Are You Numbing or Inspiring Potential Supporters?

Are the copy and images in your nonprofit marketing materials drugging readers into ignoring you and your issue entirely? It’s a process called narcotization. Here’s how it works. People were shown pictures of gum disease. One group saw photos of a mouth just a little rotten. The second saw photos of moderately rotten gums. The…

Annual Report Show-Down: Who Is More Convincing?

As I was looking over annual reports from environmental groups this week, I noticed that both Environmental Defense (ED) and the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) claimed that they were largely responsible for getting California’s law on global warming passed. Now, I really have no idea who did what or how much, and I am…

10 Ways to Use Storytelling in Your Nonprofit

Storytelling is all the rage in the marketing world these days, because it works. Examples are everywhere in commercial advertising. Samuel Adams commercials feature real employees and customers talking about beer. Those Geico commercials (not the ones with the gecko or the cavemen) feature customers and celebrities telling real stories. The UPS ad executive at…

Getting the Jargon Out of Your Nonprofit Marketing

As I copyedit text supplied by my nonprofit clients, I am constantly removing jargon. While phrases like “capacity building” and “fostering innovation” may mean something to your foundation funders, these terms usually have no meaning to the people you are serving with the grant the foundation gave you. Never cut and paste your grant application…

Getting Comfortable with Spin

Much of the battle in helping nonprofits communicate more effectively is in convincing them to put a different spin on what they are currently saying in person, in print, and online. When talking to donors, that spin might be changing the language from the first person (“We, the nonprofit”) to the second person (“You, our…

Big Nonprofit Communications Tip: Have an Opinion

I have long advocated that one way to make your newsletter and other nonprofit marketing materials more interesting is to share your opinions, not just objective reporting on your work and your issues. Jeff at Donor Power Blog says this is a good idea in fundraising too. Why? Because opinions tend to be more entertaining,…

How to Write an Event Summary for Your Newsletter

Whether it’s a board meeting, a seminar, or a conference, the events your organization hosts or attends can provide great fodder for newsletter articles — if you highlight the most important points and forget about the rest.When you start writing an event summary, you may be tempted to regurgitate the agenda with a few extra…

Help Wanted: I’m Hiring Freelance Writers/Editors

I’m interested in hiring a handful of freelance writers/editors who are familiar with InDesign, Dreamweaver, WordPress and/or Joomla to help me get a number of exciting projects off the back burner. You’ll find the details here. Help me find some good help and I’ll be able to double the amount of resources I can get…

Make These Changes When You Redesign Your Website

Jakob Nielsen’s Alertbox for March 12 (always a must-read e-newsletter) covers “10 High-Profit Redesign Priorities.” The tips are focused on ROI — return on investment — for commercial sites, but many of the tips are applicable to nonprofits too. Here are a few of my favorites, with some comments. — Publish an email newsletter, if…

Let’s Rewrite Some Newsletter Headlines

Copyblogger is showing people how he would rewrite some of their blog headlines, including notes on why he made the changes he did. I do a similar exercise in my newsletter writing courses and it’s always fun. So, let’s try it here. Either leave a comment or send an email to me at kivi *AT*…