Design tips and insights for nonprofits and social enterprises.

What to do in 2017 to increase your impact

Campaigns
01.04.17
What to do in 2017 to increase your impact

What does nonprofit design have in store this new year? Here’s my a list of what we have to look forward to and be ready for:

Authentic stories
Storytelling is no industry secret. Emotions drive all our decisions, whether it’s to cut our hair, buy a house, or donate money to a cause. How you tell your story is up to you, but don’t forget the human element. Include photos and stories of real people that have benefited from your mission, or someone on your team that is dedicated to making a difference. Make it personal.

This is what I’ll be working on this year. Telling my story, why I do what I do, and why I believe design can change the world.

Mobile, Mobile, Mobile
We do everything on their phones, from reading and talking to buying and donating. Make sure your site looks good and works well on a phone and tablet. And make sure donating is easy to do. Make use of the latest technology like the new apps Social Give and Givelify which are changing how people donate.

Networks and Movements
The complex problems we’re trying to solve need solutions and resources from everywhere. We can’t do it alone. Join forces with like-minded people, nonprofits, businesses, and governments. As the saying goes “there is no silver bullet, only silver buckshot.”

User-Generated Content
Everyone’s doing it and it’s really just the beginning of user generated content. Not sure if it matters to your organization? Remember the ALS ice bucket challenge? was under generated and raised $115 million in 2014. Make it fun, easy to do, and make sure what you get can be repurposed.

I’m sure you already have a to-do list a mile long for 2017, I know I do. So start small if need be. You can always build on small wins and incorporate more down the line. What are you working on this year?

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3 steps to better marketing goals for 2017

Design | Marketing
12.08.16
3 steps to better marketing goals for 2017

Do you hold onto things that are no longer useful? I do. I recently found 10-year-old art supplies that I’ve kept for some insane reason.  Well, now they’re out. Letting go can be hard, but we have to do it to make room for new and better things.

With the new year around the corner now is the perfect time to figure out how to be more efficient and effective. Better design can help.

How to take stock, assess, and reach your marketing goals in the new year:

Step 1
Review the past year’s campaigns, marketing, brand, etc. Did the brand feel cohesive? Was your audience uninterested in the marketing? Ask your team to participate. See what worked well, or not, ask questions and listen.

Step 2
Set some goals based on your findings from Step 1. This can be done individually and as a group. Think both short-term (1 year) and long-term (2–5 years). Examples might be: More funding for a new brand; change your annual report from a printed piece into a microsite.

Step 3
Develop a game plan for moving forward. Prioritize and set timelines to hold yourself, and others, accountable. Start looking for resources and services to improve your design, marketing, and funding.

I know this is easier said than done. But it’s necessary if you want to reach those big, hairy goals, not to mention, change the world.

Are you doing any goal-setting for the new year? I’ll tell you mine if you tell me yours. 

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6 ways to increase online donations

Web Design
11.15.16
6 ways to increase online donations

Is your donation landing page working as well as it could? Here are 6 ways you can increase your results:

  1. Make sure it’s optimized for mobile
  2. Donation amounts should be prominent
  3. Payment options should be easy to understand
  4. Call to action should be engaging and action oriented
  5. Tell them how the money will be spent
  6. Make sure the donate button is visible on every page

Lastly…
Don’t forget to say thank you. The thank you page is often overlooked and not given its due. It’s another way to engage with your donors, so don’t skimp on this experience. Think about how you can make it better. It could be fun, heartfelt, or interactive. Maybe it’s video from one of the clients that the money will support, or from the executive director. Really the goal to try something new, and treat the donor interaction as something special.

I personally love the idea of tagging donations to actions. If, for example, someone donates $50 to buy school books. Once those books have been bought, let the donor know. Send them a text or email about it.

Have you updated your donation page with any of these ideas? What were the results?

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How a nonprofit uses design to stay relavant

Design
11.07.16
How a nonprofit uses design to stay relavant

I’m a supporter of Planned Parenthood and a big fan of how they use design and marketing. Being around 100 years is nothing to sneeze at. They’ve lasted this long because they’re always at the forefront of the reproductive rights movement. One thing is for sure, they know their brand. They are “the cool aunt with expert life advice.” Everything they do gets filtered through that voice.

I’m proud of the work Planned Parenthood does. As a designer, I’m equally impressed by how responsive and innovative they are. Over the years their ads and marketing have utilized everything from infographics to lighthearted illustrations. Check out a few examples over at Fast Company.

Now Planned Parenthood is investing in social media, storytelling, and human-centered design. Their experience design work with Ideo has even won an Innovation by Design Award.

Let Planned Parenthood inspire you
I don’t know about you, but I’m inspired by other people doing great, seemingly impossible, things. Your organization might be brand new or just a few years old, but can you imagine what it will look like in 100 years? Can you set things in motion now to ensure your organization is relevant and essential?

Questions to ask yourself to create a game-changing organization:

  • Do you know what your brand is?
  • Are you listening to your audience and their values?
  • Is your brand aligned with your audience?
  • Are you experimenting with current trends in marketing and design?
  • Are you adapting as things change?

Is there an organization you admire? I’d love learn about them.

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How to know if your brand is any good

Branding
10.26.16

Does your outside match your inside? Or better yet do your actions and your motivations match? What about your audience? Do you know their outsides and insides, actions and motivations? You know your brand works when all of these are aligned and visualized through the right combination of fonts, color, and imagery.

Does your brand work according to this test?

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