Tag Archives: board

How can a nonprofit emerge from the recession better off than before?

Planning educational programs has been a passion of mine ever since I began working with nonprofit organizations. It’s exhilarating when great minds connect to spark conversations that can bring about the next game changer.

This year, I’m active in the American Marketing Association, Chicago Chapter as Chair of their Nonprofit SIG (Special Interest Group). I’m also thrilled that Carey Kogol, Development Director at i.c.stars, joins me as Co-Chair. The SIG members recently designed the 2014 program series with Mission-Driven Marketing as its overarching theme.

cc-ama_davidoffThe series kicks off on February 6 when John Davidoff, Managing Director of Davidoff Communications, leads a dynamic discussion with other thought leaders on how a nonprofit can emerge from the recession better off than before. Participants will share insights to answer these questions from Davidoff’s article “Mission-Focused Results” in The Nonprofit Times:

1) Do you see opportunity in a crisis? 

An economic or financial crisis should prompt you to reexamine your strategy and how you operate. A change in leadership can open the door to fresh new thinking. When you let challenges push you beyond the status quo, you get to a higher level of articulating your mission.

How do you change the conversation within your organization to encourage a new way of seeing and thinking?

2) Do you tell your story in good times and in bad?

Sharing your story, even if it’s one of hardship, can stimulate empathy and even increase giving, especially if the external challenge aligns with your mission. When you make it known that the people you serve are in greater need than ever during the downturn, chances are it will resonate deeply with donors, which will motivate them to give more than they had previously.

How could reaching out to your community with an honest appeal turn your challenge into a success story?

3) Is your board invested in the success of your organization?

A strong, engaged board can be one of your greatest assets, both to help you maintain perspective on imminent or ongoing challenges and to provide practical advice for dealing with them constructively.  A highly invested board should be asking for regular updates on strategy, operations and outcomes. If your board can’t be counted on in crises or other times, it’s time to wake it up or break it up.

How well do your board members understand their roles in marketing the organization’s mission?

cc-ama_panelistsJoin Carey and me in welcoming the AMA’s esteemed panel of speakers:

Emily Dreke
Director of Development and Communications
Chicago Foundation for Women

Steve Ford
Executive Vice President—Chief Communications and Marketing Officer
Muscular Dystrophy Association

Otto Reinisch
Director of Organizational Development
Episcopal Charities and Community Services

Thursday, February 6, 2014
8:00 AM to 10:00 AM (CST)
Davidoff Communications
730 North Franklin St., Suite 601
Chicago, IL 60654

Sign up today and participate in the next game-changing dialogue for the nonprofit sector.

Does Your Board Tell Compelling Stories About Your Mission?

The other day, BoardSource senior governance consultant, Susan Decker, led a webinar entitled “Mission Movers: Crafting and Communicating Your Message.” In it, she pointed out specific roles that board members of nonprofit organizations are expected to carry on for communicating their mission.

According to Decker, the first step in understanding these roles is to ask these key questions:

  • Does our organization have a clear strategic vision that supports our mission?
  • Do I understand my role in communications?
  • Do we have the necessary expertise to support and deliver solid messaging?
  • Are there opportunities in my relationships that could benefit the goals of the organization?

Decker then explains the importance of board members sharing compelling stories about the mission:

  • Briefly communicate shared values, needs, and interests
  • Put a face and a voice to your work
  • Include hard data where appropriate
  • People remember how we make them feel more than anything else

The point is: Storytelling plays a major role in advocating for your mission. It is meeting your audience where they currently are and using your narrative to take them on a journey to where you want them to be. Story is where, together, we get in touch with our humanity. It is where we truly connect.

Download the full slide deck for Mission Movers.


Does Your Fundraising Letter Tell a Compelling Story?

Nonprofit organizations constantly juggle a variety of tools to fundraise. One tool that many nonprofits have been using for generations is the appeal letter. Whether it’s sent via post or email, how can we transform this into a more powerful medium that, once in the hands of donors, will move them to give?

Our workshop will focus on writing your next appeal letter to include a compelling story about how your program impacts the lives of people you serve. We will cover story selection, building a vocabulary that is potent with meaning and intention, and overall presentation.

View and share this video clip from our last appeal letter workshop.

Thursday, August 22
Open Books
213 W. Institute Place, 2nd Floor
Chicago, IL 60610

5:30pm – 6:00pm  Introductions
6:00pm – 7:30pm  Workshop
7:30pm – 8:00pm  Networking

Coffee and tasty nibbles will be served.

REGISTER EARLY and get a great value.

 Stay cool and safe this summer!