On Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd January, 26 representatives from 11 member organisations of the European Movement International attended a social media training in Berlin, which was led by Jon Worth. The session, which was designed to be participative throughout the two days, started with expectations setting and a discussion on ethics in online communications. A key discussion developed centered on online communications strategy, including understanding how messages are received, and the strength of using fewer tools to maximum effect. Time was also dedicated to understanding the range of tools available for online communications, the difference between them, the strength of current tools, such as Twitter, and also the value and place of advertising.
In a different move, participants were also encouraged to come up with their own sessions and to learn from the experience of their colleagues across the Europe wide network. An update was also given by Alex Godson on the European Movement International’s current online communications strategy, and by Bernd Huttemann on the use of Wikipedia.
The European Movement is a network of organisations that has mobilised citizens and advocated for a democratic, federal and enlarged union since 1948. When checked, Shutterstock's safe search screens restricted content and excludes it from your search results.
If a nonprofit organization wants to maximize its contributed income it needs a coherent, executable development plan, and that plan must have a viable communications strategy.
A development communications strategy starts with the organization’s overall communications plan.
The need for a specialized development communications strategy does not give a development department the license to work outside the organization’s communications department. It is possible to attempt to raise money, even to actually raise it, in a way that damages the organization’s survival.
These potentially damaging approaches are easy to spot in the context of one-on-one solicitation. In short, an organization’s image is the sum total of the messages it and others send about it. Clear messages are best written in a journalistic style called inverted pyramid in which the most important information is put at the beginning.
We have already stressed the importance for a development communications strategy to operate according to an organization’s overall communications plan. For example, let’s say there is an organization that habitually describes itself as providing programs to protect latchkey children. Carrying this example further, let’s say the organization stresses protect latchkey children in one annual campaign and lessen juvenile crime in the next. A prospect who is confused about what an organization does or why it does it is not likely to support that organization. Does the fund-raising message speak in a voice consistent with how the organization speaks about other topics?
Is this fund-raising message consistent with the organization’s other fundraising messages? No part of a development communications strategy is more important than determining who will be the recipients of your messages.
One of the goals of a development communication strategy should be to target as tightly as possible an organization’s fund-raising messages. The largest donors should receive most of their information in messages tailored to appeal to big givers and delivered one-on-one. A large part of the process of identifying recipients for specific sets of messages will be accomplished through the rating and evaluating of prospects. An organization will also want to get its fund-raising messages out to recipients other than donors. Another group that shouldn’t be overlooked in a development communications strategy is the staff of the organization. Having identified differing message content needs are we prepared to craft messages aimed at each group? Do we have a program in place for communicating with staff – paid and volunteer – about development needs and plans? No communication effort—large or small—should be undertaken unless there is an intended result for that effort. It isn’t enough for a message sent as part of a development communication strategy to have the intend action of getting someone to make a donation.
In a campaign, we segment prospects by their ability to give, and then design specific messages to go to those different segmentations. A development communications strategy will also plan for different messages to be sent to the same group of recipients. Always identify the result you want from every communication effort, and for each effort there should be a single result. My intended result for telling donors how their contributions were spent would be to let them feel a direct connection to the program.
Where I come from, those are two different results, and I would deliver the information intended to elicit each result in a separate message. We’ve talked about the messages we want to deliver, the recipients to whom we want to send them, and the actions we want recipients to take as a result of those messages. For the sake of this discussion, we’ll define internal media as every message delivery vehicle over which the organization is able to exercise some degree of direct control. Obviously, any development communications strategy will plan to take advantage of an organization’s existing general internal media—that managed by the communications department. At specific times during the fund-raising cycle the development department will want to use these media to deliver messages that support its fund-raising efforts. Any newsletter the communications department puts out should cover events, successes, and plans of the development department in the same way it does those of other departments. Every time a staff member speaks publicly a portion of the speech should call attention to the organization’s good works and how it relies upon contributed income to continue it efforts. The communications department will have relationships with the community’s news media. In the next annual report, will donors be recognized, large gifts singled out for praise, and fund-raising successes recorded? At the next annual meeting, will successful fund-raising efforts be celebrated and upcoming campaigns called to attention? Is there a policy in place to identify the organization’s good works and cite its need for contributed income in all speeches made by staff? Is the development department working with the communications department to take advantage of the latter’s relationships with the news media? A large part of a development communications strategy will be devoted to the various communication vehicles the development department creates and then controls in an effort to support fund-raising programs. Brochures are where you can layout a campaign’s case for giving and cite positive outcomes that will result from a successful campaign. Brochures are important, and their content must be agreed upon early in the planning process. Newsletters are really the quick and dirty of publishing, and they do not have to last forever.
I dislike being on the receiving end of phone campaigns as much as the next person, but that doesn’t mean we should rule telephones out of a development communications strategy.
Email is the new kid on the block in communication vehicles, and it is so versatile that we can expect to see its use increase rapidly. Every nonprofit organization should be collecting the email addresses of its donors and prospects. Another advantage of email is that it is good at drawing return comments and correspondence. One of the best ways to get good PSAs is to talk an advertising agency into producing them for you as a gift-in-kind. There are many other communication media that could be part of a development communications strategy – everything from promotional items you give away to video presentations to be shown at meetings. External media are principally the news media that will be covering an organization and its fund-raising campaigns. The two most common ways we communicate with external media are by issuing press releases and talking to writers, editors, or reporters.
Keep in mind that you will have virtually no control over what an external medium says about the organization and its fund-raising efforts. External media can be important to a fund-raising campaign and consideration of them should be included in any development communications strategy. Because you have so little control over what ends up in print or on the radio or TV, external media should be used carefully and sparingly.
Keep in mind that the news media covering a story will not, for the most part, simply use your press releases. Budget: No development communication strategy can be carried out successfully unless in has been budgeted for. Schedule: Develop a schedule for executing the components of your development communications strategy and then stick to it. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License. I opened Firefox, logged in to my MailChimp account and started writing a little love letter of appreciation to everyone on my Diva News email list. I got more unsubscribe requests from this one, short email than I had in the past 3-4 years of sending monthly issues of Diva News and random updates to this particular email list. But I couldn’t get over the fact so many people had had a negative reaction to this email. If you’re going to send an email expressing love and appreciation, you risk irritating those who simply cannot receive love in this way. After digging further, he told me that he is now living alone, separated from his wife, and not feeling any kind of the love and connection I seemed to be experiencing in my life. By sending him an email that offered connection and appreciation, I’d rubbed up against his raw nerve of loneliness. If you send a bulk email telling people that you are thinking of them, that you appreciate them, they may not believe you… even if you mean every word. If I had sent this same message via snail mail, it may not have caused such a mixed reaction.
When people asked to be on my Diva List, they expected to receive my Diva News email about my musical adventures and other short emails about upcoming gigs.
As I mentioned earlier, while there were a handful of unsubscribes, there were a hell of a lot more positive responses. None of these sweet reconnections would have happened if I hadn’t sent that email, so I have no regrets.

In fact, this strange and unusual incident has only deepened my commitment to send lots of love and appreciation via email! Thanks for the great reminder to honor ourselves and the people who have elected to share some moments with us, be it through FB, e-mail, twitter, or, face to face. Have you been trying to write a bit of marketing copy for your biz …maybe for your home page or a new sales page… or a series of emails?
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Now your copy has the “right stuff” to wow and woo your ideal clients… and get those take-it-to-the-bank results! Which is such a sweet deal when you consider you’ll get a mighty fine, professionally edited and finished piece of copy with the power to attract a slew of new clients and increase your sales. Not to mention all the time, sweat and swear words you’ll save because you won’t be stressing and struggling to find the perfect words all on your own. Plus, you get a life-time high from one Copywriting Cappuccino because not only will the copy we create together rake in the results for years and years to come, you will have the guidance, tips and secret sauce you need to keep writing your own compelling copy, in your own voice and style. Once you’ve got the chops to express your unique value in a way that resonates with others, you’ll be 10-thousand times more confident in the power of your marketing message and the wealth of riches you bring to the people you serve. It’s no wonder that almost every career I’ve had has centered around creating communication and connection. Then came the Internet, and I fell head over heels for this seemingly limitless vehicle for powerful, highly creative communication and personal connection.
I learned Internet marketing from some of the best: Alex Mandossian, Tom Antion, Derek Fredrickson, Fabienne Fredrickson and Marie Forleo. I started Firecracker Communications so I could do the work I was meant to do: make it simple and easy for  entrepreneurs to write compelling copy that immediately attracts their perfect clients, sells their stuff and authentically communicates the unique value they offer. With all representatives already engaged in communications acitivities for their various organistions, the participants were given the chance to focus on more in-depth learning and the sharing of best practices over the two days. Held in the offices of the European Movement Germany, participants were also pleased to spend time together with colleagues from all across Europe.
In this way participants also shared the various difficulties they find in online communications and the need to adapt strategy to what works in different markets. Whatever is done to communicate, as part of the fundraising effort, must be done in the context of how the organization has decided to present itself to the public.
It is crucially important that the development department work with the communications department.
No one should ever construct a development plan or the communications strategy to support it without reviewing the organization’s mission statement, its goals and objectives, and its long-term strategic plan. Misleading statements, promises that cannot be kept, misrepresented facts, and negative presentation of information can yield short-term results that constrain an organization’s ability to raise money in the future.
We wouldn’t want a solicitor to make any of the following statements unless we were sure they were true, had been approved in advance, and had a pretty darn good idea what the response to them would be. When we focus too narrowly on the need to raise money, they can creep in to the very fabric of what we do.
When we communicate, we deliver a relevant message to previously identified recipients using chosen media in order to obtain predetermined action. The view people hold of an organization is a combination of those representations and the messages others disseminated about. While an organization cannot exercise direct control over the messages of others, it can and should manage carefully the ones it sends.
A clear message is not the place to employ the literary techniques your college English professors taught you.
First, everything in a fund-raising message must be consistent with every other message the organization sends.
The tactics of carrying out this imperative must be consistent with the way in which the organization communicates.
Some organizations will be very conservative in how they speak while others exhibit a stridency of tone in their communications. But in a fund-raising campaign, that organization asks people to give so that programs can be developed to get kids off the streets in order to lessen juvenile crime. The organization is then sending inconsistent fundraising messages and is likely to pay the price in the second year by receiving fewer gifts from people who responded to the latchkey children appeal. You can neither craft the content of messages nor pick the vehicles to carry them until you know who will be receiving them. It is doubtful an organization would want to send the same message to someone who has given $100 as they would to someone whose past giving totals $100,000. Yes, they will be recipients of other messages through the various channels the organization has chosen to use, but the information they will rely upon to make a decision should come from a person speaking to them in their home or office and be backed up by personal letters from peers. The messages you craft for the media, like those for any other group of recipients, need to be tailored to their needs. We communicate in order to generate action, and we had better be able to describe that action before we begin sending messages to recipients.
A monthly newsletter sent to an existing base of smaller donors may have the intended result of getting the recipients to think favorably about an organization. For example, an organization with a monthly newsletter to donors might want to use that vehicle to tell about how the funds raised in a recent campaign were spent on a specific program. On the other hand, I want them to know about the award in order to have them feel positively about the organization and the quality of its efforts. The development communications strategy should include a plan for using those relationships to promote fund-raising efforts.
People are more likely to make contact with an organization if they have a name of someone to email, call, or write. In the time we have available, I’d rather discuss how they fit into a development communications strategy and where their use is most effective. A brochure gives the development office something to send when they get a request for information. It is used over and over again because it works, especially when smaller gifts are being solicited from a large number of people. Phone campaigns, like direct mail, work when it comes to soliciting smaller gifts, and phone surveys are a great way to pretest how receptive the community is to the case for a particular campaign. It is the least expensive directed communication medium available and it has the ability to deliver everything from newsletters to direct-mail solicitations.
There is no faster way to get a message out in the middle of a campaign that by emailing it to your intended recipients. At the same time, it should be getting permission to email them with information about the organization. While you control its content, it is actually placed in external media such as radio and television programming and newspaper and magazine pages.

But what we have looked at here are the most commonly used vehicles and the ones that are likely to return the most bang for the buck. The size of the organization and its perceived importance to the community will affect how hard or easy that coverage is to come by. You can issue press releases until you are blue in the face and still find the facts and information published or aired contrary to what you gave out. A campaign-kickoff press conference is worthwhile if the campaign is significant enough to the community to warrant it.
You will need to determine the amount of staff time it will take and how much money will be needed to carry it out. During the entire month of March, I’ll be giving you tips, ideas and off-the-wall insights about how to get your bulk emails opened, read and responded to.
This is a list made up of mostly friends, fans and people who’ve asked to be kept updated on my musical life and singing gigs.
But I also received a slew of lovely, personal emails from people who shared what was happening in their lives and expressed their appreciation as well.
One person who unsubscribed told me that the personal nature of my emails feel manipulative.
I feel even more fierce and passionate about infusing love, appreciation, care and service into every aspect of my life and business, including all my relationships, no matter how distant, professional, new or obscure. I intend only to pour more love into this world and to express it in any way I can, including via email, without apology. It’s kind of too bad that we have to worry that saying nice things might offend someone. I must admit, however, though not from you, there are some people who claim that feeling but watching them on FB and various other places, that message would not feel so genuine.
You just turned your frumpy first draft into a tantalizing, finely focused (and finished) piece of irresistible copy. Then, hop over to your email inbox because I’ll be sending you a short-but-mighty list of questions about your copywriting project, your goals for the project and the best day and time to meet by phone. Within a week of placing your order, you and I will meet for our first Copy Cappuccino session via phone or Skype. If you get stuck or have any questions, you can email or call me, and we’ll get you flying high again. My sister’s offhand, rhetorical question lit the first spark of a lifetime passion and respect for the power and beauty of words, their ability to tell a story, relay information, evoke feelings, stir memories, ignite desires and ideas, and change lives. I’ve had long, successful careers in public relations, marketing and sales, ghostwriting, and fund development, and throughout each of these careers, the one constant has been my love for creating words and experiences that make something happen, inspire action, offer a new perspective, reveal a hidden truth, ignite ideas, inform, impress, seduce, charm… and, yes, entertain. I dove into the strange new ocean of Internet marketing and social media and learned everything I could about how to use this magical medium as a marketing and communications tool. And copywriting from Lorrie Morgan-Ferrero (my all-time favorite copywriting mentor), Sandi Krakowski and Vrinda Normand.
It will lead you to your greater purpose and reveal the work you were meant to do.” I paid attention. Approval must be sought from the communications department for the development communication strategy and its major components. It must be true to both the development and the communications departments’ guidelines, practices, and policies. Those who are charged with fundraising for an organization have a responsibility not only to bring in the contributed income it needs, but to do so within the context of the organization. We must always remember that a development operation, a development plan, and a development communications strategy exist so that the organization can better carry out its mission, according to the policies and practices it has set, in order to serve the constituencies it has identified. It consists of statements of fact and persuasive arguments that are as complete and absolute as possible.
Then there are the prospects who have yet to make a gift to the organization or who have not given to a specific type of campaign before. To inform the public at large, you generate publicity about a fund-raising campaign in order to create a climate favorable to the organization’s development efforts.
Volunteers and paid staff can be an important group because of their ability to influence the giving of others.
A solicitation letter sent to the same group as part of a direct mail campaign seeks to get the recipients to take the action of writing a check.
But it should be included as part of the development communications strategy and every effort made to make it happen.
Websites that fail to list a nonprofit’s development staff limit the possibility of potential new donors making contact. A newsletter can keep a fund-raising campaign fresh in the minds of prospective donors by announcing progress and major gifts. On the other hand, it’s a good idea for a development communications strategy to include an ongoing newsletter from the development department to donors of record and likely prospects. Many tests have been done on the number of pieces to include in a mailing, their color, the writing style, response rates, and just about any other variable you can imagine. You should never send fundraising email to people without first getting their permission to so. An organization should take advantage of every chance it gets to make its fundraising pitch in well-placed PSAs. In one way, shape, or form, they should be available to even the smallest of organizations.
The communications director should know which external media representatives are likely to view the organization favorably, and which ones to stay away from.
If not, have the communications department issue a press release and contact the appropriate people.
They will also want someone at the top of the organization or the campaign to give them a quote. Because, hey, if you’re going to take all that time to write a great email or email newsletter, you want people to read it, right? The winter sun poured through my office windows as I sat at my desk, and I felt a rush of appreciation and love for everyone and everything in my life. Many of these people are longtime connections from my California days, some are recent friends in New York.
If you change the rules and give them something they didn’t expect or agree to receive, they will opt out. I reconnected with  several old acquaintances and dear friends, and I even ended up having a long telephone conversation with a friend from California who was going through a rough time. I struggle with this whole concept as I definitely have big feelings and a big heart and want to share that with my fans and friends. Once you’re finished with those questions, you’ll email your answers back to me along with whatever piece of copy you want to transform.
Once you’ve finished, you will immediately send your new version to me (because I will be jumping out of my skin with anticipation). And for the past 11 years, I’ve had the honor of writing copy for some of the most well-known and highly respected business and marketing coaches working today. Failure to work closely with the communications department in this area can result in damage to the organization, its fundraising efforts, collegial harmony, and your career. The words that make up its facts and persuasions should be part of common, everyday language. Your first sentence must catch the reader’s attention and the gist of the message needs to be conveyed in the first paragraph. If an organization speaks of fundraising in a voice different from that which it uses in its other communications efforts, people will be confused. Too many organizations forget about non-development staff when it comes time to mount a campaign.
It is the document of first resort when fund-raising questions come up, and as such can be invaluable to all staff members. Every edition of a fund-raising newsletter should include an opportunity to give through return envelopes, phone numbers at which charge-card gifts can be accepted, and, if the organization has the capability, reference to a page on the website where gifts can be made. Also there are rules about how information should be released that govern among other things the best time of day and day of the week.
You can follow up with milestones-reached updates and finally with the announcement of successful conclusion of the campaign.
Be prepared for all of this, and leave the execution of it in the hands of the communications department.
I just leafed through the pages, looked at the pictures and horded most of the peanut M&Ms.
Soon, friends and colleagues were calling me, asking me to write their websites, sales pages and email campaigns.
If you have two equally important points that need to be communicated, you probably need to send two messages. The fund-raising statement creates an image in conflict with the organization’s traditional presentation of itself.
The messages for people capable of giving gifts of dramatically differing sizes will not be the same. But let’s take a look at the result we want to derive from communicating about each subject.
A call to action should be issued for the upcoming year’s annual campaign and any other scheduled fund-raising effort. A campaign newsletter should be two to four pages long, and it probably should be issued at least monthly.
I didn’t understand (at first) why this email, which was merely an expression of love, caused certain people to unsubscribe! Well-informed staff members can function as an informal cadre of image builders for an organization. Since most nonprofits operate under the strictest of budgetary constraints, I’m holding our discussion to PSAs and will not get into the merits of buying advertising. If an organization has a fund-raising campaign underway every staff person should be able to present the case for support.

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