Going Dark So You Can See the Light…and get some freebies

Going Dark In December, we went dark. We did not publish a single post. Nary a word was typed on this blog. And we did this (gasp!) on purpose.

Why? We wanted to see if the old saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder” was actually true. (Just kidding.)

December is frantic. Frenetic. Over the top. It’s a blur of Top Tips, eggnog, awesome advice, sparkles, and post after post on how to boost end-of-year fundraising.

This isn’t a bad thing. But your year-end planning should really start in January, not December. So instead of adding to the flurry of holiday craziness, we spent December creating a suite of new DIY resources to help you throughout the year.

We are super excited to share the three newest additions to Claxon’s suite of free resources–TOOLKITS! Each one focuses on a different area and includes the very best tools for you to use, along with helpful instructions.

Without further ado, here they are:

  1. Messaging Toolkit
  2. Marketing 101 Toolkit
  3. Branding Toolkit

In the coming days and weeks, we will be dark no  more! We will be taking a closer look at each of the aforementioned toolkits, sharing before and after posts featuring the winners of the #FixMyPitch contest, and looking at the very best words for you to use in 2014.

If there are other word-related resources that’d be handy to you, let us know in the comments. We want to do everything we can to make 2014 a truly fantastic year for you!

Marketing Game Plan for Idaho Gives

My marketing advice is...drink more coffee!
My marketing advice is…drink more coffee!

May 2, is going to be a big day in Idaho. It’ll be their first-ever statewide celebration of giving–aptly called Idaho Gives.

Thanks to the Idaho Nonprofit Center, the wonderful masterminds behind Idaho Gives, I have gotten to train nonprofits from all over the state on how to create a Marketing Game Plans for this statewide give-a-palooza.

These one day give-fests are awesome from nonprofits. Why? Because they force you to get your marketing in line with your mission and your goals. (The lure of free money and golden tickets can have that effect.)

Now, when people come to a marketing training, they usually think we’re going to spend most of our time talking about Facebook, e-blasts and, if we’re really, really lucky, Pinterest.

Instead, we talk a lot about what their goals are and who they need to engage to reach those goals. Why so little talk of Pinterest and Instagram and all the fun stuff? I like the fun stuff as much as the next marketing-obsessed speaker, but here’s what I’ve learned over the years: that part comes pretty easy once you know your WHAT (your goals) and your WHO (the people you should engage).

And you know what isn’t fun at all? Wasting your time and money. And that’s what you’re doing when you skip the What and the Who. Because without that information, you can’t make good choices. Doh.

At times, you might skip those two all-important first steps and get results by random luck. Good for you. But you can’t take random luck to the bank time and time again, now can you? No, you can’t. Not unless you’re George Clooney’s gang from Ocean’s Thirteen. (Oh but look, they did meticulous planning before taking their loot to the bank too, so scratch that!)

It’s through planning that you figure out how to tailor your messages. As Gayla Hatfield of Hope Preschool and Memorial Community Center told the Coeur d’Alene Press, they weren’t clear on who they really needed to reach and were “spewing too much info out.” Now she knows how to target her message and she’s “better prepared” for  fundraising in general and Idaho Gives in particular.

Planning may not be as fun as pinning and, as you can see in the picture above, it requires quite a bit of caffeine (note how many coffee cups are strewn across the table) and not everyone will find it riveting (note the woman on her mobile, who was actually very engaged much of the time, I swear, but happened to not be when this particular pic was snapped…what are the odds?), but if you’re serious about marketing advancing your mission, planning is the way it’s gotta be.

The Idaho nonprofits who rolled up their sleeves, filled up their coffee mugs, and did their planning will likely have a very good day on May 2. I can’t wait to see their plans turn into action..and engagement…and donations!

[For the record: In one of the trainings, the group was having so much fun, I laughed until I cried. I really, truly did. (Thanks to Dawn Burke of The Rat Retreat for being such a sport!) Proof that planning can be both fun and productive.]


Back to School with the 1,2,3 Marketing Tree

It’s the first day of school in our neck of the woods. Time to get back to the basics. Claxon’s 1,2,3, Marketing Tree gives you the basic steps for your organization to inspire action and engagement (i.e. market itself) in a way that’s simple, effective and fun. Yep, yep! Find out how in this quick video.


1, 2, 3 Marketing Tree from Claxon Marketing on Vimeo.

Do you communicate as effectively as you think?


Do you communicate as effectively as you think?