Don’t train for a marathon by biking

goals, strategy, tactics, marketing, messaging, leadership
Make your training support your goals.
At the risk of stating the obvious: when you’re training for a marathon, you run. You run a lot. You run so you’re ready for the marathon. So you’ll achieve your goal.

You don’t bike. (Aside from a little cross-training perhaps.)

If your goal is to retain donors, pick tactics that will help you connect with current donors. Don’t get distracted by engaging new ones.

Ditto for volunteer engagement.
Public awareness.
And any other goal you have.

Don’t do the equivalent of training for a marathon by riding your bike.

You’ll never get to the finish line.

Elevator pitch – Door opener or Deal closer?

Earlier this week, I made the case for having a good Elevator Pitch. But let’s be honest: creating an elevator pitches can be stress-inducing. It doesn’t need to be! Watch this short video for tips on how your nonprofit can open more doors with a simple elevator pitch.

Elevator pitch – Door opener or Deal closer? from Claxon Marketing on Vimeo.

“Top 5 Words to Avoid” Featured on Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog

Kivi Leroux Miller

Kivi Leroux Miller is one of the leading voices in DIY nonprofit marketing. Her blog, Kivi’s Nonprofit Communications Blog, is full of practical, do-now tips for do-gooders.

Two weeks ago on her main site, Kivi wrote a piece on the pitfalls of wordiness in messaging and how to fix lengthy writing habits. I got down in the word weeds with a guest post outlining the top five words to avoid in your messaging.

Learn why these words should be booted from your messaging vocabulary:

  • Provide
  • Just
  • Trying
  • Self-sufficiency
  • Thriving Communities

Pick the one you use too much and then take the One Less Word Challenge. How will you replace it?

Avoiding Messaging Mayhem

Remember the game ‘telephone’ from grade school? The first person would whisper something to the next and it would make its way down the line until it got to the last person who would announce the then mangled sentence. I love that game. But I don’t love it when it happens to nonprofits and it happens a lot.

We talked about this game when I recently spoke at the Washington Food Coalition’s Annual Conference because there was a lot of angst about “losing control of our message” among this great group of folks.

My suggestion was to focus on making it really easy for people passionate about their organizations to spread the word about your organization. That means picking one thing that everyone will focus on. One thing; not your everything.

When it comes to messaging, success isn’t everyone repeating the same one phrase verbatim; success is when your fans can consistently convey the most important and compelling thing about your organization while still making it feel personal.

This is why all organizations benefit from having a simple Messaging Framework. You should see the relief on the faces of staff and volunteers when they know how to talk about the good work you’re doing.

Here is a template that will help you develop a Messaging Framework Template.  It’s simple, straight-forward and will make people jump for joy at the opportunity to learn more about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it.

Top Three 2010 Nonprofit Must-Reads

2010 has been a mighty good year for books packed with ideas for people wanting to make the world a better place. Below are three of our favorites. They had us nodding our heads, posting snippets on Facebook, and saying things like “Exactly!” and “Right on!”over and over again.

As you cozy up for some autumn reading, we urge you to add these to your stack. And, if you buy them off Amazon today, you’ll get 34% off the list price. Nice! Buy them. Read them. Take notes. Share them. You won’t regret it.

Three 2010 Nonprofit Must-Reads:

1. The Networked Nonprofit: Connecting with Social Media to Drive Change, Beth Kantor and Allison H. Fine

Our Favorite Quote: “Tools will come and go, but strategy sustains organizations.”

2. The Nonprofit Marketing Guide, Kivi Leroux Miller

Our Favorite Quote:  “Focus on the basics first, and do them well.”

3. Uncharitable, Dan Pallotta

Our Favorite Line:  “If we have the courage to be true to our most daring ideas, the ideology will have to surrender to their magnificence and our determination to make them real.”

Are we missing any good ones?  Please share your suggestions below.

Do you communicate as effectively as you think?


Do you communicate as effectively as you think?