Messaging Checklist 2021

It has been awhile since I shared an updated version of the messaging checklist that I use as a guide to develop integrated marketing campaigns that involve multiple channels. Gone are the days I fuss so much about the particular sizes of images (thanks to Canva, Adobe Spark and Promo) or characters in a tweet. Now I focus on creating coordinated images and stories to be delivered along a combination of different channels depending on what the goal of the campaign is and who I am trying reach.

The mort important thing is to think with fresh eyes about who your customer is and how to get your program or event in front of them. Use out-of-the-box avenues where feasible — Next Door, Eventbrite, Google Business posts, for instance. Nonprofit doesn’t mean noncompetitive. It’s up to you to get your story across in a place your audience will find it.

Messaging Checklist

  • Website
    1. Banner
    2. Page with additional information
  • Flyer(s)
  • ECW bilingual messages
    1. Email
    2. Patient Portal
    3. Text
    4. Robocall message/voice mail
  • Social Media
    1. Facebook/Instagram Post(s)
    2. Twitter
    3. YouTube
    4. TikTok
  • Additional channels:
    1. Newsletter
    2. Google
    3. Bing
    4. NextDoor
    5. Yelp – special offer?
    6. Community Partners or Leaders
    7. Eventbrite
    8. Direct Mail
    9. Press Release
    10. Other:______________________________

924 Days Later…

It feels like a lifetime ago since I last posted here 924 days ago. In a way, it has been a lifetime. Forgive my absence, but my beloved partner of 20 years died 209 days ago, after a long and chronic illness which at times overwhelmed us both. A bit of an optimist, for the first 14 years we were together, I was certain Ruben was going to get better “in the next two weeks.” Except, something always happened. A blister, turned into an ulcer, followed by weeks and months or years of off-loading that usually were successful — but sometimes not – leading to a couple of amputations of toes. Then it was his eyesight, followed by kidney failure and dialysis. After a transplant in 2013, I was sure we were on our way to living a normal life. Except, we weren’t.

In 2014, I adjusted my hopes. I thought, if Ruben didn’t recover “in the next two weeks,” then perhaps we could just maintain things as-is forever. His diabetes, blood pressure and kidney function were all great. The status quo was my big plan. But then 2017 came along and stripped me of hope courtesy of Facebook reminder pics which began popping up, sharing images of Ruben past and present on my timeline. The difference was shocking. Even I could see we weren’t maintaining things, we were losing. His nephrologist gently suggested we should work on his Advance Directive.

I didn’t have a name for what was wrong with Ruben, I just knew he was dying ever so slowly before my eyes and there was nothing I could do about it.

Since April of 2018, everything just got harder every day even as I loved Ruben more and more as he struggled with physical impairments that day by day robbed him of so much. Meanwhile, I was deep in the weeds of being a caregiver, and I didn’t even know it. In retrospect, I did many things the hard way before reaching out for resources which saved me, including a caregiver support group through USC and beginning a daily meditation practice.

My Ruben passed away at home on April 30 as the first wave of the coronavirus pandemic was unfolding. The lockdown in March did speed up his demise, as we were unable to access feeding tube services which would have extended his life for a few more months. I had always thought I would be with Ruben near the end, but to my horror I couldn’t be with him at the hospital when he was there for about 10 days until they sent him home for hospice which lasted less than a day when he was not really conscious. There was no memorial service to bring closure with his friends and family. Like so many others around the world during this dark time, I was all alone in grief. He was my world, and then just like that he was gone.

For the record, I hated every single day in May this year, and didn’t have a very high opinion of June or July either. Luckily, I had good old girlfriends to re-connect with virtually, and I found an online grief support group through reddit where people didn’t try to “fix” others’ grief – they just listened or shared — which was exactly what I needed. Strange, how a mix of real friendships, family and random strangers on the internet can get you through a bad spot.

Nothing will ever be the same again, but I will go on. Now I have time to pick up some creative things I left behind – like this blog —  and to start writing new work that has been left undone for more than two decades while I was looking after my beloved. I miss him so very much. I don’t know why I thought everything would go on forever, but I did. Clearly, it doesn’t.

So here is what I know now:

  1. Ruben and I had a very complete and thorough love. It was crazy at times, but it was magical and unconditional and unbreakable. It continues.
  2. Life is short. Seize the day!
  3. Be active. Eat right and be healthy.
  4. Create – -whether it’s people or art or whatever your talent is, use it while you are here.
  5. Love is the most important thing you can do in life, so love the people you are with. Love your friends and family and even random strangers on the internet. They might save you one day.

To learn more about my wonderful Ruben or hear a few of “our” songs, check out this link.

Social Media for CEOs Who Hate Social Media

scary social media

This post is written especially for CEOs and Executive Directors of all the nonprofits out there. You know who you are. You don’t like social media. Not really. It’s not how you grew up because you are a Baby Boomer. You were happy just to have a website for your nonprofit which you grudgingly update once a decade. And then everyone came along and said you had to do social media, too. Bummer. Because, busy you, you don’t have time to understand what all the fuss is.

As a CEO, you are in good company. Most senior executives I work with aren’t even on Facebook, let alone Instagram or Twitter. You may not even be on LinkedIn because, again, you don’t see the point of it. Where is the ROI, you wonder? But if you have paid good money for a CRM system and aren’t using your social media team to use that to identify and cement donors to your cause, then you are just leaving money on the table. Lots of money.

Why? Because your nonprofit social media isn’t just a marketing vehicle for your cause– it is an amazing donor development tool.  Here are five specific ways for you to make it work for you:

Notebook with Toolls and Notes about CRM,concept

Use your CRM system to identify social media profiles of your donors and prospects. Now, if you decided to save a few dollars on your CRM module when you set it up, and skipped getting the social media profiles, it’s time to revisit your plan and upgrade. CRMs know who’s who on social media channels, and that’s where your gold is.

ICÔNE OISEAU DORÉ tracé de détourage inclus

On Twitter, have your team follow every single donor and prospect from your CRM. Separate them into lists so you know who is who. You should make the lists “private” to your own account (don’t let competitors know where your nonprofit treasure is), but keep in mind that people will see when they are added to a list what that list is called. So, make the names of your lists complimentary, like “VIPS, Influencers, Community Leaders, Thought Leaders, Experts.” Mark top prospects and donors so your team gets an alert when they tweet. The goal here is simple: these individuals are to be treated as your New Best Friends. Your social media team should follow them with utter devotion, liking every tweet. Whenever they mention anything at all that might possibly intersect with your mission, retweet that. Connect, connect, connect.

 

instagramLikewise, with Instagram, follow and like prospects and donors. When they post about anything that intersects with your mission, your nonprofit should comment. Again, connect, connect, connect.

When it comes to your Facebook Page, the real opportunity is targeted paid promotions to “Look Alike” audiences. What is that? This is where you build out a list of your top supporters who actually give to your cause because they believe in it. So, don’t include, say, a donor who gives to your nonprofit because they are personally related to you. Focus on those altruistic donors who give because they believe in your mission. Compile a list of those top 10-20 profiles from your CRM system. Feed this information into a Facebook promotion which will save this information. Using this information, you can create a “Look Alike” audience through Facebook, which will create a similar audience of Facebook users who like what your control group likes. These facebook.pngpeople are the people who will be most receptive to your message and may better connect with your mission. Also, you should know you can feed email addresses on Facebook to create targeted ads just for your specific audience.  To learn more about Facebook Look Alike audiences, visit the source, Facebook, at https://www.facebook.com/business/help/164749007013531. It’s an awesome feature.

linkedin.pngLinkedIn isn’t just for job seekers. It’s a great place to connect with donors, prospects, and influencers. You can even connect with corporate partners and win grants by connecting with someone who knows someone on LinkedIn. So, make sure your nonprofit has an official LinkedIn Page and update it regularly with important announcements or news. And then make sure everyone on your Board and senior team is on LinkedIn. Then, use it in the same way. Like, comment and share anything you can about any prospect, donor or influencer in your community.

So, that’s it in a nutshell.  Your social media team should be an integral part of your fundraising operations. More than PR, social media is supposed to be social and interactive. Your CRM + social media = ROI you’ve been looking for. Have at it.

 

Stay Fresh

Looking back at projects I have been working on the last few months, one thing that jumps out is the importance — and challenge — of keeping not just messages fresh, but yourself, too. You have to keep learning new tricks in order to present information in new and effective ways. It seems like every new tool you learn how to use, leads you to another.  Frankly, I love learning new things. This month alone I have added these new skills:

  • started a new newsletter via MailChimp — which was also a new program for me. I use another program I inherited for another organization, but  I am totally in love with MailChimp now. I am still mastering some of the size issues on graphics, but was pleased to learn how I can re-send emails to people who didn’t open the first email.  Not that I am a Glenn “I’m not going to be ignored” Close stalker, but by gosh I will resend an email to non-openers at least once.
  • completed a company newsletter and improved my InDesign skills. Check out the newsletter at Newsletter Summer 2017.
  • learned a super smart way to use Google Doc’s talk-to-text feature to take real-time meeting minutes. I just learned about the talk-to-text feature which I was using to transcribe interviews, but had not thought to use it for meeting minutes within an ongoing meeting until I saw it being done on a conference call. Genius! Because, let’s face it, meeting minutes are just an awful, awful thing, but so sadly necessary. It’s just a fact of life.

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Using Facebook to Grow Your Chapter (or Non-Profit)

social media icons

In case you missed it, here is a link to my webinar for the Grant Professionals Association on how to employ social media (mostly Facebook) to grow your local organization. This is for intermediate users, referencing the basics of Facebook Page creation but jumping in more deeply into HOW you then use your Page to get your Event info in front of prospective consumers. That information — plus tips on extra programs — make this a power-packed hour full of tools you can really use.

GPA Social Media

My Love Affair with Canva

If you work for a nonprofit that has a big budget for graphic design and glitzy images that you can order on a weekly whim, good for you! Meanwhile, back here on Planet Earth, pulling graphics together to power up your social media messages and related fliers on a timely basis can be an overwhelming challenge for nonprofits.

Exciting images that support your brand have to be created, quickly and on a shoestring budget.  So what if I told you there is this amazing free tool available to you online that can unleash your inner graphic artist?  There is. It’s called Canva and a little dabbling goes along way.

Canva provides pre-sized templates for you to build from (or set your own custom sizes), using images or layouts you can use to create just the thing you need. Load your own photos, drop in your logo, and download your creation in handy shareable formats (JPEG, PNG, or PDFs).

And, best part — it’s FREE and doesn’t require quite the same level of icon knowledge that some programs use.  Not that I am naming any names, but you know who I am talking about.

My one caveat: Canva is addictive. I have been on a rampage of photo collages because they are fun and effective at conveying the warmth and excitement of different events. They make great “Thank You” inserts, letting donors see what their contributions made possible.

Of course, Canva does not replace the need for a proper graphic designer to design the look of some elements of your messaging. It does make it easier to benefit from professionally designed graphics as a template and blend those elements into your everyday messaging, using basic layout rules that hopefully you’ve learned along the way (you don’t want people looking “off” the page, proper use of white space, balance, etc.).

Here below are some examples of Canva created projects used for social media as well as fliers and event collages.

The Power of “Yes And”: Improv for Business

Yes Triumphs Over No

If you’ve ever been to a good improvisation show, you’ve probably wondered how these comedic geniuses manage to come up with delightful, unique responses that captivate.  The reality is their work — and it is work — is based upon not just talent but principles of scene building that also apply to good business dynamics. Taking improv comedy classes can make you see new ways to present information in business.  Plus, it’s just fun and you’ll get to meet and interact with some of the funniest people you’ll ever know.

I once had the pleasure of taking a few improv classes in Hollywood. Years later, those lessons of scene building still resound and apply to any professional endeavor. Here is the Number One lesson learned from improv comedy:

YES AND vs NO BUT

“Yes” is a very powerful word. Combine it with “and” in a brainstorming meeting at work, and you might end up with enchanting results. When students first try doing improv scenes together without rules in place, often one person will have an idea where they want to go with the scene — but another person has another idea. Improv comedy shuts down when one person takes over the scene by saying, “No/But” and taking the character or situation in a direction that conflicts with a previous statement.  Whenever you see a “but” someone is denying someone else’s words or ideas. If others in the same scene “but” back, the work can just come to a grinding, unproductive halt. Just like at the office. Neither situations are fun for anyone.

When you commit to saying “Yes and” instead of “No but” automatically to ideas, it opens up your world to truly inspiring opportunities. Why? Because it forces your team to listen to each other. In order to add new information, participants have to hear what is being said in the first place, and then dig deep to find that new bit of information that will add to what was presented. It works in improv and it works in business, too.

Indeed, “Yes” is a powerful word. People love to hear “Yes” whereas when they hear “No” reflexively it can cause them to stop trying. Add an “and” to your “Yes” with new information and you will be amazed at what you can accomplish. Want to see how it works for yourself? Sign up for some basic improv comedy classes near you. There are even more excellent scene building rules that will burnish your professional skills. And, again, you’ll have a really good time while learning how to be a better listener and team player at work.

Social Media for Grant Professionals

banner-workshop-social-media-tilt

When America got soaked in the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge which rained in $115 million in donations, the power of social media as a tool for nonprofits was raised to a whole new level. If you’ve been hesitant to self-promote or don’t know how to connect your nonprofit’s social media to volunteer or donor development, here are a few links and resources to get you started.

10 Things to Do When Getting Started on Twitter

For most things you want to carry out in life, getting started is often the hardest part of the process. The same is true for social media. Whether it’s the anxiety of not knowing what to do, or the fear of possibly looking dumb—it’s easy to put off signing up for Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram until tomorrow … or next week … or next month…So, to help you stop procrastinating and start achieving your social media goals, check out this list of the first 10 things you should do to get started on Twitter.

Grant Chat @Grant_Chat  

JOIN THE GRANTCHAT COMMUNITY: GrantChat is a diverse group Grant Development and Grants Management professionals. There are numerous ways to connect with the #grantchat community across the different social media platforms. Weekly chats on Twitter happen on Tuesdays 9am PST. Follow the link to learn more.

10 Facebook Page for Best Practices for Nonprofits

With more than 1 billion active users, Facebook is the largest social network in the world. More than two-thirds of its users log in every day and three-fourths do so on a mobile device. Without a doubt your nonprofit’s supporters use Facebook on a regular basis. Therefore, Facebook Pages should be your first priority and entry into social networking. but to stand out from the other 50 million pages regularly active and all vying for likes, comments, and shares, you must excel at Facebook in order to stand out from the clutter and the 10 best practices from thus article will ensure your nonprofit is on the right path.

Facebook Go

Facebook Go helps advertisers learn how to get the most from their advertising spend on Facebook. Businesses that invest $25 or more per day on their ads for 30 days will be able to work with a dedicated Ads Specialist to grow their business. During this time, the Ads Specialist will help:

•    Develop a customized strategy for advertising on Facebook

•    Provide guidance on creating targeted ads

•    Measure and optimize campaign performance

Interested? Fill out the form at this link or call them at 1-800-601-0077.  They’ll give you a $50 ad coupon at the end of the program.

Facebook Advanced Tools

Custom Audiences: Sometimes the most valuable audience is one you already have a connection with. You can use Custom Audiences to connect with your existing contacts on Facebook. Or remarket to people based on the actions they take in your mobile app or on your website. Securely upload this information and create engaging ads designed for these groups of people. When you upload a customer list, this data is kept secure. All of the information is hashed, which means that no one can read it or un-encrypt it, including Facebook. You can create a Custom Audience in the ads create tool or in Power Editor.

Lookalike Audiences: Connect with people on Facebook who share traits—like location, age, gender and interests—with your best customers, so your ads reach more people who’ll care about your services and products. Facebook can help you build a lookalike audience based on:

•    The people who like your Facebook Page

•    Customer contact info, like emails or phone numbers

•    People who visit your website

Go to Ads Manager, then click Audiences. Click the Create Audience button, then select Lookalike Audience.

Google Grants

What is Google Ad Grants? Google Ad Grants is the nonprofit edition of AdWords, Google’s online advertising tool. Google Ad Grants empowers nonprofit organizations, through $10,000 per month in in-kind AdWords™ advertising, to promote their missions and initiatives on Google search result pages.

Is your nonprofit eligible for Google Ad Grants?

To be eligible for the Google Ad Grants program, organizations must:

•    Hold current and valid charity status, as determined by your country; please see your country’s charity status definition below.

•    Acknowledge and agree to the application’s required certifications regarding nondiscrimination and donation receipt and use.

•    Have a functioning website with substantial content

Please note that the following organizations are not eligible for Google Ad Grants:

•    Governmental entities and organizations

•    Hospitals and medical groups

•    Schools, childcare centers, academic institutions and universities (philanthropic arms of educational organizations are eligible). To learn more about Google’s programs for educational institutions, visit Google for Education.

YouTube for Nonprofits

To help you activate your cause, tell a compelling story, and launch an effective campaign on YouTube, we now have a couple of resources for nonprofits. Learn how your nonprofit can use these benefits and make the most out of YouTube by downloading the Playbook for Good and the Top 10 Fundamentals For Nonprofits PDF.

Benefits of joining

•    Donate button: Viewers can use your channel’s Donate button to contribute to your cause online right from your YouTube videos. Available only in the US and UK at this time.

•    Live streaming: Stream video footage live onto your YouTube channel; great for events, conferences, and reporting.

•    Call-to-action overlays: Place a Call to Action on your videos, which viewers can click to visit your website, donate, or learn more.

•    Video annotations: Use annotations on your videos to encourage users to subscribe to your channel or click to visit your website.

•    Production resources: Get production access to shoot or edit your videos at YouTube’s creator studio in Los Angeles, Space LA.

11 Nonprofits that Excel at Social Media

Your nonprofit can learn a lot from the 11 (mostly large) nonprofits listed in this article by simply following, liking, and subscribing to their e-newsletter, blog, Facebook Page, Twitter, YouTube Channel, etc. and then studying and duplicating their methods. Besides the ones listed here, we are  big fans of Charity Water and Girls on the Run L.A. among others. Keep an eye out for winning messages and see what you can adapt for your own development efforts.

Social Media for Nonprofits 

Social Media for Nonprofits is the world’s only conference series dedicated to social media for social good. Instead of abstract concepts and theory, their focus is on sharing practical tips and tools for fundraising, marketing, and advocacy with nonprofit decision-makers.

 

Original post date: January 2015