The Weekly Nugget

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I don’t want to work


Last week, I was in Italy sitting on a rooftop terrace overlooking the Mediterranean at sunset. The water was a glittering sea of diamonds as the sky turned an ever-intense shade of orange.

Now, I’m sitting in my office on a worn chair with its stuffing poking through, the heavy droning of an industrial air conditioner just outside my window. A dark sky blankets the city in ever-intense shades of gray.

I’m in no mood to work. I’m procrastinating, wasting time, accomplishing little.

This despite the fact that, like you, I’m passionate about what I do. I care deeply and work hard. But sometimes it’s really hard to work at all.
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While you were sleeping


Oh Facebook, at it again. Tweaking the newsfeed to push posts from friends you interact with over posts from pages. Pushing posts from websites that more regularly publish content that gets interacted with (blogs, typically).

See a trend? Yes, our reach rates will take a hit again, but that’s a good thing. Because it means if you’re really engaging your supporters on Facebook — and for goodness sake if you’re not why are you bothering? — then you’ve an even better chance of being seen.

It’s all about quality, these days. And quality means interacting with your audience, not just talking at them. Isn’t that the whole point of social media anyway?


Nine Attitudes that can Hold Writers Back
Is the way you think of writing making you less effective?
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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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What does context marketing mean for your nonprofit?

Optimize for intent.

— Seth Godin


What the hell am I doing? I ask myself that every time I put together one of these posts. Sure, I’ve followed my own advice and have a strategy: delivering interesting, useful and actionable information to you every week.

And yet I struggle to follow all the advice I send. Especially when it comes to tactics for being discovered and read. I’m not using the most commonly preached tactics, such as optimizing for search, writing gripping headlines or even using images.

Instead I’m trying to build an audience that knows me and trusts that every week I’ll post something worthwhile. (I hope) I don’t have to resort to trick headlines to get you to read. So I’ve taken to having fun instead of “6 Tips for Writing Nonprofit Marketing Copy that Works.” It’s a philosophy of push rather than pull.

So far so good.

But then again not everyone reads or opens or finds. And fewer share or forward. That’s normal, but still. What could I be doing differently? Love to hear your thoughts below.


A Three-step Marketing Ladder
Before you can be successful at marketing, fundraising, communicating or advocating, you have to understand the steps along the way. Right now we’re focusing on the first step.
Short and sweet but important.
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How to break through the noise

We live in a pay-to-play world where organizations have to spend money to make money.

— Colleen Dilenschneider


How do you break through the noise? By talking to the people who want to hear from you. Too often we’re focused on having a large audience.

But why? Perhaps it’s better to have a small audience of supporters who hang on every word, show up when they’re needed and share your (their) message with others, greatly amplifying your reach.

And just because social media is “free” doesn’t mean it’s without cost. So today it’s important to spend your precious few resources on what really moves the needle for your organization and your mission.

Every minute and every dollar matters.


Three Marketing Truths for an Information Dense World
Ok, so how do you break through? Here are three things you’d better keep in mind or you’re wasting your time.
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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 does it take to stay relevant?

Times and conditions change so rapidly that we must keep our aim constantly focused on the future.

— Walt Disney


It’s critical to always keep up with the constantly evolving landscape of digital marketing, communications and fundraising, or risk your nonprofit failing to live up to its potential.


Marketing: How to Provide Great Customer Service via Social
What’s social care? Something even nonprofits need to be very concerned about. Your reputation is one of the key drivers of your success, and a significant part of that is built by how you treat your people online. Everyone is watching. Find out what they expect and get some good tips for better social care.


Hack Your Email Growth Rate with This List-Building Tool
Email is dead, right? Not even close. In fact, email has again become a primary core revenue generator ahead of other channels, especially social. If you’re not maximizing your email marketing and fundraising, you’re missing out. Includes some ideas for the type of tools that help grow your list of people who want to hear from you.
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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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Getting the word out


Digital advertising can be an effective tool to promote your nonprofit or your cause. Did you know that your nonprofit likely qualifies for free digital advertising from Google? If you’re not already taking advantage of a Google Grant, it’s worth looking into.

Through the Grant, you can receive up to $10,000 a month in free PPC ads. The caveat is that if you’re using popular keywords they are often priced above the maximum bid price of an ad placed through the Grant. But you can still use the free ads to promote less popular keywords and supplement your paid campaign.

Running digital ad campaigns can quickly become unmanageable. It’s a complicated art and science that’s hard to master. Contracting with a firm that specializes in digital advertising can be very cost-effective despite the extra cost.
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