Part 1 of 3 – 10 Online Marketing Strategies For Non-Profit Organizations

By: Nick Damoulakis, Orases
| JPD Guest Blogger

Over the past decade, I have helped numerous non-profit organizations with their online marketing strategy. Each non-profit faces different challenges due to their limited budget, staff size and overall understanding of the best use of online marketing. With all the options on the web today, I have put together a list of 10 valuable ways to help non-profits find the means to promote their brand, market their events and, most importantly, encourage online donations to drive revenue.

1) Create a web site that is eye-catching, dynamically built and developed on a strong CMS platform.
These days, most non-profits’ need to maintain a strong web presence. As an online hub, non-profit websites have become the center of interaction between the non-profit and its members. Make sure your site is completely branded with the organization’s activities, cause and mission, and leads visitors to the proper call to action. Having a website that is up to date with event information, blogs, tweets, and photography will give visitors an immediate positive first impression.

A great Content Management System (CMS) should help syndicate all the information about the organization on all the appropriate pages. More advanced CMS platforms may even deliver proper information based on the visitor’s clicks and the keywords that drove the visitor to the website in the first place. Always find ways to encourage your visitors to come back by providing the key information that makes your non-profit unique. When choosing a CMS, make sure you put together a list of all the features you want from your CMS instead of choosing one based on name recognition or your developer’s preference. Make sure your staff tests the CMS and finds it easy to use without having to know any programming. Great content management systems should enable syndication easily and allow you to follow the business rules you put in place to sustain your strategy. Your webmaster should just populate the system, thus keeping your cost of ownership very low.

2) Use social media to share what your organization is doing.
In order for non-profits to survive and build membership, they must do positive things in the community, which reinforces the notion that it is an organization worth joining. Potential and current members enjoy reading about the results and impact your non-profit is producing. This is especially true if it affects readers directly. Use social media to focus on creating opportunities for these direct connections to flourish, and as a vehicle to build online testimonials and shares via other users. Find ways to spread the word about your non-profit’s work by promoting them on social networking tools like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Quora, Google Hotpot, Yelp and other industry websites your users and potential members visit. By sharing your non-profit’s work across different platforms, you increase your odds of reaching out to potential new members.

Remember that the key to social networking is not to post blurbs about just your non-profit’s events and news, but to post and share other non-profit’s noteworthy news as well. This will help you build a relationship with that organization, so they will be more willing to spread your non-profit’s news in turn. This is a crucial strategy for all non-profits to follow.

3) Allow brand enthusiasts to become creators.
Non-profits have the best brand enthusiasm because members usually have a personal stake in the non-profit’s success. These brand enthusiasts become what we call “creators” because they will define your brand’s voice on the internet. These brand enthusiasts will create blogs, publish personal websites, and even create videos and podcast that will promote news and activities of your organization. The key for the organization is to give brand enthusiasts the proper tools to spread the word on its behalf. Tools such as RSS feeds, widgets, maybe even a connection via an API to specific information will provide brand enthusiasts with the resources they need to convey your message easily. By offering this platform to brand enthusiasts, you are essentially allowing them to become creators for your non-profit. Give your advocates the power to advocate for you!

Being a non-profit does not mean being non-proactive. Next week, I’ll share more insight on methods that will help your NPO reach out to online visitors, help them stay connected with your organization easily and effectively, and, in the end, allow your organization to stand out in an ocean of competing interests.

Stay tuned, next Wednesday JPD_adchat and Nick Damoulakis will bring you part 2 of 3, Online Marketing Strategies for Non-Profit Organizations


Media Buying is Not My Bag Baby…

But I do it Anyway and Here’s How

If this title tells you anything, I am not a media buyer by training, but I do play one on occasion from 9-5. About three and a half years ago, our client Tourism Council of Frederick County approached us with the proposition of taking over their media buying. It seemed a natural fit since we were managing the delivery of art to the various publications they work with and had been doing so for almost a decade.

Media buying isn’t something I thought I would ever do, but since we accepted their proposal, I figured I’d better get organized. This initial thought has been a lifesaver time and again and has provided opportunities on many occasions. Let me explain how.

When I first took over the process they had been utilizing an Excel spreadsheet to manage it all. While their sheet was detailed, it just wasn’t detailed enough for my comfort. We explored third-party software that manages media buying processes but they all were just too expensive or didn’t provide the perfect solution. While the Excel spreadsheet isn’t the perfect solution, it is something I have become comfortable with and have expanded their original version to make it a much more robust solution.

What I keep track of:
  • Where the ads run – both publication and publisher
  • Contacts at each publisher
  • Circulation
  • Reader service options
  • Insertion timeline
  • Net and gross costs
  • Leads and conversions
  • Content of the ads
  • Which campaign it falls under
  • Billing data

We store this spreadsheet in the cloud, which allows Tourism to log in and track the process all the way through billing as well. Keeping all this information together has made it easy to book the ads, design the ads and bill them—never missing a beat! And yes, this is one large spreadsheet with multiple sheets all calculating the monthly and annual budgets for a given fiscal year.

This organization has paid off in several ways. I can plan in advance for various tasks. I can start the negotiating game with the various outlets and leverage that to my budget’s advantage. And, I can plan my designer’s production schedules and sometimes crank out a month’s worth of ads at one time. Finally, if you have ever booked an ad before, you will know the billing process can sometimes get screwy. By keeping track of the billing and simply indicating something has been paid and invoiced to Tourism plus a couple of other pertinent notes, it is easy for me to determine if something has been double billed or sometimes even completely missed. Stranger things do happen in this world of media buying.

Previously, I mentioned that I keep an insertion timeline. This allowed me to see that initially the Tourism advertising year was skewed very much to the spring. Tourism however, wanted their schedule to be a nice balance of early fall advertising, to get travelers out for the fall leaf peaking, and spring advertising, when folks plan their summer vacations. It also showed how much national versus regional promotion I was happening another area that requires a good balance. Over time I was able to correct the seasonal issue and am also working toward a nice balance of national placements supported by a healthy regional and local campaign.

An Excel spreadsheet might not be the only solution for keeping track of a media schedule or the best if you have numerous clients to manage, but it has served JPD and our client well.

This is the first entry in a series of posts on my experience with Media Buying.


The Luck of the Irish

Jean Peterson Design, now 15 years young has successfully negotiated the last few years of economic turmoil. Lucky? Oh, lots of hard work, many blessings and of course, the luck of the Irish!

On this St. Patrick’s Day, I would like to pay tribute to a graphic designer from Switzerland. No, he wasn’t born in Ireland, but became an Irish citizen in the 60s and subsequently had a tremendous impact on Irish design. His name–Cor Klaasen (1926-1989). Cor who? My question exactly.

He was an incredibly prolific book and album cover designer who nurtured many young talents as an esteemed designer and educator. He set the trend in Irish design in the 60s and 70s and was recently honored in an exhibition devoted to his work held during Design Week in Dublin–Cor Klaasen: Jackets, Covers & Sleeves http://corklaasen.squarespace.com/. It introduced the work of this ground breaking designer to a new audience and created an appreciation for quality Irish design from the period.

And with this, accolades to Cor and his work and to the decades of Irish students who were fortunate enough to have the luck of being touched by such a talented and giving mentor who enabled them to share his vision with the rest of us. He is a true measure of what we should aspire to–sharing your time and your talent with others around you.

So, from all of us at Jean Peterson Design-O’Peterson, O’Dorr, O’McPherson, O’Gorham and O’Tinney, we wish you too, the luck of the Irish. Today, we are all Irish. Erin Go Bragh!


Color Trends for 2011

Pink is power. Or should we say, Honeysuckle is power? "Courageous. Confident. Vital." This is how Pantone® describes Pantone 18-2120, aka Honeysuckle, the 2011 color of the year. Leatrice Eiseman, executive director of Pantone Color Institute® and America’s leading color expert had this to say about the deep pink hue…

“In times of stress, we need something to lift our spirits. Honeysuckle is a captivating, stimulating color that gets the adrenaline going – perfect to ward off the blues.”

Sounds like the perfect choice for 2011. But, who, and what, exactly is Pantone? How do they know what colors to choose? And how do they know these colors will be sweeping runways, gracing magazines covers, and influencing interior design?

For more than 45 years Pantone has been the world-renowned authority on color and is the color resource for design professionals around the world. In 1963 Pantone founder, Lawrence Herbert, solved the problem of color matching accuracy in the graphic communications industry by developing a ground-breaking system that identified, matched, and communicated color. Herbert created the Pantone Matching System® (PMS). Since then Pantone has expanded the Pantone Matching System to encompass: 
• fashion & home
  • digital technology
  • architecture
  • home interiors
  • paint
  • plastics

To this day Pantone is the color language standard worldwide, from designer through to the customer. Designers use Pantone color guides specific to their industry to research and select colors.
mydesignshop.com is currently hosting a sale on a wide selection of Pantone color guides, through March 31st. This is the perfect time to update your old guides or purchase a set for the first time.

Pantone Fashion Color Report for Fall 2011
Following New York Fashion Week Pantone released their color trend forecast for Fall, 2011, labeling their selection as sensible and spirited. “Designers take a painterly approach to fall 2011 by artfully combining bright colors with staple neutrals, reminiscent of how an artist would construct a stunning work of art,” said Eiseman. “Much like a painter's masterpiece, there is a certain romance to this season's palette.”

Color is Essential to Your Life
Pantone believes that color is essential to your life. To fill your life and environment with this essential nutrient, they have created a variety of colorful Pantone items to surround yourself with, including:

And if that’s not enough color for you, visit the Pantone Hotel in Belgium.

Take Our Honeysuckle, Pantone 18-2120 Poll

To learn all about Pantone, the Pantone Color Institute, Pantone research and development labs, and their many services visit Pantone About Us.


Read All About It! – Above the Fold: JPD Book of the Month

JPD Creative, Erin Tinney, recommends March's Book of the Month pick… Above the Fold

The term for designing "above the fold" originated in the newspaper industry—the concept that the most important news of the day should appear on the top half of the front page because that is what's visible when folded and stacked on a newsstand. The goal of "above the fold" is simple:

1. Get the passerby to stop

2. Pick it up

3. Buy it

4. Dig a little deeper for additional information

In my ongoing search for resources describing successful approaches to Web design, I've found the same fundamental philosophy holds true when designing for the Web—hence the title of a new book by Brian D. Miller, Above the Fold.

Above the Fold is broken down into three sections: Design & Typography, Planning & Usability, and Business Value—detailing the various phases of Web design, their significance, and the return on investment. Some of my favorite topics that are covered in Above The Fold are:

What makes Web design unique

A brief history of Web design

Anatomy of a Web page
Form and function

White space the use of grids in Web design
Tools to create organization and hierarchy

Elements of design as they relate to the Web
Color, texture, imagery + iconography, scale, depth + dimension, animation, and variability

Web typography
Why type matters, Web-safe type, and image type

Web project planning
Research and discovery

Information architecture
Site maps, wireframes, usability diagrams, and concept design

Elements of usability
Navigation, breadcrumbs, text links, site search, submission forms, and error messaging

Search engine optimization (SEO)
Browsing/searching and keywords

Online marketing
Banner ads, viral and social marketing, on-site marketing, and email marketing

Web statistics and analysis

There are also some great call-outs woven throughout the book that serve as words to live by when designing for the Web, my personal favorite is, "Design is about having a plan. Web design is about having a backup plan." So true!

Whether you're a designer (print/Web), programmer, or a client who's looking to develop an effective presence on the Web, Above the Fold will prove to be an essential resource and foundation for understanding this ever-evolving medium.

My Design Shop describes it as "a different kind of Web design book. Above the Fold is not about timely design or technology trends; instead, this book is about the timeless fundamentals of effective communication within the context of Web design. It is intended to help you, the reader, understand the considerations that Web designers make when developing successful Web sites."

You can get Above the Fold at My Design Shop for $19.35


Jean Peterson Design Wins Big at This Year’s ADDY Awards

The 2011 American Advertising Federation-Greater Frederick (AAF-GF) recently celebrated their 21st ADDY Awards. More than 180 people were in attendance for the black-tie event held at the Holiday Inn. A total of 43 awards were bestowed to local advertising professionals. On top this year was Jean Peterson Design (JPD) taking away 15 awards which included the Best of Show Award, Judge’s Award, 13 ADDYs and the prestigious Crystal Prism and Silver Medal Awards.

Emily Dorr, JPD’s Art Director, received the coveted Silver Medal Award. Chosen by the AAF-GF Council of Past Presidents, the Silver Medal winner is someone who has been active in furthering advertising industry standards and has shown responsibility in the area of social concern through community service. The recipient is also recognized for exceptional creative ability and making significant contributions in his or her workplace.

Lisa Gorham, Senior Designer at JPD won the Crystal Prism Award. An honor bestowed on an AAF-GF member who has demonstrated outstanding commitment and leadership to their club. A member is selected by the board of directors for his or her long-standing dedication and ongoing support of the federation through personal and professional contributions.

Entries were judged by national AAF standards by esteemed judges from outside of the area. JPD’s honors include Best of Show for the publication “Print Grows Trees”, a Judge’s Award for Fredericktowne Players poster “Greater Tuna”, as well as awards for our clients:
  • Frederick Memorial Healthcare
  • Frederick County Public Libraries
  • Downtown Frederick Partnership and the Tourism Council of Frederick County
  • Meritus Foundation, Canape’s Catering
  • and a JPD self promotion.

The mission of the ADDY competition is to recognize and reward creative excellence in the art of advertising. The local AAF-GF ADDY Awards are the first step in the American Advertising Federation’s three-tiered national competition. Winners from the local level compete in District Two (New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland, and Washington, DC); those winners go on to compete in the AAF national competition.

The ADDY Awards is the advertising industry’s largest and most representative competition, attracting over 50,000 entries every year in local ADDY competitions. The ADDYs represent the true spirit of creative excellence by recognizing all forms of advertising from media of all types, creative by all sizes and entrants of all levels from anywhere in the world. It is the only creative awards program administered by the advertising industry for the industry. Because it begins at the local level, the ADDY competition offers entrants an opportunity to compete with their true peers – not only those across the country, but across the street.

Congratulations to all of the 2011 AAF-GF ADDY winners!