How Not to Ruin a Nonprofit Brand


By Shoshanna Keats Jaskoll When it comes to nonprofits and branding, organizations fall into one of four categories. The Nonprofit that denies it needs a brand. The Nonprofit that knows it needs a brand, but won’t let it happen. The Nonprofit that knows it needs a brand, gets it done … and does nothing with it. The Nonprofit that knows it needs a brand, makes it happen, and rocks it. 1. The Nonprofit that denies it needs a brand: Organization: “We really need a new look and feel; a new website and marketing materials so people get what we do." ‘Great. Let’s start with your brand.’ “Oh, we don’t need a brand. We just need new mission statement, vision, text and wording for the site and materials.” The Problem: By not identifying and solidifying your brand BEFORE creating … [Read more...]

Two Halves of a Whole: The Amalgamation of Marketing and Fundraising

By Maayan Jaffe Marketing and fundraising are two halves of a whole and when they don’t operate that way, explains fundraiser and consultant Janet Levine, the outcomes are less than they could be. Levine, a Los Angeles-based fund development consultant, recalls the pattern that emerged from her years working in advanced higher education: “Working together enabled us to create a powerful approach - for example, we wrote press releases on key stories; those stories were re-purposed into newsletter article; shared with our board members to help them be more effective messengers for us and served the focus of our direct mail appeals.” The need for telling stories and repetition of those stories in the marketplace has become ever more important to fund development in 2015, says Levine, because … [Read more...]

Words to Avoid – 2015 Edition

words to avoid_main

By Dan Gunderman With a new year comes renewed determination to communicate clearly and effectively with your donors, participants, and others. What better way to do this than with your word choices? Let’s avoid some of that overused jargon we so often see in the nonprofit world. Here are a few terms we’ve seen over the past year that should be called out and questioned whenever possible: Leverage I actually can’t believe this hasn’t made our list before (especially egregious in verb form). We hear it and (confession time!) use it all the time. And it’s not nearly as clear as we think it is. I just looked it up in a dictionary, and under the definition option for “improve or enhance” (the final in a long list of meanings, I might add), an example sentence says, “It makes more sense to be … [Read more...]

Prodding the Jewish Organizational World into Third Space

The Jewish organizational world needs to move away from risk-averse strategic planning at its core, and move to risk-taking creativity as its culture. By Gary Wexler Courtesy of The Wexner Foundation's WexnerBLOGS It Isn’t About Hashtags I was asked to write about the phenomenon of “Hashtag Activism,” in light of “#JesuisCharlie”; “#JesuisJuif”; “Je suis George Clooney, the hippest celeb activist at the Golden Globes wearing a ‘Je suis Charlie’ button on stage.” So I understand in view of all this hashtag activism why I was asked to write about the subject, however, I was asked to write about the wrong thing. Yes, hashtagging is an outgrowth of a new technological era. But it is only a tiny selfie in a very big picture of change. And it is a change that Jewish organizations must … [Read more...]

7 Tips for Your Nonprofit Communications Plan

7 marketing resolutions

By John Haydon If you’re like most nonprofit communicators, you have a list of specific quarterly or yearly goals. No doubt they include growing your e-mail list, acquiring new donors and increasing engagement on your Facebook updates. But whatever your goals are, make sure they cover these seven tips below: 1. Write it down A plan is very difficult to follow and measure if it’s not written down. Most nonprofits don’t have content strategy. And based on the limited work I’ve done, they also lack an online marketing strategy that’s written down. Make a resolution to create written plans for each campaign throughout the year. Your plan should include stated goals, stated messaging, a strategy outline, and finally, tools and tactics. How much detail you include in this document is up … [Read more...]

Using POST to Create a Social Media Strategy

The POST method is an easy-to-remember framework for creating your strategy.

by John Haydon There seem to be countless tools available for social media marketers. Tools for managing social media, measuring it, and even for creating content that looks amazing! Yes, technology can seem like a godsend. But if you don’t have a solid strategy, you’re going to waste a lot of money on a lot of tools that promise a lot of results. What does a social media strategy look like? The POST method (People, Objectives, Strategy, Technology) was originally coined by Charlene Li and Josh Bernoff in their book Groundswell (Harvard Business Review Press) is a proven framework for developing a social media strategy. People You can’t achieve even a basic level of success on social media if you don’t understand your people. No one will like, retweet, or repin your blog post if … [Read more...]

Branding or Branded


Long time readers may recall an article I wrote regarding a presentation on social networking I had given some years ago. Those were early days of social networking and most organizations were at the early stages of trying to make sense of what it meant for them. I felt then that we were at the very early stages of a transformative time, and that issues such as epistemology, community organization and definition, identity, authority, and much more were being redefined in ways as profound as the early days of modernity. A few years later, we are a bit further along, but it is clear that we aren’t there yet. A recent article in the NY Times about the surprisingly weak utilization of MOOCs, the overtly contentious issues regarding Mr. Snowden, the NSA, and what privacy does or doesn’t mean, the … [Read more...]

Let’s Give Them Something to Talk About

Mercy Academy

by Irene Lehrer Sandalow During Open House season, schools are looking for ways to stand out among the crowd of institutions trying to reach prospective parents. Talking about a school’s “warm and nurturing community” and the “academic excellence” is only going to get the school so far. So what else can schools do to rise above all the noise? When we are faced with many choices, we often rely on word of mouth from friends in our social networks to help make our decisions. So it was clear to us at The Jewish Education Project that in order to promote the school in a unique way, we need to have the parents involved and we need to get the parents talking. As Bonnie Raitt writes and sings, “Let's give 'em somethin' to talk about.” Or in the 21st century version of this, let’s give parents … [Read more...]