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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.
When 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.
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 NonprofitMarketingGuide.com, 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 my third book on "CALM not BUSY" -- a framework for managing nonprofit communications teams -- was published in 2018.
2020 will be the 12th year of our webinar series and the 9th 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 three 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. 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 all these years, I've discovered that how closely your communications work is aligned with fundraising (or not) affects the way you approach the work within the program. But at the same time, it doesn't fundamentally change the core methods of your work.
After you register for the program, I will ask you to share your goals with me. If you work primarily in support of fundraising, I will help you customize the program toward that goal. If your goal is more about community engagement or brand/reputation, I'll help you focus there instead.
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, 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 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. (We cap registrations at 16 people per program and often sell out.)
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 Content Marketing for Nonprofits and CALM not BUSY.
I'll send you free copies of my two most recent books, which we'll refer to during various parts of the program.
Here's the Program, Month by Month . . .
Look What We Can Accomplish Together
Reviews from Past Participants
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.
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 email@example.com.
Regardless of the size of your organization overall, the program is designed for the relatively small communications department. Most of the people who go through this program are either a team of one, or they are managing a team of up to 5 or 6 people, or are somewhere in the middle. If your communications team is more than 7 people, let's talk first. You may want to pursue private coaching for you and your team instead.
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.
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.
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 previous program participants. So that we don't waste anyone's time, however, I will only forward references to people who are clearly serious about registering and who can share with me the types of questions they will ask past participants.
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.