Posts Tagged ‘Kivi Leroux Miller’

Inject soul into your use of technology

contentmarketingLeroux Miller’s comprehensive guide to curating content is the cornerstone to creating a climate of followers engaged in your organization’s fundraising and brandraising.

The author’s vast number of nonprofit examples and specific guidance on why it’s important to create your content identity, build a plan based on your constituents’ preferences, and map out a functional timeline are only a few of the passage highlights in this book.

You’ll have answers to some of the most popular questions like, “What are the benefits and drawbacks of each online channel?” “What three questions should my homepage answer?” and “How do I allow for content surprises in a pre-planned editorial calendar?”

The secret in Leroux Miller’s sauce is she practices what she prescribes. She has worked out the kinks in all the methods and tools she recommends and has done so single-handedly. So, if you’re wondering if your small or sophisticated shop can implement her approach, wonder no more.

We asked Leroux Miller about injecting soul into your use of technology and what’s around the corner for nonprofits:

CausePlanet: Hi, Kivi. Many thanks for the much-anticipated book about content management. What would you most like readers to know about how your book uniquely adds to the body of work on this topic?

Leroux Miller: Nonprofits are trying to change the world–and that’s hard! That’s why I believe content marketing in the nonprofit world is much harder than in the for-profit world but also potentially more powerful, too. It’s all about making strong connections with participants, supporters and influencers and showing how relevant your organization is to their lives so they’ll help you change the world. This book is for and about nonprofits and how they use content; it’s not just slapping business advice on to the nonprofit world.

CausePlanet: Content management is constantly evolving in light of the channels that seem to emerge every day and the tools with which we can better communicate. If you added new content to your book, what might the topic be?

Leroux Miller: I think it would be an expansion of chapter sixteen on the technology of content marketing. In just a few short years, the technology the corporate world uses now to customize your experience on some of your favorite websites will be available and affordable to even small nonprofits, too. That will change everything.

Learn more about this book and our summary.

Check out Kivi Leroux Miller’s slide deck.

Questions? Email us at Support@CausePlanet.org.

Image credit: TheNerdyNonprofit.com

 

 

 

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Content marketing for nonprofits: Don’t forget to rinse and repeat

rinseandrepeatThe number of tools and the amount of noise around us grow by the day. With choice comes complexity, and our environment changes constantly, due to technological, generational and marketing shifts.

Redefine your audience for today’s current climate with the help of author Kivi Leroux Miller. Content Marketing for Nonprofits: A Communications Map for Engaging Your Community, Becoming a Favorite Cause, and Raising More Money delivers on the title and much more.

Without the benefit of a multichannel communications plan like Leroux Miller’s, your organization pushes out mass-messaging in a variety of unplanned channels and hopes that a few calls to action land in receptive hands.

But with Leroux Miller’s guidance, you will develop a solid marketing plan and implement a dynamic content strategy, step by step, that will attract generous donors.

In our Page to Practice book summary of Content Marketing for Nonprofits, we asked Leroux Miller about repurposing content. Here are some great reminders and tips:

CausePlanet: We love your passage on repurposing content–it’s liberating to know you support this strategy. What’s one of the best examples you’ve observed or you personally use that you would recommend to our readers?

Kivi Leroux Miller: I rarely create anything new without knowing how I will use it in at least three ways. Sometimes it’s just an inkling, but everything gets reincarnated at some point. I am always expanding or reworking things I did earlier. It’s a way of life for creative professionals, including marketers! 

CausePlanet: In your book, you discuss one of many content strategies, including “Foraging and Filtering: Curating Content Created by Others.” What are some of the online tools you prefer to use when organizing thoughts and ideas within the same subject area?

Kivi Leroux Miller: The specific tool you use is less important than the tagging or labeling system you use. You have to know how to identify things you find so that you can find them again later! But since you asked, we use Diigo and Evernote regularly.

Learn more about this book and our summary: http://www.causeplanet.org/pagetopracticelibrary/detail.php?id=121

More titles and their summaries on this topic:

The Money-Raising Nonprofit Brand

Brandraising: How Nonprofits Raise Visibility and Money Through Smart Communications

How to Write Fundraising Materials That Raise More Money

Mobile for Good: A How-To Fundraising Guide for Nonprofits

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Content marketing: canyons, road trips and surprises

“Only 32% of marketers say they’re producing enough content, while a mere 27% think they’re tracking the right metrics,” reports the Aberdeen Group. Kapost’s director of marketing Jodi Cerretani says, “That’s a big difference between understanding that content marketing works for your organization, and making content marketing work for your organization.”

So we all know content is king but the incredible distance between an awareness of its importance to making content work for your organization feels like standing on one rim of the Grand Canyon and looking at the other. Cerretani’s quote grabbed me because I sometimes wonder who’s in charge of my day—am I or is the content schedule?

Our currently featured author, Kivi Leroux Miller, knows how to make content work for you. In fact, she’s recently published Content Marketing for Nonprofits: A Communications Map for Engaging Your Community, Becoming a Favorite Cause, and Raising More Money. Three highlights from her book could really help focus and build your content schedule: her exploration of different communication channels, three categories of content and repurposed content.

Content marketing is like a road trip. There are many routes from which you can choose and you always have surprises along the way. Leroux Miller helps you explore and evaluate all the channels where your content can travel. For example, today, Fast Company reported 10 surprising social media statistics, including: “The fastest growing demographic on Twitter is the 55-64 year age bracket.” “189 million of Facebook’s users are ‘mobile only.’” “Every second two new members join Linkedin.” Leroux Miller helps you navigate these channels with current trends.

Leroux Miller also acknowledges you can’t anticipate every surprise so one of the strategies she discusses is how to accommodate these constantly changing demographics and technology in an opportunistic way in your annual plan. I found this passage in the book particularly helpful. Kivi recommends separating your content into three categories: evergreen (long-term content), perennial (content you create every year) and annual (content that adds color). The book’s full text explores this analogy thoroughly and offers a comprehensive strategy.

Finally, I asked Leroux Miller a question related to repurposing content:

CausePlanet: We love your passage on repurposing content–it’s liberating to know you support this strategy. What’s one of the best examples you’ve observed or you personally use that you would recommend to our readers?

Kivi Leroux Miller: I rarely create anything new without knowing how I will use it in at least three ways. Sometimes it’s just an inkling, but everything gets reincarnated at some point. I am always expanding or reworking things I did earlier. It’s a way of life for creative professionals, including marketers!

See also:

Seeing Through A Donor’s Eyes

Social Change Anytime Everywhere

The Nonprofit Marketing Guide

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What’s a reasonable amount of content to produce?

This was originally published on Kivi Leroux Miller’s Nonprofit Communications Blog on her site, Nonprofit Marketing Guide.com.

I just took another look at the preliminary results from our 2013 Nonprofit Communications Trends survey and “lack of time to produce quality content” is the biggest challenge nonprofit communicators are facing, with almost 52% of the 300+ who have taken the survey picking that answer out of a list of a dozen choices.

This begs the question, “What is a reasonable amount of quality content to expect from a nonprofit communicator?”

What’s reasonable for you will be way too much for some and way too little for others. Figuring out what’s reasonable depends on several factors.

How ambitious your goals are. How many different kinds of target audiences are you trying to reach? Program participants or supporters or both? And with how many different messages and calls to action? How quickly and to what extent are you trying to increase turnout or raise money? Limiting the target audiences and the things you want them to do (your calls to action) is the first thing I recommend to overworked communications staff because these two factors have such a huge ripple effect on everything else.

The role of content marketing in achieving those goals. Just how important is the content you produce to achieving those goals? For example, if you are trying to establish your organization as an expert on a topic, be seen as the go-to source of news in your field, or build a grassroots network of citizen advocates, then you are going to need to create a lot more content than a nonprofit that provides direct social services to clients who show up at the door primarily via a strong referral network and word of mouth.

The level of resources available to implement the plan. If you don’t have the staff capacity, including time and talent, along with adequate financial resources to get the work done, then your goals are unreasonable. Plain and simple. Too many nonprofits create pie in the sky plans that they don’t back up with resources. That often creates negative situations where (1) everyone knows the plan is a farce, and so there is little accountability for anything or (2) people are essentially branded as failures even when they do their very best work. It’s certainly fine for a plan to have”stretch” goals, but only if everyone understands the difference between stretching and breaking.

The difficulty of the topic and the storytelling. Some nonprofits do really complicated, technical work that takes awhile to understand and translate into plain English. Others do highly personal work that requires a very careful, deliberate touch. In certain fields and in certain situations, it simply takes longer to tell the story. This is especially true if your communications staff members are not really fluent on the program side of things.

I know, I still haven’t answered the question: What’s a reasonable amount of content?

Here’s one example of what feels like a reasonable list of work for one generic communications person, not including all the other stuff that comes along with a full-time job, like attending meetings or conference calls that are only tangentially related to work, all the various reporting you have to do, dealing with incoming calls and email, office drama, fire drills(real and imagined), your turn to clean the lunch room, etc.

This assumes a good deal of repurposing of content between channels.

    A monthly e-newsletter

    Print communications, 4–6 times a year (maybe a short newsletter, or event marketing, or an appeal letter)

    Blog or website update, weekly

    Social media updates, at least once a day

    An annual report

    A few special projects over the course of the year (e.g. producing a special report or guidebook).

    See also:

    Content Marketing for Nonprofits: A Communications Map for Engaging Your Community, Becoming a Favorite Cause and Raising More Money

    The Nonprofit Marketing Guide

     

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    Are assumptions driving your content strategy?

    A teen employee at one of Goodwill’s Florida outlets was charged recently with theft and jailed for giving discounts to the store’s poorest patrons. Andrew Anderson explained Goodwill “is a giving and helping company” so he wanted to extend that philosophy to customers with the greatest need. Four days later, after determining Anderson’s actions were not for personal gain, Goodwill dropped its charges.

    Life is full of decisions made without all the facts. On the surface, Goodwill saw an employee taking money from the store. After talking with Anderson and learning more, they realized his methods, although unusual, were done with a good motive and ultimately consistent with Goodwill’s mission.

    While not as dramatic as this Goodwill story, the same can be said of our decisions about communicating with donors and friends. We don’t always consider all the pertinent facts. Too often, nonprofits base their communications efforts on dated assumptions about the market, preferred channels, donor preferences and content relevancy. This can turn away donors and supporters central to your cause.

    Kivi Leroux Miller addresses this issue in her new book, Content Marketing for Nonprofits: A Communications Map for Engaging Your Community, Becoming a Favorite Cause, and Raising More Money.

    Today as nonprofit leaders and communicators, we have four divergent generations to connect and contend with appropriately. We’ve experienced dramatic marketing shifts in the way our constituents consume information. Our inboxes, social media networks, screens and mailboxes are exploding with marketing messages so that it’s become necessary to do what we should have done to begin with: share relevant and valuable information so we attract versus target people who care about our causes.

    Without the benefit of a multichannel communications plan like Leroux Miller’s, your organization becomes one of those causes that pushes out mass-messaging in a variety of unplanned channels and hopes that a few calls to action land in receptive hands.

    We can no longer afford to repel our audiences with a one-size-fits-all messaging. Leroux Miller defines superior content marketing as:

    “Creating and sharing relevant and valuable content that attracts, motivates, engages, and inspires your participants, supporters, and influencers to help you achieve your mission.”

    We found Kivi’s last section in her book particularly helpful: “What You Need to Know About the Channels You Choose.” Leroux Miller provides you with an incredible service in this part by analyzing each communication channel: how it’s different from others, how to use it well and how to avoid pitfalls.

    Her recommendations are so specific that only reading them can do them justice. However, some overarching themes emerge. Some of the do’s include:

    using enticing subject lines/hooks

    making your content skimmable

    researching the right amount for your audience and the channel

    testing/experimenting with each channel

    We asked Kivi to introduce her book to you so you can learn more about how it can help your cause:

    CausePlanet: Hi, Kivi. Many thanks for the much-anticipated book about content management. What would you most like readers to know about how your book uniquely adds to the body of work on this topic?

    Leroux Miller: Nonprofits are trying to change the world–and that’s hard! That’s why I believe content marketing in the nonprofit world is much harder than in the for-profit world but also potentially more powerful, too. It’s all about making strong connections with participants, supporters and influencers and showing how relevant your organization is to their lives so they’ll help you change the world. This book is for and about nonprofits and how they use content; it’s not just slapping business advice on to the nonprofit world.

    See also:

    The Nonprofit Marketing Guide

    Seeing Through A Donor’s Eyes

    Breakthrough Nonprofit Branding

     

     

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    Engaging hearts and minds

    Yesterday I experienced the equivalent of a “runner’s high,” except that my legs weren’t moving and my arms weren’t pumping. In fact, I sat very still and engaged my…ears. This wasn’t a calorie burning adventure; instead, it was an adventure of the mind.

    I sat between two very inspirational nonprofit organizations during a session led by Perla Ni, CEO of Great Nonprofits, about the importance of great storytelling. Perla said, “The nonprofit sector is very fortunate when it comes to storytelling. You don’t need million dollar commercial budgets to create stories that make burgers or cars feel exciting. You are nonprofit organizations and you have many noble and compelling stories about the people and the causes you serve.”

    Perla asked each of us to tell our own story to one another during a table exercise. While my mind spins and my pulse quickens when I can help a nonprofit leader with a helpful book or best practice on my website, my story was merely the warm-up act for the organizations that were at my table. On my left were Micklina and Mike with Community of Sudanese & American Women/Men, an organization dedicated to helping survivors of the Sudanese genocide, and on my right were Emily and Lisa with CASA Child Advocates, a nonprofit that gives a voice to children in court when neglect and abuse is involved.

    Though each one of us has a compelling story to tell, there are specific strategies you can act on that will help it spread and grow. Here are some take-away thoughts from speaker, Perla Ni:

    How to get started with integrating good storytelling in your organization from Demonstrating Your Impact: Engaging Hearts and Minds:

    A good story will include a protagonist, a problem and overcoming the problem (sometimes, not overcoming the challenge).

    Consider the personal stories you have about your organization’s impact from the perspective of an individual client, staff member, volunteer or member in the community.

    Who tells the story is important: 90 percent trust product recommendations from friends, 70 percent trust recommendations from online consumer recommendations, (Nielson, 2009) and only 6 percent believe in advertisement claims (Forrester, 2009).

    Think about how you can back up this story with data you have that relates to the program or setting where your story takes place. If you don’t have the data, engage a local university student who is interested in a research project.

    If you have multiple programs about which you can share stories, choose two or three that highlight your strongest program. Those stories will eventually shed light on the other programs.

    Develop those two or three stories and circulate them at the board and staff levels so they are shared consistently. Don’t be afraid of telling and re-telling on many platforms such as annual reports, brochures, email campaigns, and social media in particular because of networks’ potential, such as Facebook and Twitter, to spread your story more quickly and efficiently. Include photos and video whenever possible.

    Listeners will need to hear a story, on average, eight times before they sink in. In cases where direct quotes are involved, do not correct grammar. The idea is to maintain the authenticity of the storyteller’s voice.

    Though funders may limit proposals (i.e. foundations) to specific Q &A or data, use the site visit as an opportunity to share stories.

    In the case of public policy, bring the storyteller to the legislative session if possible. If you don’t have a good storytelling prospect within your organization, enlist a peer organization for help.

    See also:

    Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog for posts about storytelling

    More information about Kivi’s book, The Nonprofit Marketing Guide, which includes a chapter on storytelling

    Download an executive summary of Kivi’s book to learn more about what’s inside The Nonprofit Marketing Guide

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    Doogie Howser was on to something

    Last week I sat in a room filled with hundreds of interesting stories. I attended the National Philanthropy Day Luncheon in Denver, Colorado, which is presented by the Colorado Nonprofit Association. This luncheon celebrates individuals, organizations and companies who demonstrate leadership by example in the spirit of philanthropy.

    Despite the fact that only a dozen shared their personal road that led to recognition on stage, I couldn’t help but wonder, “What are the back stories of all these people in the audience who share a passion for creating change in the world?” In other words, we all have a story to tell. And my curiosity to hear all of them was a testament to the power of storytelling. An even greater demonstration of the love for narrative was the audience’s commitment to each recipient’s remarks. Everyone wants the ability to logically connect effort with desired outcomes, and we never tire of hearing how someone has made it happen.

    In fact, CausePlanet’s featured author of The Nonprofit Marketing Guide, Kivi Leroux Miller, stresses the importance of storytelling in everything we do because stories generate authenticity and demonstrate transformative ideas and change in people. Additionally, author of Believe Me, Michael Margolis says, “We are hardwired to seek and make sense of the world through narratives. Anthropologists contend that 70 percent of everything we learn is through stories. Even as we grow into stubborn adults set in our ways, we fundamentally remain a storytelling species. This is just one of the reasons why 175,000 new blogs are started every day.”

    If the storytelling two by four hasn’t hit you over the head yet, it’s time to get busy and figure out how to convey your worthy nonprofit efforts through storytelling. Doogie Howser was the first televised blogger when he ended every episode with an entry in his digital diary. If Doogie can do it, why can’t you?

    Learn more about Kivi Leroux Miller’s The Nonprofit Marketing Guide or our current feature of Festen and Philbin’s book, Level Best.

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    Would you pass or fail the thank-you letter experiment?

    In this month’s book feature of The Nonprofit Marketing Guide, I was surprised to see author Kivi Leroux Miller devote a chapter to thanking donors, especially since those of us in the sector know how important they are. After reading the opening paragraph called, “What I got when I gave experiment,” my surprise was quickly replaced by curiosity.

    In 2008, Kivi made a donation to 16 different nonprofit organizations, 12 of which she had a giving history, and what she got after giving was as she puts it, “almost nothing.” Of the 12 national charities, only four or 33 percent acknowledged the gift in any way. Of the three regional charities, only one in three acknowledged the gift. Leroux Miller reports that these results are not unusual and other similar tests have shown that less than 50 percent of donors receive thank you letters. Leroux Miller did the test again with 10 national nonprofits when going to press and you can look at her results at www.nonprofitmarketingguide.com/blog for the results.

    Rather than risk a 65 percent attrition rate between the first and second gift (according to Penelope Burke of Donor Centered Fundraising ), apply Leroux Miller’s six steps to improving your thank-you process.

    1. Send thank you letters out within 48 hours of the gift
    2. Use a mail merge to personalize by name, gift amount and personal designation. It’s also nice to add a handwritten note if you can and tell stories about the people you serve.
    3. Use more creative openings besides the standard “On behalf of” or “Thank you for” and instead try starting with one of your stories.
    4. Explain how the gift will be used.
    5. Tell them what to expect next. What will they receive or what invitation might they look for in the mail, etc.
    6. Personalize from the sender. Use ink instead of digital printing for signatures. Add personal notes from volunteer leaders or board members. Phone calls are also a powerful follow up as well as a thank you from the person or people who benefit from the gift directly.

    Here’s what Leroux Miller had to say when we asked her about thanking donors in our Page to Practice™ interview:

    CausePlanet: You dedicate a chapter to the importance of thanking donors. Why do you think nonprofits fail in this area despite the fact that they know better?

    Leroux Miller: It’s short-term, to-do list-driven thinking. It’s not that nonprofits are inherently rude, but they do use being busy as an excuse. And they pay for that in the long-term, when they don’t have as many donors who give the second or third gift. Thanking donors is essential to repeat giving, but building time into your schedule to do it right with timely thank-yous requires a longer-term perspective.

    Learn more about Leroux Miller’s book, The Nonprofit Marketing Guide, or our Page to Practice book summary.

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    Add storytelling to your job description

    Kivi Leroux Miller, author of The Nonprofit Marketing Guide, tells us to add storytelling our job descriptions. Why? Based on research cited in her new book, Leroux Miller claims that storytelling is a terrific way to get your audience to respond to your call to action.

    Six qualities make up a good story, according to the author:

    1. Keep it short (try for 500 words or for video, two minutes)
    2. Be straightforward (avoid tangents because they will detract from your story)
    3. Be personal (your stories should be about specific people and limit the number of people in your story)
    4. Be authentic (people connect with stories that ring true—don’t write about perfect people!)
    5. Include conflict or imperfections (these elements bring stories to life)
    6. End with a message (make sure your message is clear)

    You can find fresh story ideas by interviewing your receptionist, clients, and supporters; updating a newsletter or blog archive; checking the headlines and seeing what’s relevant to your cause; looking at your desk calendar or Chase’s Calendar of Events to see which national holidays pertain to your nonprofit; writing detailed articles about the key phrases people use to search for your site; reviewing trade news aggregators; getting interview ideas from event programs; or reviewing Twitter, SlideShare or social bookmarking sites like Delicious, Digg and StumbleUpon.

    Leroux Miller makes such a strong case for storytelling in her book that we decided to ask her about it in our author interview:

    CausePlanet: Your section on storytelling is very tactical and helpful for readers. In that section you discuss the wide variety of applications for storytelling. Is there ever the case of “too much of a good thing,” or should nonprofit leaders look for every opportunity to tell a story?

    KLM: Storytelling is so undervalued and underused by nonprofits that I wouldn’t worry about overdoing it. Instead, I’d work on writing stories of different lengths from just a few sentences to several paragraphs, so you have something that works in many different venues. Leroux Miller goes on to say in her book that “stories are a nonprofit’s goldmine and if you are not using storytelling as an essential element in your nonprofit marketing and communications, you are robbing yourself of one of the most effective tools available to you.”

    Learn more about Leroux Miller’s book, The Nonprofit Marketing Guide, or Page to Practice book summary.

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    Leroux Miller and marketing: Social media and surprises

    There has never been a shortage of one-person marketing departments or small budgets in the nonprofit sector. Technology and social media have presented marketers with a groundswell of inexpensive, if not free, opportunities to promote, publicize and organize on behalf of their nonprofit organizations.

    While the juxtaposition of these two forces would seem to solve marketing budget problems, these forces actually have created feelings of angst and loss of control for traditional marketers. The fact that all generations (yes, that means seniors too) are represented online is a call to action for everyone still waffling about integrating marketing and social media.

    It’s an exciting time for nonprofit marketing professionals and your marketing plans are waiting for you to dust them off and put The Nonprofit Marketing Guide to good use. This month we’re delighted to feature Kivi Leroux Miller’s book and have excerpted our author interview:

    CausePlanet: The Nonprofit Marketing Guide is fresh and insightful. What inspired you to write this book?

    Leroux Miller: I’ve worked as a communications department of one for going on twenty years, as a nonprofit staff member, board member, volunteer and consultant. I had to learn how to do that on my own for the most part, because while there are books on marketing or fundraising, they are written for large, well-funded organizations or are too academic. As I was struggling to figure out how to do nonprofit communications without a lot of staff or resources, I vowed to someday write the book for people in the same situation. So that’s what I did!

    CausePlanet: One of your passages cites a GettingAttention.org survey that found only 37% of nonprofits measure the effectiveness of their efforts. This was surprising in light of how important it is for nonprofits to make their budget dollars count. What surprises you most about nonprofit marketing today?

    Leroux Miller: That’s a tough question! I guess I’d say that what surprises me most is how undervalued marketing still is. As I discuss in the book, marketing is really integral to everything from delivering the right programs to the right people, to raising the money to pay your staff well. It’s not just about having a newsletter or a Facebook page. I wish more nonprofits really understood the impact of good marketing on implementing their missions–and how much harder they make it on themselves when they don’t value marketing.

    Learn more about Leroux Miller’s book, The Nonprofit Marketing Guide, or Page to Practice book summary.

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