Communications Director Mentoring Program

Registration Is Now Closed.

Registration for the Early 2018 Session will open in November, 2017

If you are overwhelmed,
you aren't alone.

It’s what I hear day in and day out . . .

“There is never enough time to do everything we need to, much less what we’d like to.”

“We are feeling overwhelmed with all the possibilities and different things we could be putting energy into.”

“There are so many channels to consider, evaluate, and decide to pursue (or not) – it is overwhelming.”

“We are spread so thin already and our workload is increasing.”

But you are excited, too!

You are thrilled by the potential to do more . . .

“We are reinventing the way we connect with our donors and prospective donors.”

“I am creating content that excites our community in new and inventive ways.”

“We’re starting to get momentum, and it will be fun to see what this yields as we’re increasingly more strategic.”

“For the first time ever, we are going to plan out our communications, and stick to that plan!”

Can you be both overwhelmed and excited by your job simultaneously? Of course, you can!

It’s kind of like being a first-time parent. You are completely overjoyed about the little bundle of love and see a great future ahead, only to by stymied by the weight of responsibility for managing every little detail for someone who is completely dependent on you for every single thing – on three hours of sleep a night.

Nonprofit marketing is like that too . . . you are expected to be a superhuman with the skills of ten different professionals (writer, editor, designer, psychologist, IT geek, volunteer manager, PR maven . . . ) while juggling a constantly shifting and ever-growing to-do list. But you stick with it, because you know it's so important, and because you love it!

I get it. I’ve been there.

I learned nonprofit marketing on the job too.

My college degree is in environmental sciences and city planning, not nonprofit management or marketing.

Kivi Leroux MillerWhen I started my consulting business in 1998, I thought I’d make a living as a freelance writer and editor for environmental organizations. I’d worked for the federal government, for a small foundation, and had served on boards and volunteered with numerous nonprofits. I saw plenty of need for a good writer who understood both the issues and the nonprofit world.

But within a matter of months, clients were asking if I could not only write their newsletter, but lay it out too. And could I get bids from the printer while I was at it? And convert it to a PDF and put in on the website? Could I not only whip up a press release, but call a few reporters too?

Before long, I was updating website copy, digitally cleaning up photos, and designing web pages. I went from reviewing The Elements of Style to setting styles in PhotoShop, PageMaker, InDesign, and DreamWeaver.  I thought more about the rules of HTML and PHP than the rules of good grammar. Soon I was not only implementing tactics for clients, but also creating their marketing strategies, drafting their communications budgets, and attempting to calculate return-on-investment for all of this work.

For a few clients, I became their entire communications department. I either had to do it myself or, in a few cases, find very reasonably priced subcontractors to help me out, or the work wouldn’t get done.  It certainly wasn’t a perfect solution for me or for my nonprofit clients, but we made it work, because it was the only option.

Sound familiar?

Over the next decade, I learned how to be that nonprofit marketing department of one. I experimented all the time, producing both successes and failures, but always learning. I spent more money than I care to admit on software, handbooks, and training courses to learn all I thought I needed to know, some of which was priceless, some of which was a complete waste of time and hard-earned cash.

In 2007, I decided to transition from primarily consulting to primarily training. I launched, which led to the publication of the book, The Nonprofit Marketing Guide: High-Impact, Low-Cost Ways to Build Support for Your Good Cause in 2010. My second book, Content Marketing for Nonprofits: A Communications Map for Engaging Your Community, Becoming a Favorite Cause, and Raising More Money, was released in September 2013. We continue to publish one of the top blogs on nonprofit communications, and I am working on my third book on how to manage a nonprofit communications department.

2017 will be our tenth year of our webinar series and the sixth year of this mentoring program.

I love nonprofit marketing -- and sharing that love with you.

I’ve done it myself. I’ve taught thousands of nonprofits how they can do it themselves. I wrote two books on it. I'm also a Certified Executive Coach.  I have a huge network, so if there is something I haven’t done, I can always find people who have done it, and who are willing to share their advice.

I can help you learn your job AND love your job as a nonprofit communications professional. 

Training is great,
but it's not enough.

You are left to figure out how to apply what you've learned on your own.

Thousands of nonprofits have attended our webinars, and we know they are helpful, because the reviews are overwhelmingly positive. But there's a problem with training alone.

Figuring out how to take a best practice and make it work in your unique situation can be difficult. I know that taking that next step after getting our training can be challenging, because you've told me so . . .

"It's hard to move beyond the great training you provide . . .  what I really need now is help applying it."

"It's not enough to know the best practices. I need someone to show me how to implement them and how to deal with specific problems within my organization."

"After I get training, I always think, Is this right for us? Should we do this? What's most important?"

Consulting isn't the
right answer either.

 You need to learn how to do this yourself.

You might think that hiring me or someone else as a consultant is the answer to this dilemma. That sometimes works, but for many nonprofits (yours?), it's not the right answer either. First of all, it's expensive. My bare minimum consulting engagement is $5,000, and is more often $20,000 - $30,000 and many nonprofit marketing consultants and agencies charge much more . . . much, much more

And it doesn't solve the problem, because YOU need to learn how to make strategic decisions, and to build marketing into the core of your nonprofit's operations.

That's not something a consultant can do for you -- you have to build your skills as a nonprofit marketing professional and do that yourself. But it's hard! Sometimes you need an extra pair of eyes to look at your work more critically, so you can improve it. Sometimes you want someone who you can bounce ideas off of, or someone who will let you talk through what you are thinking to find the right solution.

What you really need is a mentor.

I think of mentoring as a combination of training, advising and coaching. Through training, I tell you how to do it. With advising, I share suggestions for how to apply that training to your specific situations. Through coaching, I help you find your own insights and solutions to your marketing and fundraising problems.

Via this Mentoring Program, I do all three with you.

Here's how I define my job as your nonprofit marketing mentor:

  • Providing an experienced set of eyes to help you see more clearly  . . . often the answers are in front of you, but you are so buried in the details that you can't see them
  • Giving you concrete feedback on your work -- where it is falling short of the best practices, and  constructive advice on how to make substantive improvements
  • Helping you prioritize and focus on what's most likely to work best, and what's most important
  • Showing you how to customize best practices for your unique situations
  • Encouraging you to think more creatively about your nonprofit marketing approaches
  • Challenging you to experiment, so you can find what genuinely works for your nonprofit
  • Providing a framework that keeps you moving forward, instead of getting bogged down
  • Identifying ways to work smarter and faster, without burning yourself out

You'll learn a tremendous amount from other participants in the program too.

By participating in this group program, you not only get me as a mentor, but the other participants in the program too. You'll meet people who are in the same situations as you are, or who have been there before and lived to tell about it! The sharing that takes place among participants on our monthly calls and in the Facebook Group is incredibly valuable and so hard to find outside of a program like this.

I can help you continue to grow into a smart, savvy nonprofit marketing professional -- all while loving your job.

This program is about helping you grow as a professional who can lead a communications department (even if you are a department of one right now.)

It's about giving you marketing, communications, and fundraising expertise, but also about helping you manage the work, and to build a high-functioning team by coordinating and managing up, down, and across your organization.

I picked six months for the length of the program because it is long enough to provide a quality, customized experience for you and short enough that you can see the end – with all that we will create together -- in sight.

We'll cover the foundations of good nonprofit marketing. 

We'll work through six core topics over the course of the six-month program, focusing in-depth on one topic  per month. The first half is more strategic in nature, covering your overall strategy, your community (or target audiences), and your messaging and calls to action. Then we shift towards tactics, looking at your communications personality and style (or brand), diving into your communications plan and editorial calendar, and exploring best practices for various communications channels and tools.

We'll also cover the skills needed to manage a communications department.

We'll also work on what I call being CALM (Collaborative, Agile, Logical, and Methodical) as you manage the communications work at your organization. This includes topics like ways to work better with colleagues at all levels of your nonprofit and setting up flexible systems that can grow with your organization and also outlast any one person in the job.

Customizing the Program for Your Nonprofit

After running this program for five years, we've found that how closely your communications work is aligned with fundraising (or not) affects the way you approach the work within the program. Therefore, we ask you to let us know which way you are leaning. The basic program is the same, but we do customize some elements based on whether you are more aligned with fundraising or with community engagement. This is not a hard and fast decision, and you can switch at any time, but it does help us plan the program better.

Option 1: Fundraising Emphasis

Do you have fundraising responsibilities? Then select Option 1 when you register.

You likely fall into this group if

  • You have the word "development" in your title.
  • Your most important target audiences are current donors and potential new donors.
  • Your supervisor is a Development Director.

When you register, please select either Fundraising Emphasis or Community Engagement Emphasis. You can change this later if needed.

Option 2: Community Engagement Emphasis

Is community engagement, brand awareness and/or thought leadership more important to your success than fundraising? Then select Option 2 when you register.

You likely fall into this group if

  • Others on staff do the fundraising work, and while your work may support them, fundraising does not drive your workload.
  • Your organization raises little, if any, money from individual donors (e.g. you are primarily grant- or contract-funded or have a fee-for-service structure).

Here's How the Mentoring Program Works


We'll be in regular communication with each other, and with the larger group, ensuring you get the personal attention you need, when you need it, for six months.

- "Get to Know Each Other" Introductory Calls

We'll schedule a call to get to know each better. During the private call, we'll discuss your personal and professional goals for this program. This is where you can explain to me in what ways we need to customize the program to work best for you and your nonprofit. On our first group call, you'll get to know the other participants in the program so that we can get started on the work together.

- Quick Kits for Each Core Topic

For each of the six core topics mentioned above, you'll get a downloadable Quick Kit that includes everything you need to make progress on that particular topic quickly, with recommended reading, additional resources, and worksheets for you to apply the learning.  The Quick Kit is organized so that you can select assignments that will improve your marketing and communications immediately, while also showing you where to head in the future. I want you to work on the tasks that will be most helpful to your organization now. But we also want you to see where the gaps are in your current marketing approaches and help you get some insights into what you should work on in the coming years, well beyond the Mentoring Program itself. The Quick Kits do both.

- All-Access Pass to the Webinar Series and E-Books

Your registration includes six months of the All-Access Pass to our Weekly Webinar Series and E-Books too, so you can keep learning. (Already paid up on the Pass? We'll discount your registration fee accordingly.)

- Monthly 90-Minute Group Calls

On our monthly call, I'll provide about 30 minutes of training  and discussion on our monthly topic, tailored to the participants in the mentoring program. The remaining 60 minutes of the call will be led by participants. We all have something valuable to share with each other, so this time is often used to share experiences or expertise, or to ask for advice or feedback from the group.  This allows you to offer your knowledge and experience to others, while also tapping into the group to help you work through your own marketing and fundraising challenges.

Depending on the ultimate size of the group (we do cap it at 20) and how many people fall into the fundraising or community engagement groups, we may host two calls per month, and you can choose which to attend.  All group calls will be recorded so you can review them later.

Call dates are selected after checking everyone's availability. You'll be sent a poll with possible dates for the first two calls a few weeks before the program starts.

- Monthly 60-Minute Private Consultations

In addition to the group calls, once a month you and I will talk privately about your work and your progress, addressing any specific issues that are coming up, answering any questions you have, keeping you on track with the program, and making any personal adjustments that may be needed. If two 30-minute calls work better for you, we can do that instead.

- Unlimited "Quick Questions"

I'll be here for you in between our scheduled calls too. Participants can send me unlimited "quick questions" via email, phone calls, or direct messages on Twitter or Facebook. I'm happy to take 10 minutes to look over a draft, to answer a question, or to help you find a good resource, whenever you need it.

- Private Facebook Group

We'll use a private Facebook group where we can network, share, motivate each other, and problem solve together, as a group. You'll receive the link to join the group when you register.

- Free Copies of The Nonprofit Marketing Guide and Content Marketing for Nonprofits

I'll send you free copies of my two books, which we'll refer to during various parts of the program.


Here's the Program, Month by Month . . . 

  • January: Your Strategy

    Articulating Your Strategy 

    We'll start with getting clarity about your "why."  Why are you communicating? What can great communications accomplish for your nonprofit?

  • February: Your Community

    Defining and Understanding Who You Are Communicating With 

    The biggest time waster in nonprofit marketing is focusing on the general public. There is no such thing. You need to focus on the specific groups of people who are most important to your success. We’ll work together on defining who those people are by creating personas, and then we’ll get to know those groups even better.

    For those of you working on fundraising, this will primarily be your donors. For those working on community engagement, this could be any combination of program participants, supporters, and influencers.

  • March: Your Messaging

    Refining Your Messaging and Calls to Action 

    Unclear and confusing messaging is a plague that spreads quickly, because we often try to be everything to everyone. With specific audiences in mind, we’ll work on creating compelling messages and clear calls to action so you know exactly what you are supposed to be saying in your communications.

    For those of you working on fundraising, you work mostly on messaging for your “ask, thank, report” cycle with donors. For those working on community engagement, we’ll explore a variety of calls to action you can use (in addition to donating) to inspire and motivate your community.

  • April: Your Style

    Finding the Right Personality for Your Communications

    One of the easiest ways for your nonprofit to stand out is to stop acting like a monolithic organization and start acting like a band of passionate people working toward a mutual goal. We’ll work on letting the people you communicate with see who you are and what you stand for by getting your style, voice, and tone right.

    Your work this month will be directly connected to the work you did in the previous months.

  • May: Your Plan

    Mapping Out Your Communications Plan/Editorial Calendar 

    We’ll figure out what kind of content you should be producing to best serve your target audiences and your nonprofit, and where and how often you should be distributing that content.

  • June: Your Tools

    Using Online Marketing Tools Effectively 

    All the beautiful words and visuals in the world won’t help you if you aren’t using online marketing tools effectively. We’ll get into the nitty gritty details of your website, email, and social media to make sure you are using those tools as effectively as possible.

    If you are focused on fundraising, we’ll pay extra attention to email appeals and your website donation pages. If you are focused on community engagement, we’ll pay extra attention to social media tools.

Look What We Can Accomplish Together

Reviews from Past Participants

``Insightful and Responsive``

“Kivi’s insightful and responsive guidance has opened my eyes and created a paradigm shift in how I think about and approach marketing and communication.

While I have much work to do, I can say without hesitation that the program has not only helped me recognize areas that need improvement, but more importantly has shown me the path and provided essential tools for success.

It’s been an honor to work with Kivi and I would highly recommend this program.”

~James Eirkson, Director of Education & Community Outreach,
Pennsylvania Association of Nonprofit Organizations

``The Perfect Investment``

“I have a social work background, not marketing experience, but my new role at our small nonprofit requires me to lead our marketing efforts.Kivi’s mentoring program has been the perfect investment—offering relevant and accessible tools and strategies.

The monthly individual calls with Kivi meant that I could get into the specifics of our organization andshe could coach me in my new marketing role.

The course is structured with the perfect balance of accountability and self-directed activities so it can be tailored to your current workload and priorities. I have already recommended this to peers in other small nonprofits.”

Karen Williams, Program Development Director, Trillium Employment Services

``Curriculum and Training Are Stellar``

Kivi is an invaluable resource.  The formal curriculum and training are stellar, and she also provides key insights and knowledge in coaching sessions and even in casual conversation – she has an amazing command of nonprofit marketing.  It is also very helpful to be part of a cohort that is doing similar work and that can provide feedback and ideas.  Participating in the Mentoring Program helped my organization approach communications more strategically and make key decisions.”

Tracy Jefferson, Associate Director of Development, So Others Might Eat (SOME)

``Seeing Where I Needed to Go``

“The mentoring program was like scaffolding for me: it not only helped me get to the next step,
but helped me to see where I needed to go. I’m planning on implementing more of your tips and suggestions in the coming year.”

~ Sharon Strong, Program Coordinator
International Primate Protection League

``An Amazing Resource``

“Part confidant, part mentor, part tour guide, part teacher, Kivi is an amazing resource for nonprofits of all sizes.

She’s one of the recognized leaders in the nonprofit marketing space and combines her experience and network to benefit each member of her Mentoring Program.

Kivi’s class lets you know you are not alone and how you stack up to others, and to many, that’s the most important takeaway of all.”

~ Sean King, Director of Marketing and Communications, Youth Education in the Arts

``Can't Recommend It Highly Enough``

“I can’t recommend Kivi and her Mentoring Program highly enough. Kivi is uniquely smart, savvy and perceptive.

She encourages self-reflection tempered by new perspectives and challenging ideas. Kivi is not only a good teacher, but a good facilitator and group leader who works effortlessly with diverse personalities.

In our group, she gave each participant as much attention and time as requested. No joke – this is coming from one who took up quite a bit of her time and she was always available when I needed her.

If you want to learn and become a better advocate, Kivi’s Mentoring Program is the place to do it.”

~ Jennifer Jordan Hall, Founder and Director, KYK9 Search and Reunite Services

``Always Helping Me Keep on Track``

"As a person who is constantly coming up with ideas but not always great at executing them, I was thrilled at the prospect of working in the Nonprofit Marketing Guide Mentoring program to help achieve some of my goals. As the completion of the program nears, I can't say enough good things about the expertise Kivi provided and the wonderful camaraderie I experienced during these past few months.

Being able to have an eclectic group of other nonprofit communicators as a sounding boardhas been really empowering. In addition to the great group calls, the individual calls allowed me to tap into Kivi's wealth of experience.

Kivi is able to see the forest for the trees, always helping to keep me on track. The step-by-step outlines, the continuous feedback, and Kivi's keen insight have all helped give me the confidence to take our communications strategy by the reins and take the necessary steps to accomplish our organization's goals!"

~ Samantha Lee, Communications, Media and Marketing Coordinator, National WIC Association

``A Shift in How Everyone Thinks``

“I can’t tell you how helpful the Mentoring Program has been in getting our communications in order here at Food & Friends. You can tell that there has been a shift in the way everyone in the department thinks about their audience and messaging. Thank you.”

~ Christopher Copley, Communications Manager, Food & Friends

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s this really going to be like?

This mentoring program will help you learn ways to do your job better, to avoid being pulled in so many directions, to have more confidence in your decisionmaking and implementation, and to ultimately love your job even more.

This can be a lonely and frustrating job, where you often feel like you are wandering alone in the wilderness. Working together, we’ll not only draw some great maps for moving forward, but I suspect we’ll make some great friends along the way too.

Is this just for communications directors?

Yes, mostly. I want to work with the one person within your nonprofit who is primarily responsible for marketing decisions and implementation. I realize that this work is often shared by several people, but this mentoring program is really designed for a person whose primary job (and career goals) are centered on nonprofit marketing.

If you are a development director, but do most of the communications work at your nonprofit, we welcome you to join us. Just pick the “Fundraising Emphasis” when registering.

If you are an executive director, let’s talk first. Executive directors usually find this program overwhelming. Let’s talk first to make sure it is a good fit for you. If you have some communications help, and communications work is central to your mission and job as the executive director, and not just a "nice to have" addition, it may work out.  You can reach me at

Regardless of the size of your organization overall, the program is designed for the small communications department. If you have a team of several people helping you do this work, this is not the right program for you. Instead you should talk to me about private mentoring/consulting for you and your staff.

You are certainly welcome to share materials with others on staff, and co-workers are welcome to sit in on our private monthly consulting calls. However, to keep the group focused and cohesive, I ask that just one person from your nonprofit participate on the monthly group calls and in the private Facebook group.

Should I pick Fundraising Emphasis or Community Engagement Emphasis?

After running this program for several years, we’ve found that people prefer to talk to others with similar goals. Whether the communications director has fundraising responsibilities or not is a big dividing line.

Select the Fundraising Emphasis if

  • You have the word “development” in your title.
  • Your most important target audiences are current donors and potential new donors.
  • Your supervisor is a Development Director.

Select the Community Engagement Emphasis if

  • Community engagement, brand awareness and/or thought leadership are more important to your success than fundraising.
  • Others on staff do the fundraising work, and while your work may support them, fundraising does not drive your workload.
  • Your organization raises little, if any, money from individual donors (e.g. you are primarily grant- or contract-funded or have a fee-for-service structure).

We ask you to pick your preference when registering, but you can change later if you decide you’d rather be in the other group.

I live outside North America. How do you handle language and time zone issues?

I welcome applicants from the around the world with three caveats:

(1) The program will be conducted in English.

(2) My experience is primarily with organizations based in North America, or international organizations with large North American donor bases. The content and advice will reflect this experience.

(3) The monthly group calls typically take place between the hours of 12:00 – 5:00 pm Eastern (GMT -4/5, same time zone as New York City). If that means you can’t make the live group calls because it will be the middle of the night where you are, you’ll need to invest extra time into connecting with group members in other ways (e.g. Facebook Group). Individual calls with me can be scheduled in early morning or evening Eastern time.

How much does the Mentoring Program cost?

I’ll be honest with you  . . . it’s not as affordable as our All-Access Pass to our webinar series and e-books. But it’s much less expensive than working with me one-on-one. For what you will receive during the six months of the mentoring program, I would charge an individual organization at least $20,000, and probably more.

But because of the way the program is structured, I can provide this six-month mentoring program to you for just $3,000, which can be paid online in 6 monthly installments of $500. If you can pay your full fee upfront, you can save $500 and pay just $2,500. Either way, a deposit of $500 is required to hold your place when you register and that will be applied to the full payment due.

This six-month program is all or nothing  . . . to ensure that we establish a solid working relationship, that you get the support you need, and that the group builds continuity and trust, each participant must commit to the full six-month program. No partial registrations will be allowed.

This is an investment in you, and in the future of your organization. The return on that investment could be ten-fold in less than a year, because you’ll learn how to work much more efficiently, how to make better decisions, and to more wisely spend the resources you do have. I bet you’ll also be much happier in your job, saving your nonprofit the high cost of replacing you.
As with everything we do, your registration comes with a full money-back guarantee. If after completing the full mentoring program, including the majority of group and individual calls, you decide it wasn’t worth the money, simply request a refund within 30 days and we’ll process it right away.

Are you ready to join the Mentoring Program?

Please read the full checklist below. Seriously. Read it.

If you can agree to all of these requirements, we welcome you to join the program!

Participation Requirements for All

  • I understand that this is an intensive, six-month program meant to accelerate my own growth as a professional, and the growth of my nonprofit's marketing program.
  • I will devote at least two hours per week to the program.
  • I will share my own experiences and knowledge freely with other participants, and I will openly seek their ideas and advice on my work, while maintaining confidentiality within the group.
  • I will participate in monthly online meetings with other participants, and actively contribute to the private Facebook Group.
  • I will work independently and with Kivi each month to make progress on the topic of the month.
  • I understand that the program costs $500 per month for six months, or $2500 upfront. I further understand that there are no partial registrations or cancellations. I am committing to the full six-month program.
  • My organization has approved my participation, including the required time and fee.

Additional Participation Requirements
to Earn the "Nonprofit Marketing Director" Certificate

  • Within a week of receiving each month's Quick Kit, I will commit to which activities I plan to pursue that month and will report back as I make progress.
  • I will spend at least an hour a week reading assigned and/or suggested books, blogs, etc.
  • I will participate in at least 4 of the 6 group calls live, and watch the recordings for any I have to miss because of scheduling conflicts.
  • I will schedule and be prepared for each monthly private call with Kivi.
  • I will actively participate in the Facebook Group, posting at least weekly on average.

Register Here!


I read the requirements. I'm in!

I am selecting the option with
an emphasis on Fundraising. 

Prefer to go ahead and pay in full now?
Click here to register and pay $2500 now.

Community Engagement

I read the requirements. I'm in!

I am selecting the option with
an emphasis on Community Engagement. 

Prefer to go ahead and pay in full now?
Click here to register and pay $2500 now.

Not Ready to Register Because You Have Questions? I'm happy to talk with you or anyone else involved in your decision to apply to this program. Please feel free to call my office at 336-300-8394 or to email me.  If you need references, I can put you in touch with anyone who provided a testimonial on this page.

Not Ready to Register Because There's  No Way You Can Afford It? The All-Access Pass to our Webinar Series and E-Books is your next best option. Sorry, but we do not offer scholarships for this program.