established operations and relationships in Japan, and the breadth of its services: “The Salvation Army in Japan immediately dispersed teams following the disaster to the most severely affected areas where they are distributing basic necessities to survivors. These teams will also assess the damage to discern the next steps in their relief efforts.”

    “The Salvation Army has been at work in Japan since 1895, operating more than 80 centers there, including two hospitals and four childrens’ homes. We have nearly 200 officers, 3,000 members and nearly 1,000 employees already at work in the country. We are a part of Japan’s communities and dedicated to their recovery.

  • Save the Children’s appeal focuses on the unique role it provides in disaster relief—helping children and their parents deal with the trauma. The organization is creating “safe places” in Japan that provide the structure and routine children crave.I learned about this much-needed focus via a moving interview of a Save the Children staffer in Japan. He told a number of stories about the children and families he’s working with, which made a huge impression. Here’s one family’s story.
  • Mercy Corps stresses its close partnership with Japanese charity PeaceWinds to deliver emergency supplies. The partnership enabled MercyCorps to get the effort going within a few days, getting “tents, blankets, cooking fuel, tarps, rice and bread to families evacuated from homes in the tsunami-devastated city of Kesennuma. Your donation will be used to meet immediate and longer-term needs of earthquake survivors.”

Communicate broadly, clearly and visually (if possible) about how donations are managed, where they are going and what your organization’s relief effort is achieving.

That comes after thanking donors immediately (and often) and adding them to your donor database for follow-up. Donor behavior in giving to the Haitian earthquake relief effort showed that interest in the relief effort fades much more quickly than your organization’s need for support.

More immediately, you’ll need reliable, timely reporting out, even though you’re frequently working with technological and logistical constraints. This is the time to put social media tools, from Skype to Twitter, to work for all they’re worth. Communicating on disaster relief work is where these tools make a huge difference in sharing the focus and impact of your work on the ground in real time via podcast, photos and/or video.

  • The American Red Cross’ home page features the many ways it’s communicating to donors, prospects and others right on its home page. Channels include video, blog posts and press releases. Its report-out on aid and impact is outstanding, as it has been with previous relief efforts.
  • U.K. charity ShelterBox is documenting the progress it’s making in delivering its trademark shelters in a box via this blog, supplemented by photos that do a great job of telling the story. The posts are thorough and specific, a style that conveys the organization’s expertise and value and builds trust on the part of prospective donors and other supporters.In addition, Shelterbox is keeping its community up to date (and enabling them to spread the word) via its twitter feed.

Be thoughtful in your use of graphic photos of the disaster.

  • The press is working for you by publicizing shocking photos of the disaster (not to mention the videos floating around YouTube, and the tens of thousands of photos on Flickr).
  • Some journalists argue that graphic photos (such as those of dead children) are too much. Others assert that the seriousness of disasters like this one necessitates the use of photos to convey the gravity of the situations, especially to a jaded U.S. audience in the midst of an economic downturn.

Follow-up to transition disaster donors into loyal donors.

  • Giselle Holloway, IRC’s Director of Direct Response, reminds us that “a person doesn’t truly become a donor until they make their second gift. When donors join your organization through an emergency, you need to start cultivating them immediately so you can retain them after the crisis is over. Send them an e-mail or letter that thanks them for their support, welcomes them to your organization and educates them about your broader mission. You also might want to make welcome phone calls to new donors at higher giving levels or try to convert them to monthly giving. And don’t forget to send all your new donors updates on a regular basis that show how their gift is making a difference.”

For organizations fundraising for relief efforts, but not directly providing help

Be proactive and specific in conveying the process for distributing donations and where/how/when the money will be spent.

  • Jewish Federations of North America (JFNA) launched a Japan Earthquake Relief Fund to solicit donations for nonsectarian earthquake relief efforts, carried out through the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee (JDC), a 94-year-old humanitarian aid organization that works in over 60 countries worldwide. JDC is “partnering with the Japanese Jewish community to provide funding to a local NGO for emergency needs including food, water, and shelter in the disaster region. JDC acquired substantial expertise in earthquake and tsunami-related response in Thailand, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Maldives, and India following the Indian Ocean Tsunami of 2004.”

Explain why your organization has chosen to get involved as a pass through for donations.

  • This role, which is probably an unusual one for your organization, has the potential to confuse your established audiences. Help them understand what you are doing, and why.
  • JFNA does a great job of explaining why it’s getting involved in raising money for relief work. Several reasons are cited including its ability to reach out to its national network of regional Federations to encourage them to raise money for JDC’s relief work (a fundraising machine, already in place).

For other nonprofits continuing with fundraising and communications outreach

Be sensitive to inappropriate pitches.

  • You may actually go as far as to acknowledge the magnitude of the earthquake/tsunami/nuclear disasters, and the contributions your donors and prospects are likely to have made. In doing so, you craft the opportunity to talk about your issues (the environment, shelter and health are directly related) and/or service recipients and the fact that these needs persist in the face of these tragedies.Fundraiser Jeff Brooks characterizes disaster giving as “above-and-beyond giving,” and cautions, “There’s no need to take away from the need in [Japan]. Relief giving is not taking gifts away from you.”
  • Remember that your audiences have been immersed, whether they have wanted to be or not, in disaster coverage.

Relate your work to relief work when relevant—but don’t overstate.

  • Make sure you don’t overstate a connection between your organization, services or programs and the disaster.
  • At the same time, acknowledge the earthquake. Pretending the disaster didn’t happen is the worst mistake your organization can make. And homelessness is homelessness, be it among survivors in Sendai or Philadelphians living in poverty.

Continue with your planned communications and fundraising campaigns.

  • Don’t get nervous and pull the plug on carefully designed plans. Yep, many journalists are focused on the Japanese relief effort and other front-page news. But if you have a timely pitch, make it.
  • However, if you are planning a once-a-year bash or fundraising campaign and it coincides with the week of a disaster, consider delaying it. Otherwise, move full steam ahead.

Plan to communicate even more effectively around the next crisis.

  • If your organization isn’t focused on relief, or passing through contributions, it’s likely that you’ll be on the sidelines next time round.
  • While this experience is still fresh, sketch out a one-page plan of what you’ll do next time round. This approach will help you avoid panic at that point, and stay as productive as possible with marketing and fundraising communications.

I recommend you continue to track how these organizations, and others, are communicating on their relief efforts or in the shadow of the disaster in Japan. There’s lots to learn about how your organization can improve its outreach, in times of disaster or, better yet, days of calm.

Two Don’t-Miss Tools for More Effective Nonprofit Events

In 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.

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 Nonprofit Tagline Report, filled with must-dos, don’t dos, case studies and 2,500+ nonprofit tagline examples!

Photo: OneWoman

6 Steps to Showcasing Your Marketing ROI

I was really jolted by this Ask Nancy query I recently received. Jessica (names have been changed to protect the innocent) asks for help with the most challenging (and most critical) step in nonprofit marketing — getting the support of decision makers and colleagues for doing it right.

Q: Help — We’re losing ground past and we need professional marketing help. How do I get the budget and support to get it?
My organization has been in existence since the 1960s, longer than any other environmental group in the state. But, like many nonprofits, we’ve never been good at marketing ourselves, and therefore don’t have the membership base we need. As a result, we’re beginning to lose our historical advantage.
We clearly need professional marketing help. I’m an implementer, but I’d be far more effective working with a marketing expert who has analyzed our challenges and designed a strategy for me to implement. While leadership recognizes our need for professional marketing help, they are not moving forward in that
direction. Help!
Jessica, Outreach Manager, State Natural Resources Council

Believe me, lack of support isn’t uncommon, especially now when tensions are high and budgets low. Many nonprofit professionals either don’t understand or doubt the value (or, in some cases, the seemliness) of marketing. Others see value in marketing but are in the “just do it” camp, not understanding that professionalism is as essential here as in other fields. It is these organizations that are frequently eclipsed by competitors in membership, fundraising and awareness. As a result, their impact is significantly limited.

Build support for marketing in your org by learning how to showcase your marketing ROI (return on investment). Read my guide to building support for doing marketing right today.

Flickr Photo: William Hartz