Tag Archives: nonprofit marketing tools

Two Left Feet

Have you ever felt like the answer to one of life’s great problems was on the tip of your tongue? Like, if you could just articulate an issue things might be resolved? Lately I’ve been feeling a bit mopey, which has primarily manifested itself through my complete saturation in the blog-o-sphere. And, since I’m an udder nerd, my primary focus has centered around non-profit blogs.  Imagine my elation when I came across this post.  Too lazy to click? It’s called “Dancing the Marketing-Fundraising Tango” and illuminates how connected development and marketing tactics can be.

Now, you’re probably thinking… “who the F cares?”.  Most people probably don’t, but for me it was one of those tip-of-the-tongue type answers – something that I’ve probably known all along, but just needed to hear from someone else’s mouth (or blog).  You see, I’ve been thinking about life and what the hell I’m doing with mine.  My current career (if we can call it that) is in development, but I constantly feel myself being pulled toward marketing.  What good is my fabulous new membership program if no one is aware of it? Who is going to donate to our annual fund without knowing the things we’ve accomplished this year? Which of our sponsors will donate again if they haven’t been appropriately (and publicly) recognized?

The disconnect between fundraising and marketing at my work shouldn’t be so great – I actually sit so close to our marketing person that it often feels like we’re tripping over each other to get things done.  But in the odd space-time continuum that is our universe, I realized the vast void between us when she asked me the other day what the annual appeal was.   Umm…you know…only our largest fundraising campaign of the year.  How should she have known that? And how could she promote something she didn’t really understand?  Thankfully, it’s exactly that continuum where our answer can be found – as this 2nd post on claxon tells me, marketing and fundraising are just two ends of the same stick, two forms of the same dance (ah ha!).  Whether you’re focused more on marketing or fundraising really just depends on if you’re broadcasting information to groups or tailoring a personalized message for individuals….or something in between.  Maybe my next job will be in funketing (or markraising?)…whatever that middle ground is called.

So, my Ah Ha moment was simple.  My fundraising job is sometimes a marketing job.  Now, I just have to find ways for me and my colleagues to help each other depending on where on the spectrum our efforts lie.  Once we figure that out, I’ll be dancin’ in the street!



Filed under Nonprofit Management


I really don’t know how many tips and tricks for nonprofit outreach I’ve read, but pretty much all of them beg you to stop using text emails.  I am here to beg you, again.  Yes, it might cost you a little bit of money to pay for an email marketing service.  I recently signed up with MailChimp.com because they are offering a free basic service for lists under 1,000 (you can send up to 6,000 individual emails with the account).  Not too shabby.

As you probably know, there are many reasons to use an email service that go beyond pure aesthetics.  For one, you can track how people use your email – do they forward it, click on links…are they even opening it?  With MailChimp (and probably other providers as well), you can  see who opened your email and what they were interested in.  In fact, you can see how many times they opened the email – and, if they have any sort of avatar, you might even see their picture and location.

Do you really need another reason to invest in an email marketing provider?

I hope I’m painting an idea for you…some way where your impersonal email account allows you to make personal connections with people on your list.  Say you notice someone always clicking on links to volunteer opportunities, but they never show up to your regularly scheduled work days – maybe you should reach out to them personally and see what barriers are preventing them from coming.  Or maybe you’d notice that your board members aren’t opening your emails – probably time to talk to them about how they prefer to receive information about events.  Novel idea, eh?

Ok.  You got the point.  I’m going to assume you already use something like Constant Contact, Email Now, or Mail Chimp.  If you’re not, just know that I stopped listening.  I won’t be opening your emails anymore, and it doesn’t matter how loud you shout.

Painful in my inbox.

Want to take your email marketing to the next level? Check out Network for Good’s Email Fundraising Guide.

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The Difference Marketing Makes

As most of you probably know, October 23rd was Make A Difference Day – the largest day of service in our grand ol’ country.  Let’s think for a minute…there is MLK Day in January, National Volunteer Week in April, the National Day of Service and Remembrance on September 11th, and quite a few other service days or weeks that are recognized throughout the year.  So, what exactly is it that makes Make A Difference Day so great? In my humble opinion…Marketing.

Marketing, huh? That’s right – MADD, as I’ll call it from now on, is sponsored by USA Weekend Magazine.  Yup, that little insert in your Sunday paper (if you still get one) that’s always mixed in with the coupons, ads, and comics is actually helping to drive more than 3 million volunteers to serve their communities on the third Saturday in October.  And, not only are people serving, they are also sharing their story of service through video, photos, and more!

On MADD 2010, I was one of those people – I spent the day travelling around with my new friend (and AmeriCorps member) C.  We had a video camera and captured volunteers doing step-one weatherization in local homes.  Part of me felt a little guilty, like here it was, MADD and all I was doing was dropping into homes and talking to people (well, I also managed to score some quality Halloween candy).  It was nothing like last year when K. and I were stepping over cat poo to measure windows or getting spray foam all over ourselves.  Was I really doing anything of use, let alone making a difference?

The video isn’t done yet, but I’ll just go ahead and say YES.  Plus, there must be value in people taking a minute to describe what they are doing and why (that whole reflection thing).   Which I suppose gets me to my point – in your every day work volunteering or managing volunteers, or whatever it is you do…take a minute to capture the moment and share it!  Your organization’s ability to broadcast its mission has a huge impact on how well you engage volunteers and donors.

Here are a few basic tips and tools for making sure your organization is sharing its story:

– Sign up for http://greatnonprofits.org/ and ask your current supporters for reviews.  The stories they share will appear on the site, but will also be tied to your GuideStar account (hopefully you have one) where many informed donors research 501(c)3s.

– Apply for YouTube.com’s Nonprofit Program so your organization can tie donation buttons to videos of your most recent project

– Don’t have videos of things your organization is doing? Consider connecting with a local university’s media department for a service learning project.  Or, get in touch with community television in your area.  Here in Portland, Maine we have a wonderful resource in CTN5 – they even made an annual appeal video for my organization.  Shameless plug HERE.

– Ask for free advertising from local papers and radio stations.

-And of course, use social media, blogs and other online tools like email marketing in a way that works for your cause…find the format that reaches new audiences without over-stretching your time and money.

How is your organization getting the word out about the great work it does? Share it here!

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Filed under Nonprofit Management