Why is my content being ignored by search engines? I am sure this a question any small business owner or event promoter has thought at one time or another. Is hiring a search engine optimization firm the answer to getting your business on page 1 of Google….Yes, but who can afford that when you don’t have a budget for marketing. Technology is a wonderful tool for the economically challenged to promote a message or view point. But, to be effective, one must understand the structure of technology in order to achieve the best outcomes.
I will be sharing information on how search engines work in order to assist you in developing more effective marketing strategies. This particular article may help explain why search engines may be ignoring your content. However, the series will focus on solutions by providing information on what you should consider when picking out a domain name, blogging platforms, increasing your search rankings, managing your social media, marketing strategies, analytics, and more.
Leaving Web Links in Multiple Places in Hopes of Increasing Readership
Have you ever seen this on twitter or Facebook, Check Me Out at www.example.com or Read How to Have a Better Life at www.example.com? Most people don’t click on these links because they resemble the nasty spam that will hijack your account. Often times, your targeted network tends to travel in the same circles.
When people see these types of post on Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook and Google Plus, this technique may backfire especially if you have not established yourself as a trustworthy brand. If you have an established reputation, this same technique can be the fastest way to provide information to your networks quickly. Be careful with this one, it is a double-edged sword. Best strategy, leave an excerpt of your post and a read more link back to your website for the full article. This technique provides enough wording for search engines to categorize your content without dismissing you as spam.
How Do I Avoid Be Labeled as Spam by Search Engines
When Google bots and other search engines crawl the web, their robots are program to ignore content resembling computer generated spam. Blogging is one of the best techniques to introduce yourself to new readers and/or potentially consumers. However, many users of blogging platforms do not understand how robots extract information from their sites. Even though the blog displays a beautiful polished post when you hit publish, Google and other web crawlers only read the information you typed inside the box.
If you switch post views to HTML view, this is the code that google and other search engines extract when crawling your site for new data. By leaving certain elements out of your posts, you are missing opportunities to prove yourself as a trustworthy source. Inside each post area, a byline (By John Doe) with a link attaching your name to a biographical page should be included. This is very important for someone without an established web presence. Additionally, if someone subscribes or import the rss feed from your blog into another platform, the author information will not be included if it’s not contained inside the post or programmed in the rss feed. This means you are missing another opportunity to display your authorship and further establish your reputation along with the great content you wrote.
Maximizing Social Media
Google bots and search engine crawlers are extremely sophisticated. If you are a blogger or small business owner, you need consistency in branding across your social media platforms in order to gain the most leverage from their ranking power. This consistency will help search engines cross reference and analyze your posts on various social media platforms to determine whether you are a real person or a spam account.
However, this may create the necessity to establish or separate your web persona social media accounts from your personal social networks. Understanding social media is a complex topic by itself, so be sure to research which option is best for you. Last, I suggest utilizing a social media manager such as Tweetdeck or Hootsuite. Either of these two free options will help you reduce the time spent updating various platforms in addition to maintaining consistency across all platforms. Here is a great article to start with called “Nine Rules that Will Revolutionize Your Use of Social Media“.
The One Question That Fuels My Approach to Life: What Can I Do For You
Through my three battles with cancer, I can’t even count how many times I received this question. And with three young children at home, what was I going to say? “Sure. Can you make sure my kids get fed? Can you do a load of laundry for me?”
I was blessed to have such giving, selfless people in my life, but the truth was that my priorities had changed. Cooking, cleaning and chores like them weren’t at the top of my to-do list anymore; I was in survival mode. So when people asked what they could do for me, I usually responded with, “I don’t know.”
One of the human spirit’s most enduring traits is a desire to be useful during times of crisis. The people around me needed to do something, and so did I. Even as I fought to maintain my own health, finding even the smallest way to help someone in need filled me with strength and purpose.
I want every step I take and every move I make to count, for myself and others who are in need. That mantra informs everything I do, be it personal or professional, and is all a product of receiving the kindness I didn’t know I needed when I needed it most.
Putting gratitude into all we do.
It amazes me, the strength we gain from the smallest things. During one of my cancer stints, I bought my then-husband glass-blowing lessons for his birthday, and one night, he brought home a votive he’d made.
After I dropped a tea light inside, the combination of light and color draped me in this feeling of warmth and comfort that I’d never experienced before or even realized I wanted. And I immediately knew I wanted to give others the same solace I felt at that time.
That was the impetus for glassybaby, where we sell glass votives and drinking glasses. We made these pieces in specific colors and attached origin stories to them to help buyers feel more connected with the glass vessels and with our story. While we hope to recreate that same feeling I felt the first time I dropped that light in, we don’t want the glow to end there.
Ten percent of our pretax revenue goes to charitable organizations focused on healing people, the planet and animals. Before we had any kind of business objective, we had the simple desire to help people, to give them comfort. That’s how sustainable giving has worked so well in our company. It’s not an add-on; it’s 100 percent part of our mission, our core and our bottom line. It’s the embodiment of success to me.
When giving actions come from everyday personal interactions rather than some sense of obligation, they can become authentic gestures that transcend the professional, personal and recreational silos we put up in our lives. We compartmentalize our lives so rigorously, but if we take down some of those walls, that’s where we find the opportunities to reach out and help — because it’s the things we care about that inspire the most passion.
Building generosity into those passions is the best way to ensure we’re giving to worthwhile causes. I didn’t come from a traditional business background. Instead, my vision for glassybaby was inspired by my time in the chemo room. It gave me an insight into what people needed and wanted during that critical time. I came to understand their unique problems — the mother who missed a chemo session because she couldn’t find childcare, the woman who was late because she couldn’t afford the bus.
Once we start understanding the problems and basic needs around us, we’ll be able to put that insight into your business plans and personal endeavors. Let our own personal structure and value sets organically tie to people’s needs, and a model of sustainable giving will follow.
“What can I do for you?” is one of the most fundamental human questions in times of need and has helped mold my personal and professional life approaches. Where will it take you?
Fearless: How One Financial Expert Faced Her Fear Of Public Speaking
When you are on a collision course to face your fears in order to achieve your future career goals, what will you do? Do you run and hide, drag your feet and hope things will blow over, or will you dawn your Super Woman cape and address the elephant in the room?
Today’s woman wears many hats and it should come as no surprise that with all of the role-changes, fear and anxiety can be a bit challenging for some. Add to that a career path that is rooted in public speaking and you could have a recipe for disaster as the challenges faced with respect to public speaking are high. Communication, in general, tends to be challenging for women on both a personal and professional level for various reasons, but why do we seem to struggle a bit more with public speaking?
Sweaty palms, a racing heart, or feeling like a frog is lodged in your throat. Those psychosomatic symptoms can be a real bummer and for many women, they never achieve their full potential due to their overwhelming fear of public speaking. To shed light on this common problem, we turned to financial expert and two-time New York Times bestseller, Pamela Yellen, who knows all too well about overcoming the fear of public speaking.
We wanted to know how someone who had garnered enough support to raise $25,000 in funds for the American Cancer Society and was fearless enough to dawn a gold-sequined leotard while riding on an elephant struggled with fear and anxiety that almost halted her career pursuits. “You can be a risk taker and still be afraid to get up in front of more than a couple of people.”
Despite the risks Pamela has taken in her life, it wasn’t until she decided to go in a different direction and develop a more professional career as a financial services consultant and public speaker that she was prompted to deal with her “paralyzing stage fright.” Once she conquered her fears, she went on to help others face their fears relating to financial security and grace us with Bank on Yourself: The Life-Changing Secret to Growing and Protecting Your Financial Future and The Bank On Yourself Revolution: Fire Your Banker, Bypass Wall Street, and Take Control of Your Own Financial Future.
To help quell her fears and set her on the path to success, Pamela got busy and ushered in the help of a mentor. When asked if she felt like the mentoring approach and feedback would have set her on a different path had her mentor been a female, she chuckled, “I guess we’ll never know, but I will tell you that I was a bit intimidated by him and he was a very strong, demanding, no-nonsense kind of guy. I think maybe I needed that [approach] at that time.” She also acknowledges her abilities to develop and lead people to reach their potential, developing strategies to avoid foreseeable obstacles, and her natural curiosity to challenge conventional wisdom as key strengths that have contributed to her success.
So what do you do when all eyes are on you and it seems as if the world is judging you? According to Pamela, “You can choose are you gonna sit there and stand there and worry about what they’re gonna think about you or are you going to focus on the fact that you have value to give them.”
Having a clear focus is important when taking on any task, especially something as intimidating as public speaking.Once you choose to change your focus to the value that you bring to your client or an audience, you can begin to approach public speaking differently. Of course, this doesn’t mean that you will never have a nervous moment again. Pamela stated she “still gets plagued by a lack of confidence every now and then” but despite a few hang-ups, she has still persisted and has been quite successful in pursuing her goals.
Speaking of womanhood, we would be remiss not to address the obstacles faced by women in addition to the generalized fear many have regarding public speaking. How does one persist when it seems like odds are stacked against women? Being a woman has made her somewhat of an easier target to negative criticism and has been a cause of hesitancy along her journey.
Given many of the patriarchal norms and stereotypes assigned to women that continue to shape much of society, it’s easy to see how despite all of her success, remnants of fear and anxiety can still rear their ugly head. There is little doubt that being a woman presents its own set of problems when speaking out and sometimes against the status quo.
When asked about her thoughts on being a woman in such a male-dominated field, Pamela stated, “people attack me regularly because I go against the conventional financial wisdom.” She also offered an inspiring quote from her mentor, Dan Kennedy, “It’s been so profoundly powerful for me ‘If you’re not offending someone by noon every day then you’re not doing much.'” Despite her critics, like a true superhero, Pamela still persists and we are thankful for it.
Switching gears, the interview would not have been complete without garnering some financial advice from the guru herself. Money and financial security or lack thereof can be a great cause of fear and anxiety for anybody. Understanding that a large part of overcoming fear or anxiety involves doing something different, rather it be challenging yourself or learning something new. Pamela’s book encourages you to do both.
With no regard to socio-economic status, age, or income, Bank On Yourself allows consumers to achieve their goals and take control of their financial situation by avoiding Wall Street while challenging financial institutions and their tactics.
While different groups have benefited from Pamela’s books, advice, and financial expertise; by far the group that has benefited the most have been the baby-boomer generation. “I think a lot of baby boomers and women have benefited from my books because the baby-boomers are the ones or the group that no longer has guaranteed pensions from their companies and their basically on their own to save for their own retirement.” For those still reeling from the Recession, looking to recover from slow economic growth, or gain financial freedom Pamela advises “if you’re not comfortable with the idea of never being sure that you’ll have you know a certain amount of money for retirement you need to look at safe and guaranteed methods of saving for retirement.”
Rather it is public speaking, finances, or career guidance; no matter how successful, when it comes to certain things, fear and doubt can set in and if left unaddressed will find a permanent home in our lives. To learn more about some of these safe financial methods and get a free and safe wealth building report, you can visit www.bankonyourself.com.
Ninety-Two Percent of Caregivers Are Financial Caregivers
A Merrill Lynch study, conducted in partnership with Age Wave, finds that the 40 million family caregivers in the U.S. spend $190 billion per year on their adult care recipients. Despite the financial, emotional and functional challenges in this life stage, preserving the dignity of their loved one is their primary goal. The vast majority of caregivers (91 percent) are grateful they could be there to provide care, and 77 percent say they “would gladly do so again.”
“As tens of millions of people take on caregiving responsibilities each year, supporting those caring for our aging population has become one of the most pressing financial issues of our lifetime”
Family caregivers are America’s other social security, providing the bulk of long-term care today. The aging of the baby boomers will result in unprecedented numbers of people in America needing care. As a caregiving crunch is upon us, “The Journey of Caregiving: Honor, Responsibility and Financial Complexity” offers an in-depth look at Americans’ financial and emotional journeys during this life stage. This study marks the beginning of a new, multiyear research series from Merrill Lynch and Age Wave that will examine five distinct life stages: early adulthood, parenting, caregiving, widowhood, and end of life.
As the first of the series, this study examines the responsibilities, sacrifices, and rewards of caregiving – a life stage that nearly all Americans will participate in, as a caregiver, care recipient or both. This study comprehensively explores the topic of financial caregivers – a role largely unexamined, yet held by 92 percent of caregivers. Financial caregiving involves contributing to the costs of care and/or coordinating or managing finances for a care recipient.
The study is based on a nationwide sample of more than 2,200 respondents, including 2,010 caregivers. Key findings about their caregiving journey include: Paying bills from their recipient’s account (65 percent), Monitoring bank accounts (53 percent), Handling insurance claims (47 percent), Filing taxes (41 percent), Managing invested assets (21 percent).
- Much more than hands-on care. Providing emotional support (98 percent), financial caregiving (92 percent), household support (92 percent) and care coordination (79 percent) far outweigh physical care (64 percent).
- Financial costs – with little discussion of their ramifications. Seventy-five percent of financial contributors and their care recipients have not discussed the financial impacts of these contributions.
- Caregiving for a spouse vs. for a parent. A spouse is 3.5 times more likely to be the sole caregiver looking after a care recipient and is more likely to spend more out of pocket on care-related costs. Their caregiving journey is also different in terms of the obligations and financial interdependencies they hold with their loved one.
- Caregiving gender gap. Both for cultural and biological reasons, women are more commonly caregivers for spouses and parents, averaging six years of caregiving in their lifetime versus four years for men. As a result, women are disproportionately impacted by the challenges of caregiving, including struggling to balance responsibilities and making career sacrifices. And then, more find themselves alone and without someone to care for them when needed.
- Responsibilities extend beyond the care recipient’s life. Sixty-one percent of the time, caregivers expect their role will end with the death of their loved one. However, the complexities of financial, legal, and other aspects of caregiving often continue for months or even years.
“As tens of millions of people take on caregiving responsibilities each year, supporting those caring for our aging population has become one of the most pressing financial issues of our lifetime,” said Lorna Sabbia, head of Retirement and Personal Wealth Solutions for Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “Greater longevity is going to have a profound impact on the caregiving landscape and calls for earlier, more comprehensive planning and innovative solutions to address the health and long-term care needs of our loved ones.”
Financial caregiving: Navigating complexity and responsibility
The study finds that 92 percent of caregivers are also financial caregivers, and are contributing to and/or coordinating finances for their loved one. In fact, after two years of receiving care, 88 percent of care recipients are no longer managing their finances independently.
Financial caregiving is often far more complex than simply contributing to the recipient’s care. Financial caregivers are responsible for a wide variety of tasks, including:
- Health care rises as top challenge. Respondents find that navigating health insurance expenses is the top challenge of financial caregiving (57 percent).
- Uncharted territory. An estimated 49 percent of financial caregivers don’t have the legal authorization to perform their role.
- Guidance and resources lacking. Sixty-six percent of caregivers feel they could benefit from financial advice.
Costs and compensations of caregiving
While some aspects of caregiving may feel like a burden, those surveyed also tell us it is a blessing. Contrary to all we hear about the stress and sacrifices of caregiving, for many caregivers, the role is also often associated with a range of positive experiences and rewards. Caregivers describe a complex, demanding yet often nourishing journey – defined by honor, gratitude, fulfillment, purpose, and strong family bonds.
- Nearly three quarters of respondents say they’ve made numerous sacrifices as a caregiver – whether familial or professional.
- Fifty-three percent have made financial sacrifices to compensate for caregiving expenses. Thirty percent of caregivers say that they have had to cut back on expenses, and 21 percent have had to dip into personal savings.
- Two in five caregivers under the age of 64 have made sacrifices at work due to caregiving responsibilities, including reducing their hours (17 percent) and leaving the workforce (16 percent).
- Caregivers feel rewarded knowing they are doing something good for someone they love – 61 percent say the greatest benefit of providing care is the sense that they have “done the right thing.”
- Seventy-seven percent say they would gladly take on being a caregiver for a loved one again.
- Forty percent report a strengthened bond between themselves and the care recipient, and 24 percent say caregiving brought their family closer together.
- Eighty-six percent say watching their loved one’s health struggle was a motivator that caused them to place more value on taking care of their own health.
“Caregiving is one of today’s most complex life stages, throughout which hard work, high stress and heavy obligations intertwine with honor, meaning and resilience,” said Ken Dychtwald, Ph.D., CEO and founder of Age Wave. “This experience becomes even more emotionally complex and financially challenging when caring for loved ones suffering from dementia or Alzheimer’s. Even with that added burden, this study reveals that 65 percent say that being a caregiver brought purpose and meaning to their life.”
The crucial role of employers
Employers can play an integral role in supporting caregiving employees during this demanding life stage. While 84 percent of employers say caregiving will become an increasingly important issue in the next five years, only 18 percent strongly agree that their workplace is currently “caregiving-friendly”– underscoring the need for new approaches and solutions across the workforce.
“Meaningful, well-designed employer benefits can make a crucial difference in helping caregivers navigate the high stress of caring for a loved one and help them balance these responsibilities with the rest of their working and financial lives. Just as child care has been an issue in the past that led to revolutionizing HR benefits, the aging of the population means we need to consider how caregiving is becoming an increasingly important issue for employers and employees,” said Kevin Crain, head of Workplace Solutions for Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “These should include resources and programs focused on addressing caregiving complexities and employee networks that facilitate support from experts and peers.”
According to Crain, “Bank of America Corporation is committed to meeting the needs of caregivers in today’s transforming world. Companywide initiatives dedicated to addressing the needs of our country’s aging population and those of their caregivers include combatting elder financial fraud, increased awareness of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease, and implementing caregiving best practices through training and resources for its financial advisors and corporate clients. The company supports our employees who are caregivers through a variety of resources including access to emergency back-up care for adults and children, professional elder care assessments, elder care law services, and an internal Parents and Caregivers employee network.”
Top 5 Messaging Apps for Marketing and Promotion
Two to three decades ago, advertising in television was the best medium to reach umpteen numbers of viewers to market certain product and services. Now the trends are changing with the advancement in technology. Another factor accelerating this digital trend is the increase in the number of people who are hooked to their smartphones, messaging apps and social media sites.
Let’s take a look at the top 5 messaging apps that could be used to promote your business.
WhatsApp is no doubt the leading messenger application worldwide. It is rare to find a smartphone user who hasn’t installed WhatsApp on his mobile phone.
A study by Statista says that WhatsApp is the most popular mobile messaging apps worldwide as of January 2017 with currently more than 900 million monthly active users followed by Facebook Messenger, WeChat and Line.
The evolution of WhatsApp has replaced the once popular text messaging service SMS among the masses. It has evolved drastically since 2009 by adding features like calling, video calling etc. in its new version. Many businesses be it a startup or an established one, have taken WhatsApp to its marketing advantage by creating groups and sending the group invite link to clients.
The news for marketers is that, WhatsApp has several features to its advantage like cross platform compatibility, Creating Broadcast Lists, Group chat facility etc. that will aid you to reach a number of audience through marketing.
This is another popular messenger used by so many people of all ages. Over 1.2 billion people use Facebook so this is another lucrative platform for marketers when it comes to lead generation. Facebook ad’s called destination ad’s which on clicking leads the user to the messenger can be set up.
Chatfuel is another application that lets you build a Facebook bot to suit your business needs.
Stats say that 53%of people are more likely to shop with a business they can message directly. And when it comes to customer service, 56% of people would rather message than call the customer service and wait for ten minutes by selecting various options to talk to a representative.
WeChat, though an unfamiliar household name is China’s version of WhatsApp. WeChat has 1.1 billion registered accounts and 938 million monthly active users according to a recent report. WeChat has become a part of the parcel in China by letting its users do daily tasks like hiring a cab, managing credit card bills, news updates and much more all from within the main app. Cool isn’t it?
WeChat has an added advantage to capture the Chinese crowd Since Facebook is blocked in China. You can use WeChat for location based marketing if you plan to market in the regions like United States, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Macau, Malaysia, South Africa, Taiwan, and Thailand.
Many businesses communicate with consumers and share discount coupons on WeChat to attract them to their stores.
Line which is owned by South Korean search portal Naver Corp has 218 million monthly users mostly from Japan, Taiwan, Thailand and Indonesia. It gained its popularity for its use of stickers and stories about the characters they feature. It is predicted by MobileMarketing magazine that Line will be used by 50.2m people in Japan in 2017, which equates to 92.8 percent of the country’s mobile messaging app.
Businesses can create accounts for a fee in Line and send information and free promotional stickers to subscribed users. Line offers various facilities like special discount coupons from brands, make group calls up to 200 members, book a taxi, shop online, follow your favorite brand and artists etc. There are famous brands like Pepsi who made use of line stickers for marketing by creating happy emoji’s who drink Pepsi.
Line offers a LINE Store Page that lets users create their own stickers which in turn will facilitate the exposure of new businesses and the LINE Store Chat allows businesses and consumers to engage in mutual communication. It allows sellers to send messages and coupons to customers encouraging them to visit again.
These days you can get millions of mobile app development companies who can design and develop messaging app for you as per your need & budget.
Slack is an internal communication and collaboration tool that is known for its convenience and organizing ability. There are several marketing, sales, and tech-based tools that have built-in integrations to work within Slack. Trello, DrumUp, Get Response, GrowthBot etc. are some of the noteworthy tools in this list. Slack is excellent when it comes to content delivery too. If users subscribe to your page in the slack channel, then your content will be broadcasted in their slack profile.
These 5 messengers can reach different regions in order to help expand your reach around the world. You could choose which messenger app is the best for you based on the location of the market you aim to capture.
5 Mistakes to Avoid When Starting a Small Business
Starting a business venture is one of the most exhilarating and fulfilling experiences you can have. For many, they take their passion and turn it into a lucrative project. For some, they invest in an industry that’s currently making noise in the business world. Whether you’re a newly minted licensed clinical social worker (LCSW), stay-at-home mom or an employee who’s tired of your 9-5 job, starting a small business is often accompanied with bravado and a dose of fear.
Yet, bravado can make you turn a blind eye to practicality and fear can paralyze you from taking risks. Before you know it, you’re caught in a dilemma between wanting to give up and return to your old job and finishing what you started but not knowing where to go. Although this dilemma may be common for small business owners, it doesn’t have to be a reality for you.
It pays to learn from others so you can keep on the right track. Check out these 5 mistakes to avoid when starting a small business:
When you focus on building the company and forget about the market.
Many aspiring company owners believe that product development and business building must always take center stage. They think that ticking off items on their checklist means that customers or clients will follow suit:
Build and develop your own website. Set up social pages. Write blog posts. Strategically .
When customers or clients don’t Like your page, visit your website, or buy a subscription, new business owners may get disheartened and think that maybe not be a demand for the product or service.
The truth is, as important as it is to lay out the groundwork of your company, you should dedicate an equal amount of time to marketing. You can’t just build a company, neglect marketing, and expect people to come in droves.
Know the rules of networking, hire a virtual assistant for your social media and email marketing schemes, and be active in local events to make a name for your brand.
When you juggle different responsibilities at once.
You can’t afford to be a jack of all trades if you want your business to take off. Let experts take care of the different aspects of your business. Let an office assistant take care of administrative work, and hire a writer for your web content.
Yes, this is all possible even for a small business. In fact, outsourcing is one of the best investments you can make when starting out in the business world. You get the best people to do specific jobs while you focus on running the company.
When your business name is already taken.
Not checking if the business name and product labels are already legally taken is a common rookie mistake. Make sure you don’t fall into it.
There are various tools online that will allow you to verify if a business or product name is already trademarked or owned by an existing company.
When your business and personal bank accounts are the same.
If you want your company to be taken seriously, setting up a bank account for it is a must. Besides, it helps you to clearly see the flow of money in the business.
Certain legal structures will also require you to have a separate bank account for business purposes. If you don’t want to raise suspicions and problems with taxes, make sure your company and personal bank accounts are separate.
When you don’t plan for profit.
Making money out of something you love is an ideal notion. But sometimes, you pour out too much effort, time, and money into the project that you can’t put a price tag on your work.
Make sure to have a clear definition of your business model. What is the net margin for your business? How much do you need to make to break even every day or every month? What KPI’s or key performance indicators will tell you that your company is doing well?
It’s not just enough to make a business plan. You also have to make sure that your plans are geared towards making profits.
After knowing the 5 mistakes to avoid when starting a small business, are there adjustments to be done on your business plan?
How to Grow Your Nonprofit With Little Budget
It should come as no surprise that devoting time to a cause can be fulfilling. When you start one of your own, you will transform your life.
But establishing a nonprofit to take up said crusade comes with lots of barriers, namely financial. Traditional businesses often must figure out where the money will come from to make their vision a reality, and nonprofits are no different.
For nonprofit leaders with know-how and ideas but scarce financial capital, it’s an uphill battle. But it’s those who recognize their new nonprofits’ non-monetary value and how to translate that into viability who can bring those causes to fruition.
A Little Marketing Goes a Long Way
What nonprofits lack in budget, they more than make up for in positioning and branding. Organizations can mask their financial shortcomings by properly marketing each themselves and spotlighting who they are and what they can do.
That starts with communicating your purpose or company “brand.” Identifying your brand lets people know who you are and what you can do for others, which can go a long way in creating long-term relationships. From there, you want to avoid potential conflicts of interest or even the appearance of one: As owner, officer, or director, you should never personally profit from any transaction with your organization.
Once you’ve settled those things, you can market your nonprofit to its fullest potential. The next step is to take those attributes to events and platforms that feature opportunities to rub elbows with financiers with values similar to your own.
For nonprofits with limited funds, I suggest looking to corporations to sponsor a campaign. Dress for Success, for example, held a “clean your closet week” by asking professionals to donate clothing, and the campaign generated $400,000.
And when you find an actual sponsor, it can be a useful way to find other organizations that align with your mission. Let’s say you connect with a corporation known to work with homeless youth. It’ll have relationships with many other corporations that work with this same service sector, which can establish a ripple effect.
Do Good on a Discount
Outside of knowing how to sell your cause, the following tips are useful to help your growing nonprofit continue to scale:
1. Think intangible. When you’re on a tight budget and don’t have money to involve your nonprofit in initiatives requiring a cash investment, start off by marketing non-financial resources, such as your time and industry knowledge.
Not only will it provide your organization some much-needed exposure, but it’ll also give you and your other teammates a better idea of the work involved and a brief overview of your chosen nonprofit sector. Plus, it’s not a bad way to make connections.
2. Give in to the youth movement. Look for volunteers at area high schools. Talk with the local school councils and ask whether it’d be possible to create a partnership that would allow teens to volunteer for a school credit or as an extracurricular activity.
Position the volunteer opportunity as a way for teenagers to prepare for the future. After all, volunteering improves not just communities, but also participants’ social and communication skills. In fact, they often reap better advantages at college and on down the line.
3. See how the pros do it. Follow the activities of larger nonprofit and nongovernmental organizations. Check with international organizations like the United Nations; you may find opportunities for involvement and gain access to their funding pool.
Take NeedsList, for example. The online platform was created to help small grassroots groups connect with NGOs across the world in need of shoes, SD cards, and other supplies. Donors can choose to donate goods, money, or time, which brings us full circle.
As the adage goes, it’s not what you know but whom. No other sector exemplifies this more than nonprofit. For foundations on a shoestring budget, make connections, think about what you have to offer, and deliver on your purpose each step of the way. Then, you can let your personal transformation begin.
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