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4 Marketing Problems Nonprofits Have & Their Solutions

Posted By Guest blog by NLC Key Partner Echo Analytics Group , 11 hours ago
Updated: Monday, June 19, 2017

 Written by John Kraps for Echo Analytics Group and reposted with permission

Our newest NLC Key Partner, Echo Analytics Group is sharing some common marketing problems nonprofits are facing today. Read on to find the solutions you're looking for!

Problem 1: Poor donor relations
Social media is an incredible tool for engaging, retaining and attracting donors. However, it can also be a place where donors turn on you if your values don't perfectly align with theirs. [Such was the case when the 
Susan G. Komen Foundation did not anticipate a stakeholder’s response to an organizational decision.] Failure to address criticism in a timely, respectful manner can result in a massive drop in support. So how do you get donor relations to where you’d like them to be?


 Solution 1: Get to know them
Dan Gross, Director of Partner Development at BidPal Technology for Good encourages nonprofits to treat fundraising like political fundraising. Political parties spend a lot of time and money heavily researching its potential base. The immediacy of social media requires nonprofits to respond quickly to dissent lest it evolves into a full-blown crisis; therefore, learning more about your donors and paying attention to their feedback has never been more important. After all, it is cheaper to retain current donors than find new ones. 


 Problem 2: Boring Content
This is a common problem that is relatively easy to solve. People choose to consume content because it provides value to them. The struggle to put out content on a regular basis can lower its quality negatively affect your perception. In fact, 72% of donors report that content affects whether they donate to a cause, and 24% said that dull/boring content would cause them to stop donating. Facebook and other social sites allow for direct donating, and with the rise of mobile giving, nonprofits need to pay greater attention to the content they publish. If you are not involved in content creation or believe it will just go away, it won’t. But creating valuable, entertaining content doesn't have to be difficult. 


Solution 2: Create a monthly content calendar and regularly reevaluate it
Nonprofits that create a social media content calendar are more likely to get better results than those who don’t. It might initially seem like this solution will take up even more time, but it will save time on the back end. Have monthly meetings to determine topics to highlight that month. Informal gatherings in a comfortable setting can take some of the pressure off the content producers and make it an enjoyable experience. Just make sure to run an analytics report each month to see if your content is resonating best with stakeholders and adjust accordingly.


Problem 3: A sensitive issue
Certain types of content naturally make people feel uncomfortable. Even within an organization, dealing with depressing material on a daily basis can lead to burnoutSo how do you create relevant, valuable content without being a “Debbie Downer?"


 Solution 3: Acknowledge the elephant in the room
For a long time, post-traumatic stress disorder was widely ignored, even criticized, in the United States. The stigma made it hard for many to seek treatment. It took a national campaign to convince people that by not addressing the issue we're doing a disservice to those suffering. Organizations like the PTSD Foundation of America continue to help convince many that "supporting the troops" means more than waving a flag and saying “thank you for your service.”


 Taking ownership of the current attitude towards an issue can help change it or use it to your advantage. Almost every cause right now has a day, week, or month (or hashtag!) devoted to it. These days/hashtags are perfect opportunities to talk about the issue online but also to see what others are saying about it.


Problem 4: Irrelevant ROI measurements
Likes, shares, retweets and comments are good, but they don’t tell the whole story. Increasing engagement without setting specific benchmarks to determine success leads to misunderstanding and frustration. How do you go deeper with the numbers and effectively explain what they mean to your board?

Solution 4: Hire or train someone to make sense of the data
The competition for donor dollars is fierce, and the need to stand out online has never been greater. Whether or not it is with us, every nonprofit should regularly obtain an audit of its social media accounts to learn what its strengths and weaknesses are.


Tags:  communications.  content  donor relations  echo analytics group  engagement  marketing  nonprofit  ROI 

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Cybersecurity: A Growing Requirement for Nonprofits

Posted By Jennifer Dodd, Friday, June 16, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, June 13, 2017

As a result of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. Presidential election, hacking has been in the news nonstop. Unfortunately, most Americans are unaware of the extent their cyber systems are at risk and what this means to their organizational success and their personal lives.

As a nonprofit leader, you might be thinking, "Not us, we're not the kind of business or organization criminals are interested in; we don't have the big money or the kind of data criminals want to access." But, you would be wrong. Nonprofits are a potential treasure trove of data that bad actors might want to access.

What makes nonprofits so attractive to bad actors?

First, nonprofits have just the kind of personal information that criminals find attractive:

  • Employee personal identification information
  • Donor financial information
  • Member contact information

This information can be use to steal money outright or act as a means of identity theft, access to additional systems, etc.

Second, nonprofits’ networks tend to be distributed and accessed by a wide number of users (staff, members, donors, clients, supporting collaborative organizations, etc.), providing bad actors a variety of potential physical and virtual access points.

Finally, nonprofits tend not to invest adequately in preventing and preparing for cybersecurity issues. According to the most recent Not-for-Profit Governance Survey by CohnReznick, only 29% of respondents reported completing a cybersecurity vulnerability assessment or test. Additionally, most respondents said they would be spending the same or less on protecting their data in the coming year. Bad actors understand that cybersecurity isn't a priority for nonprofits, often because many are strapped for resources and see the cost relative to gain as too great.

Why is it important to prevent and be prepared for a cyber attack or other potential threats to cyber systems and data?

Nonprofits are reputation-based organizations: Employees need to believe the organization is protecting their personal information; donors need to believe their financial and contact information is protected; clients need to believe their medical, financial, or personal information is not subject to compromise; and members want to know their contact information is not being released to unauthorized people or organizations.

When--not if--a nonprofit's cyber systems are attacked and the data is compromised, the nonprofit's very existence may be at stake. If employees, members, clients, or donors do not believe the organization did everything it could to prevent the incident or was not prepared to respond appropriately, the nonprofit's mission may never recover. Clients, members, and donors may simply walk away and find another organization to meet their needs or make better use of their support.

To help you and your organization prepare for and respond to potential cyber threats, we encourage you to join our four-hour Cybersecurity for Nonprofits 101 class on August 25th. Our newest trainer, Kathy Helms is a retired Naval officer who worked signals intelligence and cyber mission for more than 25 years. She has developed a course to help nonprofit leaders understand the cybersecurity threat, why they should be concerned about cybersecurity and their organizational responsibilities, as well as how they can lead their organizations in meaningful ways to counter cybersecurity threats.

This course is recommended for nonprofit executives, program directors, and IT staff responsible for ensuring the integrity of their information technology systems that support every element of their business operations.

Read the full class description and register online.

Kathy Helms holds an M.S. in Systems Technology - Space Systems Operations from the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA, and an M.S. in Cybersecurity from the University of South Tampa. She's currently a doctoral student at USF and teaches leadership development courses for the Office of Personnel Management for federal agencies throughout the United States. 

Tags:  breach  cyber security  cybersecurity  data  donors  hacking  identity theft  information  networks  nonprofit  risk  secure  users 

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The 5-Minute Event Experience Booster

Posted By Guest post by NLC trainer Trace Kingham, Kingham Signature Events, Friday, June 9, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, June 7, 2017

We are thrilled to announce that author and award-winning event planner Trace Kingham will be joining us as an NLC Trainer this year and has developed a 3-part series: Standout Events for Nonprofits 101, 201, and 301. Join us for this brand-new series that will help your nonprofit produce outstanding events!

For just a sample of what he'll bring to the NLC curricula, read his second guest blog post below.

I was talking recently with a group of event planners at a local university, and we touched on the topic of inconsistent attendance from year to year. Many of us have been there—one year you have 500 guests and the next you have 300 RSVPs.

How do you retain and gain guests? When begin the event planning process, take on the perspective of your guests and you’ll automatically start planning an experience that guests will love—and they’ll want to come back for more next year!

Here’s a simple, 5-minute process to boost your guest experience and have them returning – with friends and colleagues!

The 5-Minute Experience Booster

Ask yourself:

  • Who are my guests as individuals?
  • Why would they want to attend your event?
  • What do they need?
  • How can I solve a challenge for them through this event experience?

The Human Factor
“I’ve got 150 plates and 150 meals to order. We’ll need 150 chairs…” As planners we can get caught up in the checklist and forget the human factor. Throughput your planning process–from concept through invitations to décor and menu—take a moment and to put yourself in your guests’ place. You’ll automatically start planning things differently, because you’re thinking about the personal side of your guest.

The Draw
First, it’s important to remember that your guests are taking time out of their busy schedules—away from friends, family, and their own hobbies—to attend your event. What is it about your event that excites them? Think about what your guests like and dislike. What motivates them? What problems are they facing in their lives? If you can solve one of their problems and deliver a fantastic time at your event, guests will flock.

The Purpose
When you plan an event, make sure there’s a purpose for it. Figure out what action you want your guest to take and what it is you want them to leave with.

You get one chance to make a lasting, positive impression. Surely that’s worth 5 minutes of your time. 

Trace Kingham, President & Chief Experience Officer for Kingham Signature Events and author of STANDOUT: Place Your Business in the Spotlight with Results Driven Events, has planned events for more than 20 years for large corporate and nonprofit organizations. Trace has received national and international recognition for his work. His designs have been featured inInternational BRIDESmagazine, and he was named one of Tampa’s Outstanding Voices in 2016 by theTampa Bay Business Journal.

Tags:  donor  event planner  event planning  events  fundraiser  fundraising  guest 

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#FlashbackFriday to our 2017 Leadership Conference

Posted By Jen Dodd, Director of Education & Communications, Friday, June 2, 2017
Updated: Wednesday, May 31, 2017

We couldn't resist sharing a few GREAT photos from our 2017 Leadership Conference. For even more, check out our Facebook album. Feel free to tag yourself and share any photos you love, and don't forget to like and follow our page while you're there!


Tags:  Leadership Conference  Sally Hogshead 

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How Are YOU Converting Energy to Action after Leadership Conference?

Posted By Jen Dodd, Director of Education & Communications, Friday, May 26, 2017
Updated: Tuesday, May 23, 2017

We’ve been hearing such great feedback on the 2017 Leadership Conference, and we’re thrilled you enjoyed the day! (If you haven’t yet completed the online survey sent via email, please do so. Your feedback is invaluable—and you could win a copy of Sally Hogshead’s book!)

Even better, we’re hearing from leaders and teams about how they’ve already put what they learned at Leadership Conference into practice and the wonderful things they’re discovering about how their differences make them stronger.  And we can’t resist sharing!

(Keep an eye on this blog; we’ll also be sharing Team NLC’s extended work on our own personal Brand Anthems in a week or so.)

Jessica Muroff, CEO of Girl Scouts of West Central Florida, shared the agenda of a follow-up meeting her team had just a week after Conference. Get this: it was an Energy to Action meeting. How clear is that to all who are participating? What a form of positive and engaging interaction!

We love the idea of capturing the energy and insights from a professional and personal development experience and working together to convert it into action! And Jessica very graciously agreed we could publish their agenda here. Use it to spark your team’s ideas of how you can harness the energy from Leadership Conference and turn it into positive change within your team and throughout your organization!

What tools or processes have you used in your nonprofit? Tell us in the comments below. 


Tags:  change  Leadership Conference  nonprofit  professional Development  Sally Hogshead  team 

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