Nonprofit blogging mistakes you might be making (+ how to stop)

Besides ensuring you have user-friendly forms for donors and volunteers, the digital strategists at ArcStone would argue that having a well-executed blog is the best thing your nonprofit can do in terms of your website. Unfortunately, nonprofit marketers get so busy that blog posts get written hastily, whenever there’s a spare second. That’s understandable, and we don’t want that predicament to prevent you from writing as it’s better than not writing. However, there are a few negative trends we’d like to point out that, when avoided, could help make the little blog development time you have more worth your while.

1. Not scheduling your posts in advance (and not publishing consistently)

Given that you have many other spinning plates, it makes sense that you wouldn’t have time to plan out your content calendar. But time and again, marketing experts state that scheduling out posts and executing them consistently can create huge gains for your blog. What’s more, studies show readers see inconsistent publishing as a sign that a brand is “out of touch or not up to date” with their habits and needs.

There are so many FREE tools out there to help you stay on top of publishing. We tested and reviewed 3 popular content management tools and wrote a recent post on why we recommend Trello.

free-tools-for-nonprofits
Image Source: CoSchedule

2. Forgetting the importance of authenticity & your brand voice

It’s easy to get stuck in a rut with your blog. You post about your upcoming event or you comment on a recent occurrence in your field of work, however there’s so much more to write about than that. When people come to your site, they are trying to learn about you and your cause. They want to hear your unique voice otherwise, you’ll blend with the crowd and they won’t know why they should pay attention to you specifically.

Be sure you hone in on what your brand voice is and you consistently write with that in mind. For inspiration on topics, take a look at our go-to sources for when ArcStonian’s get writer’s block. You can derive inspiration from what other successful nonprofits are writing about; charity:water, Save the Children, St. Jude and Kiva all post a wide array of topics that speak to who they are and who they serve.

nonprofit-blogging
Image source: Save the Children

3. Trying too hard with your headline

Though it’s important you stand out and readers feel excited by your headlines, it’s more important your headlines do their job. A title’s main role is to tell readers what your post is about. Don’t get too caught up in being clever or humorous as that’s not the point.

ArcStone wrote a helpful post on how you can craft a title that is primarily descriptive, secondarily SEO-friendly and then if there’s room for it, clever: “Optimize your blog post titles for search, but don’t be boring.”

4. Assuming your readers have all day

This isn’t true for everyone or every post, but for the most part, people like when you get to the point efficiently. Sometimes, you can tell that in-depth full story. But when you’re writing a post on donations or volunteering, explain your point concisely and point your audience towards action quickly. When it comes to these posts directed towards taking action, always keep the goal of your post in mind and include a call to action.

5.  Neglecting to implement the SEO and user-friendly details

Writing the post is work enough, we know, but a blog won’t get far if you neglect some important additional steps. Each post should have alt tags, metadata and titles on its photos and in other areas. You can do so with some of the strongest, free SEO tools for nonprofits out there. Here’s a solid review of SEO tools done by Search Engine Land.

6. Ignoring dialogue

For many in the nonprofit space, community engagement is super important to the very mission of an organization. Community takes hold in many forums and your blog can totally become a catalyst for that. If you have a comment section, pay attention to it. If people comment on your posts on social, always respond. If they don’t participate in either of these, consider prioritizing this. There are tools that can help like Hootsuite and Disqus. We also have a post that reviews the best ways and tools to encourage conversations.

free-community-forum-tools
Image source: Lithium

7. Overlooking Google Analytics

If you take away anything from this article, we hope it’s this last point. Pay attention to your Google Analytics data! We see so many clients post content and then let it sit there. They don’t know what’s working and what isn’t. They don’t base their strategy off of this data. As our digital strategist, Jerod put it,

“Only you know your story well enough to tell it, but on the flip side, only your visitors know what they want.”

If you don’t look at what posts are getting the most attention, how long users are reading them and where they go next, you are not listening to them.

Need help getting started with Google Analytics?


We hope we didn’t overwhelm you with corrections. Instead, this is supposed to serve as a way to make the time you do have more effective. We want to highlight areas that are often neglected so that you know where you can make simple gains.

If you’re struggling to implement any of these aspects but you recognize their importance, ArcStone would love to work with you to come up with a more manageable content marketing strategy and set you up with the tools that will help. Contact our team »

Nonprofit branding: 5 pieces to make your nonprofit brand work for you

nonprofit-branding

Branding is not the hottest topic in the nonprofit sector. According to Standford Social Innovation Review, skeptics tend to see it as a “commercial pursuit of monetary gain” or they fear the pursuit of a strong brand will overshadow the pursuit of the greater good. In some ways, such opinions are admirable; no one wants to see the nonprofit realm become commercialized.

However, there are ways to make your nonprofit branding efforts work for you that go beyond monetary gain. If your nonprofit brand had a strong presence – as in public recognition without promotional work – you could advance your cause without as much time and money. If the focus is on creating a brand that pulls on your audiences’ emotions, inspires them to act and, as a result, makes a positive change in the world, it’s a worthy endeavor. In this post, we’ll talk through how you can make your nonprofit brand speak for itself.

nonprofit-branding
Stanford Social Innovation Review

How to build your nonprofit brand

1. Know your objectives

You can be the smartest and most clever branding guru out there, but all the work in the world won’t get you very far if you haven’t honed in on what your nonprofit stands for. A brand is an identity, so when it comes to your nonprofit, your cause is what makes you uniquely you.

This being said, once you determine that, you have to stick to it. If you’re claiming you bring clean water to people in developing countries, you should show that through all your branding and messaging efforts. This might also mean you don’t post images or messages that go off topic – as in a photo of your nonprofit helping at a local food drive.

When your nonprofit is clear about its passion, others can see that and put their passion towards your cause. If your mission is muddled, it’s more likely they won’t identify their commonalities with you.

It helps to write it out. Take time revisiting your mission statement to ensure it’s concise and still represents the actual work your nonprofit does. This post from Nonprofit Hub walks through strong and weak mission statements, what best practices to keep in mind and how to evaluate your own.

2. Master your audience

At the core, your audience is the people who care about your cause. But in reality, your audience is full of various types of people who play multiple roles.

Break down your audience into types – donors, volunteers, Board of Directors, the community, people who need your services. Then study what would bring them to your nonprofit, how they would like to be communicated with, what they want to see and most importantly, how they feel about it all.

Your brand is made up of your nonprofit and your audience’s reaction to it; more specifically, it’s your cause and how your audience feels about how well you’re serving it. If you understand their feelings, your brand can speak directly to those.

Study your audience with our free audience persona ebook »

3. Have a mascot

Ideally, your nonprofit has a CEO or spokesperson who’s charismatic and respected. People love putting a face to a name. They don’t relate to just words on a page.

If possible, sign your email newsletters and messages from this person. Have them write for your nonprofit blog or at least contribute a quote here and there. Include images and video of them partaking in your nonprofit’s work.

nonprofit-brand-spokespersonBill & Melinda Gates

If you don’t have this one leader – not all of us can have Bill Gates – use your people. Your nonprofit has real workers with stories for as to why they care about your cause.

Either way, when your audience sees someone fighting for the rights of others, they may feel the desire to help and fight, too.

4. Highlight your supporters

Similar to needing a “mascot,” your brand needs to show it has fans. If you can highlight people who support your nonprofit, it’s more likely people will be able to identify with you and see themselves as potential supporters and advocates of your cause.

This shows your audience you’re not just talking about your cause. You’re in the community, getting people organized and making an impact beyond your four walls.

nonprofit-branding
Susan G. Komen, Orange County

5. Show your brand consistently

Peter Frumkin at NPQ says one of the best things you can do for your nonprofit brand is to,

“invest serious time and money in a website and collateral materials that truly communicate what you want people to understand your organization does, why it is different from other organizations in the field, and why people should care about the impact you are pursuing.”

Take Amnesty International for instance. They use their black and yellow colors and bold, capitalized font across each of their branded materials. Sure they have a bigger budget than many nonprofits, but it doesn’t take a lot of money to be consistent. In highlighting their brand, every time people see the combo of black and yellow and this font, they think human rights and standing up for others. By putting their brand across these causes, people feel an emotional pull, and hopefully a call to get involved.

nonprofit-branding
Amnesty International USA Homepage

 

nonprofit-branding
Amnesty International Instagram

 

Your challenge:

Instead of putting all your focus on adding more content and features to your site, posting more on social media and getting your name out there more frequently, take a step back. Reassess how consistent your brand is, how much you pull on it for inspiration and whether or not your audience has an emotional feeling from it. If you can bring it all back to a strong brand, the brand will start to do the work for you.

Considering a new nonprofit brand? Start here.

nonprofit-branding

Rebranding is difficult – remember New Coke or The Hut? It’s unlikely that you do: those brands failed miserably. If you don’t roll out your rebranding campaign with a thoughtful plan, your initiatives will most likely fall flat or worse yet, damage your image and undo the positive work you’ve done.

Before diving into a rebranding campaign, it’s important first to understand why you feel your organization needs a rebrand and what you’re hoping to achieve through rebranding. Rebranding is more than a name change or a new logo on your organization’s stationery. Rebranding involves your core messaging, your culture, your attitude and your approach.

There are several reasons to rebrand.

Some of the most compelling include:

  • You’re trying to broaden or reach new audiences.
  • You’ve changed your focus.
  • You are offering new services or products.
  • Your brand is dated and hasn’t evolved as much as your audience has.

Names, logos, messages and cultures are very subjective. What appeals to one person might be a total turn off for the next. For this reason, it’s critical to base your decisions on data.

So, how do you began a rebranding campaign?

1. A good place to start is by talking to key stakeholders.

This might include staff, Board members and volunteers. You should aim to take their overall temperature and find out whether they’re on board. If they don’t agree with the idea of rebranding, find out why. If they agree that it’s necessary, ask them to elaborate.

2. Next, assemble key stakeholders for a branding workshop.

By enlisting the help of staff and Board, you not only get to leverage their insights, but you also reduce the stress of uncertainty that they’ll buy-in later on.

The goal of the branding workshop is to identify the core identity of the organization and uncover any brand equity that may be potentially be lost.

Once you’re done, be sure to review all of feedback and synthesize results to narrow the options.

3. Now you can coordinate a survey with the short list of options.

Please note, this list should be short – 3-5 options. Limiting the list ensures that people taking your survey won’t encounter decision fatigue.

4. Finally, you can make the final decision.

This is tough to do as a committee. Ultimately, one person or a very small group will need to have the final say. That’s why hearing from stakeholders along the way is so critical.


The keys to a successful rebranding campaign are collaboration and allowing time to reflect. Through collaboration ideas will iterate and with time, insights and will burble up and come into sharp focus.

The Trump Administration’s impact on nonprofits and where to go from here

trump's-administration-impact-on-nonprofits

The Trump Administration’s first 100 days are well underway, and still many nonprofit communication teams are unsure of how to react. I thought it’d be wise to gather the opinions of many nonprofit experts and share some inspiration. Through reading their wise words, it’s possible that your nonprofit’s goals, positioning and messaging for the next four years could become clearer.

Here are some questions your nonprofit may be asking and the way that nonprofit experts are responding.

What will donors do with this unpredictable economy? How can we still rally their financial support?

Gail from Fired Up Fundraising worked to instill urgency in terms of nonprofit development:

“NOW is the time to reconnect to our donors. Seriously. We need to remind them of the work, the cause, the need out there in the world. It’s time to rally our donors around us.”

Roger Craver from The Agitator underlines this similar sense of potential saying we should,

“[r]ealize that nonprofits have a unique psychological place in a panic.  To their supporters they’re a known, dependable island of calms in a raging sea.”

Since so much is changing in the world, donors may see nonprofits as a source of stability. If they are reminded you’re still there to help, they may see you as an avenue to make changes. Through your nonprofit, they have control in an out of control time.

How can you ensure your community isn’t hurt by Trump’s policies?

Of course, there’s no black and white answer as nonprofits are coming from many different perspectives. However, a main goal is what CalNonprofits emphasizes here:

“In short, neither jubilation nor despair is right… This is a newly important time for us to ask ourselves, ‘Who is our community, and what do they need us to be doing right now? What are the values our community needs to see us standing up for?'”

Take advantage of this heated political climate to really hone in on the needs of your community. Instead of getting too caught up in the politics, think about the people and how you can best serve them.

Nonprofit Quarterly finds it important to focus in on your team and to get on the same page. They encourage nonprofit teams to work together, innovate and make changes.

“Our workloads will undoubtedly get heavier and our stress levels may skyrocket. Make sure that there is time for getting on the same page internally so that you are nimble and ready for all the threats and opportunities that happen to pass your way over the next four years. This is your job right now. Let’s not think small.”

What should your messaging be as you attempt to rally support for your cause?

President of Cambell and Company, Peter Fissinger, states it all comes back to people and their motivations in that,

“[e]ffective organizations achieve results because their missions speak to people’s hearts…. analyz[e] how new political leadership and trending activist movements motivate people.”

Rather than trying to comment on every single activity occurring on Capitol Hill, focus on what your audience is saying and speak to those desires and needs.

Media relations expert, Peter Panepento discusses the “two Americas” we now have and how many nonprofits find themselves trying to bridge the gap. He sees it as a chance to get to know our audience’s motivations and to truly speak to their goals.

“The best way to combat these attitudes and push for the greater good is to find areas of common ground…. As nonprofit communicators, we should see the election’s result as an opportunity — and challenge — to take time to listen thoughtfully to those who have different perspectives.”

He also points out how our tone can make all the difference,

“When we speak like insiders, we send a strong signal that we’re part of the same club of elites who don’t truly care about the needs of many of the people we are actually trying to help…. And that’s a shame because quite often this work… would improve the lives of many people who see it as working against their interests.”

Despite current state of things, remember your nonprofit’s goals. Your cause hopes to benefit people, no matter their political opinions. The more your nonprofit can focus this time on listening to the needs of your whole community, the greater your impact will be.

Get personal: How to make your nonprofit branding feel more authentic

personalized-nonprofit-branding

Nonprofits are inherently personal. The entire purpose of your nonprofit is to serve those in need, which alone draws on peoples’ emotions. Moreover, working to gather support, you have to ask people to give you their time and money, another quite personal issue.

Despite this, many nonprofit brands can feel like any other big company – distant and impersonal. If not involved in your nonprofit already, a potential supporter or user of your services could easily overlook the wonderful people on your staff and the heart behind your organization.

How can a nonprofit brand feel personal and authentic?

1. Know your audience.

The first step we take with virtually everything we do at ArcStone is to understand who our client’s audience is talking to and why. If you can’t answer that question, you won’t be able to write content or design visuals in a way that will appeal to those you need to reach.

Start by walking through the first six steps of this infographic. It will help you answer some crucial questions about each of your audiences. Once you have an audience persona or two assigned to each of your different audience types, walk through the following steps.

2. Put yourself in an outsider’s shoes.

If you look at your nonprofit branding with the eyes of these personas, what do you see? Does your messaging feel like it’s coming from the real people at your organization or does it sound like what everyone else is saying? Do your social channels sound like conversations with followers, or are you just posting like a robot? How clearly does your nonprofit show the people and heart behind it?

3. Speak directly to real people.

Once you know who you’re talking to and how they might view you, you can speak to all of them more effectively. If you did a good job of mapping out your personas, you should be able to think of a real-life example that represents that persona and write as if you’re talking directly to them.

Throughout your website copy and blog, have content for each of these personas. Your donor section should speak to donors, your blog post about a volunteer event should speak to volunteers.

4. React and communicate authentically.

If possible, find people from your nonprofit that can post your blog content and share your nonprofit’s news on their social media accounts. If the content is coming from your team members, your nonprofit can better show your audience that real people care. You’re not just a large organization always asking for money.

It’s true that not every nonprofit team has enough bandwidth to assign a team member to each persona. If this is the case, make sure your main goal is to speak authentically from your nonprofit’s pages. Don’t just post messages about what everyone else is saying, but rather speak with truth and emotion.

Another huge step towards authentic branding is to avoid scheduling out a bunch of dry social media posts. Share your stories and content as if you’re talking to one individual rather than blasting the message out to the social world. If people interact with you in comments or messages, make sure to respond in a timely manner and to be thoughtful with each response. Show them you care and it’s far likelier that they’ll care about your nonprofit in return.

A bonus step would be to cultivate brand ambassadors which we talk about thoroughly in this post. This gives you more authentic voices interacting for you, and in the long run, could save you time.

5. Enjoy it.

Think about it: the brands that make us happy and show personality, are the ones that stand out to us. As Pierre Chandon, a professor of marketing at international business school INSEAD put it ““A brand that creates emotional joy is a rare thing” (Forbes, “The Happiest Brands in the World“).

Attending a social media event at The Social Lights this past month, this message of authentic joy was strong. As we spoke about at the event, if you are happy doing your work, and your main goal is to show that passion, people will gravitate to it. You won’t have to worry about your messaging and branding as it will develop naturally.

Still need some inspiration? I suggest looking through the “10 Nonprofits Employees Love to Work For.” You’ll see some pretty happy nonprofit employees and branding that portrays this. Across their social channels, they post messages as if they are your friend, just trying to keep you updated about the issue. Isn’t that what your should be?

When writing a nonprofit Unique Value Proposition, think personal value

unique-value-propositions-for-nonprofitsWe all have good intentions when crafting our nonprofit’s Unique Value Proposition, however we often put the focus on us. We get so caught up in defining what our nonprofit is seeking to do (what should be written in our Mission Statement), we forget about communicating why that should matter to our audience.

I came across an enlightening SumoMe article the other day – 26 Value Proposition Examples That Convert Visitors – which illustrated a few points that could be really helpful for nonprofits specifically.

In the end, people are looking to be a part of a nonprofit that fits their needs. This could be their needs as they aim to find help for a loved one or themselves, to do good in the world, or to give back; whatever the reason, it comes back to the user. In this way, your nonprofit’s Unique Value Proposition can’t just be about what you do, but should also include how you help your audience member specifically.

Strong Unique Value Propositions & how your nonprofit can write one.

1. About Us vs. About You

SumoMe found some striking examples to help illustrate this point. Which homepage are you more attracted to when seeking a vacation spot?

nonprofit-unique-value-proposition

writing-a-unique-value-proposition-for-nonprofits

Image source: SumoMe

The latter one focuses on who the company is talking to, not just what their business does. It doesn’t neglect to talk about what service they provide, but it does an excellent job of drawing the reader in as the focus of the service.

*Key point: Review your UVP

Your nonprofit can follow suit by ensuring you answer your audience’s questions and convey your value right off the bat. You can also study this by surveying your audience. Interview previous donors, volunteers and other site users and ask them to tell you what value you communicate. Ask them how long it took them to find it. If these responses aren’t what you want them to be, revisit your site’s language and layout.

2. Placing the User Into an Active Role

Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Twin Cities worked with ArcStone to launch their site fall 2016. A major challenge to most all nonprofits is their multiple audiences. How do you speak to each of them in your UVP? Big Brothers Big Sisters broke down each of their audiences into their own UVP. An audience member can find which purpose they want to serve and see how they can do it. It’s simple, yet it manages to speak to each user and encourage them to act.

nonprofit-unique-value-propositions

*Key Point: Study each audience member and their specific CTA

It may take some time up, but mapping out each of your audience members and defining how they each are involved with your nonprofit can inform your design. Put yourself in their shoes and then use imagery, wording and CTA’s that would draw them in.

3. Clear & Concise

SumoMe also points out 10 top UVP examples they came across, such as the WordPress homepage below. This is not the time to tell your entire story or explain the nuances of how your organization works. Save that for the About Us page or you blog posts.

WordPress worked with their heading, subheading and call to action to point to exactly what they are offering their audience, quickly. Moreover, they know their audience is made up of both individuals and businesspeople as they address in their subheading. They also include “free” in their heading to emphasize the low risk / commitment – perfect for a busy individual who’s seeking a simple and affordable answer to promote their work.

unique-value-proposition-nonprofits

Image source: SumoMe

*Key point: Get to the punchline quickly

Include language that immediately points to the heart of your organization. Think about what your audience needs to know and state it in as few words as is appropriate. Once you identify your audience’s concerns, be clear about how you are addressing them. Do they want an easy and safe way to donate? State that in your call to action. Are they concerned about how effective they will be in helping your cause? Give them confidence by stating how much volunteers have helped.

Read the full SumoMe article to walk through exercises that help you craft your nonprofit’s Unique Value Propositon.

Interested in redesigning your site? Learn more about ArcStone’s design work with nonprofits.

Can your nonprofit content marketing empower people (and earn them as supporters)?

nonprofit-content-marketing-strategy

Nonprofit content marketing often revolves around “the ask.” Generally speaking, a nonprofit marketing campaign’s ultimate goal is to drive funds, volunteers and support for their cause. Hence, most digital content leads towards a plea for help.

What if, instead, your nonprofit refocused some of your content production goals; at creating content that empowers your audience. Rather than asking, “how can we best ask them to donate, volunteer and support us?” some content could ask, “how can we empower our readers, and in effect, motivate them to take part in our cause?”

Marketing case in point: Uber

Surprisingly, Uber can help illustrate this content marketing style. In their recent campaign in India, they tell a story about their users. Instead of having this story revolve around exactly how Uber works and how great the company is, it revolves around two people’s lives and brings Uber in at the end.

Shankar is an Uber driver, but we don’t find that out right away. Instead we see a dad successfully driving his young daughter to school on time, despite rush hour traffic. We see his worry as he wants to help his daughter out so she can get to her test on time. We also see how anxious see is to make it on time and how relieved she is when her dad succeeds. Once Shankar finishes his task – and after a sweet goodbye with his cute daughter, of course – he pulls out his phone and begins his day as an Uber driver.

Ultimately, the audience witnessed how Uber empowered Shankar to be both a good dad and an entrepreneur. Similarly we saw how Uber empowered the daughter to get to school on time as well as have a dad who has the flexibility to drive her to school.

A post on The Drum points out,

“For users, it explored the concept of having the freedom of mobility in an affordable way and for the drivers, it shows how it can turn them into micro-entrepreneurs.”

Nonprofit content marketing’s turn:

How can you sell your audience in the same way this video – with 1.2 million views – did?

1. What does your nonprofit do in just a few words?

For example, Uber offers “the freedom of mobility” for riders and enables drivers “to improve their livelihoods.” In a nut shell, they move users forward. Hence “Move Forward” is the name of the campaign.

Your nonprofit may change lives, feed the neglected, fuel the earth. Keep it simple, and use that simplicity to impact people.

2. What does your nonprofit audience look like? What are their day-to-day needs that your nonprofit can help meet?

The rider (the daughter) needs to get from place to place in an efficient manner. The driver (Shankar) needs a job with flexible hours and an employer he can trust.

Your nonprofit can easily sell how they help those in need, but how do you also help your donors, volunteers and contributors? You may make them feel good, you may keep them involved in the greater world, you may help their friend. Study your audience and hone in on their needs, not just your nonprofit’s.

3. What scenario could you portray that catches your audience in a moment of need? What are they feeling in that moment and why?

The daughter is feeling anxious as she needs to get to school. Shankar is feeling nervous as he wants to get her there on time and be a good father. Then, as Uber works well for them, the daughter feels relieved as she gets to school and Shankar can be proud of his job.

Your audience may be feeling guilty they haven’t given back enough. Or they’re looking for help for their neighborhood and need an organization to help move their cause forward. Develop content that helps answer those moments. Read more in “Where the micro-moment meets the nonprofit.”

Watch the video below & be sure to reach out to ArcStone if you’d like to get a video rolling.

How to create brand ambassadors for your nonprofit

nonprofit-brand-ambassadorsWhen Kate Middleton wore a blue dress to announce her engagement to Prince William, the dress sold out. Moreover, rumor has it the company producing the dress almost went bankrupt to keep up with the demand of new customers (EOnline). Now what does this style icon have to do with your nonprofit?

This dress company could have spent hours and all of their budget on social media and content strategy, sales calls and ads. However it took one decision from a well-trusted fashion icon to go viral and change their business forever.

This scenario serves as a reminder for all of us nonprofit marketers: people trust other people far more than they trust your ad or social media message. Due to years of taking in ads and being disappointed by the reality behind a product or message, the same doubt will likely be applied to whatever your nonprofit is offering.

“74% of consumers identify word-of-mouth as a key influencer in their purchasing decision”  – AdWeek

However, this doesn’t necessitate your nonprofit landing a single brand ambassador such as Kate Middleton. In fact, they could doubt what she is saying about any cause just as much as they doubt your website messaging. Rather, the focus could be on encouraging your users, donors and volunteers to do the promotional work with you.

You need people who your potential audience trusts – their friends, family, coworkers, etc. – to be your brand ambassadors.

Now how do you get your brand ambassadors to share that your nonprofit is doing the great work you say you are?

Of course there are the non-digital means: make t-shirts, encourage people to talk to their family, having them host a drive, but we’re in the digital age – let’s get creative, shall we?

1. First and foremost, make their digital experience a pleasant one.

When they visit your site, is it easy for them to understand what your nonprofit is doing, its impact, and how they can get involved?

For donors: What’s the donation process like? Here are the top nonprofit donation platforms: 5 online donation platforms to delight your donors. If you’re currently using one that has a wonky user experience, consider investing in something better for your users’ sake.

For volunteers: Is it easy to view your calendar of events or contact your volunteer coordinator to get involved? Here’s a snippet on how to add a Google Calendar to your website.

For users: Can they find case studies to show how you can help them? When they need help from your nonprofit, how can they get access to it quickly?

2. Share & show off.

As seen in the #WarbyParker example below, people don’t mind showing off every once in a while. Nonprofits tend to be full of humble people and no one wants to brag about how great they are at volunteering, so how can your nonprofit get people to share their involvement?

brand-ambassadors-for-nonprofits

Ideas?

3. Engage & re-engage.

One of the best ways to get people to talk about you and your nonprofit is to keep them feeling involved and inspired. It’s likely that after they donated or volunteered, they felt pretty great and wanted to do more. It’s equally likely that their feelings faded and they’ve been too caught up in other things to remember what that experience mean to them.

For donors: Make a meaningful follow-up strategy. We have a post on Follow-Up Ideas. Make sure this is as much of a priority as gaining the donation is in the first place.

For volunteers & users: You may have made a strong connection when you had them in front of you, but if they don’t enjoy reading your email newsletter, that spark won’t rekindle. Read Would YOU read your newsletter? for ideas to amp up your engagement efforts. Consider reaching out to them on social media to be even more personal.


Overall, the more you can make it easy for people to talk about your nonprofit and engage with your nonprofit, the more brand ambassadors you will create. Rather than getting too pushy with your message, focus on how you can please your users and remind them your cause needs them.

For help with strategy, connect with our team at ArcStone.

3 creativity boosters for your nonprofit marketing strategy

Although the school year or start to a new season can be rejuvenating for some, it can cause others to need some serious creative inspiration. I recently took a trip to Europe, starting my fall off with more umph than ever before. Looking around such innovative cities – namely Berlin and Amsterdam – I returned with a fresh perspective on my marketing work. Upon doing some further digging to see what others were saying, I discovered some concrete ideas to support these creative juices. Here’s a few to consider applying to your nonprofit marketing work.

creative-nonprofit-marketing

1. Reflect: Why should people care?

There is so much content out there already. So many creative minds promoting their brands. How can you step out in front of the rest?

I received advice on my plane ride home from Amsterdam, from an architect. The following can be applied to any creative effort, but for our purposed think of your nonprofit:

First, reflect on what’s out there. What’s working for other nonprofits? How are they approaching a marketing trend or new social media platform?

Then, ask yourself how you can take these ideas and improve upon them. How can your nonprofit make people care? Why should people care?

Thinking about this last question can bring you back into focus when your ideas get murky. If you don’t know why you’re working on such and such marketing campaign, how can you expect people to care about it?

2. Focus: Where are you applying your ideas?

Seeing as people can skip over your ads and choose to ignore you as much as they want, it’s not enough to produce a creative marketing ad, blog or image. You have to look at where your ad is and what makes it useful to someone. Then adapt your ideas to that context. See an example below or read more in this post on Medium, “Rethinking creativity in marketing.”

3. Represent: How can your brand be the center of your marketing?

Just as many people love tourist attractions like the Berlin Wall and the I Amsterdam sign, they love identifying with recognizable, important pieces of culture. This is where branding, at its core, comes in. People like to be a part of a brand like Nike or showing that they took part in a cause like fighting cancer. Read more about creative branding and how this works in the post, “Work with creatives to get your branded content noticed.”

If your nonprofit can keep your brand and goals consistent and clear, volunteers, donors and users will more likely be proud to be a part of it. When you are working to find a creative solution to your marketing, always come back to how it reflects on your brand. This will give you some helpful parameters when you are revamping your creativity.

If you’re still looking for ways to get more creative this season, consult with our team – leave us a message here to let us know what your project is and we’d be excited to help!

Olympics + your nonprofit – August Nonprofit Marketing News

With so much focus on fundraising in the nonprofit world, we often forget to reflect on what to do before we ask for money. This post, “Nonprofit marketing isn’t all about the ask” with thoughts from Gary Vaynerchuk, may help you reassess your messaging goals.

More on what we found important to nonprofit marketers this month:

– The Nerdy Nonprofit – August 2016 – 


Fundraising: 3 Ways Nonprofit Board Members Can Tell Stories & Raise Money

From the Storytelling Nonprofit

It’s hard for board members to constantly try to raise money, so the more direction you can give, the better. [Read More]nonprofit-marketing-news


Social Media: What wording should your nonprofit use for LinkedIn vs. Google+? When? What format?

Infographic from MyCleverAgency

 A nonprofit’s guide to social media posts. [Read More]


Facebook: Even when your board doesn’t know it, building a Facebook community is worthwhile

Success story from Presbyterian Homes & Services

How their determination to focus on Facebook is paying off. [Read More]


Inspiration: Good Advice from Good People (for good nonprofit workers like you)

Thoughts from Olympians

How to crush self doubt. [Read More]


Inside ArcStone: ArcStonian Office Olympics

With our top office athletes + Nick’s video footage

Spoiler Alert: We will win the gold [Watch ArcStone Archery here]


the-nerdy-nonprofit-newsletter