The Weekly Nugget

Category: Nonprofit strategy (page 1 of 2)

Your strategy could already be out of date

The spoils will go to the swift, the nimble, the liquid.

Mark Schaefer


Here’s this week’s featured articles.
By Steve Sullivan


The New “Liquid” Model for Content Marketing Strategy
The world of engagement, fundraising and sales is shifting once more. How can your marketing and social media plans keep up?


Facebook Content Strategy is a Time Bomb for Inbound Marketing
Is your strategy all about inbound marketing? Perhaps not anymore. It’s time to start thinking how you need to evolve.
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Discover the secret of the 80/20 rule

To make change happen, gathering a band of passionate enthusiasts is not enough. . . you need to understand that the change you seek will not happen inside the movement, but outside of it.

Greg Satell


By Steve Sullivan

The 80/20 rule — which says that 80% of results typically come from 20% of effort — is widely known but seldom used to its potential. Yet it can be perhaps the single best route to success.

It’s critical to continually evaluate what you spend your time on. If you tweak the mix just right, you accomplish the important things and even have some time left over to have a life. If not, you spin your wheels and never realize your potential.

This applies to organizations of all sizes as much as it applies to you.

In this case, the 80/20 rule reminds you to spend your time pursuing the 20% of your work that creates 80% of value. Probably it should be 90/10.

Sure, there is always important work that must be done that doesn’t fall within 80/20. But if you keep your eye focused on that critical 20%, and finish that first and foremost, chances are you will accomplish far more.

I’ve found working on the most important tasks first leaves me dialed in to achieving my most important goals.

There is a secret you have to know though.

The secret of the 80/20 rule is NOT doing all that other work. It’s far more important to stay relentlessly focused. That’s the hardest part, saying no and ignoring things. But it’s critical.

To make it easier, start with only planning to do the 10% of tasks that gets you 90% of your results. That way if you slip, you’ll still be close to 20%.

How do you use the 80/20 rule in your work or life?


If You Don’t Do It, You Don’t Value It
An eye-opening thought piece on walking your talk. Worth a quick read to see if you or your organization are really doing what you value.


Why Some Movements Succeed and Others Fail
What’s the new role for leaders in the networked age? Find out and learn how operating like a startup company marketing a product can be the path to success.



Every Marketing Challenge Revolves Around These Questions
A quick reminder of the questions to ask before you jump in.

Steve Sullivan is passionate about all things nonprofit and digital and started this blog and email newsletter to share the latest strategies and tactics with other marketing, fundraising, communications and membership professionals.


If you aren’t subscribed to the Weekly Nugget email list you’re missing out on the latest digital strategies for nonprofit professionals. Every week.Sign up below!


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You might be too smart. Plus why Periscope matters to your nonprofit.


By Steve Sullivan

Are you too smart for your own good? Sometimes, perhaps.

The trouble with being smart, especially when you are in a leadership position, is your brain tricks you into thinking you know more than you do.

It’s survival. To confidently do good work you have to believe you know what you’re doing, and you have to be right. Of course you are.

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Are you selling yourself short?



By Steve Sullivan

Are you a visitor-serving organization that feels you always need something new to attract people?

Maybe. But in the long run you’re selling yourself short.

Sure it works. What’s far more powerful is messaging and marketing based on your core beliefs or “product” you’re promoting. Like membership, fundraising, advocacy, community, your mission or your experience.

Now you’re attracting true believers who are vastly more valuable to your mission and bottom line.

Believe in who you are and what you provide or improve it until you can. Or you’ll never be successful.


5 Tips to Create an Irresistible Call to Action
If you’re doing things right, you’ll have calls to action everywhere. Study what the best businesses do and you’ll have more conversions. Everything here is fully applicable to your nonprofit. Learn what works from this post, steal the ideas and adapt to your situation.


6 Signs of a Well-run Nonprofit Organization
And how does your organization stack up? What is your role in doing something to make it better?


Steve Sullivan is passionate about all things nonprofit and digital and started this blog and email newsletter to share the latest strategies and tactics with other marketing, fundraising, communications and membership professionals.


If you aren’t subscribed to the Weekly Nugget email list you’re missing out on the latest digital strategies for nonprofit professionals. Every week.Sign up below!


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The next step


By Steve Sullivan

Are you using paid online ads to drive your fundraising, marketing or engagement efforts? Although you should start with a robust email marketing program first, paid digital ads are a powerful next step in amplifying your efforts.

Here’s a few thoughts on why you should get started and expert advice if you’re already running campaigns.


Why Your Nonprofit Should Integrate Digital Advertising in 2015
A good overview of why you should be thinking about adding digital ads to the mix and where to find free advertising dollars.


Priority List: 13 Audiences to Target Using Facebook Ads
Facebook is likely to be your first stop with placing ads. Who should you be reaching out to?

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What to do when they don’t believe you

We are divided by those who think with their head, and those who know with their heart.

— Stephen Colbert


By Steve Sullivan

Is your mission controversial? (And what isn’t today?) Do you have critics who don’t believe what you say even when the facts are on your side?

Guess what? Facts and science just don’t hold the same power they used to. Any halfway believable but utter malarkey can carry as much credibility as utter truth.

Well no wonder. The world today is more confusing and non-intuitive than ever. We no longer worship the sky because we think it’s an angry god to appease, but we are surrounded by science, technology and realities we increasingly don’t understand. It’s natural that we fall back on what seems to make intuitive sense.

Even those dedicated to science and truth fall into this trap. It’s why smart people believe stupid stuff like vaccines causing autism and global warming being a myth, no matter what reality is.

A key factor is identity. We don’t realize it, but we have stronger ties to what “people like us” believe than to scientific proof. We want to belong. So if the group we identify with most strongly thinks one way, we are likely to as well, while seeing anything contradictory to our view as being simply wrong.

After all, isn’t belonging one of our most powerful motivators?

So what can you do? Start by building a tribe, not just an audience. Your communications should radiate from your core values and beliefs to attract “people like us” who fiercely agree. It’s what makes what you say authentic and truthful. Talk about you the supporter (the hero of the story) instead of we the organization.
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How to do it well

Being good is merely the first step.

— Seth Godin


It’s hard to be excellent, and last week we learned that being excellent is only the first step.

But what does excellence mean? What could we be doing better?

A few M&Ms for thought.


You too can be a lot like charity:water
Is your organization willing to do what charity:water does to be a game-changer?
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Here is some great stuff to steal

Honor those that came before and use their work as a building block for yours.

— Seth Godin


Do you steal? I do. Every day. Not being that creative, I always look around for great ideas to steal from others. It saves so much time to borrow from what works, modify it and get even better results.

We’re in the business of changing the world, right? Results matter.

There is danger: beware of driving straight to average if you’re doing what everyone else is doing. That’s why it’s so important to make it uniquely yours, to take a risk and build upon what others have done and push it to new heights.

What ideas have you stolen? Leave a comment below and let me know.


Steal, Don’t Invent
I didn’t steal this idea from Seth but I knew he’d have something pithy and worth reading to say about it.
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What’s being said about you?

It’s funny that so few nonprofits take a moment to step back and consider how they want to be viewed by their target audiences and supporters.

— Colleen Dilenschneider


Story is a critical to nonprofit success, and to our digital strategies. Not only in the storytelling sense, but in what we tell ourselves, each other and outsiders. These stories originate with our deepest held beliefs. But not really understanding what you’re saying purposefully or inadvertently can lead to failure without your ever understanding why.

A powerful creation myth or motivating story can make all the difference to rallying staff and supporters, but a few people’s values and actions can form a unspoken story that can undo that same energy internally. And of course, what people believe your story to be is your reputation and largely determines their interactions with you.

It’s worth taking a moment to really dive into the spoken and unspoken stories you tell yourself and that your nonprofit tells the world. Are you telling the right story?


How Great Leaders Inspire Action
Apple does not use social media. That fact blows me away. But the powerful story that Apple employees from top to bottom believe and live out radiates to everything they do. It then inspires their customers and has turned them into the biggest brand in the world. How can we take advantage of that tactic too?
You may have seen this before, but it could be the most powerful tool you have to be heard and is worth watching again. Get this right and you’re way ahead.
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What to do when it all goes wrong


I’m saddened when great nonprofits make catastrophic mistakes because they don’t realize that the world around them has fundamentally shifted. Suddenly there is a crisis and everyone is doing damage control.

So often we don’t understand that trying to be an institutional source of truth today is doomed. No one blindly trusts institutions anymore. And everyone’s opinion can be fact. A startling study recently looked at online information about vaccination and found that facts from a credible institution carried the same weight with people as anonymous internet comments.


How can nonprofits avoid a communications crisis? Here are three thoughts that also work as rescue remedies.
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