For-Profit Marketing Strategy Success

For our first Marketing Seminar Series this year we invited for-profit Cyclone Social’s Founder and President – Andrew Lamping. In the hour and a half brown bag lunch presentation, he provided some great words of wisdom and tips for marketing.

Lamping began with saying “strategy trumps advertising.” Your strategy begins with the sales process. The sales process steps are:

  • loyalty  strategy marketing sales
  • buy again/or refer
  • buy/visit (create a remarkable experience)
  • invite (have real conversations with your audience and find your brand’s voice)
  • intrigue (tell your story)
  • expose (show content to your audience)
  • identify audience (listen for trends and what people are saying on social media)

All of these steps aim to build long term sustainability. Lamping suggests to work backward, from the bottom (identify audience) up (loyalty).

In addition, our guest speaker shared an advance marketing tip for exposing your audience to specific content – Facebook dark post or unpublished post ads. It is an ad post that does not show on your page. It is only visible to the audience you target in their news feed. This is a good tool to test different ads or content to difference audiences without flooding your page. Lamping was not able to get into the specific steps to create a Facebook dark post due to time. However, there are numerous videos on YouTube on how to create one.

Online Crowdfunding for Nonprofits

What is Crowdfunding?2016-03-30 09.09.10

Crowdfunding refers to any effort to raise money through donations from a large number of people. Crowdfunding websites allow individuals, organizations, and businesses to reach a wider audience in order to obtain donations and support. Crowdfunding websites also give individuals an easy way to contribute to their favorite organizations.

Why Should Nonprofits Use Online Crowdfunding?

There are numerous benefits to using online crowdfunding. First, it’s accessible to anyone with internet access. This is beneficial for organizations looking to expand their donor base or simply to make it easier for existing donors to give. Second, it’s fairly easy to start an online crowdfunding campaign. With crowdfunding websites (like Kickstarter and Indiegogo) on the rise, it’s becoming easier to create and maintain crowdfunding platforms. And third, online crowdfunding also works as an outreach platform and marketing tool.

Which Online Crowdfunding Website is the Best?

This isn’t a simple question. Different crowdfunding websites offer different benefits and services. There are a plethora of different websites but it’s important to understand how much of the donations will make it to your organization. Most crowdfunding websites charge a “platform fee,” which is charge for using their website. Most crowdfunding websites also charge a “credit card payment fee” which goes to the third-party payment processors (like Paypal).

Below are 5 popular crowdfunding websites with their associated fees:


5% : Platform fees

3% + 30¢ : Credit Card Payment Fee


4.9%: Platform Fee

2.0% + 30¢ : Credit Card Payment Fee

First Giving

5.0% : Platform Fee

2.5% : Credit Card Payment Fee

$500 : Subscription Yearly Subscription


5.0% : Platform Fee

2.9% + 30¢ : Credit CardPayment Fee


4.9% : Platform Fee

3% : Credit Card Payment Fee

This is my no means an exhaustive list. However, these may  be a good place to begin your crowdfunding journey.


Marketing on Zero Dollars: What To Do When Media Actually Show Up

A Fundraiser’s Journey, Kelly Updike for PCNRC Kelly pic

I recommend that you don’t have a news-announcement event – you should plan and implement your event for itself, not for a news conference. It’s a bonus when news media arrive to cover it! And way less stressful to you, your board and the staff.

So, you’re having an event and have invited news media, now what?

Make a plan that includes:

  • Press packet with your event information and a copy of the news release, which you can email to all the news media again after the event. Also include basic information about your organization.
  • Staff member/s or key volunteer/s ready to escort or assist news media throughout their stay with you.
  • Staff member/s or key volunteer/s (can be same or different from above), selected, prepared and practiced with one or two key messages, to speak for the organization with the news media.
  • Escort for late-arriving news media.
  • Worthwhile reporting experience: Be sure your event merits their time and attention.

Tips for talking with media

  • Be friendly and confident. You are the expert on this particular event or topic and that’s why they are talking to you.
  • Be firm when you need to be. Can’t have photos or video of clients’ faces? Perhaps long-distance or back-of-head views are okay. Tell them when they arrive and they will respect your wishes.
  • Know the message you want to convey and stick to it.
  • Reporters are people, too. They are busy and sometimes new to our region, so provide history, context and background information in order for the reporter to fully understand and thus correctly report on the event.
  • Never ask to preview what the reporter is writing or taping. They will laugh at you, so I’m just trying to save you some embarrassment here.

Understand that the news reporters’ job is to convey an interesting message to their viewers/readers/listeners. You are responsible for helping them get it right. Never assume they know what you are talking about and be armed with your titillating tidbits. Felix Unger, from the Odd Couple TV series, said it best HERE.

The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Embassy or the PCNRC.

Marketing on Zero Dollars: The Media Release

Kelly picA Fundraiser’s Journey, Kelly Updike for PCNRC

If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? Not to a reporter!

You should regularly push out information to news media on all the cool stuff you are doing. Once or twice a year doesn’t cut it. Reporters need to know you exist and are doing good things in our community.

Start by preparing basic information. When you select board members and officers, type up the list of board members (list their work affiliation) and send that in. When you give out volunteer awards, send that in (and list why those folks were winners). When you get a big donation, talk to the donor about how to publicize it. Send that in! Announce your annual fundraiser, what makes it special this year, and send that in. And after you count all the money that was raised, send that in, too.

What you are providing to news outlets should be interesting and does not have to be lengthy – write about what makes it and your organization special. Your first paragraph should state what’s going on and why you are telling everyone about it, so be sure you are answering the questions “So what?” and “Why should you care?” right away. The second and third paragraphs give details about what you just announced in the first paragraph. Then end with basic information about your organization (your elevator speech, website, address) each time so that the who-what-when-where-how all get covered. Go online to find good news release formats or email me if you want some specific help.

Write the information as if it will be printed exactly as you wrote it – you will often see your news releases reprinted on the Internet. And post your news to your own website and social media pages.

Look for photo opportunities to send to news media — TV, print and online publications are all looking for stills and video. Sometimes the setup or practice for an event can be just as visually interesting as the event itself.

Information to news media can of course be sent via email. There are many, many news outlets hungry for news – radio, TV, newspaper, magazine, online. Send your information to specific reporters, page editors, business writers, assignment editors, photo editors and bloggers. Check online and in publications for email addresses.

As you become more experienced, do a little research and reach out to additional yet relevant outlets –Visit Fort Wayne, Arts United and the Downtown Improvement District are just a few local organizations that post events on their calendars and websites. Is there a regional, state or national news outlet that reports on what you do? Send it in!

Are you a pro at all this? Then you are contacting morning and noontime TV and radio news and events shows so that you can be a guest.

The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Embassy or the PCNRC.

Tell Your Story to the Media

Kelly picA Fundraiser’s Journey
: Kelly Updike for PCNRC

Marketing on Zero Dollars: Tell Your Story to the Media

 So, you’ve been working on your elevator speech and are now happily giving out 15-second mini-mission statements to everyone you meet. Now, let’s take those nuggets of organizational pride and spread the word out to a bigger audience.

One of the best ways to promote your organization is to understand and use news media. I’m talking about the free stuff: news coverage.
First, you need to think like a news reporter. This is a lot like preparing your elevator speech.

Your organization has information that the community wants to hear! Take a look around your organization and at what it’s doing. What makes you special, what makes you proud and what should people know about your work, your mission, your people (staff, volunteers, board)?

Next, carefully watch TV news and talk shows, read the papers and area magazines, listen to the local radio stations and absorb the coverage from the reporters’ perspectives. Think like a news reporter. What news stories are they covering? What do they want? Well, they seek something interesting, fresh and visual (photos and video apply to both TV and print media).

For example, Animal Care & Control recently ran out of dogs available for adoption. It was for only one day and maybe they could have thought this was a bad thing for their customers. Instead, they quickly notified news media about this very rare and special occasion. Lots of positive coverage ensued about the good works of Animal Care & Control.

Bonus round: The holiday season is a great time to take an outside-looking-in view of your organization and look at what makes you shiny and special.

The postings on this site are my own and do not necessarily reflect the view of the Embassy or the PCNRC.

Pinterest: To Use or Not To Use

Katrina Pieri for wordpressThe year is almost 2016, and most nonprofits are (hopefully) familiar with social media. Facebook and Twitter in particular are used by numerous nonprofits as successful marketing tools. If you’re involved with a nonprofit, you most likely know exactly what I’m talking about. However, a lesser-used social media platform within the nonprofit world might also be worth your organization’s time: Pinterest.

Although Pinterest is sometimes scorned as a “craft site” for women with a lot of free time, I’d like to respectfully point out that given its nature as an organizational tool, it might be just as helpful as a marketing tool. Hear me out, and perhaps you’ll reconsider whether it would benefit your organization to jump on the Pinterest bandwagon.

Joe Waters, blogger at, suggests contemplating a few questions before jumping on the bandwagon in his article “Why and How Causes Should Use Pinterest”. The very first question he asks is: “Do you have an interesting story to tell through pictures?” If so, perhaps you’ll find Pinterest useful.

Here are some ideas to convince you:

(1) A local ASPCA or other pet adoption center, for example, might pin photos of animals that are up for adoption. While posting photos to a website may appear to accomplish the same goal, keep in mind that Pinterest users repin worthy pins to their own boards, giving them a virtual collection of images they can view on their computer screen with ease. Perhaps a Pinterest user eager to adopt an animal would find it more useful to have a Canva Pinterest Blog Post image 2board of adoption-ready animal photos, as opposed to having to scroll through images on a website. Many Pinterest users already maintain “cute animal” boards, so it’s not a stretch to suggest that they would also enjoy maintaining boards of adoptable animals in their area.

(2) Joe even suggests that an organization such as Goodwill could pin photos of trendy used clothing from their stores, so that Pinterest users could view (and virtually collect via their own boards) clothing before actually visiting the stores.

(3) If your organization is geared toward environmental causes, you could create a board full of inspirational images of nature, or the specific environments/species you’re trying to conserve, etc. If you reintroduce animals into their natural habitats, you could capture those moments via camera and then pin the photos to a board. The possibilities are endless.

If your organization routinely experiences touching moments of any kind, and those moments can be captured on camera with relative ease, then you can pin those photos and share them online, thereby touching hearts everywhere.

pinterestSo, if your organization is already utilizing social media and can handle another virtual task, and your organization can benefit from sharing images, perhaps Pinterest may be right for you. It’s yet another marketing tool to spread awareness for your organization, and it’s a fairly easy one given the simple nature of Pinterest. If your organization can communicate something of importance through an image, then by all means, pin that photo! (And don’t forget to repin other appropriate/similar images!)

New Books

with booksIs this a slower time of the year for you? Need something new to read? Either way we have some options for you! Below is a sampling of the new books available to check out in the PCNRC’s collection. Consider it our holiday gift to you.

If you read one of these books, please let us know. We would like to get your thoughts and pass it along to other readers.

Financial Management

Budgeting and Financial Management for Nonprofit Organizations: Using Money to Drive Mission Success

Nonprofit Sustainability: Making Strategic Decisions for Financial Viability


199 Fun and Effective Fundraising Events for Nonprofit Organizations

Ask Without Fear!: A Simple Guide to Connecting Donors with What Matters Most


Meeting the Job Challenges of Nonprofit Leaders: A Field book on Strategies and Action

Successful Nonprofits Build Supercharged Boards

Strategic Planning for Nonprofit Organizations: A Practical Guide for Dynamic Times


SPIKE You Brand ROI: How to Maximize Reputation and Get Results

Content Marketing for Nonprofits: A Communications Map for Engaging Your Community, Becoming a Favorite Cause, and Raising More Money

Connected Causes: Online Marketing Strategies For Nonprofit Organizations


How to Turn Your Words Into Money: The Master Fundraiser’s Guide to Persuasive Writing

Everybody Writes: Your Go-To Guide to Creating Ridiculously Good Content


The Art of Membership: How to Attract, Retain, and Cement Member Loyalty

Managing Human Resources For Nonprofits