There’s a whole bucket full of interesting, practical and inspiring stuff in this week’s Click-It (and I don’t mean an ice bucket)! I’ve got stuff about what you must do to compete in a digital marketplace… articles about integrating fundraising and marketing (which I’m passionate about)… stuff about types of skills to look for in today’s communications staff and some ideas as to which marketing channels give you the biggest bank for your buck. And speaking of bang for the buck, there’s info on how to research donor prospects. Plus I’ve got a thought-provoking cartoon for you at the end. And, as always, some great learning opportunities (scroll to the bottom) you won’t want to miss! Continue Reading
I recently had the privilege of presenting at the ALDE Conference, during the course of which I had the good fortune to listen in on the Keynote Address presented by Kivi LeRoux Miller. It got me to thinking about becoming a nonprofit milliner.
Well, here’s the deal. I’m sure I could do a brisk business selling all sorts of different hats based on what Kivi had to say about results from her 2015 Nonprofit Communications Trends Report. After surveying more than 1500 nonprofits, guess what she found?Continue Reading
I decided to write this post due to the number of times nonprofits ask me “How often should we mail to our donors?” The corollary question is “How often can we ask people to give?”
Well… if there was one quick answer I wouldn’t have needed to write a whole article. I’d just have given you a headline with a definitive response!
I know you want a definite answer.
And I could give you one. But it wouldn’t be the truth. Because the truth is different for every nonprofit. And the truth will even be different for your nonprofit at different points in your life cycle.
There are two definitive things I can tell you:Continue Reading
I’m going to tell you to do exactly what I do.
Don’t ignore a single disgruntled supporter. Express compassion and contrition.
If someone takes the time to tell you they’re unhappy, that means they care. They’re connected to you. They want something from you, and you’re disappointing them.
This is your golden opportunity to get inside your donor’s head and find out what your supporter really cares about!
Don’t blow this person off. Instead, Continue Reading
In a recent post about building donor loyalty I promised to reveal my personal #1 SECRET – the one principle that makes the greatest difference to long-term, sustainable fundraising success.
I’m going to share that principle here; then I’m going to turn this principle into a word – actually three variations of the same word – that you can use to transform the way you’ve been doing business.
Are you ready?Continue Reading
Everyone loves a good story. Everyone.
Which is why storytelling should be at the heart of your nonprofit’s strategic communications. I know ‘storytelling’ is a meme du jour. But that’s no reason to ignore it. Just because everyone else is doing it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t! There’s a reason these phrases become buzzworthy. In this case, because you want to serve up content that’s relevant, attractive and accessible to your constituencies. Storytelling fits the bill better than anything else.
In fact, of all the content you can create, storytelling is your ultimate weapon and the most powerful means of communicating your message.
Let’s look at this a different way. Continue Reading
Because I’ll bet you it’s not embracing two key elements essential to raising awareness and getting folks to engage with you in 2014 and beyond.
What’s that? (1) Content marketing. (2) Social media. For real.
Let me explain.Continue Reading
Or… What Your Donors Won’t Tell You about Your Nonprofit Messaging.
At first blush, tepid tapioca and gooey hot chocolate might appear to have nothing whatsoever to do with securing vital resources to further your mission. Blush again.
Blush hard. Think of all the good things you could accomplish were you to more effectively master the art and science of fundraising. Feel the warm pink tinge beginning to creep up your neck as you embrace the errors of your ways over the past year. Or two. Or 10. Or even more.
Are you still doing things like it was 1985? 2000? 2008? If so, you should probably be embarrassed. Because I know very few organizations who are succeeding today using yesterday’s strategies.Continue Reading
Last week, in part 1 of this post, I encouraged you to begin blogging if you’re not doing so already. And, if you are, to do so more effectively. Make your blog the hub of your content marketing. It will simplify your life in so many ways, and become the anchor for your marketing communications and organizational branding.
Today, let’s continue with seven more “do’s and don’ts” to round out our baker’s dozen of nonprofit blogging tips:
Don’t 7: You don’t give credit where it is due.
It’s fine to derive inspiration from another source, but don’t claim the prose as your own.
Do 7: When you cite other sources, attribute them.
If you quote someone, put quotation marks around their prose and state their name. If you want to be extra nice, include a hyperlink to their website or suggest to folks that they follow this person on one or more social media sites. I derived inspiration for this post from two articles on Hubspot by Nathan Yerian and Ginny Sosky. You can see them here and here.
Don’t 8: You don’t take time to edit your post.
This is one of my pet peeves, and it’s a real rookie mistake. Why put all that time into creating a great useful post that will draw readers to you, when you then repel them by including a bunch of typos and run-on sentences? It’s sloppy and stupid.
Do 8: Come back to your post the next day and edit it.
Remove redundancies. Eliminate jargon. Take out excess adverbs and adjectives. Run spell check. Break up big chunks of text. Use sub-heads, bold-face, color and images to draw the reader’s eye to your main points and make it easier to scan. Do it the next day, when you’re fresh and can look at your post from a different perspective.
Don’t 9: You let great get in the way of good.
This used to be a big problem for me. I’m a perfectionist by nature. It was hard for me to hit the “publish” button. Please learn from my mistakes and don’t obsess! If you’ve followed all of the “Do’s” outlined above, your post will be ready for prime time.
Do 9: Hit the “publish” button once you’ve done your due diligence.
Make yourself a checklist and post it next to your computer. Go through it after you’ve finished writing. Once you’re done, publish your post!
Don’t 10: You publish erratically.
Consistency is key if you want to build a following for your blog.
Do 10: Develop a content editorial calendar and stick to your publishing schedule.
It’s been said that those who fail to plan, plan to fail. A content editorial calendar keeps you organized and on track. You commit to your blog having a consistent presence, so your audience can commit to looking for you and reading you. You don’t become one of those TV shows we all stopped watching because their schedule became so erratic we couldn’t remember when/where to find them. By planning ahead, you drive perseverance.
Don’t 11: You fail to include an image.
It’s often said that a picture is worth 1,000 words. When it comes to blog articles this is true in spades! Our culture is increasingly visual to the point where articles with images get 94% more views! Marketers who are embracing visual content are seeing huge returns in terms of more readers, leads, customers and revenue.
Do 11: Include at least one image in your blog post.
This should be a no-brainer based on the research cited above (and all over the internet). Your blog posts have a purpose. You want them to engage folks. Visual content is a huge driver of engagement. You can afford it, because there are plenty of online sites offering free image downloads today. Just search for them and pick one. And check out Jeff Bullas’ The Ultimate Guide to Using Images in Social Media. He’ll give you all sorts of tips and tricks for using images to their greatest effect. Enough said.
Don’t 12: You fail to include a call to action as a next step.
Once you’ve published your post you want folks who read it to do something. What is that? How will your readers know what you want them to do? Too often blog posts end with a whimper. The reader gets all the way to the end, only to be left with that lead balloon feeling of “so what?
Do 12: Include a clear call to action.
This will increase your conversion rate (i.e., turning first-time readers into subscribers; turning ongoing readers into donors) and improve the return on investment for the time you put into crafting and publishing your post. Simple calls to action include:
- Subscribe to our blog.
- Comment on this post.
- Share this post.
- Please donate.
For more on creating effective calls to action, read this free guide from Hubspot.
Don’t 13: You fail to build relationships.
When you ignore people who do as you’ve asked, it’s just plain rude. It discourages them. It can even anger them. Conversely, when you interact with folks it can encourage others to interact as well. Creating a dialogue is one of the primary benefits of a blog, enabling you to get to know your constituents in ways that were previously cost-prohibitive. Don’t waste your opportunities.
Do 13: Respond to folks who take the time to interact with you through your blog.
If they comment on your post, reply back to them. If they share your post on social media or via email, thank them. If one of your active constituents has their own blog, go to their site and make a comment or share their post. If you see they have a large following, ask them nicely if they would consider sharing your post with their network. And so forth.
If you found this post useful, you may be interested in my brand new Nonprofit Blogging Playbook.
Get as many Guides as you want or need (if you buy all four, I offer a “Bundle Bargain” discount). A great blog is one of the best investments you can make in acquiring and retaining more donors. Learn how with this 4-volume set that will teach you (1) blog fundamentals; (2) content folks will want to read; (3) how to use your content to engage folks, and (4) how to promote your blog so it builds momentum and drives more potential supporters to your website. Plus, I stand by all my Clairification products. If you’re not happy, there’s a no questions asked full refund policy. The only way to lose is by doing nothing. Don’t be a loser!
Image courtesy of freedigitalphotos.net