Kivi and Kris after the first workshop in Billings

Kivi and Kris after the first workshop in Billings

Kivi and I are being graciously hosted by the Montana Nonprofit Association this week as we help nonprofits create clearer and more compelling communications. We are doing workshops in Billings, Helena, and Missoula.

We began our week with a 5:30 a.m. EST wake up call (which was actually 3:30 a.m. in Montana…eek!).

I got held up in Atlanta due to fog, but was able to make a last minute dash to meet Kivi (who was flying from Charlotte) and board our flight from Minneapolis to Billings. Of course, we ended up sitting on the tarmac for an hour in Minneapolis due to thunderstorms, but such is air travel…

We landed in Billings and were met by Gail Tronstad from MNA who has been our host, event coordinator, and tour guide for the last three days. (And extremely laid back and incredibly patient!)

After a lovely evening in Billings with great food and awesome cocktails (you know how we love our cocktails), we turned in for an early bed time after 19 hours of going, going, going.

We got started Tuesday morning and jumped right into a topic a lot of nonprofits really struggle with – prioritizing their message.

We had nonprofits boil down their communications to their top three messages by answering these questions:

  1. Who We Are/What We Do
  2. One Call to Action
  3. Then we had them pick from one of the following:
    • How You Do It
    • Facts or a Situation You Need Others to Understand
    • Example of Illustrations of the Problem You Are Trying to Solve
    • Another Call to Action
Kivi in Billings

Kivi in Billings

We spent the rest of the day focusing on how to work those three messages into all of their communications channels and use a consistent voice, tone, and style.

Some revelations from participants included:

  • We aren’t communicating nearly enough.
  • We are talking about so many different things we are confusing people.
  • We need to think more about what our supporters want.

After the workshop, we began the drive from Billings to Helena and took in some breathtaking views.

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We were able to convince Gail after we stopped for dinner in Bozeman to take us to the hot springs there so we did at least a little something Montana-y. As Kivi said, “Only losers come to Montana and stay in a hotel the whole time!”

We enjoyed the soothing springs refreshed for the rest of our drive and ended the evening with a nightcap in Helena.

We have another enthusiastic crowd here in Helena for Day Two.

Kris helping participants with their editorial calendars.

Kris helping participants in Helena with their editorial calendars.

They have really dove into the jargon translation worksheet and enjoyed coming up with clearer ways of saying those phrases that we hear all the time in the nonprofit world, but no one else really knows what we mean.

For example, how would you reword “Planned giving collateral” so everyone could understand what you meant? (Some of the nonprofit professionals here didn’t even know what that meant . . . think “brochures about putting us in your will.”)

Participants here are also learning they need to take the content they have already created and repurpose it for different channels.

And no workshop on messaging by Kivi would be complete without her 6 R’s to Create More Relevant Content. Nonprofits are figuring out ways to make their communications more rewarding, realistic, real time, responsive, revealing, and responsive.

Again, during the course of the workshop, we are hearing from nonprofits who are realizing they are not putting out enough content and the content they are publishing is not consistent with what they wanted to focus on.

We head to Missoula this evening for our last workshop tomorrow.

We want to really thank the MNA for being great hosts and for everything they do for nonprofits in this state!

(Want Kivi to teach a workshop or speak at your event? Contact us.)