Big Duck

Category: Content
Type: Blog Article

Generated 6 days ago

  • Leveraging Research to Transform the Narrative: Communications Research

    Most nonprofits want to do more research and use it to shape their work more deliberately-- but few actually budget for it or build it into their staff structure. American Friends Service Committee (AFSC), a large Quaker organization that promotes lasting peace with justice, as a practical expression of faith in action, figured out how to do this with amazing results. A cultural anthropologist and...

Big Duck

Category: Content
Type: Blog Article

Generated 2 weeks ago

  • When’s the best time to rebrand?

    There’s no such thing as the perfect moment to rebrand. Thoughtful timing makes a big difference in the experience and its outcomes, and can help make sure the right people are on the bus. But waiting too long can have very negative implications-- demotivating your staff and board, confusing your community, and creating a lackluster experience for donors and clients. So if you know it’s a necessar...

  • Talking politics: How can nonprofits join the conversation?

    Changes in America’s political environment are raising a lot of questions for nonprofits. How is the community we serve impacted by the new administration? Are we going to need to scale back any of our programs? Will any of our grants be cut? The list goes on. While you’re working to answer these questions internally, you’re probably also answering them externally. How do you respond to a donor wh...

  • Words to Avoid—2017 Edition

    It’s 2017 and we’ve emerged from our post-inauguration fog to get back to the business of what we do best: Guide nonprofits toward clear, conscious, and engaging communication habits to stand out in this noisy world. Yearly disclaimer: We offer this list as a friendly guide towards making stronger, more thoughtful word choices in your everyday communications. What you find below may be the right—o...

Big Duck

Category: Content
Type: Blog Article

Generated 3 weeks ago

  • The Power of Brand Personality for Your Nonprofit

    We all have distinct personalities—some of us are outgoing and whimsical, while others are nerdy and creative. Your nonprofit is no different. We believe that defining and using your organization’s brand personality can be a useful communications tool. In fact, your personality, when coupled with your positioning (the big idea you hope others might associate with your organization), is the heart o...

Big Duck

Category: Content
Type: Blog Article

Generated 4 weeks ago

  • Four ways a strong brand can drive corporate giving

    A strong brand provides countless benefits for nonprofit fundraising programs. It helps organizations stand out from their peers, focuses fundraisers and other communicators on the messages they need to drive action, and provides the vision for a better future that inspires supporters to give. A strong brand can also give you the edge you need to attract corporate donors. With $24.5 billion donate...

Big Duck

Category: Content
Type: Blog Article

Generated 1 month ago

  • 3 Ways to Hire and Retain the Best Nonprofit Communicators

    Savvy communications directors with deep expertise and track records of success in larger nonprofits are, in my experience, a bit like the Painted Bunting who unexpectedly took up residence here in Brooklyn recently; rare birds that can be difficult to attract, spot, and head south for the winter too soon. When the right person applies to work for you and stays, spearheading game-changing communic...

Big Duck

Category: Content
Type: Blog Article

Generated 1 month ago

  • Finding your nonprofit’s voice in the Trump era

    The last couple of weeks have been an emotionally draining and stressful time for so many of us who work in the nonprofit sector and are devoted to social justice and democratic values. Despite several alarming executive orders and appointees, it has been assuring to witness powerful and swift communications from nonprofit leaders of all types whose missions and values feel like they’re under atta...

Big Duck

Category: Content
Type: Blog Article

Generated 1 month ago

  • Who run the nonprofit world?

    For years, I’ve noticed that the majority of faces you see in most nonprofits belong to women. Beyonce got it right: women are the backbone of the social sector! They lead organizations, run departments, and power nonprofits at all levels. In fact, women make up most of the nonprofit workforce, yet despite that, we still occupy only a small percentage of the leadership slots at the top 400 charit...

  • The High Value of Your Nonprofit’s Values

    I was delighted to participate as a steering committee in the Brooklyn Community Foundation’s inaugural Spark Prize, an exciting new grantmaking initiative. I was truly impressed with how the Foundation integrated its values into every aspect of this project and leveraged them as a strategic decision-making tool in the grant review process, so I asked their fabulous DIrector of Communications, Lia...

  • Brand Building at the Prospect Park Alliance

    When I became the head of marketing at the Prospect Park Alliance, the non-profit organization that manages Brooklyn's flagship park in partnership with the City, I was given a marketing professional's dream situation and perhaps biggest challenge: creating a new website for the organization starting on day one—and adding to that, by my own initiative, the freshening of the brand identity. The Al...

  • Stop looking at how much you raise

    This might sound radical to many fundraisers, but here’s my top recommendation for 2017: Stop looking at how much you raise. I’ve been in the trenches of year-end fundraising for more than a decade now, and I’m not looking to take your hard fought wins away. It’s just that those big numbers can be misleading. Staff and board politics will almost always require that you plug that big number into a ...

  • Looking for new donors? Start with research.

    “New year, new me”—a commonly tossed around phrase you’re sure to hear a lot in January, but I’d like to offer up a different phrase and goal: “New year, new donors”. Easier said than done, I know, but I’ve got an underused strategy for finding new donors: market research. While that phrase might just sound like expensive jargon to you, there are ways to use research to find out if you’re already ...

  • Resources to plan your nonprofit’s best year of communications ever

    Planning your communications efforts for 2017? Here are a few articles I hope will help you map out smarter goals, objectives, strategies, and tactics for your nonprofit this year. (Consider them fireside reading for that ski weekend you’ve got coming up.) What are we raising awareness for anyway? Will help you think in smarter, more specific terms about what that murky term “awareness” really doe...

  • A Guide to Writing S.M.A.R.T Objectives

    The New Year: a time for making (and sometimes quickly breaking) resolutions, trying new things, and looking ahead to what 2017 might have in store. We see a lot of organizations use the early months of a new year to set annual objectives in support of their strategic plan—it’s the perfect time to think through what you’d like to achieve in the coming year. If your organization is about to embark ...

  • 5 Factors that make a communications team great

    Nonprofits often begin with the assumption that they (the nonprofit staff) need something that we (the consultants) possess. That special something might be expert help with a particular project, clarity around best practices, or building their skills. But real success in nonprofit marketing and communications comes from more than just great deliverables, advice, or coaching. How your staff does t...

  • Are you top of mind? Three types of awareness you should be tracking

    Most nonprofits strive to increase their own visibility through their marketing and communications efforts, but few actually track if it’s working.  When we launched the Brandraising Benchmark in 2016 to help nonprofits track their own levels of awareness and engagement cost-effectively, our partners at Ipsos were full of valuable insights. In this article, Nicole Zacotinsky, an account manager at...

  • The elusive millennials: are they worth chasing?

    Ah, millennials—they’re the constantly SnapChatting young people with attention spans that shorten every day. (I’m allowed to say this because I’m one of them!) As millennials make up more and more of the workforce and their buying power increases, organizations are obsessing about how to get them to care about their cause—and ultimately how to get them to give. This obsession has led to tons of r...

  • Leading a nonprofit rebrand: Lessons learned from Good to Great

    Behind the most successful nonprofit rebranding initiatives lies not just a great logo or perfectly phrased tagline, but also a strong leader and team of people who feel engaged in the process, motivated to give thoughtful feedback, and focused on the goals of the work—not just the work’s deliverables. In the book Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap and Others Don't, Jim Collins offers...

  • Who Decides Your Communications Workload?

    Kivi Leroux Miller is president of Nonprofit Marketing Guide.com and the award-winning author of two books, “The Nonprofit Marketing Guide: High-Impact, Low-Cost Ways to Build Support for Your Good Cause” and “Content Marketing for Nonprofits: A Communications Map for Engaging Your Community, Becoming a Favorite Cause, and Raising More Money.” Kivi and I share a passion and similar perspective abo...

  • Annual reports: worth it?

    In 2010, I attempted to persuade nonprofits to stop producing costly annual reports in a blog called “The Annual Report is Dead: Long live the Annual Report!”. Years later, I still get calls from nonprofit leaders who continue to feel pressure to produce annual reports even though they can  drain resources and have limited or unclear return on investment (ROI). Why I am skeptical about annual repo...

  • Nonprofit leaders respond to the 2016 Presidential Election (round-up)

    It’s been almost two weeks since Donald Trump was elected the 45th President of the United States--and frankly, I’m still processing it. As a progressive Brooklynite who somewhat unconsciously/somewhat joyfully lives in a bit of a bubble, I thought that the hopeful, inclusive, and big-hearted America was something that would continue. Between the nonstop analysis from both sides, I’ve been heart...

  • Managing through game-changing moments

    That Holy *!*&^%$! Moment We’ve all had them: moments when you realize what’s just happened is a game-changer—and you didn’t see it coming. Sometimes the change is internal: a key staff or board member unexpectedly departs, budgets are cut, fraud occurs, etc. Sometimes, despite our best-laid plans, the change is external: a recession, a national crisis, or the political landscape dramatically shif...

  • Brand Architecture: Our case study with the Union for Reform Judaism and other resources

    One of the big nonprofit communications topics that keeps surfacing this year is brand architecture. Midsize and larger organizations, in particular, are working harder than ever to connect the dots between myriad programs, events, and initiatives that have been too disjointed so they can communicate more clearly and cohesively. We just posted a case study of a complicated brand architecture proje...

  • How #GivingTuesday Can Help Your Nonprofit Reach PhilanthroKids or Generation Z Donors

    With #GivingTuesday now less than three weeks away, we thought we might expand your thinking on how to celebrate with this post about reaching Generation Z by Beth Kanter. Following the millennials, Gen Z represents the generation born between 1995 and 2015. Growing up in a post-9/11 world, this generation is more connected and hyper-aware than any other. They are more private, more diverse, and a...

  • Don’t make it harder to get the attention you deserve

    Even organizations with a well-developed and up-to-date brand sometimes overlook one essential element of a strong communications strategy: brand architecture. Brand architecture is the name we give to the complicated network of roles and relationships between your organization’s programs, initiatives, events, publications, spaces—all the things that you do, own, and are known for. You might refer...

  • Your #GivingTuesday To-Do List

    #GivingTuesday is less than one month away! [That’s Tuesday, November 29th, in case you missed it!] I’m already getting emails and tweets reminding me to “save the date”... are you ready? Earlier this week, Daniel and I shared some tips for how to maximize #GivingTuesday with the finalists of the Brooklyn Community Foundation’s Spark Prize, who will each receive a match of up to $5,000 for their d...

  • Lessons from the Atlanta Community Food Bank on rolling out a new brand

    After months of meetings and presentations, your new brand is board approved. Huzzah! Time to ‘go live’! But before you do... pause! Taking time to craft a smart rollout plan will be a critical part of your rebrand process. A new brand is more likely to resonate and thrive if it’s rolled out both internally (to staff and board) and externally (to volunteers, donors, partners) with attention and ca...

  • Does your organization have Laundry List Syndrome?

    We’re not doctors here at Big Duck, but that doesn’t mean we’re not diagnosticians. A big part of how we help nonprofits is by tapping their knees and asking them to say “Ahhh” so we can determine exactly what it is that’s ailing them. One of the most common conditions we find is something we call “Laundry List Syndrome.” Untreated, it can weaken an organization’s communications and ultimately aff...

  • How to segment your email list, and why

    It feels like it was yesterday when I wrote a post for this blog titled “It’s August. Time to start planning for year end!” Now it’s October, and it’s time to dive in and iron out the important details of your campaign strategy. One of the most important of those details is segmentation—how to break down your supporter list into distinct groups based on...well, we’ll get to that in a minute. Whil...

  • 29 Ideas for #GivingTuesday 2016 you haven’t thought of

    I recently attended an event at Whole Whale focused on #GivingTuesday ideas and they know their stuff! We heard from communicators at New York Cares, DonorsChoose.org, and more about how they're approaching #GivingTuesday and what's been successful for their organizations in the past. This article shares similar success stories and insider tips--it's a perfect resource to get your organization's c...

  • Why bad brand architecture happens to good organizations

    As nonprofits grow and evolve over time, their brands can get complicated. Rather than maintaining one unified look, organizations often create new logos, names, and other unique elements for their programs and initiatives. More often than not, this happens because an organization lacks a strategic framework for managing its brand over time. Things can get very messy. Brand architecture is about d...

  • Aligning an organization’s website with its vision for the future

    The Jewish Theological Seminary (JTS) is the premier institution for advanced Jewish learning in North America. We have been helping JTS bring aspects of their vision for the future to life during an exciting period of change and growth. We recently created a new website for JTS, launched this past April at www.jtsa.edu. The new site tells their story in simpler, more compelling terms, features re...

  • Should you outsource your appeal writing this year-end season? Maybe, maybe not.

    The year-end fundraising season is heating up! Time to sharpen your pencils and craft those appeals that will move your donors, right? But what if you’re swamped? Not a great writer? Outsourcing some aspects of your fundraising? Big Duck often works with nonprofits who need help with fundraising campaigns, but many organizations don’t have the budget to pass off every aspect of their campaign to a...

Big Duck

Category: Content
Type: Blog Article

Generated 5 months ago

  • #ThanksObama! Tips on Social Media Management from the White House

    Ashleigh Axios, former Creative Director at the White House Office of Digital Strategy, recently gave a webinar for Big Duck in which she offered tips for social media design and management. We’ve transcribed Ashleigh’s tips here, and shared her presentation slides, in case you missed it. Interested in catching webinars like this in the future? We invite our newsletter subscribers—just sign up her...

  • Simple steps you can take to create a happier, healthier nonprofit.

    Not making time to exercise? Checking email in bed at night and first thing in the morning? Eating fast food at your desk during a conference call? Too many people I know fit that profile. There’s a culture shift that has to occur so people OK when they unplug, take a break, and do what they need to do in order to be able to produce good work. In The Happy, Healthy Nonprofit: Strategies for Impact...

Big Duck

Category: Content
Type: Blog Article

Generated 6 months ago

  • 5 ways to transform timid board members into confident fundraisers

    Alexander Sanger, Advisory Director of International Planned Parenthood Federation Western Hemisphere Region, recently shared his story of fundraising pride and glory on our blog, proclaiming that donating feels better than getting a root canal. I was particularly struck by his ideas about how fundraising is giving others the chance to feel good and be part of something larger than themselves. His...

Big Duck

Category: Content
Type: Blog Article

Generated 6 months ago

  • Eight ways your attempts to raise awareness will likely fail

    Most organizations yearn to have the issues they support front-and-center in the minds of their target audiences. They also want to be viewed as central to the issue: the go-to org for a movement, for example. If you’re planning to raise awareness and increase your nonprofit’s visibility, you’ve got hard work ahead. Here are some of the obstacles to watch out for. With good planning and foresight,...

  • In praise of jargon: 3 times you should embrace it

    The nonprofit and marketing worlds are lousy with jargon. Big Duck exists at the crossroads of those two worlds, so we stumble over a lot of jargon in our daily lives. As much as possible, we recommend avoiding it. Often, jargon is a hurdle that keeps your audiences from understanding -- and ultimately supporting -- your mission. But when can or should you use jargon? Here are three potential scen...

Big Duck

Category: Content
Type: Blog Article

Generated 6 months ago

Big Duck

Category: Content
Type: Blog Article

Generated 7 months ago

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