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February 12, 2017

Laws of Attraction: Bringing New Donors to Your Cause

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Valentine’s Day: love it or hate it, this time of year sparks conversations about how to attract that special someone. The same can be said for nonprofits all year round – how do you attract the right supporters and, most importantly, donors to your cause? Our Cause Clarity video “How to Attract New Donors” is a great place to start. Here are a few highlights.

As with any successful long-term relationship, often finding the right partner and acquiring new donors both take time. With so many causes and so much clutter in today’s fast paced world, it takes discipline and creativity to reach new people so they can hear about, become interested in and donate to your cause. An important first step for your nonprofit is to identity the types of donors you want to reach. After all, if you don’t know who you are looking for, it’s hard to find them. Once you can organize your ideal prospective donors into your top two to three priority groups, make a list of the characteristics or interests they share. The more you can understand what they care about and what motivates them, the easier it will be to figure out the best strategies to reach them in an authentic and meaningful way.

While attracting new donors to your cause is always a priority, it’s also important to maintain the relationships you have carefully developed with your current donors. With many worthwhile causes out there to compete with, and new ones popping up every day, you need to consistently connect with your current donors to keep them engaged. Just like a healthy and thriving personal relationship, you need to work at it to keep it going. Carve out standing times to touch base with your donors. Update them with relevant stories about the impact of the work they are supporting.

When reaching out, tailor your communications to the preferences of each of your donor groups (not everyone likes roses and chocolate). Regular email updates can be very effective, and including photos and video can make a powerful statement. Social media posts are a fast way to reach people. Mailed letters may also be appropriate for some of your donors who may not always be online. And don’t forget to invite your donors to any in-person events so they can see the work up-close and personal.

Ever been set up by a friend? Don’t be afraid to tap into your professional networks for a little assistance expanding your donor base. From a simple “like” or “share” to making an introduction, think about ways to equip your board, supporters and even current donors to be ambassadors of your great work.

And with any important relationship, don’t forget to say thank you. Acknowledging partners and supporters is always a crucial step in ensuring healthy, long-lasting relationships. And that’s something everyone can love this time of year.

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October 21, 2016

Our New and Improved Cause Clarity Website

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We are excited to announce the launch of our new and improved Cause Clarity website, which is home to an array of our free resources for nonprofits. Cause Clarity makes the power of good communications accessible to all. Be sure to check out our newest tool, the Resource Navigator, a “choose your own adventure” type-tool which guides yourself through a range of communications support options to find what is the best fit for your organizational goals. 

Here at Hershey Cause we are passionate about supporting the great work being done by nonprofits in Los Angeles and across the country. That is why we started our own nonprofit over fifteen years ago with a mission to provide free resources and tools to help nonprofits improve their internal and external communications and to aid in their capacity-building efforts. We take the best practices we have learned and honed through our consulting work and apply that to the creation of all of our tools.

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As Hershey Cause nears its 40th anniversary next year we are excited to announce the launch of our new and improved Cause Clarity website, which is home to an array of our free resources for nonprofits. Cause Clarity makes the power of good communications accessible to all.

One of our newest tools is our Resource Navigator, a “choose your own adventure” type-tool which allows the user to guide themselves through a range of communications support options in order to choose the right resources based on their needs. For example, if the user needs help getting their CEO or Board Members to understand the value of strategic communications, they might refer to one of our articles such as “Communications Starts at the Top.” Or they might be best served by accessing our very popular Bite-Size Courses including our “how-to” videos and companion worksheets on key communications topics such as “How to Create a Core Message,” “HowWrite Your Social Media Plan” and “How to Get Better Media Coverage for Your Cause.” Cause Clarity is also where you can access our award-winning books and resources including our Communications Toolkit.

With the launch of the new site we have also updated and redesigned our Communications Effectiveness Quiz. Designed to help organizations assess their communications strengths and areas for opportunity, users can now filter their quiz results to see how their communications compare to other nonprofits based on criteria such as organizational budget, location and staff size. The quiz is a great opportunity for busy nonprofit leaders and staff to take a few minutes to evaluate their communications as a first step to finding the tools and resources they may need to help them be even more effective communicators.

Let us know what you think!

Your feedback matters to us – after all, these resources exist to help you get results. We welcome your comments, questions and suggestions for other tools you would like to see on our site. You can send all comments to us at info@hersheycause.com.

Happy exploring and remember communications help is just one click away!

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May 27, 2016

Top 5 Things You Can Do Now To Communicate Better

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It’s graduation season and we are proud to announce that another group of passionate and dedicated nonprofit organizations has successfully completed our Communicating for Results! Training Program, which provides nonprofits with the knowledge and tools they need to advance their communications skills. Through a combination of in-person group trainings and one-on-one coaching sessions that take place over eight months, our tailored curriculum builds capacity in the nonprofit sector and helps organizations take their communications to the next level. With their training funded by the Dwight Stuart Youth Fund, our recent cohort of Los Angeles area nonprofits learned best practices in strategic communications and developed their own customized strategic communications plans.

The 2016 graduating class of the Dwight Stuart Youth Fund Communicating for Results! training program.

The 2016 graduating class of the Dwight Stuart Youth Fund Communicating for Results! training program.

We love to see those light bulb moments when the participants realize how they could communicate even better with their audiences – whether it’s with donors, board members, volunteers or clients. Here we share the top five pieces of advice our trainees find most valuable.

  1. Take the time to create a core message. Your core message is not the same as your mission statement. It should allow the listener to emotionally connect to you and the work your organization is doing. An effective core message should also be easy to remember, free from jargon so everyone in your organization can use it and a conversation starter about your organization. Watch our Cause Clarity Core Message video to learn more.
  1. Remember that everyone is a communicator in your organization – from the person answering your phones, to your volunteers and your board members. Make sure they all have a consistent and updated core message that they can use when they communicate both internally and externally.
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  1. Be a strategic thinker. Many people spend a lot of time focusing on communications “tactics” – such as social media, e-newsletters and events. However, every tactic should tie back to a larger strategic goal and strategy. Ask yourself these questions: Why are we spending time and resources on this tactic? What is the goal of this tactic? Who are we trying to reach? If you can answer these questions that means you are already on your way to thinking strategically about your communications.
  1. Measure and evaluate your communications efforts. How can you determine if the communications work you are doing is working if you don’t take the time to evaluate your results? If you are sending out e-newsletters for example – do you regularly review how many are actually opened or clicked through? If the open rates are low, maybe you need to adjust the subject lines you’re using or re-evaluate your content. Or maybe this tactic is not worth the valuable staff time it takes to send them out, and perhaps you should be focusing your communications resources in other areas. Remember, not all your communications can be measured in numbers. Try sending short surveys to people who attend your events or receive your materials – ask for comments and feedback to help aid your evaluation efforts.
  1. Create a master communications calendar. When you can map out all your communications efforts into one timeline or calendar you can start to see where there may be overlap. You may decide to adjust the timing to send out information or donation requests to ensure you are not overwhelming your audience, but rather keeping them updated at regular intervals. A calendar can also allow you to be more efficient with your resources as you will be better able to determine where your staff’s time should be dedicated.

For more information about how your organization can participate in one of our trainings or how you can fund trainings for your grantees to improve their communications effectiveness please contact Beth Babyak at bbbayak@hersheycause.com or 310-656-1001 ext. 101.

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May 19, 2015

Join Our Team

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Hershey Cause Communications is hiring a Senior Account Director. 

The Senior Director at Hershey Cause Communications is a key staff position. A seasoned communication and marketing professional, the Senior Director is responsible for leading account management of clients and the development and implementation of strategic communication projects.

Time Priorities

85% billable (strategic marketing & communications and account management)

15% new business development

Critical Job Responsibilities

Strategic Marketing/Communications

  • Manage and lead strategic development of a full range of marketing projects and campaigns including PR, branding, advertising, media buys, digital and social media development event planning, collateral development and more.
  • Responsible for developing and managing project timelines and production schedules and ensuring that projects are delivered on time
  • Lead the development of strategic plans
  • Provide creative solutions to client projects

Account Management

  • Provide/oversee day-to-day client contact
  • Responsible for developing and managing project timelines and production schedules and ensuring that projects are delivered on-time
  • Keep company management informed of the status of client projects
  • Build and supervise teams of people necessary for client accounts and projects
  • Establish client budgets and monitor job cost accounting

New Business Development

  • Generate new business with current client accounts
  • Lead/assist in the preparation and implementation of new business proposals and pitches
  • Own, develop and sell new business to a target Hershey Cause Communications customer target list as part of HCC strategic plan
  • Participate in networking opportunities including trainings, speaking engagements and development of white papers, etc.

Desired Skills and Experience

Minimum Requirements:

Education and Experience

10 or more years experience in marketing communications, public relations, advertising or related field, including supervising projects and teams. Master’s Degree in Marketing, Public Relations or related field preferred.

Skills and Abilities

  • Strong knowledge of marketing communications, media relations and creative services
  • Strong organizational, follow-through and time management skills
  • Strong oral and written communication skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills necessary to build and maintain client relations and direct project members
  • Proficient with MS Word, Excel and PPT

Please send resumes and cover letters to Bethany Babyak, VP of Operations at bbabyak@hersheycause.com

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April 23, 2015

Better Storytellers, Better Results

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In a few weeks, Hershey Cause will be wrapping up another successful round of our Communicating for Results! training program for nonprofits. I was proud to co-lead another Dwight Stuart Youth Fund training this past year with my colleague Jan Kern, and I’m reflecting on the experience, especially as I celebrate five years working at Hershey Cause Communications.

Our founder R. Christine Hershey started the nonprofit arm of our company, Cause Communications (Cause), 16 years ago when she saw the need to educate nonprofits on communications best practices. Since many nonprofits need to focus most of their budgets on program costs and funding requests, they often don’t think they can afford to spend money on communications. But in reality, they’re using communications daily in almost everything they do – from how they answer the phone, to their Facebook posts and Tweets, to the annual appeal letters they send to donors.

Cause set out to develop a series of tools and trainings to help nonprofits learn some of the most important fundamentals regarding communications. Over the years, with generous support from our funders, Cause has been able to develop resource books such as The Communications Toolkit: A Guide to Navigating Communications for the Nonprofit World and the 2 Minute Nonprofit Answer Guide for Nonprofits, and most recently the Cause Clarity video series. The positive feedback we continue to receive on these materials only reinforces that there is a great need for communications knowledge in the nonprofit sector.

It’s the hands-on aspect of our Communicating for Results! training series that has impacted me the most. Our curriculum is made up of three group training sessions with about 10 nonprofits at each session. In the group trainings we provide an overview of topics such as how to create a compelling core message, and how to identify your key audiences. We then segue into how to develop a communications plan, sharing sample objectives, strategies and tactics from our for-profit work with our own clients.

One of the most compelling aspects of these group trainings is the opportunity for peer learning among the nonprofits. When each group has a chance to hear the challenges and successes of other groups and brainstorm solutions together, they are reminded they’re not alone and are often inspired to reach new levels in their own communications.

Many of our trainees told me that the turning point for them was having someone from outside their organization provide direct feedback on their core message. They start to realize that their messages should be clear, compelling and free from jargon, which is drastically different from the formal language used in grant applications. It’s inspiring to help someone create a new message that they are excited about and that they know will be the basis for better communications in their organization.

All the groups we work with are passionate about their causes, and the tools and counsel we are able to provide allow them to see how they can be even more effective. After each coaching session, I’m more inspired by the work the nonprofit world is doing, and I’m proud that Cause Communications is able to provide our support to their efforts. I am confident in saying we are truly fulfilling the mission of our cause.

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