Smartphone Interview Tips- Part 1

Screen shot 2014-09-05 at 2.51.18 PMWith smartphones, we now have mobile TV studios in our hands. We can interview friends and family, and more importantly for nonprofits, donors, volunteers, clients and more. Personally, I’ve done studio interviews with folks like Olympian Scott Hamilton, author and survivor Elizabeth Smart, business guru Pat Lencioni, and even NASCAR legend Darrell Waltrip. I’ve taken some of the lessons I’ve learned along the way and I’m sharing them with you here, with the help of fellow NBBer and nonprofit activist Leah Hayes.

In part 1, we’ll focus on questions like:
-What is the single most important thing to remember when interviewing someone?
-Is too close for comfort just right?
-Where should you look when you’re giving an interview?
-How do you make the interviewee the star?

NEXT, WATCH SHANNON LITTON- SHOULD NON PROFITS FOCUS ON THE HOW OR THE WHY?

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.

Read More

August 15- 5 Fundamentals of Core Financial Clarity

Screen shot 2014-06-03 at 9.51.12 AM What are the most common mistakes nonprofit leaders make with their finances?

If an accountant were to walk into your office to help you sort things out, would you know what to give him or her?

When cash flow is short, should you make your own paycheck the variable?

Brian Moyer, of Moyer Financial Services, will lead a discussion on these and other issues that are so important, but often overlooked, by non profit leaders.

 

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!

Should You Consider Arbitration?

Screen shot 2013-08-07 at 5.31.52 PMIn a perfect world, executive directors and boards would always be on the same page, but serious differences can arise, and sometimes the best way to find reconciliation is through third-party mediation.  A breakdown in communication and trust can lead to feelings of desperation, frustration and helplessness. “Score-keeping” is not healthy in any relationship. At that point, or sooner, someone neutral needs to go in and help both sides focus on the future.

Through mediation, the board/board chair and an executive director can agree to set new rules, new clear expectations and discuss what they need from each other to be successful and ultimately set the terms for mutual benefit.  It’s partially a Personal Improvement Plan and partially strategic planning.  The goal is to strengthen the organization– it isn’t personal.

The most delicate relationship a CEO or Executive Director has is the one with his board.  The board is responsible for ensuring sustainability for the organization.  The challenging part is with each change in board leadership, there is a shift in how the organization runs.  The staff must adjust.  The part no one wants to talk about is this- if the personalities clash, the board is ultimately responsible for making the decisions.  This relationship has to be approached the same way you approach a boss in Corporate America.  The board is the boss……… it’s part of the ego-check.  It can be hard for staff to admit because we are in it everyday, but this is the current structure of nonprofit organizations.    Mediation may be the last option, but we must always remember it is an option.

– Beth Torres is the President/CEO of Make-A-Wish Middle Tennessee, and former Junior Achievement VP and Reebok Marketing Manager.  She can be followed on twitter @_beth_torres

Free Tool to Improve Your Donation Process

Your nonprofit organization’s website is one of the best fundraising destinations for testing: you can easily change graphics, colors, messaging, and more in an effort to figure out what motivates your donor to give. A key to understanding your donor is to have the right data and information to take action, for example, if you have three calls to action on your website to make a donation, which one is being clicked on most frequently? Does your navigation make sense? Does anyone really use your hero banner at the top?

There are a number of ways to figure out what donors are doing, but many are technically or highly involved. One free tool to see how your donors are interacting with your site is ClickTale. ClickTale records 3,000 interactions with your site each month on the company’s free plan. The tool let’s you see heat maps, watch videos of actual users interacting, and see how far people scroll down your page. Read More

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How Often Should You Update Your Nonprofit’s Blog?

If you ask five people the question, how often should I post my blog, you will undoubtedly get five different answers.

In this post, I don’t want to give you another answer, I want to give you a framework for figuring out how often your nonprofit should blog once and for all.

But first,  let’s look at the question “how often should I blog” a different way. In order to figure this out we need to what know the goal of your blog is.

Is it to attract new donors?

Is it to keep your audience up to date?

Is it to grow your email list?

Or all of the above?

First, you MUST know what you are trying to accomplish through your blog. The next step is asking two simple questions: Who am I trying to reach? And what can I realistically make time for? Read More

Guidelines For Writing NBB Blogs

Screen shot 2014-06-17 at 12.19.03 PMWe’ve assembled some great writers and thinkers, like Joel Widmer, Shannon Litton, and Daniel White as our regular contributors, with some great part-time writers and guest-posters as well. As we officially launch this NBB site, I like to make the guidelines and suggestions known for what we’re looking for and trying to accomplish for each blog.

Dear blogger: Here’s what you need to know when writing for NonBoardBoard (NBB)

1) It’s OK to mention Jesus in your post. Most of the focus of NBB is on the business side of running a non profit. However, that shouldn’t make us forget the ‘why’ of what we’re doing.  Some guy 2,000 years ago worked hard to make sandals that helped the disciples walk farther and longer to reach more people with the gospel.  Even though he didn’t have a glamorous job, he was still very important at helping the disciples do what they do better.  The same goes for us.  We share our ‘non-glamorous’ expertise in skills like social media, accounting, efficiency, strategic planning, networking, etc, so that these leaders and their nonprofits can go out and preach the gospel, serve the widows and the orphans, heal the sick, rescue the slaves, and make an impact on the world.

2) It’s OK to mention mistakes in your post.  One of the driving goals of NBB is to remind leaders it’s OK for them not to know everything, and part of that is admitting mistakes.  In the ‘about’ section, I admit one of my mistakes that almost stopped NonBoardBoard before it really got started.  The important thing is that if you do make a mistake, you fix it, you improve, and you go on to make an even bigger impact. Read More

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An Easy (and Free) Way To Explain Your Nonprofit To The World

Adobe just announced the launch of a new piece of software that will be a game-changer for nonprofits.

It’s called Adobe Voice

It’s free. It works on only on your iPad (for now)  and unlike the rest of their products, it’s incredibly simple to use.

The free app makes it easy to create explainer videos. Explainer videos are short, simple videos used to tell a story,  explain a cause or capture the voice of your nonprofit.

Up until now, videos like this could cost a few hundred dollars to several thousand for a custom video. But with Adobe voice, your nonprofit can have your video created and sending to your audience in a day! Click the link below to watch the video:

http://youtu.be/fnS4VhEj0Z4

A Conversation with Barrett Ward of fashionABLE and Mocha Club

Screen shot 2014-05-30 at 12.46.00 PMI recently had a chance to chat with our June 20 speaker, Barrett Ward, founder/president of fashionABLE, and founder and former director of Mocha Club, and was intrigued by his approach to fundraising.

One of the things I find very interesting about Barrett’s approach is how, when it came to Mocha Club, he talked about the donor first.  Obviously, helping those in need in Africa is very important, but sometimes your differentiation as a nonprofit can occur from the donor side. In the case of Mocha Club, he saw this under developed resource, young donors, and found a way to engage them.  Other, more established non profits brushed off the idea of young donors, but by using some creativity, he was able to show those donors how they could make a big discount with relatively small amounts of money.

In your nonprofit, how do you approach under utilized donors? Read More

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