Get Noticed in an Instant With a Visual Story

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When we think of stories, we often think of a written story. But stories come in many forms and people process information in different ways.  Some people respond better to visual stimuli.  In our information packed world, a visual story can be great way to connect.

Tell a story in an instant with a photo

Your donors are busy and may not have time read a story, but you can capture their attention in an instant with a great photo. A photo of your executive director receiving an award is not very compelling. Use photos of your programs in action.

In my last post, I highlighted a couple of stories from the Pet Partners newsletter. Now while this newsletter included some good stories, it was 14 pages, including front and back cover.  I wouldn’t recommend a newsletter that long, because most donors won’t read it.

This newsletter included a section called Pet Partners Teams at Work, which consisted of short stories and photos of people with their therapy animals. Here busy donors can get a quick glance of the impact of their gift without having to read the whole newsletter, and again most people won’t.

A great new trend is postcard annual reports, which are filled with photos and a small amount of text. Postcard Annual Report

If you use social media, you need to communicate several times a week.  As your donors scroll through endless amounts of posts on Facebook or Twitter, an engaging photo can pop out and get noticed.

Use photos everywhere – appeal letters, thank you letters/cards, newsletters, annual reports, website, and social media. Create a photo bank to help you with this. It’s fine to use the same photos in different channels. It can help with your brand identity. Be sure to use high-quality pictures.  Hire a professional photographer or find one to work pro bono.

Work with your program staff to get photos. Confidentiality issues may come up and you’ll need to get permission to take pictures of kids.  It’s okay to use stock photos. Just be sure to give proper credit.

The Top 10 Ways Nonprofits Can Use Visuals

6 Tips for Better Photographs

Highlight your work with a video

Create a video to show your program in action, share an interview, give a behind the scenes look your at organization, or my favorite – thanking your donors. Make your videos short and high quality.  If you’re interviewing someone, be sure that person is good on camera.

You can use videos on your website, in an email message, on social media, and at an event.

FIVE TIPS FOR CREATING A COMPELLING NONPROFIT VIDEO

The Unexpected Results Of Producing Video Stories

Bring statistics to life with infographics

Statistics are boring, and very few donors are going to read a lot of text.  But you may have some compelling statistics or want to highlight accomplishments in your annual report.

Why not share these in an infographic instead of the usual laundry list of statistics and accomplishments?   Here some examples. A Great Nonprofit Annual Report in a Fabulous Infographic

Brochures are becoming a relic of the past, but what if you want an informational print piece to give to potential donors or volunteers?  An oversize infographic postcard could be the way to go.

The Infographic Cheatsheet for Nonprofits

4 Steps to Making an Infographic for Your Nonprofit

Keep sharing engaging stories of all kinds with your donors.

Photo by Sam Javenrouh

Stay Connected Throughout the Year by Using a Communications Calendar

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Donor retention continues to lag. One reason is people feel they only hear from the nonprofits they support when the organizations are asking for money.

You need to communicate with your donors throughout the year.  If you’re feeling stressed about how you’re going to pull this off, then you need a communications calendar (also known as an editorial calendar).

I like the term communications calendar because it emphasizes the importance of communicating with your donors and other supporters all year round.

This is not just a job for your marketing department. All departments need to work together.  Figure out what information you need to share and when to share it.  You want a consistent stream of information – not three emails in one day and nothing for three weeks.

As you put together your communications calendar, think about how you will use different channels and which audience(s) should receive your messages. You may only send direct mail a few times a year, but send an e-newsletter once a month and communicate by social media several times a week. You’ll often use a number of different channels when you send out a fundraising appeal or promote an event.

Start big by looking at the entire year and then break it down by months and weeks.  You’ll keep adding to your communications calendar throughout the year.

Keep all your communication audience-centered and emphasize how you are making a difference for the people you serve and in the community.

Here are some categories you can use in your communications calendar. Some items will be time sensitive and others won’t be.

Events
Does your organization hold any events? Besides your events, are there other events in your community that would be of interest to your supporters? This is a great thing to share on social media.

Legislation
Advocacy alerts are a wonderful way to engage with your supporters. Be on the lookout for any federal or state legislation that’s relevant to your organization. Encourage people to contact their legislators about an issue or a bill. Then report back to them with any updates, and thank them for getting involved.

Time of year
Is there something going on during a particular month that is pertinent to your organization? Perhaps it’s homelessness awareness month or your organization was founded in March 1985.

Thanksgiving, the holidays, and winter can be a difficult time for some people. How can you weave that into your mission?

News stories
You won’t be able to predict news stories in advance. However, if there’s a hot item in the news right now that’s relevant to the work you do, that could be something to share.

Fundraising and recruitment

Be sure to add your fundraising appeals to your communications calendar. You want to highlight these and not inundate your donors with a lot of other information at that time.

If your organization has specific times it needs to recruit volunteers, add that to your calendar, as well.

Thank your donors
Figure out different ways to let your donors know how much you appreciate them. Do this at least once a month.

Ongoing content
If you’re making a difference, you have stories to tell. Share a story at least once a month. Client success stories are best. You could also profile a board member, volunteer, donor, or staff member.  Be sure to highlight what drew them to your organization.

Keep it up
As you hear about other relevant information, add it to your calendar, so you can stay connected with your supporters throughout the year.

Here is more information to help you create a communications/editorial calendar.

Take Charge of Your Communications with LightBox Collaborative’s 2015 Editorial Calendar

Editorial Calendars – Resources for You

Does Your Website Need a Tune Up?

Photo by Robert Couse-Baker
Photo by Robert Couse-Baker

When was the last time you took a good, hard look at your website?  As summer winds down, and we start getting ready for year-end fundraising, you want to make sure your website is up-to-date, easy to read and navigate,welcoming, and audience-centered.

How does your website fare?  Use the checklist below to find out.

Home page

Your home page is often the first place a newcomer will visit. Make it an entryway to the rest of your website.

  • Is it free of clutter and easy to navigate and read?
  • Does it include an engaging photo and a small amount of text, such as a tagline or position statement?
  • If you are highlighting something such as an event, is the information up-to-date, and is it the most newsworthy item you can feature?
  • Does it include a Donate Now button that’s prominent without being tacky?
  • Does it include a newsletter sign up box and social media icons?
  • Is the navigation bar easy to use?
  • Does it include a search feature?

Donation page
More people donate online now.  Get your donation page in shape for your year-end appeal.

  • Is it easy to use?
  • Does it include a strong call to action with the same messages as all your other fundraising appeals?
  • Does it show how the donation will be used and what different amounts will fund?
  • Does it include an option for recurring gifts?
  • Does it have an engaging photo?
  • After someone donates, does it take the person to a thank you landing page and generate a thank you email?

The rest of your pages
Now take some time to look at the rest of your web pages.

  • Are they easy to read/scan and navigate?
  • Do all your pages have a consistent look?
  • Is the content well written in a conversational style (no jargon) and free of grammatical errors and typos?
  • Are your pages audience-centered? Remember, some visitors know you well and others don’t. A person visiting your volunteer page may not know much about your organization, so you will need to include a compelling description of what you do.
  • Do your pages contain a clear call to action? For example, your volunteer page should make someone want to volunteer.
  • Does each page have one or two photos related to its subject matter? Going back to your volunteer page, you could include a photo of volunteers interacting with clients.
  • Is all the content up-to-date?
  • Do all your links work?
  • Do all your pages include a Donate Now button, navigation bar, social media icons, a newsletter sign up box, and a search feature, so your visitors don’t have to go back to the home page?
  • Are you using analytics to see how often people visit your pages? If you have pages that aren’t generating a lot of interest, assess why that’s happening. You may need to make the page more enticing or take it down.
  • Do you periodically survey your supporters to get feedback about your website?
  • Is your website mobile and tablet friendly? Use responsive design to make it easy to read on any device.  Is Your Website Optimized for Mobile Devices?
  • Is there other content you should include (or take out)?

After you’ve made any necessary changes, have someone who isn’t as familiar with your organization (maybe a friend or family member) look at your website to see if the content is clear and that it’s easy to navigate.

Remember, your goal is to have a website that’s welcoming and audience-centered for everyone from first-time visitors to long-time supporters.

Read on for more information on creating a great website.

Nonprofit Website 101

If Google were a nonprofit, what would its website look like?

The Top 10 Elements Of An Effective Nonprofit Website

Is it Time for a Message Makeover?

What would happen if you got your staff or board together and asked them to give a short description of what your organization does? Would you get a variety of different answers?

Now take a look at some of your communication materials – fundraising letters, thank you letters, website etc. Are your messages consistent in all your materials? Are they written in clear, conversational language or are they filled with mind-numbing jargon?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, then it’s time for a message makeover.

Create a message platform
Putting together a set of clear, consistent messages, also known as a message platform, is a good project for you to take on this summer.

Now whenever you create a fundraising letter or content for your website, you can draw material from this set of messages.

Having a consistent set of messages is essential when you have more than one person writing for your organization and as new staff or volunteers come on board. All your materials need continuity and a single voice.

Everyone in your organization – staff, board, volunteers – is a message ambassador, and needs to be involved. Although, that doesn’t mean they should be involved in every step of the process.


You may want to get some initial input from staff and board. Ask everyone a few key questions, such as:

  • Who is your target audience? You may need to cater different messages to different audiences.
  • What is important to them?

As you create your positioning statement and talking points, ask:

  • Who are you?
  • What do you do?
  • How do you do it?
  • Why is it important?
  • What makes your organization unique?
  • How are you making a difference for the people you serve and in the community?
  • What do you want to achieve?

Keep it simple
This may sound obvious, but your goal is to make sure your reader understands your message. Your messages should be clear, specific, and include a call to action. Again, they need to be conversational, so avoid using jargon. Most people respond better to a human interest story than a lot of statistics.

Your messages should not say something like – We make a difference for at-risk students. Instead, say Our volunteer tutors help students boost their reading and math skills so they’ll have a better chance to get into college.

Use language your donors will understand
Have someone outside your organization, a friend or family member, look at your messages. Something that’s clear to you may be confusing to others. What Does That Mean?

Stay consistent with a style guide
Continuing on the theme of consistency, I strongly recommend putting together a style guide. Create a Style Guide for Your Organization

Get everyone on board
A small group – marketing staff and board members with marketing experience – should put together the message platform and then introduce it to everyone else.

Resources
Here is some more information help to you create a message platform.

The 4 Cornerstones of Your Nonprofit Message Platform  

Build Your Message Team

Getting to Aha! The Nonprofit Marketer’s Top Challenge

Take some time this summer to make sure that your messages and materials are clear and consistent.


Before and After Kitchen Photo by Patrick via Flickr

Freshen Things Up With Some Spring Cleaning

Spring is here, although winter doesn’t seem to want to go away quite yet. 

Spring is a time for new beginnings. It’s a time to clean up what’s old and make room for something new and better.

Many of you may take on spring cleaning projects in your home. Here are a few spring cleaning projects you can do that will benefit your nonprofit organization.


Clean up your mailing lists
Did you have an influx of address changes, returned mail, and bounced emails after you sent out your year-end appeal? Now is a good time to clean up and update both your print and email mailing lists.

Update and improve your donor database
Your donor database is an important tool and you need it to be up-to-date and filled with accurate information about your donors.

Your database is not just a place to keep addresses and gift amounts.  Use it to its full potential.  Are you using that all wrong? Segment your donors, and record any personal information such as conversations you had with a donor and their areas of interest. 
Don’t cut corners when it comes to data entry and having a good database. Having High Standards is Important, Especially When It Comes to Data Entry.

Be ready for your next mailing
Even though it’s tedious, have someone who is familiar with your donors (your development director?) go through your mailing lists and database to see if you need to make any additions, changes, and deletions.

This is crucial if you are planning a spring appeal or event.

Update your website
Has it been awhile since your updated your website? Even with the popularity of social media, people will go to your website for information, whether they are first-time visitors or long-time supporters. 
Your website must be up-to-date and user-friendly.  Use this checklist to help you create an effective and engaging website. A Website Checklist
Out with the old – In with the new
Now is a good time to look at your 2014 fundraising and marketing plans to figure out what’s working and what isn’t.  If you never created these plans, then one of your first priorities should be to do that.  Don’t go through 2014 without having any plans.
Perhaps you aren’t connecting with people on Google+ or that online auction you’ve had for years takes too much time for the amount of money you raise. 
You may be reluctant to let go of something, but just as if you were going through your closet at home, sometimes you need to get rid of your old, favorite sweater.  Spring Clean Your Fundraising Program…by Throwing Things Out! 
You may want to try something new this spring, but don’t just jump into the latest craze.  You’ll need to decide what makes sense for your organization.
Also, focus on what you can do better.  Instead of trying a new type of social media, work on starting conversations and building relationships on Facebook and Twitter.

Take some time to make the updates and changes you need. What types of spring cleaning projects do you plan to work on?

Photo by Liz Lawley via Flickr

How Are You Telling Your Stories?

Are you boring your donors with a lot of facts and statistics or are you telling them a story?   I recently received an appeal letter from a hospital that opened with:
You can only imagine how Kenton felt.  One minute, he was laughing, cheering on the Harlem Globetrotters. The next minute, his life was changed forever.”
Does that make you want to read more?  The story continues by showing us how Kenton suffered a serious stroke and was rushed to this hospital where he received live-saving treatment and then went through several months of rehabilitation before making a full recovery.
If you are making a difference, you have stories to tell
Can you tell a story like that?  If you are making a difference, you can.  Creating stories takes a little more work, but they will help you connect with your donors.  Use stories in your appeal letters, thank you letters, newsletters, annual reports, website, blog, and other types of social media.
You want to tell a success story.  Show how someone has overcome challenges on their journey to something better.  Make your donors part of the story.  Let them know how with their help, Jamie won’t go to bed hungry again.  Keep your organization in the background.
Client or program recipient stories are best. You’ll need to work with program staff to get these stories.  Another way to find stories is to put a Share Your Story page on your website. Share-Your-Story Page | an addition to the fundraiser’s arsenal of tools 
Using people’s names will make your stories more personal.  I realize you might run into confidentiality issues, but you can change names to protect someone’s privacy.  You could also do a composite story, but don’t make up anything. How to Tell Nonprofit Stories While Respecting Client Confidentiality
You want to use stories often.  I recommend that your newsletters open with a story.  They don’t all have to be client stories.  You can share profiles of volunteers, board members, and donors. 
Many organizations profile new board members in their newsletters.  That’s okay, but instead of emphasizing their professional background, concentrate on what drew them to your organization.  Perhaps she participated in an afterschool program as a teenager or he has a strong interest in eliminating homelessness.
Create a story bank to help you organize all your stories. You can use the same stories in different channels.
Tell a story in an instant with a photo
Your donors are busy, but you can capture their attention an instant with a great photo. A photo of your executive director receiving an award is not very compelling. Use photos of your programs in action.  
I know confidentiality issues are going to come up again.  People making a trip to your food pantry probably won’t want their pictures taken, but you can share photos of volunteers serving food or stocking shelves.
A great new trend is postcard annual reports, which are filled with photos and a small amount of text.
If you use social media, you need to communicate several times a week. Sharing photos is a good way to connect.
I also recommend creating a photo bank, and be sure to use high-quality pictures.


Highlight your work with a video
Create a video to show your program in action, share an interview, or give a behind the scenes look your at organization.  Make your videos short and high quality.  If you are interviewing someone, be sure that person is good on camera.

Connect with your donors by sharing a story.  How are you telling your stories?
Here’s another resource to help you with your stories. 


Photo by UNE Photos via Flickr

Do Newsletters Make Sense?

The answer is, it depends. Newsletters can be a great way to stay in touch with your donors and keep them updated on how they are helping you make a difference.  But many newsletters just put you to sleep. They are too long and often filled with articles that brag about great the organization is.
Honestly, if you can’t produce a newsletter that your donors will want to read, what’s the point?  That said, it is possible to produce a successful newsletter. 
Print or electronic? 
I think you’ll have more success if you can do both.  But ask your donors what they like. If a majority of them prefer one over the other, then doing both may not make sense. 
Both print and electronic newsletters have their advantages and disadvantages, but by using two different channels, you have a better chance of connecting with your donors. The Pros and Cons of Print Newsletters in Your Content Marketing Mix 
I recommend a short e-newsletter once or twice a month and one to four print newsletters a year.  If you are starting to panic about coming up with content for your newsletters, then a communications calendar is your new best friend. Creating a Communications Calendar 
Create a powerful print newsletter
Some organizations won’t produce a print newsletter because it’s too expensive and takes too much time.  However, this is an investment you should make.  
Let’s say you are small nonprofit that mails out one appeal at the end of the year. You might want to send out a print newsletter in the spring and include a donation envelope.
You may be balking at the idea of putting a donation envelope in your newsletter, but it can help you raise extra revenue.  Give it a try.  Just make sure you communicate regularly in ways in which you are not asking for money.
Fundraising expert Tom Ahern recommends sending print newsletters only to donors.  This can help you cut down on mailing costs. 
Limit your newsletter to four pages, include lots of photos, and make them donor-centered.
One advantage of a print newsletter is your donor is more likely to read it.
Create an engaging e-newsletter
Send e-newsletters ONLY to people who have signed up for it. They may or may not be donors, but it can be a great cultivation tool, too. You can also share links to your e-newsletter on social media and your website. 
Keep your e-newsletter short – no more than three or four articles (shorter if you send one twice a month).  Use an enticing subject line such as Find Out More About …. rather than March 2014 Newsletter. Also, make sure people can read your newsletters on their mobile devices.
Advice for all newsletters
All newsletters should be short and easy to read and scan. They should also have a consistent look.
Open your newsletter with a story.  Client stories are best, but you could also do profiles of volunteers, board members, and donors.  Focus on what drew them to help you make a difference.
Make it visual.  Use photos. You could also put a short video in an 
e-newsletter.
This is a no brainer, but make sure it’s interesting to your donors. I’m not a fan of the letter from the executive director. Stories and updates are best. You could also include a short survey or ask your readers to take action, such as contacting their legislator.
Write it in the second person and keep it focused on how your donors are helping you make a difference.  Give it the you test.  Circle the number of you’s as opposed to we’s.  There should be many more you’s
Don’t be formal.  Write in a conversational style and watch out for any jargon.  You’ll connect more with your donors if your newsletter is personal.
Newsletters do make sense, if you take the time to do them well.

Photo by xposurecreative.co.uk via flickr

Get Ready for 2014 – Creating a Communications Calendar

Happy New Year! I hope you have taken time to put together fundraising and marketing plans. My last post in this series about getting ready for 2014 is to create a communications calendar (also known as an editorial calendar). 


I like the term communications calendar because it emphasizes the importance of communicating with your donors and other supporters all year round. One of the great things about having a communications calendar is you won’t get so stressed out trying to come up with content for your newsletters and other updates.

As you put together your communications calendar, think about how you will use different channels. You may only send out direct mail a few times a year, but send out a newsletter once a month and communicate by social media several times a week. You will often use a number of different channels when you send out a fundraising appeal or promote an event.

All your communication should be audience-centered and emphasize how you are making a difference for the people you serve and in the community.

Here are some categories you can use in your communications calendar. Some items will be time sensitive and others won’t be.

Events
Does your organization hold any events? Besides your events, are there other events in your community that would be of interest to your supporters? This is a great thing to share on social media.

Legislation
Advocacy alerts are a wonderful way to engage with your supporters. Be on the lookout for any federal or state legislation that’s relevant to your organization. Encourage people to contact their legislators about an issue or a bill. Report back to them with any updates, and thank them for getting involved.

Time of year
Is there something going on during a particular month that is pertinent to your organization? Perhaps it’s homelessness awareness month or your organization was founded in May 1994.

Thanksgiving, the holidays, and winter can be a difficult time for some people. How can you weave that into your work?

News stories
You won’t be able to predict news stories in advance. However, as something newsworthy comes up, see if that’s something you could share.

Fundraising and recruitment

Be sure to add your fundraising appeals to your communications calendar. You want to highlight these and not inundate your donors with a lot of other information at that time.

If your organization has specific times it needs to recruit volunteers, add that to your calendar, as well. 

Thank your donors
Figure out different ways to let your donors know how much you appreciate them. Do this at least once a month.

Ongoing content
If you are making a difference, you have stories to tell. Share your clients’ success stories. You could also profile a board member or volunteer.

Put together a collection of stories and profiles to use in your newsletter and website throughout the year. If you are profiling board members or volunteers, highlight what motivated them to serve on your board or volunteer with your organization. Keep it focused on your mission.

Keep it up
As you hear about other relevant information, add it to your calendar, so you will always have good content to share with your supporters.

Here is more information to help you create a communications/editorial calendar.


Photo by Adam Sporka via Flickr

Get Ready for 2014 – Creating a Marketing Plan

Marketing and communications often take a backseat to fundraising, even though they are closely related. You can’t raise money without clear messages and a good strategy to communicate those messages.


You need a marketing plan

Some organizations don’t have a marketing plan or they have one that’s sort of piecemeal.

If you have never created a marketing plan, you may want to do a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis or some other kind of organizational analysis to help you get focused. (See links below for more details.)

At the very least, you should create a plan that covers how you will communicate with your audience(s). Ideally, you should be looking at more than one year and your marketing plan needs to be consistent with your strategic plan.

If you already have a marketing plan and have been measuring your progress (Gold stars for you!), you can incorporate what’s worked in the past into your 2014 plan.

Don’t make the mistake of not taking your marketing and communications seriously. Here are a few things to keep in mind as you put together your marketing plan.

Who are you?

What does your organization do and what makes you unique? What is your message platform? If you’ve never created a consistent set of messages, you need to do that. How To Get Everyone In Your Organization To Be Consistent In Messaging

  
What are your needs and goals?
Each nonprofit has different needs. Everyone needs to raise money, but perhaps you also need members, clients, or volunteers. Come up with categories and goals and create a strategy for each. For example, if you need tutors or mentors, you need to come up with a recruitment plan.

Think about going beyond raising awareness. You need a call to action, such as donating, volunteering, attending an event, or contacting your legislator.

Who is your audience?
It’s not everyone. Sometimes it’s people who know you well, such as donors, and sometimes it’s not.

Craft your messages with your audience in mind. What would entice someone to donate, volunteer, or attend your event?

Communicating with your supporters
Reaching out to donors and other supporters is a huge part of your communications. Throughout the year you need to update them on how they are helping you make a difference. In my next post, I’ll write about creating a communications calendar to help you with that.

Communicating with an external audience

Here you want to reach out to people and groups who will be most receptive to your message or call to action. Sometimes you don’t need to look far. For example, you should have more luck promoting your event by asking your social media followers to share your announcement with their friends than you will if you post an event listing in the paper.


All nonprofits want media coverage, but plan carefully. Target the right publications and choose the right stories. Pitch something newsworthy.

Measure your progress
At least once a quarter look at your goals and figure out what is working, what isn’t, and how you can make improvements.

Use this dashboard to monitor your progress. Scroll down a bit for the marketing section.

Library of Sample Dashboard Indicators




Take some time to put together a well thought-out marketing plan. It will be time well spent.

Photo by Plantoo47 via Flickr

Communication and Planning are Keys to Good Working Relationships

This post was featured in the August 2013 Blog Carnival. Playing Well With Others

Good working relationships are crucial for nonprofit organizations, but this doesn’t always happen. Sometimes departments work in isolation and get territorial about their responsibilities,which is popularly known as siloing.

This can happen with the development and marketing departments, even though there is a huge amount of overlap between the two.  I like this quote from donor communications expert Tom Ahern – “The heads of development and marketing have to accept that they are oxen pulling the same wagon, a wagon labeled ‘increasing community support’.”

Marketing and development also need a good relationship with the program department. It’s important to remember that you are all working for the same mission. If you distance yourself from each other, you are not doing what’s best for your organization.

Here are a couple of problem scenarios that might arise and what you can do about them. Good communication and planning will help.


Development Coordinator or Volunteer Coordinator – “Why do I have to go through the marketing department if I want to send an email or post something on Facebook?”
Because you need a communication gatekeeper. This is not about control; it’s about consistency.

Generally that gatekeeper is someone in the marketing department.  Your organization can’t send out three messages in one day and not communicate again for three weeks.  Departments should get together and create a communication calendar, which can include fundraising appeals, events, newsletter submissions, and volunteer recruitment announcements.

This doesn’t mean someone in development can’t send out fundraising messages or your volunteer coordinator can’t send out a recruitment announcement, but you need coordination so that you are sending out the right amount of messages. These staff members also need to know how use the platforms (especially the email template) so everything you send out has a consistent look.

I think it works better to have one primary communication person.  Other people should be trained to use your email service provider and social media platforms so there is a consistent stream of communication even when the primary communication person is on vacation. You don’t want to be paralyzed when this person is not around.

Program Manager – I’m tired of development and marketing asking me for success stories.  I’m busy working with clients and don’t have time, especially when they ask me at the at the last minute.
Well, you do need to be respectful of the program staff’s time.  Don’t approach someone the day before your newsletter needs to go out and ask for a success story ASAP.

On the other hand, stories and photos show your donors how your organization is making a difference, and you need them in your fundraising and marketing materials. I always recommend nonprofits have an ongoing collection of stories, profiles, and photos to use, so you aren’t scrambling at the last minute.

You need to come up with a system where the departments can work together without feeling overburdened. This could mean sharing success stories at staff meetings, regular meetings between the departments to discuss stories and accomplishments, or program providing written monthly updates of client numbers and accomplishments.

You are all working for the same mission

Don’t forget to keep this in mind. Besides communication and planning, an understanding of what each department does and how that fits into your mission is also crucial. Good leadership will help with that.

How are the relationships at your organization?