Debra Askanase's blog

The 2010 Nonprofit Taglines Awards Competition is Open: Interview with Nancy Schwartz

It's time for the annual Nonprofit Tagline Awards. The awards competition was launched in 2008 after the completion of the Getting Attention Nonprofit Tagline Survey. The survey investigated styles, usage trends, what’s working and what’s not in nonprofit taglines based on data provided by 1,900 nonprofit communicators working in organizations across 11 vertical sectors and countless locations (mostly in the United States). What the survey found is that 72% of nonprofit organizations don't have a tagline, or rate theirs a performing poorly.

A strong tagline conveys your organization's message to stakeholders and keeps the organization on message as well. This year, for the first time, organizations can enter a tagline for their program (product or service), fundraising campaign and/or special event, in addition to their organizational tagline. As of the date of publishing, there are already 600 tagline entries.

I interviewed Nancy Schwartz, creator of the Nonprofit Tagline Awards, about the competition, taglines, and how taglines make a difference.

1. Why did you create the awards competition?

I believe strongly that your tagline is the most important eight words (or less) messaging you have, I launched the awards program to close that gap, and to bring attention to the need. We are also trying to grow use of “Great Words Promoting Good Causes” (our new tagline!)

2. How has the competition itself changed over the years and why?

In response to requests from participants, several aspects of the competition have changed over time. This year we have 13 unique vertical sectors within the organizational tagline category and have introduced three new categories – soliciting tagline entries for program (program, product or service), fundraising campaign and special event taglines. These new categories stem from suggestions from past voters and participants. In addition, we’ve added a 16-member judges panel to this year’s competition. I thought it was high time that we had folks other than me and my team evaluating what works best.

3. What are the main benefits of creating a great tagline for an organization, product, service, or event?

A strong organizational tagline does double-duty — working to extend your organization’s name and mission, while delivering a focused, memorable and repeatable message to your base.This “haiku of branding” is one of your most effective marketing tools and ideal for sharing via social media. Once you have an effective organizational tagline in place, crafting taglines at the program or campaign level provides those initiatives with the same kind of marketing muscle.

4. What is the "secret sauce" to creating a great tagline?

Like the best sauces, the nonprofit tagline sauce is rich in complex flavors. There is no single secret ingredient and the total is more than the sum of its individual parts.
The recipe for a great tagline includes clarity, brevity, relevance, authenticity, specificity and comprehensiveness of use, as well as creating a connection between the reader and the organization. Mix well and serve.

5. What is the selection process for the awards?

The criteria for winning taglines include clarity, brevity, relevance, authenticity, specificity and comprehensiveness of use, as well as creating a connection between the reader and the organization. Tagline awards FAQ and complete criteria for winning taglines are outlined here.

Each submitted tagline is reviewed in comparison to others in its category by the Getting Attention team. Up to forty semi-finalist taglines are selected via this process and forwarded to the judge handling that category. A diverse panel of expert judges will select the finalists. Each judge will select three to five top taglines as the finalists in her category. At that point, all members of the nonprofit community, from staff and volunteers to service providers, board members and donors will be invited to vote on the best tagline within each categor

6. Do you have a story about how a tagline helped a nonprofit achieve its goals?

Tom Johnson of The New Depot Players Theatre Troupe says this about how the process of developing their tagline helped the Troupe: "After reading the 2009 Nonprofit Tagline Report and hiring a professional facilitator to help our theatre troupe set concrete goals for us to reach in 2010, I knew that the brand and specifically the tagline, could have significant impact on our reach within the community and the arts industry in our metro area. I’m excited to see what the judges say about our tagline, but we have already reaped the rewards with an increase in membership, awareness and consistency in our organization’s marketing and communications. Nancy’s checklist for developing an expert tagline was an invaluable resource when I sat down to craft something memorable.”

7. Do you have a story about how a nonprofit that won the Taggies parlayed that achievement into success meeting its marketing goals?

Here’s as far as we know:
“We were very pleased to have our tagline recognized by our colleagues in the industry.  Our award has given the U.S. Fund extra visibility for its marketing and brand work!” 
—Kim Pucci, Marketing Director, U.S. Fund for UNICEF

“We were thrilled to be selected as the tagline award winner in the Human Services category. We leveraged the award as we rolled out our new brand and kicked off the public phase of our $5M capital campaign.  It was highlighted as an achievement in all of our capital campaign foundation grant requests and spotlighted in our agency newsletter and in the local media.  And, the media buzz that this award created helped JFCS maximize its marketing efforts without the need for allocating additional dollars in this difficult economy.” 
—Rose Chapman, LCSW, President/CEO of Jewish Family & Children’s Service of Sarasota-Manatee, Inc.

8. Anything else you want to add?

I’m just thrilled to be helping so many organizations be recognized for their hard and imaginative messaging work, and to be guiding others still on their way via the work of their peers.

To enter the competition, complete the entry form here. It may be helpful to read this Q&A blog post from a community college in the process of finalizing its tagline. To read more about this year's competition, and about past tagline awards winners, visit Nancy Schwartz' Getting Attention blog post about the awards. 

Tribe Leaders and Social Network Fundraising Thoughts

If you list it, will they come? 

Crowdfunding refers to using the collective funds of a group of people to raise money for a venture, organizaiton, or cause. In the last several years, a number of crowdfunding platforms have arisen that enable individuals to collectively pool money for a cause. Using these fuundraising platforms, a nonprofit organization can list its causes, programs, organization...and wait for donors to fund them. Some of these platforms include  Root Funding, Betterplace, Firstgiving,  and niche audience platforms such as Donorschoose (US classrooms), Jgooders (Jewish causes), Israel Gives (Israeli causes) or Kickstarter (arts, ventures). There are also a number of personal fundraising platforms that rely primarily on your urging individuals to raise funds for a specific campaign, but also have a crowdfunding approach with goals and group fundriasing: givezooks, Causes, JustGiving, and Give2gether. A rising popular favorite for personal fundriasing is Crowdrise because of the "best promos ever" and celebrity energy (read: Edward Norton) behind it.

I received this email last week from a client:

"Hey - check this out - what do you think?" She included a link to Root Funding. She wants to list the organization on Root Funding as a recipient.

I think it's a great service, but it is not the Field of Dreams. If you list your project on any of these platforms, the donations (most likely) will not come.

The problem with expecting that listing your organization will bring funds is that you are basically sending out a message through the "fundraising classifieds." It is an open fundraising call for people who have very little desire to part with their hard-earned cash on behalf of your organization. They aren't connected in any real way to your group prior to the ask. Listing your project on Causes, where it is one of hundreds of thousands of Causes, will not attract the qualified attention or donations that you want. Crowdfunding has to be an intentional part of your fundraising strategy, lead by Tribe leaders, and aimed at people who care about your project and organization.

Seth Godin famously talks about Tribes. Godin defines a Tribe as a group of people connected to one another, connected to a leader, and connected to an idea that inspires their passion. When you are raising funds for through crowdfunding, think about some Tribe basics:

  • Do we have organizational leaders that are passionate about our cause?
  • Can they lead a tribe of impassioned followers?
  • Does our cause inspire passion in others?
  • Do we already have a broad-based social media following that is comprised of people who are a loose "tribe" of passionate followers?

Crowdfunding includes a social pressure -  everyone viewing the project and see the total money raised against the financial goal. The peer pressure aspect is easily communicated through social networks via Tribe leaders: people will have a tendency to donate because a leader is asking them to, or there are only a few hundred dollars away from the stated goal, or their best friend has asked them to donate. Crowdfunding leverages the idea that if we are all in this together, we can create a terrific benefit. It also leverages the idea of peer pressure: I know who's asked me and I'm less likely to say no to someone I respect.

If you have a broad social media base that includes tribes of followers with leaders....your crowdfunding efforts are going to be much stronger than if you're doing it without Tribe leaders. Don't underestimate the power of social network influence.

Take the time to prepare for crowdfunding. You want to develop leaders, include them in the choices, thoughtfully insert crowdfunding into your enitre fundraising strategy, and then choose the best crowdfunding platform and crowdfunding strategy. Then, if you build the Tribe, and the funding project, you're on your way to smart crowdfunding.

 If you've got a Tribe, and committed Tribe leaders, you can crowdfund. I'd love to hear more about it from you.



Creating a video? A few things to consider before you shoot

I just attended the 2010 Nonprofit Technology Conference (NTC). While there, I attended a the We Are Media session on video - or rather - what to think about before you make that video. In the session, Stacy Laiderman from See3 Communications walked us through the basics of creating a nonprofit video. However, what became apparent was that great video is great because of advance planning and preparation. Before you make your video, here are the key questions to keep in mind:

  • What are your goals: Why are you making this video? What do you want to accomplish with it?
  • Who is your audience? Get really specific about the target gropu of people who will move the piece forward for your organization. This will help you think about your distribution plan as well.
  • What is the time frame and budget? Budget = money = time. Hint: try to get everyone at same location at same time to shoot one day of production, as budget affects gear and time frame.
  • What do you want the viewers to do with the information given? 
  • How will you measure success?
  • How will you share and/or use the finished film? Is it for an event, do you have a broadcast partner and it will air online, etc? This affects the type of equipment you need to use.
  • What is your story? You are paring down a story to its bare minimum - what is that minimum that is also compelling to the audience?

One really helpful exercise was to think about shooting a video at the NTC. As a group, we tried to answer the questions above in this way:

Goal: Use the video it to promote the conference, share content, membership signup, speakers for next year.
Audience: nonprofit technology community, nonprofits, consultants, vendors
Time frame: final video ready at least 3 months before the conference the following year.
How will NTEN measure success? Increased membership by a certain percentage, increased attendence by a percentage, number speaker applications, etc. (by what the viewers do with the message)
Distribution: website, video sharing platforms, newsletter, etc.

When you've thought through these questions, and you've put your video team together, you're almost ready to shoot. Just a few more things to do and you'll be ready:

1. Create a production schedule: where/who/when, look at budget to make sure you can cover all the production costs
2. Determine format (best to use one format, the video camera)
3. Become familiar with your gear by practicing
4. Scout location and plan. Remember to pay attention to light, sound, extra noise, and how the camera will see each shot.
5. Prepare interview questions and/or a script. This is really important so that you remember key points and questions. Practice them. For a script, you'll need a vision ahead of time or you couldl end up with footage without knowing how to use it!
6. Review any pre-existing media (maybe could use old footage

Importantly, think about the B-roll. The B-roll is background or context footage. (The A-roll is content.)  Think about what the supplemental coverage would establish context, and add to the content. An example might be a shot of someone wearing the NTEN cap at the NTC conference.  Be sure to get a steady shot, holding it for at least 10 seconds.  If you are filming others on the b-roll, then be sure to get releases from them.

During this NTC workshop, we actually went out and shot some video with a flip camera. It was much harder in practice than in theory!

What I learned from the practice:

  • Steadying the camera is hard! Steady the camera with body if you can.
  • interviewer stands next to camera holder
  • It is really hard to find a quiet place with good light!
  • Remember to get the b-roll

I've always had a fantasy that I'd create a movie visual story with film for a nonprofit organization. Whether or not I do this, I learned that it's not as much about the story as it is about the preparation. Many thanks to Stacy Laiderman, Producer, at See3 Communications for a great session!

Technical resources: - Video tutorials, basics of any kind of software you need to understand. Have to pay for annual membership. – forum where people post questions.

Video FAQs from See3 Communications:

Idealware and NTC

The Idealware team of bloggers and staff are so excited to be part of the upcoming Nonprofit Technology Conference in Atlanta April 6-8, 2010. There are a lot of great sessions at NTC, and the our team will be offering a number of them. We'd love to meet you in person at NTC, so please stop by and introduce yourself to us if you attend any of our sessions!  Idealware will also have a table in the Science Fair stacked full of great information. Please do stop by the table and meet Laura Quinn (Executive Director), Andrea Berry (Development Director) and other Idealware board members and bloggers.  At the table, you can pick up free Idealware articles, free review copies of our reports, buy a copy of the Field Guide, or to be entered into a raffle to win one of three free Field Guides. The Science Fair will take place on Thursday, April 8 from 3:00pm to 8:00pm.

Some of the awesome NTC sessions from the Idealware team:

Are you a techie, accidental or otherwise? Idealware blogger and board member Peter Campbell organized a 5-session Tech Track designed for people who install and support the use of technology at nonprofits. It is intended as a resource-sharing track for techies...accidental and otherwise. The goals of the track are knowledge, peer-sharing, and community-building. Peter is a speaker in all of the sessions, and fellow blogger Johanna Bates will be a session speaker in Tracks 3 and 4.

Tech Track 1: Working Without A Wire (But With A Net): Dealing with Wireless Networks, Laptops, and Cell Phones. April 9 at 10:30am. (Peter Campbell, Tracy Kronzak, Michael Sola, session speakers)

Tech Track 2: Proper Plumbing: Virtualization and Networking Technologies. April 9 at 1:30pm. (Peter Campbell, Matt Eshleman, John Merritt, session speakers)

Tech Track 3: Earth to Cloud: When, Why, and How to Outsource Applications. April 9 at 3:30pm. (Peter Campbell, Johanna Bates, Tracy Kronzak, Michelle Murrain, session speakers)

Tech Track 4: Budget vs. Benefits: Providing Top Class Technology in Constrained Resource Environments. April 10 at 10:30am. (Peter Campbell, Johanna Bates, Tracy Kronzak, Thomas Taylor, session speakers)

Tech Track 5: Articulating Tech: How to Win Friends and Influence Luddites. April 10 at 1:30pm. (Peter Campbell, John Merritt, Thomas Taylor)

Are you redoing your current website with a content management system? Are you wondering how to adapt content management practices to content management-based website projects? This session is intended for staff at nonprofits looking at CMS-driven website redesigns, and consultants who haven't worked with OS CMS before. The style will be conversational and engage the audience. Fellow bloggers Steve Backman and Heather Gardner-Madras are two of the speakers in this session.

Making It Real: Getting Project Management Right for Content Management Web Projects. April 9 at 1:30pm (Steven Backman, Ted Fickes, Heather Gardner-Madras, Mimi Kantor, session presenters)

Is your organization planning an online advocacy or fundraising campaign? I'm co-presenting a session focused on applying the principles of traditional community organizing to create successful online advocacy and fundraising campaigns. In this session, we'll review these principles, several case studies, and break out into planning groups to plan an actual online campaign. Come ready to learn and participate!

Bringing Community Organizing Into Online Campaigns. April 9 at 1:30pm. (Debra Askanase, Ivan Boothe, Amy Sample Ward, session presenters)

Do you have an idea for a tech project at your organization, but not sure how to lead it? You don't have to be the CTO or ED to lead a successful tech change! This session will explore principles of change management for successful tech projects (with or without formal authority), and learn from real life stories. (Chocolate included!)

Leading Tech Change When You're Not The Boss. April 10 at 10:30am. (Marc Baizman, Dahna Goldstein, Simone Parrish, session presenters)

Look forward to seeing you at NTC! Are you going?


Three Great Nonprofit Resource Opportunities

Do you tell your nonprofit's stories online? Do you leverage your online community to raise funds? Do you have a great group of enthusiastic online supporters? If so, there are a three timely opportunities for you to enter to win cash, rewards, and recognition for your organization. Interested?

1. Conduit Gives 2010
Conduit will donate money to 100 selected nonprofits

However, it's more than a simple donation; Conduit will donate money for every click on the "click to give" button of a custom Conduit toolbar. If selected, Conduit will help your nonprofit create a custom toolbar (called a "custom conduit") that you can distribute to your online stakeholders. The toolbar can be customized in many ways that benefit your organization, but it will also contain an exclusive "click to give" button on the toolbar. Selected organizations can offer this toolbar to community members, and each time someone clicks on the button, conduit donates to the organization.

To apply, check out their FAQ page and application here.
This contest, offered by Conduit Gives 2010, ends March 1, 2010.

The catch:
Do you have an active Ning, Facebook, MySpace, or private label community? If you don't have one already, does your organization have existing assets that it can leverage to easily create one (such as an active, large, email list, alumni list, etc.)? According to the Conduit Gives 2010 FAQ: "Non-profits will be selected based on their expressed need and their plan/commitment to promoting the program to their community." To me, this means that organizations that already have a vibrant online community have a much better opportunity of being selected by Conduit for participation. Think about it: Conduit is also interested in exposing users to its Conduit platform, in giving away funds (if they don't give away much money, then that would be bad for PR), and in helping organizations raise funds. One other important note: I cannot find any reference in the online literature as to how much money Conduit will donate for each click.

Here's a screen shot of the custom toolbar that was created for The Staley Foundation:

2. Getty Images' Grants for Good
Getty Images is offering two Grants for Good to facilitate nonprofit storytelling

Getty Images wants to work with photographers or videographers that want to tell nonprofit stories. According to the website, "our Grants for Good provide two grants of $15,000 annually, to cover photographer, filmmaker and agency costs as they create compelling new imagery for the nonprofit of their choice." They want to help nonprofits develop imagery that "furthers the
strategic communication objectives and mission of a nonprofit organization."

The good news for nonprofits outside the United States, is the communications professional or agency can choose any nonprofit to work with, anywhere in the world, as long as the nonprofit is officially registered in its own country.

To apply, check out the Grants for Good page with downloadable FAQs, application, and judging information.
This contest, offered by Getty Images, ends March 1, 2010.

The catch (actually, there are several):
A professional photographer (or filmmaker) and a communications agency together must apply for the grant. Advertising and communications agencies are "seen as essential partners to the 2010 Grants for Good program." In addition, the applicant must select a nonprofit that it will work with on an image project prior to the application process. The application cannot be submitted by a nonprofit; it must be submitted by the image maker or the agency. The $15,000 grant will be split by the photographer and the communications agency.

The biggest criteria for selection, as far as I can tell are how the images will be used, and the strength of the image professional's portfolio. This is emphasized in the application process PDF document. If you are a nonprofit that has a clear idea of what story you need to tell to further your mission, how telling that story visually will help you to do that, and you know of a professional filmmaker or photographer that you want to work with, apply!

3. Fourth Annual DoGooder Nonprofit Video Awards
Win up to $10,000 in grants (plus awards! plus publicity!) with your nonprofit's video

YouTube and See3, along with sponsoring organizations The Case Foundation, the Nonprofit Technology Network, and Flip Video have teamed up for the Fourth Annual DoGooder Nonprofit Video Awards. If you are a registered nonprofit in the US, the UK, Canada, or Australia, and your are part of YouTube's nonprofit program, then submit any video (or videos) that you made in 2009. Sixteen final videos will be selected on the basis of message, use of video, quality of video, and creativity. Top prize winners will be selected from among the sixteen finalist through a community voting process.

To apply, go to YouTube's Nonprofit Video Awards page for application and voting details.
Application deadline is March 16, 2010

The catch:
While the best sixteen videos (top four in each awards category) are selected by the judges, the public will choose the top winners in each category. Other limitations have been previously stated above.

So - submit your best video of 2009 and let the stories be viewed!
It's all explained clearly in this short video:

Will you be entering any of these contests? Look forward to hearing about your entries!
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