Oh, the promo’d web you can weave

It’s September. I love the fall crispness and colours — my favourite season really. I know Winter is coming (a nod to fellow GRRM fans), but there is always a “newness” I find with each Fall. But for some nonprofits, Fall also means getting ready to gear up for December donor campaigns. Here are a few online and/or social media resources to get you thinking about your message, management, and web presence as you start to plan.

Tell stories: Grant writing, marketing, and social media experts are always talking about ways to reach out effectively to your audience. One key trick is tell stories, especially those that can show your impact they can relate to. Care2‘s blog “frogloop” recently wrote about a few applications/tools to help tell stories online with different elements like pictures, video, and slides. One of them also helps create better content across different social media platforms. 4 Tools to Help Any Nonprofit Tell Stories Online

E-mail newsletters: I’m a big fan of newsletters. I’ve just started getting into creating my own for my job. CharityVillage has posted this article called “Ten Tips to Get the Most out of Your Email Newsletters” that are great. They are not rocket science or even new, but it is a great list, and sometimes you just need to be reminded. And if you have not worked with newsletters before, this is an excellent list of things to help you start with a bang! There are a number of tools out there for creating e-mail newsletters, and I have come to loooove Mailchimp as it’s free for nonprofits, has great flexibility when it comes to design, and offers extensive reporting tools.

Online resources: David Venn blogs about Nonprofit Public Relations and recently published an e-book called 50 Online Resources for Managing Your Nonprofit. It is a list of resources organized by such categories as Nonprofit Management, Social Networks, Presentation & Publication, and Fundraising. It’s free if you subscribe to his newsletter. I liked the listing. I have heard of or used many of his suggestions, but there were quite a few I didn’t know about (like Bplans, wicked!)

Try out an online template: I haven’t looked at this myself, but Smart Brief on Social Media has created a customizable social media plan template. If you try it out, let me know how it works out for you.

And while you’re at it …CharityVillage has published a great article on Creating a Social Media Toolkit for your Nonprofit. I love the sample screenshots.

The Facebook: If you are thinking to create a Facebook page or build on the one you have now, here’s a list of 30 tips and tricks you can consider, thanks to the folks at HubSpot Blog and their Ultimate Facebook Marketing Cheat Sheet.

(Links updated November 2013)


No one has time anymore. So create an elevator speech!

This is the first time I’ve logged into my blog in, well, many many months. Life in the “real” world is just a little too crazy sometimes I guess. I would be worried if it was just me, but everywhere I look around, everyone is busier than ever before. Is it the weather? The end of the world? Greater expectations from family, friends, and bosses? I’m not sure. But I do know that people have less and less time to listen and pay attention in general.

One thing you can do, for your work side of life anyway, is develop an “elevator speech” on your organization, your work, your cause … it’s a pitch. If you walk into an elevator with a potential funder, for example, and you only have the elevator ride to get them hooked, what would you say? CharityVillage has posted this article to get you thinking about it. (Links updated November 2013)

Non-profits and New, Social, and Digital Media

Whether for communications, marketing, or fundraising, here’s a few links that might interest you. I found most of them thanks to CharityVillage newsletters.

  • 5 website updates to do right now to get more online donations

1. Make sure you have a Donate section on your website
2. Call that section Donate in your navigation and not something ambiguous
3. Have a Donate Now! button on every page of your site
4. Include stories and videos about the impact your organization has
5. Make your financial information easy to find (usually in the About Us section)

  • Affinity Resources Newsletter: a free, monthly newsletter that provides information for nonprofits about Internet fundraising and eMarketing. Alerts are published in a simple, to-the-point format with a brief summary of the topic and a direct link to a source for more information.
  • Mashable: Founded in 2005, Mashable is an online source for news in social and digital media, technology, and web culture. Mashable frequently reports on technology issues related to charities and nonprofits, including how organizations are successfully using social media to raise awareness and funds.
  • John Haydon: Social media marketing for nonprofits: Published by the founder of Inbound Zombie, a consulting firm helping nonprofits with social media marketing, this site has a number of free resources to help nonprofits use social media effectively. Resources include a social media toolbox, articles on how to use YouTube, Facebook, and Twitter, free downloadable guides, and a blog keeping readers up-to-date on the latest social media news and trends.
  • The Basics of Email Marketing for Nonprofits (PDF): Using email to start and grow relationships with your constituents is critical for nonprofit organizations. Through best practices and case studies, in this guide you’ll learn about list-building tactics, targeting your audience, personalizing the message, privacy, eNewsletters, viral marketing, creative campaign ideas, and tracking your success. (Link updated November 2013)

Creating Fundraising Policies?

The Association of Fundraising Professionals has a blog at http://afprc23.blogspot.com. In reading a CharityVillage article about building a fundraising plan, I clicked through to this link — A sampling of nonprofit fundraising policies. They have some interesting links, from an investment policy to entering and recording contributions to volunteer management. (Links updated November 2013)

Are you Blogging? 21 “hot” topic ideas for you

Fresh Fundraising Newsletter

Fresh Fundraising Newsletter

I subscribe to a newsletter at freshfundraising.ca and in their latest issue, they’ve listed 21 “Hot Topic Blog Topics for Nonprofits.” Maybe some of them will inspire you! I think you’ll find some of these can be good for anything from regular newsletters to grant/fundraising letters and more. (November 2013: The site no longer exists.)

21 Hot Blog Topics for Nonprofits

1. Share your organization’s latest research.
2. Post educational information or “how to” tips. If you work for a health organization, you can provide healthful living tips. If you run an animal shelter, you can give readers advice on how to take care of their pets.
3. Discuss a problem in your community.
4. Tell readers about your programs, events and initiatives.
5. Comment on the latest local, national or international news in your sector.
6. Reformat your press releases into blog posts to highlight your organization’s latest news.
7. Profile a staff member, volunteer or member of your community. Share stories about their work and why they are involved with your organization.
8. Interview your executive director, another key employee or a board member about a hot topic.
9. Interview your sector’s leaders (e.g. activists, community leaders, authors or politicians) about one of your key issues.
10. Acknowledge individual donors by asking if you can profile them. The blog post can discuss their relationship to your organization and explain why they contribute.
11. Inspire readers with your success stories and case studies.
12. Accept guest posts from your constituents. Allow them to tell their stories.
13. If your organization is open about discussing controversial topics, you can rant about something. Just be prepared for negative backlash.
14. Post photos and write short captions under them.
15. Post videos of your latest projects, appeals and events.
16. Report about an event or conference you have attended. You can even blog live from the event.
17. Review something (e.g. a book, program or event).
18. Develop a resource list. If constituents regularly ask you for information on a specific topic, you can give them a list of online resources.
19. Link to a post on another blog and tell your readers why they should check it out.
20. If you’re active on Twitter, you can share your weekly “top tweets.” That way, your readers who don’t use Twitter can keep up with your latest news, and your readers who use Twitter will be compelled to follow you.
21. Mention your other social networks. For example, you can highlight discussions you are having with your community on Facebook and encourage readers to join the conversation.

If you still need ideas, ask your community what they want to read. They can provide you with insight into what topics are the most relevant to their concerns.