The Weekly Nugget

Month: January 2015 (page 1 of 2)

Back to basics

Be a yardstick of quality. Some people aren’t used to an environment where excellence is expected.

Steve Jobs


Let’s get practical. It’s tempting to follow the latest trends, technology and strategies, but sometimes it’s worth a moment to consider if you’re optimizing the basics. That’s where you’ll often find the greatest return, on the boring, time-tested details that work.

Is your website focused on its primary objective? Is it easy for people to give you money? Is your social media strategy working effectively?

Most importantly, are your marketing, communications and fundraising strategies aimed at creating real-life engagement that benefits your nonprofit and your cause, not just vanity engagement that feels good?

This is the perfect time to reevaluate how well you’re doing with your core strategy and execution. Some concrete and detailed help:
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A time for reflection

I am determined to be cheerful and happy in whatever situation I may find myself. For I have learned that the greater part of our misery or unhappiness is determined not by our circumstance but by our disposition.

Martha Washington


We’re blessed with so much. Information. Ability. Caring. Support. Success. These are the best of times for nonprofits. It’s good to reflect on that fact as we meet our challenges.


Stumbling Your Way to Greatness
Seth Godin
One reason people who spend a lot of time thinking about and working on a problem or a craft seem to find breakthroughs more often than everyone else is that they’ve failed more often than everyone else.


How to be the Most Productive Person in Your Office
How do you get more done and still get home by 5:30pm?
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What’s the plan?

I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.

Thomas A. Edison, prolific inventor


How sweet the idea of starting over, swiping away your mistakes and chalking up a new plan. Better to iterate and build on what’s working. Even better is to understand exactly what you’re trying to accomplish.

“Many view social media as a tech skillset and not a strategy for building relationships with living and breathing human beings,” says Colleen Dilenschneider. For nonprofits, it’s the same whether you’re communicating, fundraising or selling. Loyalty leads to meaningful support and involvement. And loyalty springs from a relationship, relationships from trust.

What’s your plan for building trust? For attracting new people to your tribe and welcoming them to the fold? And for maintaining and activating the community of people you already have?

Two helpful guideposts along the path of strategic planning:
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Build empathy to build a tribe

Progress is impossible without change, and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything.

George Bernard Shaw


As nonprofits a huge part of our work is rallying supporters to our cause. We really ought to credit them for the successes we have, because we are very little without them. We live and die on how well we build an invested tribe.

And that’s not easy. We have to become experts in cutting through the clutter to reach the people who will care and want to pitch in. No longer can we put our message out there and wait. The passive “build it and they will come” strategy we so often rely on no longer works.

Our digital tools give us an unprecedented ability to seek out and connect with the exact people we need to reach. You can find your tribe by looking for people who already share your worldview.

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Is remarketing good or evil?

Brilliance doesn’t arrive on a rainbow, but can come in the guise of an idiot, muttering incoherently about something nonsensical.  Yet somewhere along the line, someone noticed that there was wheat amongst the chaff and helped midwife the idea.

Greg Satell, Digital Tonto


Are you that someone to take what many in your organization might consider crazy digital marketing tactics and use them for your organization’s best interests?

The tactic of remarketing one good, usable example. It’s a bit of tech that allows an organization to target ads either to people who have visited their website or mobile app, or to show digital ads only to their existing contacts and supporters.

Those ads could promote your mission and brand, a product or service you offer, or be a part of your fundraising or marketing campaigns. They are especially good at helping snag new potential supporters that have visited your site but not yet committed to taking action.

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How to keep your boss from ruining your work

Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen.

Winston Churchill


Do you find yourself knowing the right answer but not being able to run with it because someone higher up thinks they know better? Sure, they’re smart people, but they aren’t an expert like you are. Why is it so common in nonprofits for staff to be overruled by their leaders?

It’s time to seize back control over work that requires highly skilled and knowledgeable people to pull off. Your work is harder than ever before in history. Hard to break through and grab attention, harder still to hold it. And hardest to elicit action.

The solution is entirely in your hands. It applies to more than just fundraising. And it’s not easy. Are you up for it?
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Do stories or statistics work best in nonprofit communications?


As an expert in your field, are you ever in the position of knowing the right answer about a strategy or tactic, only to have your leadership tell you to do something else because they think they know more?

It happens to everyone. Somehow staff in nonprofits aren’t given the freedom to make choices they know are right because it contradicts someone’s common sense, but incorrect, understanding. What can you do?

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Is your nonprofit losing ground?


Does your nonprofit have the answers to the most pressing issues? An amazing experience people love? Supporters that care? Yet we all still struggle to move the needle for more donations, memberships, or ticket sales online.

Year after year we hear about the potential of digital but don’t realize the vision. Why? A big reason is likely your donor, member, or customer’s experience when they try to support you.

Today we are going to really geek out on that topic with some in-depth pieces. It’s a critical topic, though not one we like to deal with. It’s not fun and glamorous like social media. But given the often less than cutting edge software and shopping carts that nonprofits are typically using, it shouldn’t be a surprise that we’re losing out compared to the for-profit world. Let’s see what we can learn from them.
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I want to believe

People don’t want more information. They are up to their eyeballs in information. They want faith — faith in you, your goals, your success, in the story you tell.

Annette Simmons


For those of us trying to change the world, faith is the foundation of everything we do. No one will listen to your great story if they don’t believe in you first, if they don’t trust you, if they don’t have faith in you.

The Secret Weapon of Fundraising: Specificity
A universal truth is you can’t tell just any story to get people to care about your cause and take action. You have to tell a certain type of story.
Short and sweet.

6 Sad Truths about Fundraising That I Have Learned as a Millennial Donor
What story are you telling through your actions? How you present yourself to the world through a million details that aren’t the words and pictures you use?
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What is a supporter worth?


Why Charity Water Doesn’t Have a “Donate Now” Button
Why it’s important to do things from your supporter’s perspective, not yours.
Short and sweet.


How to Budget Across Channels for Maximum Revenue

Condensed from a presentation at the 2014 American Museum Membership Conference
Steve Sullivan, The Weekly Nugget

How do you know how much to invest in each channel you’re using? How much of your budget should you spend on digital? Should you be abandoning direct mail?
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