Sharing is Caring

Bootcamp Week #9: Share & Use

(this week’s vid)

You’ve got your Messaging Framework. Now what?

Now you make sure staff, board and volunteers all know about it. And you make sure that everyone practices the Top-Level Message for at least three months before they start tweaking.

That’s right. Three months. Why? Because that’s long enough to figure out what was simply uncomfortable vs what isn’t working. Anything less than that and you’re just giving in to the status quo, reverting to what’s comfortable but not necessarily compelling.


It’s also time to do an inventory of all your communications and marketing materials, both on and off-line. Then go through and make everything consistent. A bit boring perhaps, but worthwhile. Very worthwhile.

This Week’s To-Do’s

  1. Send to board and staff. Ideally, hold a training and give them the chance to practice, practice, practice.
  2. Inventory your materials and make all messaging consistent.
  3. Give yourself a great big high-five–you made it through the Nonprofit Messaging Bootcamp!

About Claxon’s Nonprofit Messaging Bootcamp

This is week #9–the final week–of our Nonprofit Messaging Bootcamp. If you’d like to get your messaging booty in shape, here’s what you do.

DIY Nonprofit Messaging Bootcamp: Step-by-Step

Over 300 organizations survived the inaugural Nonprofit Messaging Bootcamp. Congrats to each and every one of them!

If you still want to get your organization’s messaging booty in shape, download the Nonprofit Messaging Roadmap and a Messaging Framework and then work your way through the blog posts and videos below.

We know you’re busy so everything is short and sweet–you’ll be in fab shape in no time!

Point A: Your Belief Proposition | Blog Post | Video
Point B: Mental File Folders | Blog PostVideo
Point C: Identifying Your Competition| Blog Post | Video
Point D: Unique Differentiators | Blog Post | Video
Point E: Engagement Proposition | Blog Post | Video
Point F: Pifalls to Avoid | Blog Post | Video
Point G: Top-Level Message | Blog Post | Video
Point H: Supporting Messaging by Audience | Blog Post | Video
Point I: Share & Use | Blog Post | Video

Messaging Fluency & MSG

Bootcamp Week #8: Supporting Messages by Audience

(this week’s vid)

What’s the difference between ‘advanced’ and ‘fluent’ when it comes to speaking a language? Your ability to calibrate to different audiences and settings.

For instance, it’s one thing to tell your colleagues that you tried the latest spot from the MSG150 food blog. It’s quite another to relay that same information to a chef from Le Cordon Bleu.

It’s about your audience and what matters most to them. That’s why it’s important to come up with your top three target audiences (the groups of people who are most important to the success of your organization) and know what they care about. Really, truly care about.

If you’re the Seattle Aquarium, visitors, volunteers and donors are all extremely important to you. But what they need to hear in order to engage differs dramatically.

This Week’s To-Do’s

  1. Download the Nonprofit Messaging Framework template.
  2. Brainstorm a list of target audiences.
  3. Narrow that list to your top three.
  4. Write a short paragraph describing what matters most to each target audience.
  5. Create two to four messages for each audience.
  6. Put proof points and stories for each supporting message that will motivate them to take action to take action!

Next Week

Sharing and using your Messaging Framework.

About Claxon’s Nonprofit Messaging Bootcamp

This is week #6 of our Nonprofit Messaging Bootcamp. If you’re just joining the Bootcamp, here’s what you need to do to get started.

The 2 Biggest Messaging Pitfalls & How to Avoid Them

Bootcamp Week #6

Avoiding Pitfalls

(this week’s vid)

Pitfall #1: Talking about features vs. benefits

For most people, it’s much more comfortable to talk about how we do something than why. The why can feel nebulous, squishy. Better worlds, opportunity gaps, common good. Our brains struggle to understand concepts this big.

The how is specific. It is tutoring programs, immunization initiatives, the Picasso exhibit that just came to Seattle.

But our hearts yearn for the why. They thirst to know the benefit of what we are doing.  Our hearts don’t care about features (i.e. the what and how of what you are doing). We engage first with our hearts, then our heads. That’s why it’s so important to talk about benefits and resist the temptation to talk about features. Features can wait.

Your supporters will naturally talk to you in “benefit-speak” so if you’re wondering what that sounds like for your organization, go ask!

Pitfall #2: Staying Brave (or Resisting the Urge to Quantify Everything)

If you’ve done your homework, your Engagement Proposition will feel big and brave. It should make you nod your head in agreement…and it should scare you a bit. You are doing big, brave work. Your messaging must do justice to that bravery.

You may not be able to statistically prove that your why matters, that it’s worthy of engagement. Initial engagement isn’t about numbers and stats and quantifiability. It’s about your gut. It’s about your beliefs. It’s about your heart.

If you try to quantify your beliefs, you will end up with messaging that shies away from what you really want to do, to achieve.

To avoid this pitfall, don’t wimp out. Stay brave.

This Week’s To-Do

Revisit your Engagement Proposition. Change any features to benefits and make sure it does justice to what you believe.

Next Week

Top-Level Message. Woo hoo!

About Claxon’s Nonprofit Messaging Bootcamp

This is week #6 of our Nonprofit Messaging Bootcamp. If you’re just joining the Bootcamp, here’s what you need to do to get started.


Mental File Folders

Bootcamp Week #2: If you’re just joining the Bootcamp, here’s what you need to do to get started: 1. Messaging Roadmap, 2. Sign up for our free Tune-Up Tuesday videos, and 3. Complete messaging to-do’s outlined for you each week on our blog. (Go back and do last week’s to get caught up!)

Point B: Mental File Folders (watch the vid)

Last week, you figured out your Belief Proposition. You identified why your organization exists and what would be different in your community if it didn’t exist.

This week, you need to pick your mental file folder. Many organizations fall into the trap of reciting everything they do right out of the gate. When you tell people your everything, they remember nothing. Bummer. That’s why the goal is to whittle it down to the one thing that you do that represents the essence of your organization. This is what fuels word-of-mouth marketing. Why? Because you are making it easy for people to refer others to you. Why? Because they only have to remember one thing about you–and that one thing is the most compelling, authentic thing. So, in the end, it all works out. It just feels scary at first.

(If you don’t believe me on this, listen to Seth Godin. He’s really, super smart.)

If you’re still feeling like you can’t possibly distill what you do down to one thing (or at most two), read this post about Treehouse. If they can do it, you can do it.

This Week’s Messaging To-Do’s

Write down answers to the following two questions:

  1. What would be the “tab” on the mental file folder you want people to associate with your organization?
  2. What do you do? (Not everything–just your main thing.)

Next Week

Identify your competition. (Hint: You have more of it than you might think!)

Need Some In-Person Help? Come to our Tune-Up Tuesday monthly meet-up in Seattle.  Learn more and register here.


Do you communicate as effectively as you think?


Do you communicate as effectively as you think?