Nancy Duarte Shares the Secret Structure in Powerful Talks

Did you know powerful, persuasive presentations have a common structure? I stumbled upon this TED Talk by presentation expert Nancy Duarte while I was researching how to create tension in appeal letters.

Nancy spent years analyzing the most famous speeches in history. Along the way, she discovered each speech shares a common structure. Killer persuasive presentations actually have a shape to them, just like the 3-act story structure we studied in school. In this TED Talk, Nancy uses two historic speeches to illustrate this shape. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s I Have A Dream speech and Steve Job’s 2007 iPhone launch overlay perfectly onto this shape. It’s fascinating! (more…)

Get to the Point in Your Fundraising Writing with This One Cool Trick

How to cut out all the unnecessary exposition and get right to the matter at hand

I’ve got good news and bad news about fundraising writing. The bad news is writing is always hard. Even experienced writers have a difficult time clearly and briefly stating the purpose in their fundraising writing.

Getting to the Point - Fundraising Writing

Often, donors are expected to read a few paragraphs before arriving at the main idea. You may think you are doing donors a favor by giving them plenty of information on which to base a decision. Unfortunately, you run the risk of losing their attention.

The good news is there’s an easy trick to cut out all the unnecessary exposition and get right to the point in your fundraising writing so donors can take action.


Does Your Nonprofit Website Have These 3 Things?

Straightforward homepage changes you can make today!

You’ve worked really hard on your nonprofit’s website. You undoubtedly have compelling content and beautiful aesthetics.

nonprofit website design homepage elements

Your website looks and feels right to you, but how will it be perceived by someone who knows little about your organization? Will they understand immediately what your nonprofit is all about? Is it clear what action they should take? These are the things I’ve been thinking about as I work on a new website for the nonprofit for which I volunteer.

In researching eye-tracking studies and web design best practices, three must-have homepage elements rise to the top. These are straightforward design changes you can make to your homepage today to make a better first impression and increase conversions.


Winning Nonprofit Marketing Strategies Focus on the Long Game

What we can learn from the Wright Brothers' obsession with patience, purpose, and unyielding determination

Sometimes the results of our nonprofit marketing strategies fall short of our expectations. Perhaps we had a dismal turnout at an event or low interest in a new program. Or maybe we didn’t have access to the resources needed for a successful fundraising campaign.

Nonprofit marketing strategies focus on long game

I’ve been thinking about how easy it is to become overwhelmed and lose faith when all our hard work isn’t producing the results we hoped for as quickly as we’d like.

Last week, I read David McCullough’s inspiring 2016 biography The Wright Brothers. Learning about the brothers’ passion, patience, and can-do attitude, I instantly felt a kinship with them. The Wright brothers were like the founders and leaders of today’s nonprofits: having an abundance of passion and an unyielding determination to change the world.

While we all want the quick wins (such as our marketing strategies seamlessly generating more money right now!), the Wright brothers teach us that winning requires playing the long game.


3 Fundraising Appeal Letter Lessons from Tom Ahern’s Book

Insights from “How to Write Fundraising Materials that Raise More Money"

It’s that time of year when many of us start working on the final fundraising appeal letter of the year. Are you filled with joy or dread?

Fundraising Appeal Letter

I am filled with both emotions. While I love writing, I’m feeling the pressure to create a letter that will exceed last year’s results. So, to help find my muse and confidence, I turned to the fundraising books that line my office’s bookshelves. After paging through a few, I settled on rereading Tom Ahern’s 176-page book, How to Write Fundraising Materials that Raise More Money.

This small-but-mighty book has many brilliant big ideas. This blog post will focus on 3 fundraising appeal letter lessons learned from the book. So, let’s get right to it.


How to Create the Perfect About Page for Your Nonprofit

Make your nonprofit shine with these elements and examples

Did you know one of the most visited pages on your website is your About page? (Go ahead and check your web analytics. Then come back here after seeing that your About page gets lots of views!)

How to Create the Perfect About Page for Your Nonprofit

An About page is so important because it’s the place your visitors go to learn about your organization more deeply. There, visitors might make the critical decision of whether or not your organization is worthy of their attention.

This blog post will focus on developing the perfect About page. You’ll learn critical About page elements to make your organization shine. Additionally, I will give examples of nonprofits doing each element brilliantly.


Awesome #GivingTuesday Tips, Resources & Other Cool Stuff

Everything your nonprofit needs is right at your fingertips!

Approaching its 6th year in existence, #GivingTuesday has become a powerful philanthropic movement. This year, this day of giving will be on November 28th. Are you getting ready for this amazing opportunity?

GivingTuesday Tips Resources

#GivingTuesday is a day where charities, community members, and businesses worldwide come together for a common purpose: to celebrate and encourage giving.

I have a committee meeting this week with my Marketing & Communications team, and I’ve been researching how to make this social-media-fueled day of giving as successful as possible for us. What I found is wildly helpful, so I’m going to share it with you.


5 Unexpected Benefits of Blogging All Nonprofit Marketers Should Know

Plus, grab your Blog Writing Blueprint here!

As a nonprofit marketer, you treasure awareness, engagement, and action. To achieve these goals, you know you need to consistently distribute valuable content via online and offline channels.

5 Unexpected Benefits of Blogging All Nonprofit Marketers Should Know

You may think of your website’s blog as simply one channel of spreading your message.  And, yes, a blog is one means of message distribution, but blogging does so much more than that. When I added a blog to the website of the nonprofit for which I am the marketing chair, I found unexpected benefits of blogging. I’ll share them with you in this post.


14 Blog Topic Idea Starters to Energize Your Nonprofit’s Website [and Freebie!]

I have a question about your nonprofit’s blog: Are you bored of it? If you think your blog is a real snoozefest, chances are your readers think so, too.

blog topic idea starters

It’s easy to get into the habit of writing one type of blog post. Maybe your organization only publishes blog posts around fundraising campaigns, events, or programs. Or worse, you only write when time permits.

I am guilty of this. Like you, I’m pulled in many directions and my time is limited. Completing marketing activities for one initiative and then rushing to the next big thing doesn’t leave much extra space. But if you want to spread your message further, you need to provide valuable and engaging original content to your community.

To get your creative juices flowing, here is a list of 14 blog topic idea starters to help you bring fresh and interesting content to your readers. There’s a freebie at the end for you, too.


How to Write a Rockin’ Blog Post [TEMPLATE]

7 essential elements to be a blog-writing rock star

Is the thought of writing a blog post for your nonprofit daunting? You know you have a lot of information to share with your community, but a lack of time and confidence may prevent you, your staff, or your volunteers from jumping in.

How to Write a Rockin' Blog Post

Over a year ago, I added a blog to the website of the nonprofit for which I volunteer. I naively thought that many others would enthusiastically rush to share their passion for our mission through writing on the blog. (Oops!) The low interest in writing certainly is not due to a lack of passion or ability, but rather a hesitation about where to start.

In this blog post, I will break down the formula I use for blog writing. I’ve refined it over the years, and I know it can help you, too. At the end of the post, I’ll share a downloadable template you can use right away to create an impactful blog post that will rock and roll your mission forward. Without skipping a beat, let’s get right to it!