How To Write Headlines That Pull Readers In To Your Fundraising

5 Reasons Your Nonprofit Needs A Strategic Online Communications Plan

By Julia Campbell

In my work with nonprofits, I often hear the same refrain about nonprofit marketing and communications: People are feeling very overwhelmed and stressed out by their never-shrinking to do lists.

With so many digital marketing and online fundraising tools out there, how can a small nonprofit choose what to focus on, and how can they manage their time and resources effectively?

There are constantly emails to send out, a website to update, a Facebook page and Twitter feed to manage, Instagram and Snapchat to explore, plus phone calls and meetings… how can a small nonprofit get it all done?

The answer? You don’t have to do it all!

Creating a Strategic Online Nonprofit Communications Plan will help you re-focus, re-prioritize, and get yourself back on track with your online communications.

Here are 5 reasons that you need a Strategic Online Nonprofit Communications Plan:

1. You will be able to allocate resources more efficiently.

By spelling out a plan for your online communications, you will be able to take a look at your budget, your staff time, and other needed resources and see what needs to be allocated and what needs to be raised. If you find that you have zero budget and zero staff time to allocate to online communications, this is also an important discovery. You may find that you need to focus on raising enough money or hiring staff/interns to do this work, even if just for a few hours per week.

2. You will understand the steps required to be successful.

Cutting through the noise and the clutter and getting your message heard is difficult, and it requires creativity and a lot of elbow grease. I will not sugar coat it for you. But with a plan in place, you will know what to do first, what to do second, and so on – and you will know what success looks like, rather than throwing things up to see what sticks.

3. You will be able to reach your audience.

Spending time working on your Strategic Online Communications Plan will focus your message and enable you to target the right audience. Your target audience should not be everyone in the world. Your target audience should be the people that you need to accomplish your online communications goals.

4. You will stay organized and on task.

Creating an Editorial Calendar so that nothing slips through the cracks is essential to managing your online communications. The Calendar will keep your ideas in one place and serve as the central location for your content.

5. You will be able to measure success.

All great plans have a way to measure whether or not they worked. Did you reach your destination? What does success look like, and how will we know if we achieved it? With a Measurement Spreadsheet, you will be able to identify which metrics matter, and how to collect and analyze them.

What other reasons do you have to creating a Strategic Online Communications Plan? Share them with us in the comments section of the website or via social media.

Looking for more detailed advice about all things digital marketing, online communications, social media and nonprofits, visit us here!

Join us for How to Create a Strategic  Online Communications Plan for more digital marketing and social media strategies.

About The Author

Julia C. Campbell, Founder of J Campbell Social Marketing, consults and trains nonprofits on the best ways to use digital tools to raise money and awareness for their organizations. Her blog is consistently featured in the list of Top 150 Nonprofit Blogs in the world, and she is currently publishing a book on storytelling and social media with Charity Channel Press. She has helped dozens of nonprofits small and large with their online fundraising and marketing campaigns, raising over $1 million for social causes.  

Less Is More! – Uncommon Advice from a Nonprofit Social Media Enthusiast

I found this post on Nancy Schwartz’s Getting attention blog, and it grabbed my attention. Here’s an excerpt, read on if this sounds like it’s helpful for you.

“This streamlined approach is shaped by the limited size of our communications team (1.5 people) and by the knowledge that our constituents are already overloaded.”

Less Is More! – Uncommon Advice from a Nonprofit Social Media Enthusiast

nonprofit social mediaLet me introduce you to guest blogger Celeste Wroblewski, vice president of external relations at Donors Forum in Illinois.  Celeste is a longtime friend and colleague, and one of the smartest minds in the field…

As I review advice on social media for nonprofits, I often come across rules like these:

  • It’s about conversing and listening: It’s not about sharing your own news.
  • Post X times a week on your blog and X times a day on Facebook.
  • For every tweet about your organization, tweet four times about others.

While this advice works well for some, I think it overwhelms beginners and those working in small organizations.  Moreover, this approach generates a flood of content for those who read these posts, updates and Tweets.

At Donors Forum in Illinois, we believe that there are no rules or,  at least, that it’s time to reexamine them.  Our strategy is to:

This streamlined approach is shaped by the limited size of our communications team (1.5 people) and by the knowledge that our constituents are already overloaded.

As social media proliferates, the messages have become overwhelming and the conversations  recursive. And we know that, consistent with our mission,  our constituents want us to filter and curate information.

Our social media strategy follows suit.  We do not converse simply to converse—we don’t do #FollowFriday, we don’t retweet a lot, we don’t provide accounts of mundane activities.

What we do is to concentrate on what is most important to grantmakers and nonprofits in Illinois.

So, what do you think:  Can less be more in social media? Please share your comments here.

22 Ways A Blog Can Rock Your Non-Profit’s Social Media Campaign

Last week I spoke with a national non-profit who was interested in hiring me to oversee their 2009 social media campaign. Before our call, they sent me a 37-page strategic plan for using social media to enhance awareness and fundraising for their non-profit.

These women did their homework. They outlined everything they knew about the most popular social media sites and why they would be using them.

But they left out one important element:

Why social media?

The best clients I have – the ones that get results – come to me with a specific business reason. So I asked them, “Why social media? What business results are you hoping to get?”

“Most of our donors are women in their 70’s who donate less than $200 per year.” They went on to explain the obvious business reason for using social media: To better engage with a younger generation of supporters.

With a staff of two, I recommended focusing on no more than three social media tools. Get specific measurable results and experience and then expand the campaign from there. And a blog should be the starting point.

22 Ways A Blog Can Rock Your Non-Profit’s Social Media Campaign

  1. wall-of-speakersYour blog will enable you to deepen relationships with your fans. They find fresh, relevant content that is useful them – and have a place where they feel heard.
  2. Your blog is a powerful way to attract new visitors by demonstrating social proof.
  3. Your blog will save you money on IT costs because blogs are easy to use and maintain.
  4. This ease of maintenance adds to the sustainability of your organization.
  5. People using Google will find your non-profit a lot easier if you have a blog. Blogs get much more search engine juice than traditional, static websites.
  6. Blogs are much less expensive to host and manage than traditional websites – and most hosting companies feature “1-click” installation of blogging software, like WordPress.
  7. Your HR recruiting strategy can be enhanced by having employees regularly blog about why they work there. And by the way, pay isn’t as important as you think.
  8. Your key executives will learn to speak in a more human voice through blogging.
  9. You, yourself will become a better writer through regular blogging.
  10. You can trash your marketing theory in exchange for valuable insight into why donors really give you money.
  11. You will employ the Law of Karma to promote your non-profit on the web.
  12. You will experience a spike in the number of visits and depth of engagement from your fans.
  13. tweet-or-notYou will even have parties with your blog (with horns and cake), because it actually can be fun and easy!
  14. Your blog will be a tool to enhance and develop valuable partnerships with other non-profits.
  15. You can increase donor conversion rates with content that is relevant and useful.
  16. You get the support of a huge community of thousands of other non-profits.
  17. Having a WordPress.Org blog includes access to tons of free (yes, free) software for your blog.
  18. You’ll empower your board members to talk about why they love your non-profit. Yes – they can write, can’t they?
  19. Instead of waiting for your IT intern to return your call, you’ll communicate urgent news very fast with your blog.
  20. Your blog can be a tangible way to value your staff, enhancing retention.
  21. A blog will help you refresh and refine your passion – which is the whole point anyhow. Right?
  22. You will be able to learn more about social media just by jumping in and starting a blog.

Did I miss anything? What other benefits have you realized from blogging?

Slides from The Nonprofit Blogging Boot Camp

Thank you for attending “The Nonprofit Blogging Boot Camp?”.  For those of you who have attended, thank you for your wonderful feedback.  Also  thanks for all of the great comments and feedback on our CharityHowTo.com Facebook page.

Slides from The Nonprofit Blogging Boot Camp

** If you have a slow connection allow a moment for the PDF to load.

Please note these slides are intended for folks who have already attended our webinar. If you haven’t attended our webinar please feel free to download them anyhow just note they are more relevant if you have attended the webinar.

Thanks very much,
Kurt & John

Slides from “Why should my nonprofit start a blog?”.

Thank you for attending “Why should my nonprofit start a blog?”.  For those of you who have attended, thank you for your wonderful feedback.  Also  thanks for all of the great comments and feedback on our CharityHowTo.com Facebook page.

Slides from “Why should my nonprofit start a blog?”.

** If you have a slow connection allow a moment for the PDF to load.

Please note these slides are intended for folks who have already attended our webinar. If you haven’t attended our webinar please feel free to download them anyhow just note they are more relevant if you have attended the webinar.

Thanks very much,
Kurt & John

P.S.  Don’t forget, there’s free Facebook step-by-step videos when you “like” the page you’ll gain access to it.

8 ways nonprofits can use blogs

Blogger, consultant and career coach Britt Bravo has an excellent post on her blog on eight ways nonprofits can use blogs:

  1. Share your expertise
  2. Share breaking news within your field
  3. Share the story behind your brand
  4. Share your community’s opinions
  5. Share notes and photos from events
  6. Share notes and photos from the field
  7. Share organizational news as it happens
  8. Use it as your website

The best part about her article is that she annotates each point with examples and links.

Read the full article

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