What Would You Ask 2,500 Nonprofits?

2016 Nonprofit Communications Trends

Every year at Nonprofit Marketing Guide, we do a Nonprofit Communications Trends Report. We develop the questions around this time of year, open the survey throughout November, do some “sneak peek” releases of the data in December and issue the full report in January.

It’s a great resource for the community, and a great list builder for us.

I usually add 3-5 new questions a  year, and am brainstorming now.

We usually get somewhere around 2,500 nonprofits participating, most of whom are communications directors, with some development directors and executive directors too.

What question(s) would you like to see in the survey, that perhaps could help you with your own marketing decisions? Multiple choice is easiest, so let me know what answers you would offer as choices too. 

Share your ideas in the comments — and thanks for your help with brainstorming!

P.S. The Get Nonprofit Clients Coaching Program starts October 5 and registration ends this Friday. I’ve decided to make the early bird rates permanent, so no worries if you didn’t get around to registering yet!

With Nonprofit Clients, Patience is Mandatory

Dog PatienceIf you think you can just quit your job and instantly start making a living working for nonprofit clients, good luck.

From the outside, it looks like that’s what I did. But the behind-the-scenes truth is that I already had one major client lined up before I quit my job, great leads for several others, a cash cushion in the bank, and a significant other who offered to pay more than his share of expenses when needed.

All of that meant I could afford to be patient. I was, and the work came. But it was probably six months before I felt like I was in a solid, comfortable place.

Nonprofits are generally not fast decision makers or “impulse” buyers. You are talking about people who are usually quite frugal, and who have been “doing it themselves” for quite a long time.

It takes even more time for them to recognize that they need help, or that someone could do it better. It takes even more time on top of that to decide to spend the money (because they often have to go find the money or budget for the expense months — even a year — in advance).

Come up with your own lead development system, and work it hard, day in and day out. Then be patient. The clients will come.

We’ll discuss more strategies like this that are essential when working in the nonprofit sector during the Get Nonprofit Clients Coaching Program. Registration ends this Friday, October 2, 2015.

Run as Fast as You Can from the Nonprofit Martyrs

But I work at a nonprofit!

I love working for nonprofit clients. It’s a life and career choice I do not regret, ever.

But that doesn’t mean I want to work with all nonprofits.

I avoid certain types of organizations based on my moral and political values.

I also avoid nonprofits staffed by martyrs.

Luckily most nonprofit staff are not martyrs, just hard-working, deeply passionate people. But we do run into them regularly.

The martyrs are pretty easy to spot, because they get very indignant with you when you ask them to pay for anything. Ironically, they are also the people most likely to complain about your FREE content too! They don’t think they should have to pay, because they work for nonprofits, AND they also tend to think that they deserve the most comprehensive information and services available, because they work for nonprofits. 

I totally get it when people feel like they need to ask for a discount or special terms or a full scholarship. It’s the reaction that I get when I tell them “No, because our prices and terms are already built for nonprofits,” that tells me all I need to know.

If they say, “OK, just had to ask,” and move on with the purchase or contract, or ask me when we might be running a sale for all nonprofits, that’s fine with me. I get it.

If they politely say they just can’t afford it, I totally get that too. We usually direct them to as many of our free resources as we can.

It’s when they continue to push, and try to make me feel bad or guilty, that I suspect I’m talking to a martyr. If they get the least bit bitchy with me or Kristina (who handles most of our customer service questions), that’s a sure sign.

At that point, I suggest that we are probably not the best service provider for them. Their next move is often to ask me for recommendations for where to go next. Since I don’t want to push a martyr on to someone else, I usually suggest they Google it.

In a few select cases, I’ve secretly unsubscribed them from all of our stuff, because I really had no interest in hearing from them again.

Many people make huge personal sacrifices to start and work for nonprofits. I appreciate their commitment and dedication. They deserve our thanks and admiration. They do not, however, deserve free labor and expertise from every consultant they run into.

If nonprofit staff try to make you feel bad about charging them, because they are such good people themselves, and you, well, you are just  trying to make money off of them (shame! shame!), I urge you to ditch the conversation as fast as you can.

How do you handle conversations with nonprofit martyrs? Please share in the comments.

P.S. We’ll talk about handling difficult client situations and pricing your services during the Get Nonprofit Clients Coaching Program that starts October 5. Early bird rates end September 18.



Getting Paid What You Are Worth – It’s Complicated


Last week I asked you to share your biggest marketing challenge right now (still time to add yours if you haven’t already!).

As I look through all of the answers, it’s amazing how interconnected 80% of them are.

It looks a little something like this . . .

The Marketing Struggle for Nonprofit Consultants

There’s a very complicated relationship between value (your ability to explain it, and nonprofits’ willingness to appreciate it) and fees (what you charge and finding clients who can pay that).

Spend a little time thinking about these dynamics . . . it might just help you come to some realizations about your marketing approaches.

We tackle these questions head on in the Get Nonprofit Clients Group Coaching Program. I’ve just re-opened registration, and the program starts October 5. Early bird registration will save you $300.

How have you seen these dynamics playing out in your own practice? Have any tips you can share with others on finding the sweet spot on value and pricing? Please share in the comments. 






More Pain Points for Nonprofit Communicators

Last week, I shared some webinar poll results about management struggles for nonprofit communicators.

Today, let’s look at some of the personal productivity pain points.

We asked which of four daily tasks they wished they could do faster and email inbox management topped the list, followed by social media management and writing faster, tied for second place.

What do you want to do faster

Understanding the daily struggles of your clients is incredibly important in your ability to successfully market to them and to serve them well.

If you work for nonprofit communications directors, this should be helpful information to you. If you don’t, how can you get similar information about the people in the nonprofit sector that you do serve?

If you have experience with identify the common pain points for your nonprofit clients, please share in the comments. 


Management Struggles for Nonprofit Communicators

Poll Results

Today we did a webinar for nonprofit communications pros on how to work smarter, not harder.

As part of the program, I suggested that they focus on four work processes:

1. Editorial planning

2. Content curation

3. Content repurposing

4. Managing collaboration (internally and externally)

After going through the material, I polled the participants on which of the four needed the most work in their organizations. About 35 people participated in the poll.

As you can see Editorial Planning was a big need, followed by Managing Collaboration.  If you work with nonprofit communications teams, keep that in mind!