On joining the NPO Connect Team

I was invited to join the NPO Connect Team. Another opportunity to empower nonprofits to do good!

NPO Connect is a brand new online platform designed to build the skills of nonprofit professionals and volunteers. NPO Connect offers a comprehensive approach to professional development and networking for the sector.  

How exciting to join such an incredible team. Now I can continue to learn and explore while participating in this new venture.

NPO Connect Content Experts:

So, please join us!  Take advantage of NPO Connect’s no-cost, 30-day trial membership!

While you’re on the site take a look at the Forums. We’re building community and sharing insights in fundraising, marketing & communications, and program planning & development.

Please let me hear from you. I’d love to know what you think!





Livestrong Foundation Shows Importance of Nonprofit Marketing


Shame on Donors Who Want Their Money Back wrote Elaine Fogel on her blog Totally Uncorked on Marketing.

I couldn’t agree more!

With all the noise about Armstrong and his fall from grace in competitive cycling, one would expect Livestrong.org the cancer fighting Foundation he founded to suffer. As Elaine pointed out, there are some donors who want their money back.

Livestrong is succeeding and the donations are growing. Whether or not this continues in the long run is yet to be seen.

However, according to Charity Navigator, a prominent charity watchdog, it appears that the foundation has “successfully distinguished its mission from its founder’s woes.”

My suggestion to all nonprofits is to see your organization through a marketing lens.

What is Nonprofit Marketing?

“Marketing is so basic that it cannot be a separate function. It is the whole business seen from the point of view of its final results, that is, from the stakeholder’s point of view.” Marketing Guru Peter Drucker

I see marketing as – the strategies and tactics used to identify, create and maintain satisfying relationships with your donors, members, volunteers, clients and other stakeholders that result in value for both your organization and your stakeholders.

Creative Solutions & Innovations’ principles for guiding your nonprofit through a marketing lense:

1.    Always market your mission, not your current services. The ability to adjust its services to suit client need is key to ensuring the organization’s survival and its financial support.

2.    Carefully define whom your mission serves. You need to meet the needs of your  stakeholders.

3.    Measure your constituents’ needs. Research, research, research to ensure your programs & services resonate with your target audiences.

4.    Evaluate the success of programs & their relationship to your mission.

5.  Communicate regularly & consistently.

6.  Craft your messages to reflect how your mission effects your different audiences.

7. Develop an integrated marketing communications plan to ensure message integrity across all communication channels.

8.  Communicate in terms of your ROI even when it is not in monetary terms; quantify your economic impact.

9.  Celebrate your successes. Show how your ‘market diversification’ creates the funding to provide your services.

10. Know your organizational elevator speech so you can articulate your vision & Competitive Advantage Statement.

11. Keep a “face” on your marketing initiatives

12. Evaluate often & be prepared to refocus your efforts.

Any thoughts? Please let me hear from you.



Why I love local newspapers

A close friend asked me if I had time to speak with an executive director of a nonprofit about media opportunities for an award they just won.

I was excited since it gave me an opportunity to discuss one of my favorite topics – the power of community newspapers.

When I first started working in nonprofit communications my targeted media list was full of local papers. They provide information on community issues and inspired a call to action in support of a healthy democracy.

It seems not too long ago newspapers were still thriving. Now, the landscape is really changing.

A recent report from the Pew Research Center – In Changing News Landscape, Even Television is Vulnerable tracks important media trends. They are well worth noting.

“The transformation of the nation’s news landscape has already taken a heavy toll on print news sources, particularly print newspapers. But there are now signs that television news—which so far has held onto its audience through the rise of the Internet—also is increasingly vulnerable, as it may be losing its hold on the next generation of news consumers.”

Jeff Domansky  wrote an interesting post on media trends effecting PR. I’ve highlighted a few below:

  • Digital news surpasses newspapers, radio: Percentage of Americans who saw news or news headlines on a social networking site doubled—from 9 percent to 19 percent—since 2010.
  • With young, newspapers lack relevance: 33 percent of those under 30 get their news via social networking sites, 34 percent from TV, and only 13 percent from newspapers.
  • Newspaper free fall continues: Just 23 percent of all those surveyed read a newspaper yesterday. That’s down by half (47 percent) since 2000.
  • Reading still popular: 51 percent enjoy reading though there is a shift to electronic or digital formats.
  • Digital growing: Of those who read a magazine yesterday, 9 percent read digitally, while 20 percent of those who read a book did so in electronic format.
  • Online news is more mobile, or social: 17 percent got news on mobile devices and 38 percent saw news on a social networking site, doubling from just 19 percent two years ago.

All that said, there are still thriving local newspapers. They play a significant role in community and are extremely important to nonprofits.

“In towns and cities where there is a strong sense of community, there is no more important institution than the local paper,” said Warren Buffett.

I still look to the local newspapers. I drill down to community news within the broader based newspapers. In many cases I discover an online and print version that increase readership and attention to my nonprofit clients.

So, I introduced Alexis Dalmat, executive director Culture Connect to The Champion Newspaper, a local newspaper focused on the greater DeKalb County Community. The Champion is now part of Alexis’ communications toolbox.

I would love to hear about your experiences with local newspapers.



A tribute to a great event chair

Event co-Chairs celebrate Eizenstat Lecture with President Clinton

I was saddened to learn that Marshall Solomon had died. Our paths crossed when he chaired two Eizenstat Family Memorial Lectures.

To say that Marshall was the consummate event chair is an understatement.

I learned a lot from working with Marshall, especially on the lecture featuring President Bill Clinton. As the event consultant I came to rely on Marshall’s sage advice and willingness to keep the committee and ultimately the event on point.

In honor of Marshall I share some of the lessons I learned:

  • A committed event Chair is key to success.
  • Work with the Chair to hold a brainstorming session when you begin the planning.
  • A personal invitation from the event chair to serve on and/or chair a committee goes a long way.
  • A Chair cannot oversee the event- at- large if not updated in ‘real time’.
  • If you make a mistake be sure your Chair is informed so he/she can be part of the solution.
  • Know what personal mark the Chair wants to make and help him/her achieve it.
  • The Chair means having to make big decisions. Respect the decision.
  • Never forget that being Chair is a volunteer position & most have other responsibilities to family & work.
  • The only compensation is acknowledgement of a job well done and a thank you.
  • You can’t recognize and thank your event Chair enough.
  • No matter how organized and experienced the Chair and committee Chairs are, something will go wrong. So be prepared to deal with it.
  • An event Chair with an understanding of budgets and the backbone to keep the event on-budget is worth his/her weight in gold.
  • An event is a team effort. An event Chair is the quarterback and cheerleader.

Marshall and I had different interests. But, when it came to working together on an event we had a single focus.

Thank you Marshall.