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Summer Reading (& Writing) for Nonprofit Professionals

Section: Blog

Writing and publishing a book has never been easier, thanks to the upswing in self-publishing, e-books and on-demand printing. Nonprofit organizations are among those reaping the benefits of publishing their own books. Writing a book can help promote your mission in several ways, such as creating shareable content, bringing in new supporters and positioning your organization as a thought leader. To learn more about what a self-published book can do for your organization, review this article on the topic posted by Jay Wilkinson at Firespring.

In the meantime, check out these “summer reading” titles of note:

The Blue Sweater is the story of a woman who left a career in international banking to spend her life on a quest to understand global poverty and find powerful new ways of tackling it. It all started back home in Virginia, with the blue sweater, a gift that quickly became her prized possession — until the day she outgrew it and gave it away to Goodwill. Eleven years later in Africa, she spotted a young boy wearing that very sweater, with her name still on the tag inside. That the sweater had made its trek all the way to Rwanda was ample evidence, she thought, of how we are all connected, how our action — and inaction — touch people every day across the globe, people we may never know or meet.

The Promise of a Pencil chronicles Adam Braun’s journey to find his calling, as each chapter explains one clear step that every person can take to turn their biggest ambitions into reality. Braun began working summers at hedge funds when he was just sixteen years old, sprinting down the path to a successful Wall Street career. But while traveling he met a young boy begging on the streets of India, who after being asked what he wanted most in the world, simply answered, “A pencil.” This small request led to a staggering series of events that took Braun backpacking through dozens of countries before eventually leaving a prestigious job to found Pencils of Promise.

Almost Home tells the stories of six remarkable young people from across the United States and Canada as they confront life alone on the streets. Each eventually finds his or her way to Covenant House, the largest charity serving homeless and runaway youth in North America. From the son of a crack addict who fights his own descent into drug addiction to a teen mother reaching for a new life, their stories veer between devastating and inspiring as they each struggle to find a place called home. This book includes a foreword by Newark Mayor Cory Booker.

The House on Henry Street is part of the history of New York City, as well as a key moment in the growth of social work in the United States. It is integrally related to the story of progressivism and social reform. Although the book’s style is simple, it tells a complex story, both of one woman’s indomitable nature, and of a special institution in a particular neighborhood of New York City. “The House on Henry Street “reflects the spirit of an optimistic era in which actors were part of larger social and political changes. It is also a history that moves easily from the personal, through the community, and finally to the national levels of American government. Professionals in the fields of volunteerism and philanthropy, women’s studies & social welfare will find this absorbing.

It Takes a Dream is the story of Hadassah, beginning in the early days of the twentieth century, when the Jewish population of Jerusalem was enduring very difficult living conditions, and suffering disease and hardship. It was in this setting that the renowned and beloved founder of Hadassah, Henrietta Szold, became inspired to help improve the lives and health of Jerusalem’s citizens. Spanning two centuries, reaching virtually every corner of the globe, the epic story of the Hadassah organization is the inspiring and fascinating history of generations of determined women who worked to heal, enlighten, educate and save lives.

Event Sponsors Seek a Meaningful Connection

Section: Blog

As a representative of a nonprofit organization seeking corporate event sponsors, you are in the unique position to serve as a matchmaker. You have something corporations want — a loyal, engaged community with a passion for what you do. Corporations seek to engender goodwill by supporting organizations with relevant social missions. In doing so, they care about being seen by as many of the right people as possible. Your job is to entice these corporations your way.

This means you should only approach corporations that are truly a good fit for your event. You need to do your homework! Sending email blasts like shotgun pellets to large lists of companies not only doesn’t work, but it dilutes the sanctity of the trust that you need to foster with your supporters and constituents. In safeguarding that sanctity, you make selecting your organization for sponsorship all-the-more attractive.

As a result of your research, it is important to approach decision makers with a unique idea that was developed just for them. You should be familiar with the corporation’s goals and initiatives and be able to demonstrate how your concept will benefit them. Arm yourself with information (including past attendance and donor demographics) that draw a clear picture of your supporters. Remember, you are the gatekeeper to a community that is the ideal target market for this well-aligned corporate partner. Be ready, willing and able to clearly demonstrate that this is a win-win scenario.

It is said that “people give to people,” meaning the influence of board members and honorees is critical in securing sponsors. Your job is follow their “ask” with a compelling story and a proposed sponsorship package tweaked to the needs of each prospect. The right match will create a charge, and that positive energy that will shine through when you speak to corporate decision-makers.

In order to make the right “match,” you must always make sure the trust you have developed with supporters and constituents remains paramount throughout this process. For example, you have a responsibility to align only with those corporations that share your ideals.   By becoming a sponsor, a corporation is admitted into your organization’s “inner-circle” and you are the conduit of extending that trust to them.

At the end of the day, corporations are seeking to connect and to differentiate themselves from competitors. As a matchmaker, you hold the key to this golden opportunity that will lead to your ultimate goal: advancing your organization’s mission.

Tell Your Event Donors You LIKE Them

Section: Blog

Did you ever have a crush on someone that acted like you didn’t exist?  You’d see them in the hall, your eyes would light up, you’d pause, hoping they’d talk to you, compliment your outfit, ANYTHING. And then … nothing. They’d pass right by you and talk to someone else. Lauren McCarthy describes this scenario in an article on npENGAGE. Except it happened to her with a nonprofit.

After spending much time, money and effort on a peer-to-peer fundraising event, she was ignored by this nonprofit … no email. no mail. nothing. She believed in the mission of this organization and posted about them on social media. She wanted to read updates on their various programs and hear their success stories — but they just kept ignoring her.

After doing some digging, she found out that, as an event participant, her name was suppressed from direct response solicitations. If your organization isn’t soliciting its event donors, you’d better believe that another organization will. One health organization found that approximately 40% of its event sponsors were giving to other organizations, while being suppressed from it own solicitations. Talk about leaving money on the table!

Your donors tell you just how much they like you each time they donate or volunteer their time to your organization. Periodic analysis and data audits are a great way to ensure you’re telling these donors just how much you like them back. Just like in junior high school, if you don’t ask your crush to the school dance, someone else will!

Read this story in its entirety on npENGAGE.

 

Our Favorite Online Event Marketing Tips

Section: Blog

Online marketing has changed the event landscape. There are countless articles about how to market your event online, but most tips are generic and can’t be actioned. EventMB shares these event marketing tips — all actionable tasks designed to grow your guest list. Not all relate to nonprofit events, but here are several that do:

  • Promote your Speakers: Create images that combine event branding with your speaker’s name and photo. Send these images (in multiple sizes) to your speakers for use in their own social media posts or websites. Also create a quote image featuring their face and one of their best quotes, along with your event hashtag.
  • Create an Awesome Video: Make the video fun, rather than overly promotional. The goal here is to garner attention, to make people FEEL something that will pique interest. Upload the video directly to Facebook, Vimeo and YouTube to maximize reach.
  • Reach out to Influencers – Correctly: Quality over quantity. Send personalized requests to 20 best-fit influencers. Provide content relevant to their audience. If you want them to post a tweet, send a few unique, pre-written options. The less work they have to do, the better.
  • Run a Contest to Drum up Buzz: Encourage potential attendees to share a picture or comment on a status for a chance to win a prize. Or invite attendees to vote on a small event detail such as dinner theme by commenting on a status. Offer free tickets, VIP experiences, or anything else you imagine. Just remember the better the prize, the more interest you will generate.
  • Add Social Share “After Sale” Buttons: Turn excitement into referrals by incorporating social sharing into your sales funnel. Include pre-populated social media actions, requiring minimal work for optimal shares. With Event Journal, social media sharing is incorporated into every page of every website. Also, purchasers are prompted to share news of their attendance several times during the checkout process.
  • Host a “Pre-Event” Event on Social Media: The best way to give people a taste of your event is to host a pre-event event. Whether it’s a behind-the-scenes Facebook Live broadcast or a Blab with some of your key speakers, be sure to advertise it across multiple platforms.
  • Offer a Private Facebook Group Exclusive to Attendees: Schedule periodic posts to the group to keep people engaged and share information that is relevant to attendees.

Online marketing is a great way to promote your events, and there are a million possibilities for how you can do it. Choose your favorites and start testing them with your audience! Or talk to us at Event Journal about best practices for promoting your nonprofit event online. Read this article in its entirety at EventMB.