Do good in the world with good practices. Resource sharing and advice from nonprofit leaders from the Blogosphere and beyond.

Should VerticalResponse be the default mass emailing tool for nonprofits?

The realm of blast emailing tools has been a pretty complicated one. Prices were complicated, features varied, and you really had to think through what you wanted in order to be able to effectively compare.

But with the announcement that VerticalResponse now offers 501(c)(3) nonprofits up to 10,000 emails per month for free, does that change? I think it might. VerticalResponse has been on our list of recommended tools for awhile – it’s well designed, feature-rich, has strong deliverability, and integrates well with other tools (especially Salesforce). Even without nonprofit discounts, it’s a very interesting option. At 10,000 emails for free, well, that might make it the obvious choice for most smaller nonprofits. …more from Idealware. Flickr image credit: m-c

By | June 15, 2008|Blog, Nonprofits|0 Comments

Nonprofit communications tips, be prepared with communications tools

A little advance preparation will help you get ready now for any marketing or public relations opportunity that comes along. Spending some time on these items before they are needed will ensure you can respond quickly and professionally when you get a media call, need to whip together a promotional package for an event or project, develop a proposal or speak at a conference.

A key messages document – short 1-3 sentence statements on topics like mission, operations, key projects or services, history, recognition or honors, support from the community.

Biographies – one-page biographies of the executive members, senior personnel, board members.

Head shots – professional quality headshots of key personnel and well as board chairperson.

Organization profiles – short (less than 200 words) and full-page profile on the organization, program and services and geographic area served.

Fact sheet – a bulleted list of relevant statistics and historical information about the organization and key projects.

Logos – organization logos, in black and white and colour, in a variety of formats, e.g. lower resolution .jpg for web use or online, higher resolution like .eps or .tif for print.

Photos – a selection of good quality photos that illustrate the mission in action, with a corresponding caption and identification of people, if applicable.

Lists – gather and update periodically lists of media, political representatives in your area, public service announcements and free community billboards.

Testimonials – maintain a file of compliments and thanks.

Allies and competitors – have a basic understanding of your partners and allied organizations, as well as your competitors.

Contact lists – email, telephone, addresses for staff and board members. Print it out for the days your server goes down! This is guaranteed to happen when you need to get into your database in a hurry.

If you ensure you have these items you’ll never be caught unprepared. The next time an unexpected opportunity comes up, you can spend your time making the most of it instead of doing the eleventh hour dash.

About the Author

Sherri Garrity is a consultant and coach who specializes in helping organizations achieve greater results through better communications from the inside out. She is the president of Make It Count Communications and author of the Ready, Aim, Inspire! blog for nonprofit organizations.

By | March 4, 2008|Blog, Nonprofits|0 Comments

What fundraising and one-night stands have in common

Dear Non-Profit Organization, I haven’t heard from you in awhile and I admit, it hurts. I find it hard to believe you aren’t answering my letters or returning my calls. I thought we got along so well and we seemed to have so much in common. I really hoped our relationship was going to be long term. I don’t know how to put this delicately, but it seems like once you got what you wanted, you weren’t interested anymore. I know you’re busy but I’ve detected a pattern. I only hear from you when you want more. I feel used. Sincerely, Your Corporate Donor

The best way to raise money for your organization is to keep your existing donors connected and happy with the experience. Like a milestone first date, the relationship is tentative and vulnerable. Remember, donors are looking for a mutually beneficial and rewarding relationship. Unfortunately some nonprofit organizations are guilt of relationship faux pas. Here are some examples.

Top Ten Turn Offs

1. No thank you letter sent the ultimate sin!

2. If a thank you letter is sent, it contains spelling mistakes and appears to be a form letter with no impact statement or relationship to the specific gift.

3. No follow up report or evaluation is provided despite this being a condition of funding. Give the organization enough detail to confidently portray your initiative. How was the money used? What was the impact? Were the milestone dates met? This will help the donor organization easily and accurately promote your project through its corporate public relations activities.

4. Disregard for approval policy and corporate identity standards.

5. Lack of notice given when requesting approvals on news releases, logo use, etc. Respect that a corporation receives hundreds of requests, and at any given time is working on existing projects, as well as reviewing new proposals.

6. Worse than lack of notice, is not asking for approval before announcing the donation or sponsorship. Corporate funders request to review news releases and announcements in advance, not only to make sure they’re correct and consistent, but to make sure they have the opportunity to maximize communications. The organization may wish to post on its website, and may have reasons why the date might not be optimal.

7. Providing too much, irrelevant information. This makes it difficult for a corporate funder to easily communicate the partnership in various vehicles, such as its website, speeches or annual reports. If a funder has to spend valuable time sifting through, it is simply easier to profile a different nonprofit organization instead.

8. Sending photos with no index, identification or captions.

9. Lack of coordination within your organization. If you are providing more than one point of contact for your project, ensure all of your team is on the same page.

10. No followup. If you have worked together on a news release or event, ensure to send copies of coverage along with feedback. This is golden for corporate communications and public relations departments.

Relationship Rescue If you see yourself in any of these scenarios, it’s not too late. You can still have a chance at a long and mutually rewarding relationship. At the very least, you can still be friends!

About the Author

Sherri Garrity is a consultant and coach who specializes in helping organizations achieve greater results through better communications from the inside out. She is the president of Make It Count Communications and author of the Ready, Aim, Inspire! blog for nonprofit organizations.

By | March 4, 2008|Blog, Nonprofits|0 Comments