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Marketing + Communications
Effective marketing and communications is central to the success of an organization’s mission, goals and activities. Internal communication is essential to motivate, inform, and counsel employees and volunteers and to set the stage for excellent external communications. External communication is necessary to attract and retain constituents and to raise public consciousness, understanding, response to, and funding of the organization.
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An article highlighting key google analytics statistics to track in order to assess website performance.
An annual report can be a valuable tool for communicating with stakeholders and showcasing outcomes. In recent years many nonprofits have been experimenting with alternatives to traditional printed annual reports. The following resources provide more information about the purpose of annual reports, sample annual reports, and tips for developing the most compelling resource for your organization.
Sumac Nonprofit Software
Make sure your organization's messages are getting seen by following these best practices for email marketing.
Free Management Library
A compilation of resources to help oraganizations develop strong internal communications policies and procedures, including those between supervisors and employees.
Adding and growing your email list is an important tool in your communications and outreach, but the laws around your marketing efforts can be unclear. These resources will help you understand the CAN-SPAM Act and what it means for your organization.
This highly regarded blog focuses on how nonprofits can use social media.
These resources will help you better understand the concept of brand, and how to approach a rebranding process.
- The Role of Brand in the Nonprofit Sector (Stanford Social Innovation Review)
- Four Steps for a Brand Check-up (Big Duck)
- A Short Guide to Thoughtful Rebranding (Big Duck)
- The Eight Building Blocks of Strong Nonprofit Brands (NonprofitQuarterly)
- Using your brand strategy everyday in everything (Big Duck)
- What's the board's role in branding? (Big Duck)
Care2's nonprofit marketing blog - subscribe for monthly email alerts or by RSS
Spitfire developed the SmartScan as a free online tool to help nonprofits assess where they are poised to be communication powerhouses and where they have room to improve. Users answer a series of questions about their organization’s current practices and receive a tailored report detailing where they can focus attention to improve their communication.
A compilation of resources to help you develop a crisis communications plan including samples, strategies, checklist, and tips.
Article/Blog, Sample/Template, Video/Tutorial
A dashboard is a tool for visualizing data. Some dashboards show performance over time while others provide a snapshot of a particular aspect of a business. An effective dashboard illustrates rather than tells the audience about areas that need attention or action. There are diverse applications of and approaches to dashboards, and the following articles provide helpful tips and samples.
- Dashboards for Nonprofits (National Council of Nonprofits)
- A Nonprofit Dashboard and Signal Light for Boards (Blue Avocado)
- Beyond Dashboards: Business Intelligence Tools for Program Analysis and Reporting (Idealware)
- Show Me Your Dashboard (Beth Kanter)
- Models and Components of a Great Nonprofit Dashboard (NonprofitQuarterly)
- Dashboards Might Just Be Nonprofits New Best Friend (TechSoup)
- Free Recorded Webinar: How Dashboards Can Help Your Nonprofit Achieve Its Goals (Nonprofit Quarterly)
This tool provides a simple format to help everyone in your organization create their own elevator speech to promote your organization.
NTEN, M+R Strategic Services
An annually produced analysis of online messaging, fundraising, advocacy, social media and mobile metrics for nonprofit organizations.
A sample of a policy outlining standards for public messaging.
The following resources will help you find and manage consultants and vendors, whether for a defined project, or ongoing support. If you need a referral for support on fundraising, strategic planning, legal issues, accounting issues, meeting facilitation, technology, or any other outside support, start here. (Many of the consultants and vendors in MANP's Yellow Pages offer nonprofit rates.)
The following resources help nonprofits and other issues advocates think and plan strategically about how to frame their messages for better public understanding and engagement.
Nonprofit Risk Management Center
Practical tips for handling grievances and resolving disputes.
An interesting five step guide to finding ways to maximize your campaign's influence through your relationships and connections.
In a world where people are constantly bombarded with information, it is increasingly important to design visuals that tell a story that data or words couldn’t have conveyed on their own. The following resources provide guidance on how to make clear and informative "infographics."
Nonprofit Marketing Guide
Excellent blog with tips, ideas and advice in nonprofit communications, publications, marketing, PR and social media. Kivi also offers a free e-newsletter and fee webinars.
Lisa Simpson for Nonprofits: What Science Can Teach You About Fundraising, Marketing and Making Social Change
Network for Good, SeaChange Strategies
A thought-provoking and accessible publication to help you increase the impact of your fundraising and marketing efforts.
Resources and information on good practices in all areas of nonprofit management, including a section on volunteerism.
This guide outlines a six step process for creating effective marketing materials regardless of your budget size.
Find articles with concrete tips on a wide range of communications topics.
Learn how and when to deploy the op-ed as a strategy to get your voice heard over the din. This guide includes advice and strategies from experienced journalists and writers who know how to write and place opinion pieces in national and local outlets.
Article/Blog, Guide/Tool, Sample/Template
Building relationships with local media outlets and reporters is an important part of raising the visibility of your organization's mission to potential clients, donors, volunteers and policymakers. These articles provide tips for pitching your story, writing a press release, and getting media coverage for your nonprofit.
- Basic Press Outreach for Mission-Based Organizations (Coyote Communications)
- Press Release Format Guidelines (WebWire)
- Press Release 101: Why You Need a Good Nut Graph
- On the Hunt for Reporter Relationships (M+R)
- Pitching Nonprofit Stories (About Money)
- Top 10 Tips for Local Media Relations (About Money)
- Pitching to the Media (TSNE)
- Developing and Framing Your Message (TSNE)
- Winning Media Coverage for the Work Your Nonprofit Does (TSNE)
- Working with the Media Toolkit (Colorado Nonprofit Association)
- How to Create a Media List (M+R)
- Maine Media Directory (Maine PR Council)
- 10 Tips for Getting Your Op-Ed Placed (Nonprofit Marketing Guide)
These articles and guides provide an overview of the key terms and strategies involved in Search Engine Optimization (SEO), and tips for how to make sure your website content shows up in search results.
Article/Blog, Guide/Tool, Sample/Template
A robust social media presence can help nonprofits share their message to a broad audience, but all the different channels can be overwhelming. Developing a thoughtful and thorough social media policy will help organizations manage and make the most of the medium. Your organization should also create policies for employees to cover expectations of what is an appropriate and respectful use of social media. These resources will help your organization define goals and audiences, select appropriate tools, and create social media strategies.
- Nonprofit Social Media Decision Guide (Idealware)
- Nonprofit Social Media Policy Workbook (Idealware)
- Social Networks, CyberRisk and Your Nonprofit: What You Need to Know (Nonprofit Risk Management Center)
- How to Create a Social Media Marketing Schedule
- Official Facebook Guide for Causes and Nonprofits (Facebook)
- Social Media "Workouts" (M+R)
- Managing Difficult Social Media Interactions (NTEN)
- Social Media Manners Management (M+R)
A consulting firm that provides support to nonprofits in the area of social media and offers free tutorials, publications and tools on a variety of social media topics on their website.
Article/Blog, Guide/Tool, Research/Report, Video/Tutorial
Nonprofits are continually challenged to be effective storytellers to capture the attention of donors, volunteers and policymakers. The following articles and guides can help nonprofits build a storytelling culture and the capacity to craft and communicate compelling stories that raise awareness of their missions and support fundraising efforts.
- Building a Storytelling Culture (SSIR)
- Stories Worth Telling: Research, Tools + Tutorials (Meyer Foundation)
- Storytelling Culture Self-Assessment (Meyer Foundation)
- Ethical Storytelling
- Story Building Blocks (Meyer Foundation)
- Storytelling for Nonprofits (Network for Good)
- 6 Common Gaps in Nonprofit Storytelling (MANP Blog)
- Storytelling Resources, Tools + Training (The Storytelling Non-Profit)
- Digital Storytelling (TechSoup)
- Best Practices in Audio, Digital, Social and Visual Storytelling (NPR)
- Storybanking and Photobanking: How to Organize Stories and Images at Your Nonprofit (Nonprofit Marketing Guide)
- Setting Up a Story Bank (NTEN)
Developing a strategic communications plan is key to aligning your marketing and communications efforts with your organizational goals. A plan allows you to select the right strategies to fit your goals and budget, measure whether you're meeting your objectives, and continually improve your communication strategy.
Key strategies for ensuring your organizational communications are effective.
A great compilation of frequently asked questions related to nonprofit overhead. Addresses topics such as "overhead ratio," fundraising vs. administrative costs, executive pay, and messaging/communications about nonprofit overhead.
Creating or redesigning a website is a major project worthy of thorough planning. These guides will help you understand your audience and their needs, identify what your organization is trying to communicate, and evaluate how well your current site meets these goals. If you decide that a new website is the right next step, these resources provide a framework for the process, from vendor selection through design, development, testing and launch.
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