Success

build nonprofit momentum
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6 Questions To Build Your Nonprofit’s Momentum

We ask ourselves questions almost every moment of the day. Every decision we make is an answer to a question. Every goal we set is fueled by questions.

The right questions move us closer while the wrong questions distract us.

I ask myself the following six questions at the beginning of the year to make sure I’m intentional about the direction I’m heading.

They’ve really helped me and my business so I wanted to share them with you. Set aside an hour to go through them and really figure out what you want to accomplish this year.

  1. What were my biggest successes in the past year?
  2. Why were these things successful? What did I do that worked that I can replicate?
  3. What mistakes did I make this past year and what can I learn from them?
  4. What will it take to make next year a success? In other words, write down what it will take for you to look back this same time next year and be happy with what you’ve accomplished.
  5. What projects and processes need to be put into place to make these goals happen?
  6. What mindset shifts do I need to change to make these goals happen? What do I need to approach or think about differently? What is holding me back?

Remember you don’t have to start from scratch; you can learn a lot from what you did during the last year. Build on what’s working and change what isn’t. Be brutally honest with yourself and share your answers with your team!

nonprofit marketing opportunities
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How To Evaluate Nonprofit Marketing Opportunities

“An opportunity that doesn’t align with your goals is a distraction, no matter how lucrative it is.”

I wrote down that piece of advice for my future self a few years back after I took advantage of a few “opportunities” only to find I was even further from my goals after pursuing them.

I love a good opportunity, but sometimes, in the moment, it’s hard to evaluate how valuable it will be. I’ve found I can’t trust myself to distinguish between an opportunity that will truly move move me closer to my goals and the blind justification that comes with being ecstatic about a new idea.

So how can you keep a level head when you’re about to say YES to a marketing opportunity that could be a game-changer for your nonprofit — but could potentially derail it as well?

Of course, surrounding yourself with wise people helps immensely, but I’ve found that these few questions are great to ask yourself and your team when faced with a new opportunity. Whether you’re starting a new social media strategy, an Adwords campaign, or a strategic partnership, these questions will help you evaluate any marketing opportunity that comes your way.

Who is my target audience for this opportunity?

Before pursuing a marketing opportunity, you should know two things: Who is your exact target audience? And are you using the best channels to reach that particular audience?

Resist the temptation of saying “everybody” is your target audience. Create a customer persona for the audience you’re going after. Look at your past marketing campaigns for any data that might help with the target audience. If you haven’t targeted this audience before, there is absolutely nothing wrong with experimenting. Just be sure to measure and evaluate whether they’re worth pursuing.

Will this opportunity move me closer to my goals?

What are your goals for this marketing project? Make sure you clearly outline what a win looks like for the project and what you’re willing to do to reach those goals. In the days of Don Draper, all clients had to do was approve sketches and new ads. Today, effective marketing takes more involvement and resources from the client.

What resources will it take to execute this opportunity and is this the best place to focus those resources?

If your team is executing this campaign internally, make sure you know what resources will be required. If an outside marketing company is working on the project your team won’t be tied up, so it just depends on what’s best for your situation. Look at the timeline of the project and everything else you have going on and decide whether to keep the project in-house or hire an outside company.

Are there other ways to get more out of your goal?

Now that you have your end goal in mind, how can you get even more out of it? If you look at the pieces of the marketing campaign, you may find you can get even more out of your individual marketing assets.

For example, if your goal is to write 3 e-books to use for educating prospects and building your email list, you have two choices. You could simply write those e-books, or you could use your blog to share excerpts of them and get people interested in the subjects, while also stretching your content much further.

How can we predict the outcome of this opportunity?

Find companies who have done similar marketing campaigns and do your homework. Research what their audience’s reaction was to the campaign, how much of an impact it had, and any mistakes they made that you can avoid. If they aren’t a competitor, it’s even worth giving them a call to ask them directly.

How does this opportunity fit into the rest of my marketing strategy? 

Does it compliment or compete with it? Your new marketing opportunity should complement, and even enhance, your current marketing. It should also fit in with the other stages in your marketing. For example, if you see that most of your marketing falls in the early stage and this is an early-stage opportunity, you may want to hold off until you balance it out with middle and late stage marketing.

Use these questions as a guide to quickly evaluate each new marketing opportunity. Your answers will tell you whether each opportunity that comes along is worth your time and investment.

What Taco Bell Can Teach You About Increasing Your Newsletter’s Impact

Photo by Mike Mozart

Taco Bell has a little secret.

In fact, most fast food joints are in on this secret, and you probably haven’t event noticed.

What’s Taco Bell been keeping under wraps? Just take a look at their menu. The majority of the 40+ item menu is made up of only 3 core ingredients: meat, cheese and tortillas. The ingredients by themselves aren’t impressive (probably the opposite), but the way they repurpose the ingredients in a million different combinations keeps people coming back. And it’s a strategy worth noticing.

Now, take a look at your nonprofit. Specifically, your newsletter.

Newsletters have been around forever. They started out on paper delivered to your business or home, now they’ve moved to email and can be delivered with the click of your mouse. They’re an effective tool to keep in touch with your audience — but there’s a catch.

They’re missing one BIG thing.

Newsletters aren’t timeless. You send out the email, your audience opens and reads it once, and then it’s either buried in their inbox or sent to die in their deleted items folder. The shelf life of a newsletter is only a few minutes.

Your audience can’t bookmark a newsletter like they would an article online. The articles aren’t indexed on your site, so they can’t be found by people searching on that topic. And new subscribers have no way to catch up on past issues.

The best fix for this is creative repurposing. It’s time to ask yourself, What content from my email or print newsletters could benefit my audience on my website?

Here are a few ideas:

  • If your newsletter contains news and events, create a “Community” section or “News” tab on your website to include that information.
  • If your newsletter contains industry articles or trends, post them to your blog or “Resources” tab on your website.  This gives your audience a simple way to find the information long after you’ve sent the newsletter.
  • If your newsletter contains new information about your nonprofit’s work, add the content to your “About” pages for additional, and more permanent, reading.

Not every part of your newsletter needs to be repurposed on your website. It’s a great strategy to have exclusive content to keep your audience interested and attract new subscribers. But one rule remains unchanged: Your content needs to be good.

Really good.

When you start repurposing content, you’re not just writing for your audience anymore. Anyone searching online could stumble onto your material. Take each audience member into consideration when using newsletter content on your website.

Start by repurposing your best content. Listen to the feedback you get from core follower’s comments and see what content gets shared by your followers. Use those insights to continually improve your content and watch your audience grow from the names on your email list to anyone searching for your website!

 

9 Simple Goal-Based Marketing Metrics To Keep Your Nonprofit On Track

nonprofit marketing goals

It’s difficult enough to keep up with your nonprofit’s marketing before even considering how to make sense of it all. But measuring the ROI of your online marketing is the only thing that’s going to save your time, money, and sanity in the long run.

By carefully measuring your marketing ROI, you can apply the Pareto (80/20) principle and determine which 20% of your marketing efforts are producing 80% of the results.

I’ve outlined a few examples of nonprofit marketing goals below and the metrics to measure each one. Use the sample goals as a reference to measure against what you’re currently tracking. It’s a quick and simple way to find holes you need to fill or see if you’re on the right track!

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How to Stay Focused on Your Nonprofit’s Goals

What did you do last week that moved your nonprofit forward?

I mean something big, something you can truly measure.

It’s funny, but those huge accomplishments usually start with something very small. The difficult part is knowing what to concentrate on and having laser-like focus to get it done.

I’ve found the best way to complete these goals is to measure what I do each week that moves me closer to them. How do I do this? I track my time.

In this post I’ll give you three reasons to start tracking your time, even if just for a week. I’ve also included a video at the end of the post that will make it even easier for you to get started. It shows you exactly how to start tracking your time in just five minutes.

Here are 3 BIG benefits of tracking your time:

1. You Can Set Boundaries for Yourself (And Others)

Tracking your time can help you set beneficial boundaries for yourself and others. By tracking in real time you can start identifying patterns in your day and determine what restraints to put on yourself and others.

Pay attention to interruptions that happen throughout the day and the reasons for them. Could you have prevented some of the interruptions with a quick conversation, outlining when you needed uninterrupted time?

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3 Smart Ways to Grow Your Nonprofit’s Email List

NBB 3 smart ways email listThere’s no question that email has become the primary communication channel for nonprofits. And if that’s true, each of your marketing efforts should lead back to building your email list.

Here are my favorite ways to quickly and effectively build your email list and the reasons why it’s so important.

Why is Growing Your List Important?

If we don’t know why we are building our email list, there’s zero motivation to do it. There needs to be a strategy in place to see results.

Most people don’t understand the real benefits of an email list. They simply see it as a way to send out a monthly newsletter. A newsletter is one benefit, but here are several other reasons for building a quality email list for your nonprofit.

Keep Donors Up-to-Date

Email provides an inexpensive way to keep donors up-to-date. For example, you can create specific email lists for different types of donors, and send them updates based on what type of news interests them.

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How To Free Up Time to Think “Big Picture” for Your Nonprofit

Time managementWhen you work in a nonprofit, you know what it’s like to have a mission that drives you to work harder than you thought possible. It’s incredible what the power of a clear, compelling mission can do.

But it can also be dangerous if you don’t take time to step back and look at the bigger picture.

When was the last time you truly stepped away from your day to day tasks and took time to think about your nonprofit’s big picture? Have you made sure you are headed down the right path?

Proactive vs. Reactive Tasks

“If you don’t prioritize your life, someone else will.”
-Greg McKeown

It’s easy to do one ‘big picture’ planning session. But doing it consistently is much more difficult.  To think about the big picture consistently, take a step back and look at your day.

Do you know how much of your day is run by you and how much of it is run by others? If more than 50% is reacting to others, it doesn’t matter if you’re the boss, because other people are controlling your day.

This week, take time to record how much time you spend responding to others requests. No matter how important the request is, it’s still reactive time. This includes answering phone calls and emails, people stopping by unexpectedly, requests for help etc. Basically, anything that you didn’t plan for.

Here’s why it’s important: Taking time to think big isn’t just a problem of finding the time. It’s a priority shift.

You will never ‘have’ the time to grow your non-profit if you are always putting other people’s needs -no matter how urgent- ahead of your organization.

A Practical Approach to Planning Your Time

Before you can choose a strategy, you need to believe you can do it, and make it a priority. Planning your time starts with your mindset, before ever choosing the way to go about it.

My advice is to start small –  maybe just 15 or 30 minutes a day or a week. Decide on a time right now. Schedule that in your calendar, and guard it with your life! I like to schedule time at the beginning of the day because I know having that clarity will energize me the rest of the day.

Another helpful thing to do is keep a journal of your thoughts so you know exactly where you left off. But no matter how you go about it, if you don’t schedule the time, it won’t happen. And if you don’t make it a priority, something else will take its place.

Set Yourself Up for Success

It’s tempting to check your email or phone during your 30 minute “thinking big sessions”. But that first buzz or notification could derail all the progress you’ve made so far. Don’t let it!

Instead, do yourself a favor. Turn off your phone and put it in the other room. Turn off your wifi or better yet, close your computer and stick to good ol’ pen and paper to organize your thoughts.

Then you can transfer them onto the computer, if needed.

If you aren’t comfortable with disappearing for 30 minutes during the day, tell the most important people what you’re doing. Let them know that you’ll be doing this every week, at this time, and ask them to help you by making sure you aren’t interrupted.

Take the Challenge

Try taking 30 minutes for yourself just twice this week, to think big picture. Are you up for it? Let me know in the comments!

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