May 4, 2020

Nonprofit Virtual Volunteer Opportunities (2020)

Filed under: Volunteers — Tags: , , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

virtual volunteers

Updated May 1, 2020. Details are as of press time, please see links for the most current info.

During the current shelter in place, I have watched nonprofit organizations cancel in-person volunteer events, as well as increase their need for volunteers. This can be especially hard on smaller organizations who don’t have a large support network.

In response to this, I compiled a list to match willing-and-able volunteers with organizations in need. Please consider sharing your talents and time with these organizations—and share your organization’s virtual needs to be added to the list.

United Way Quad Cities

Volunteer Needs:

Virtual Children’s Activities: Create a video of yourself, your family or your team completing an activity of interest to children while we are all staying home. Read a children’s book, conduct a science experiment, bake and decorate cup cakes or create your own activity.

More info about volunteering

giveNkind

giveNkind bridges the gap between what nonprofit organizations have and what they need to thrive.

Volunteer Needs:

  • Help place items from corporate donors with nonprofits across the country. Join our team of dedicated volunteers who reach out to organizations with the great news that we have donations they might need.
  • Individuals with experience in web design, social media, and Excel are needed.

More info about volunteering

Hope for Widows Foundation

Hope for Widows Foundation is a national support system for, and developed by, widowed women.

Volunteer Needs:

  • Social Media Coordinator (Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, Twitter)
  • Facebook Group Administrator
  • Board Member
  • Members Outreach Committee Member

More info about volunteering

Does your nonprofit have virtual volunteer opportunities?

Share it here to be added to the list.

 

March 3, 2020

What makes a successful marketing campaign?

Filed under: Marketing & Promotion — Tags: , , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

For the last several years, I’ve been a judge at the IAPD/IPRA annual conference’s Agency Showcase Awards, which highlights marketing and communications from parks and recreation agencies in Illinois. 

This year my category was Marketing Campaigns, which ranged from event marketing to promoting special programs and initiatives. While I was reviewing the competition entries, I noticed several common threads in the most effective campaigns. 

They make SMART goals

The agencies that saw the best returns created SMART goals. Most importantly, their goals were measurable (the M in SMART) and trackable. 

They know their audience

Agencies with successful campaigns got to know their audience by doing customer research online and offline, checking demographic data in Facebook and utilizing customer surveys

They track their data

Rather than tracking anything and everything, agencies tracked the data that was most relevant to them, such as website visits, social media reach, response to events, discount redemptions, visibility of out of home advertising, email campaign clicks and opens, and increase in email list size. 

They use the data wisely

The campaigns that were most successful in their outreach used data to inform their campaigns. For example, one agency saw a decline in attendance in their events, so they launched a campaign specifically to increase event participation and it worked—attendance increased by 30%. 

Are you utilizing  these techniques in your marketing campaigns? Are there any other characteristics that effective campaigns share?

December 5, 2019

Tips for meaningful #GivingTuesday follow-up

Filed under: Giving Tuesday — Tags: , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

Congratulations, you did it—you made it through #GivingTuesday! But your work is not done yet. 

Take advantage of the momentum of your campaign: Follow up with your donors and supporters, create meaningful connections that will last throughout the year, and use the insights gathered this year to inspire next year’s campaign. 

Say thank you—and share results

Thank your supporters on social media and share the results of your campaign as well as the impact it has on the people your serve. Sharing a video thank you from the organization’s founder or leaders can make it more personal. 

TIP: Create an infographic or graphic that shows the results of your campaign and how you met your goals. 

Send an email

A day or two after #GivingTuesday, send a thank you email or postcard to your donors and supporters. If possible, segment your email list to personalize the message based on their giving (ie first-time donors, returning donors, etc.) 

TIP: Don’t forget to ask donors and supporters to follow you on social media so you can engage with them throughout the year. 

69% of donors prefer to be thanked for their donations via email, followed by a print letter [2018 Trends in Giving Report].

Focus on them (not you)

Rather than talking about your organization’s needs, tell your supporters specifically how their gift will be used, the change it will make in the community or how a person’s life will be affected.

TIP: Add photos or infographics for extra impact.  

Cultivate new donors

Take advantage of this opportunity to engage with new donors: Send a personalized message that tells the story of your organization, including ways they can be involved throughout the year. Mention any upcoming events or volunteer opportunities they can be a part of. 

TIP: Link to a blog post or landing page with a compelling story to help them experience your organization’s mission. 

Donors acquired during Giving Tuesday are 10–15% more likely to give again than donors acquired on typical days through peer-to-peer fundraising campaigns (Classy).

Promote your year-end campaign

Just because someone donated on #GivingTuesday doesn’t mean they are unwilling to give again, so add them to your list for year-end giving. Again, segment your list so you can thank them for their previous gift accordingly.

And if they do give again, remember to take them off your active list so they are not receiving unnecessary emails. 

TIP: Include non-monetary ways they can give or get involved with your organization. 

Encourage peer-to-peer fundraising 

Give donors a way to be more personally involved with your mission by suggesting a peer-to-peer (P2P) fundraising campaign for their next birthday or special event. 

Contrary to what you may think, all ages respond well to P2P: Over 90% of Gen Xers and Millennials and almost 80% of Baby Boomers report using P2P (Guidestar).

Nearly ⅓ of online donations are made through peer-to-peer fundraising (Classy).

Gather data

Use this time to gather important data on your donors. Analyze their behaviors during #GivingTuesday, note what type of communications resonated best, and use this insight to improve future engagement with donors. 

Check your social media insights and Google Analytics and save screenshots to compare next year. 

TIP: Use the data you collect to make notes for next year’s campaign. 

Collect ideas for next year

Create a shared document where you and your team can collect ideas and design samples to inspire next year’s campaign. 

TIP: If you still have them in your inbox, save the standout #GivingTuesday emails you received this year (as I did myself!) as well as your favorite social media images. 

Return donors whose first interaction was on GivingTuesday re-engaged sooner than donors whose first interaction was outside of GivingTuesday (The State of Modern Philanthropy 201).

___

Don’t let all your hard #GivingTuesday work go to waste. Use this time to genuinely engage with new and returning donors—as well as to make next year’s campaign even better. 

August 16, 2019

Why your organization needs a social media mission (and how to write one)

Filed under: Social Media — Tags: , , , , , , — lidia @ 2:34 pm

Most organizations have a mission statement, but do you have a social media mission statement?

According to HubSpot, 67% of nonprofits have no social media strategy, policies or goals documented. (ouch—that’s higher than the 50% of companies without a documented social media strategy reported by Search Engine Journal). That means more than half of the organizations they polled are basically just “throwing it out there to see what sticks”—not a good use of time and money.

Why it’s important to have a social media mission

Considering 74% of people say they use Facebook for professional purposes (HubSpot, 2017) and LinkedIn has over 500 million users. (LinkedIn, 2019), it’s worth making time for social media marketing in your organization—but you must have a mission.

In social media marketing (and branding and marketing, in general), people need to feel a connection before they interact with you. You need to give them a reason to interact with you: a reason to like a post, leave a comment or come back to your page.

As Simon Sinek, author of Start With Why puts it: “People don’t buy what you do; they buy WHY you do it.” It makes sense to have a sense of purpose—or a focus on your WHY—in your social media marketing, just as you do in otehr aspects of your branding and marketing.

How to create a social media mission statement

A social media mission statement helps you discover and express your organization’s social media WHO, WHAT and WHY: who you are speaking to, what you are sharing, and why they should engage with it.

  1. WHO: Who is your audience? Who will be reading what you share? (If you don’t already have an ideal client profile, now is the time to write one)
  2. WHAT: What do they want to learn more about or read about? What can you share that will encourage them to interact? What will inspire them?
  3. WHY: Why should they engage with you? Why are you the perfect person to provide this content to them? What benefits will they receive by engaging with you? How will it make them feel? What actions will they be inspired to take?
  4. WHERE: Where can you find your audience? Which social media outlets do they use and how do they use them? (Doing some competitor research can make this part easier).

According to HubSpot, 48% of nonprofits believe social media is very valuable, with 80% of nonprofits saying Facebook is their primary social network. Most organzitions are already spending a good amount of time promoting their mission on social media. So, instead of being one of the 67% that are just “seeing what will stick,” take some time to think about and create your social media mission and make your interactions are more thoughtful and engaging.

Need help creating your social media mission statement?

Download my free Social Media Mission worksheet which walks you through the steps of creating one. And feel free to reach out to me to chat about it!

Social Media Mission Statement Worksheet

 

September 26, 2018

25+ free (or low-cost) design resources for nonprofits

Filed under: Design & Art — Tags: , , , , , — lidia @ 3:08 pm

Offers are subject to change, refer to the links for most recent information. Updated 10/23/19

When I present my branding and marketing workshops to nonprofits, I inevitably get asked the question: “Is there any way we can do some of this stuff on our own? (preferably for free or not a lot of money!)”

Well, with a little bit of digging, plus my own huge list of resources (I’m a research junkie), I put together this list of free or low-cost design resources for nonprofits and higher education.

Font Resources

Fonts are intellectual property, so they must be licensed before you can use them, so I don’t recommend downloading free fonts unless it’s from a reputable site that sells fonts (see below). Most font sites offer free fonts or inexpensive bundles, which is a great way to test drive fonts and build your collection.

Always make sure you have licenses for the computer(s) you are using your fonts on, and don’t share them unless your license allows usage on multiple computers. Read Monotype’s guide to font licensing for more info.

Stock Photography & Illustration Resources

Just like fonts, images are intellectual property. Never—I repeat—never use an image that you “grabbed from the web” (i.e Google Images, blog posts, etc.) I have personally known colleagues who have been threatened with legal action for using an unlicensed image. It’s no joke.

Always make sure you have a license appropriate to the usage you need, or choose royalty-free. See my quick overview of stock photo usage, or head over to StockPhotoRights.com for more in-depth information.

Also, if you are using images from a free stock photo site, just remember that lots of other people are also probably using that same image. So save it for social media or other casual usage, and use licensed stock photography (or even better, hire a photographer) for images that are more critical to your organization’s branding and marketing.

Cision has curated a huge list of websites with images that are not protected by copyright laws and/or in the public domain (i.e. historical images, images created by the federal government, etc.)

Design Templates

Of course, I would always encourage you to hire a graphic designer (hint, hint) to design identity and marketing materials for your organziation. But I totally get it: sometimes timing and/or budget just doesn’t allow for it. In that case, I’ve given my stamp of approval for using a template from one of these sites.

Design Learning Resources

My clients at smaller organizations often ask how they can learn design basics or related applications. The resources below are perfect for diving into a design topic or application.

I also offer onsite design and branding workshops that can be tailored to your needs. Reach out to me to learn more or schedule one for your organization.

Graphic & Video Editing Resources

Images and video are crucial for getting noticed in print and social media. For important organizational marketing materials (identity, brochures, reports, event invitations, etc.), I do suggest working with an experienced graphic designer. But for editing a photo on the fly or creating a social media video, these sites make DIY fast and easy.

Did I miss something? Let me know so I can add it to the list. And be sure to bookmark this page—I will update it as new resources are available.

Read the other posts in my series, Free (or Low-Cost) Design & Marketing Resources for Nonprofits:

June 25, 2018

How nonprofits can thrive during challenging times

Filed under: Marketing & Promotion — Tags: , , , — lidia @ 10:00 am

ACN Annual Meeting 2018

On June 1st, the Association of Consultants to Nonprofits (ACN) held their annual meeting in Chicago. This year’s event featured networking, breakout discussions on specific topics and a panel on consultants discussing how they are helping nonprofits grow and thrive.

The panel was moderated by Chicago broadcasting legend and philanthropist, Merri Dee, and included panelists Clara L. Carrier 
of Breaking Through Consulting, LLC, Gregg Mellinger 
of USI Insurance Services, Joyce Golbus Poll of
 J.G. Poll & Associates (and former ACN Board President) and Amy Schiffman of 
Giving Tree Associates.

How nonprofits can thrive during these challenging times

1. Funding—and What is Working Now

A hybrid/diverse approach is best: corporate, foundations, individual giving. Think about different ways to bring in funds. Call on board members and make them accountable. Be realistic about who wants to fund you, make sure they care about what you do. [Amy]

Connect with people, be specific about what you need (i.e. volunteers, goods, etc.) [Clara]

2. Making Use of a Documented Fundraising Strategy

Break down what to do: why do you to raise money and how will you get there? It functions as an insurance policy against desperately coming up with ideas throughout the year. Determining your strategy is the first step. [Amy]

3. Utilizing a Workflow Analysis

Do what you can to save the organization money. How can we maximize efficiency? Create an effective workflow: it makes for a happy customer and staff morale increases. See who’s doing what and determine how it can be done better. Use resources such as software and consultants, or form teams. [Joyce

4. Reprioritizing Spending

Insurance is your second biggest line item (after payroll); create a proactive, documented multiplayer strategy tied to your budget, so you are not scrambling at the last minute. Follow the money: where is the money going? People will accept lower pay if there are benefits that are suitable to them. Follow the formula: PEOPLE > PREMIUM > PURPOSE. [Gregg]

5. Hiring Employees or Consultants

Whomever you hire must be passionate about your cause. Get to know millennials or other groups, know what their purpose is and how they can relate to your cause. Ask candidates about failures or what they learned. [Clara]

Look for someone who understands and wants to be a key part of your organization’s future. They should want to become am integral part of your team/purpose. Gregg also spoke about asking for a tour of a prospect’s facility in order to better connect with them—and the prospect commented that no one had ever made that request before. [Gregg]

Look for consultants with a strong track record, success working both with people one-on-one and with the board, and a strong belief in your mission. [Amy]

6. Deciding to Become a Funder

Things to consider: need, who they are in community, and how prepared are they are to ask: do they know their needs? Have they done their research and pre work? [Merri Dee]

It was an inspiring, hopeful discussion and it made me feel good about being a creative partner with several local nonprofits here in Chicago. Together, we can do great things!

I’ve joined the ACN Board

I’m also thrilled to share that after being a member for two years (and part of the Marketing Committee), I’ve been invited to join the ACN Board of Directors as VP, Marketing and Communications. I’m excited to be a part of this growing community of nonprofit consultants in Chicago. And stay tuned to hear more about ACN!

 

 

 

April 25, 2018

Why your nonprofit needs brand guidelines—and how to create them

Filed under: Branding — Tags: , , , , , — lidia @ 5:13 pm

I collaborate with many nonprofit organizations, and one of the reasons they choose to work with me is because they need help bringing consistency to their branding and marketing materials.

For an established organization (or even a new one), branding can start to become diluted over time, with marketing materials using multiple versions of logos, colors and images that are not on-brand, and messaging that is not targeted or audience-focused. This is where brand guidelines can make a big impact.

What are brand guidelines?

Brand guidelines (also sometimes called brand standards, style guides, identity guides or graphic standards) provide a detailed overview of your organization’s branding—from the graphic look and feel to the overall voice and tone. It assures that everyone in your organization—as well as outside partners and vendors—are expressing your brand consistently and accurately.

Since many nonprofit leaders or managers handle most (if not all) marketing tasks internally, having strong brand guidelines can make marketing and promotion of your organization much easier as there is always a reference point. Plus, it keeps everyone inside and outside the organization on the same page (literally!) And most importantly, it allows you to focus on what you do best—sharing your mission and serving others.

Why your nonprofit needs brand guidelines

  1. Consistency: It keeps your branding and marketing consistent across all print and online media.
  2. Efficiency: When you have a reference point for your marketing pieces, you can create them more quickly and efficiently.
  3. Professionalism: When all of your marketing materials are consistent and on-brand, it helps to emphasize your experience and competency
  4. Convenience: When everything is in one place, it helps your partners and vendors (such as graphic designers, photographers, writers and print vendors) do their job faster and easier
  5. Budget: When design elements and other brand-related files are easily accessible, projects can be completed faster and more economically.
  6. Accuracy: When brand details are easily accessible, it helps to avoid costly mistakes such as using the wrong color or font on a printed piece.
  7. Timing: When everything is in one place, necessary brand assets (i.e. logos or brand colors) can be easily accessed when needed and project delays can be avoided.
  8. Onboarding: New employees (and vendors) can get to know your organization quickly and easily, so they can get to work faster. It also provides them a constant reference as they get acquainted with their new job and assures that they are sharing your message accurately.

What should be included in brand guidelines

A good set of brand guidelines will assure everything people see and experience related to your organization is an accurate expression of your brand. So, what should be included?

Before getting started, think about how your organization will use the guidelines:

  • What types (and channels) of marketing do you use? (i.e. print, digital, social media, in-person events)
  • Will your in-house team mainly use them or will you share them with outside vendors?
  • If you work with outside vendors, what types of work do they produce? (i.e. brochures, flyers, advertising, email marketing, social media, video)

At the very least, the following should be included in brand guidelines:

  • Mission statement and vision statement: including verbiage about how they relate to your overall brand.
  • Logo usage: including sizing requirements, clear space (the space around the logo that separates it from other design elements), logotypes and icons, logo lockups (i.e. if the logo should always appear with another element such as a tagline, date or URL). It’s also a good to include misuse examples, for example: the logo should not be stretched disproportionately or used smaller than ¼”.
  • Taglines: including when and how to use the tagline, and where it should be placed in relation to the logo.
  • Fonts and typography: including allowable primary and secondary fonts for both print and online usage. Optionally, include examples and/or suggested usage for headlines and body copy.
  • Color palette: including primary and secondary color palettes for print (Pantone, CMYK) and digital or presentation (RGB, HEX) usage.
  • Imagery: including suggested types of photography and illustration that should be used, as well as when images should be used. May also include recommended website for purchasing stock photography or illustration and/or image guidelines for in-house or contracted photographers.

Depending on your organization’s needs, you may also want to include:

  • Voice and tone: including writing guidelines for print marketing, as well as digital marketing such as blogs and social media outlets.
  • Sample layouts: including commonly-used marketing templates such as business cards, stationery, flyers, print ads and social media posts.
  • Social media/content marketing guidelines: including an overview of how your brand will be expressed on social media or content marketing (if available, include an overview or links to the organization’s social media/content marketing strategy and editorial calendar)
  • Guest author guidelines: including guidelines for writers who will contribute articles to the organization’s website, blog or social media.
  • PR reference: including organization blurbs (several versions ranging from a 5-word blurb to several paragraphs), staff bios, headshots, and other materials that may be needed for PR opportunities. Include filenames and shared drive locations for easy access by all staff members and contractors.
  • Email signature: what should be included (logo, name, title, email, phone number, legal verbiage, other relevant links) as well as the specified format (text, HTML). Have a template handy on a shared drive to supply to new employees or contractors.

This may sound like a lot of work, but it can be as simple or complex as your organization needs.

And enlisting the help of a branding designer can make it much easier. Believe me, it will all pay off in the end. As a designer, I know how frustrating it can be to search for logos, color specs and other necessary design elements when working on a project.

Want to see examples?

Sometimes the best way to get started developing brand guidelines is to see what others are doing. Here are a few options for inspiration:

And if you need help developing your org’s brand guidelines, reach out to me—I would love to help!

November 21, 2017

September 21, 2017

Featured Project: Event Branding & Marketing Design

For 10 years, All Stars Project of Chicago has brought growth opportunities to young people and adults living in the poorest communities. They needed event branding and marketing materials for their 10th Anniversary Benefit Luncheon—where they were unveiling plans to reinvest growth into the city by “Connecting Communities Downtown.”

I developed a design that expressed their mission of connecting communities across Chicago with business partners in the downtown community—as well as a special 10th anniversary logo.

I designed the Event Logo, Sales Pack, Invitation Package (Invitation and Mailing Envelope, Reply Card and Reply Envelope), Program and Insert, Power Point Presentation, and Onsite Signage.

See all of the designs here.

August 28, 2017

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