It's all about the STORY!

Posts tagged ‘nonprofit’

Proposal winning strategies – 7 tips


[Pictured at left is an actual grant application Daphne wrote and submitted, directing a small team of clinicians and support staff. Daunting, no?]


Background: Daphne Street is a multi-million dollar award-winning grant and proposal writer, with more than a decade of experience in winning proposals spanning myriad fields within the nonprofit and for profit industries. From the fine and performing arts to substance abuse and mental health services and from technology developers  to transportation services, Daphne has helped transform businesses through establishing new revenue streams and fostering profitable partnerships. Far too often, Daphne says, companies are content on submitting proposals without doing the work needed to truly be competitive and win the game. Here are 7 winning tips from Daphne:

7 Tips for Winning Proposals

  1. Do what you’re told. Read, follow directions and gather appropriate content. Never skim an application. Completing award applications and proposals are not the time to get creative, decide certain questions are superfluous or bluff your way through. You must be exacting in every minute detail: from composition and submission instructions, to addressing every detail in the scope of services and search every section to discover additional areas you need to address.
  2. Points matter. If an RFP assigns points to certain sections or questions, calculate those compared to the word count. The more points assigned to a question or section should get a higher percentage of your word count dedicated to it. It is formulaic and expected.
  3. Information gathering. Do not attempt to do this on your own unless you solely have ownership of the vault that holds all of your company’s data and are its universal content expert. More likely, you have accountants, program/department heads, specialists and industry experts on your team that can provide invaluable content to strengthen your proposal. Take the time to engage them and be specific about the type of information you need from them.
  4. Money. Your financials and budget are often the strongest and most highly weighted sections of your application. Your financials tell a complete story of your company’s financial health and whether your company is a good investment for funding. This includes tax returns, independent audits, etc. Your budget is usually what really sets you apart from the competition, and there is no shortcut for developing a winning budget: analyze ALL of your costs associated with a project and pitch a budget that is as tight as you can get it while still making a profit. In terms of for profit government proposals, you tend to make your money on volume over ticket price, so consider that when you calculate your estimated profits.
  5. Interpretation. Reading between the lines is critical in winning applications. This requires skill and experience to know exactly what questions mean and the data, details, interpretations and focus points to include within proposal responses along with the best ways to present that information, using graphics, logic models, flow charts and time tables, etc. to drive key messages.
  6. Value-added. This is where proposals are won. What additional, extraordinary benefits and features are you bringing to the table? What is unique about your offering that sets you above the competition? Skilled proposal writers know how to sniff out these details and highlight them in writing in compelling ways. From your narrative to your budget, value-added wins every time.
  7. Hire an expert. Especially when you are dealing with high stakes, it’s worth the investment to use the expertise of a pro. They often don’t come cheap, and it’s important to vet them properly, but they know the tricks of the trade that can augment your chances of winning exponentially. While there is never a guarantee that your application will win, the outstanding news is that your investment in an expert proposal writer never goes to waist unless you fully scrap your project. The application they pull together often can be repurposed to submit for various funding opportunities. It’s never a “one size fits all” job—there will be significant time spent rewriting sections and addressing varied specifications and scopes of services, but you will often find subsequent applications written to support the same project far less cumbersome.

Daphne’s List of 7: Telling your company’s story

I have just spent hours researching the history of several Bay area nonprofits–learning about their stories. Specifically, their history.

Here are 7 tips on storytelling that would be helpful for all businesses, particularly nonprofits. These are 7 important points, what I have learned along the way as a professional writer for nonprofits and as a member of the media as I am currently…

  1. Make your audience “feel” your story. DO NOT give us facts and figures. We truly don’t care–we glaze over them, mostly. Tell us about the tears. Tell us about the victories. Tell us about the struggle. Tell us how your organization CHANGED things. Give me something to feel, to care about, to go out and tell my friends and family about. Here in Pinellas County PARC does a GREAT job of telling their story HERE.
  2. Get your FACTS straight and make sure your information is up-to-date. I will not mention the site, but it is one I know all too well–they have the date the company was founded, which is good, but then they also include how long the company has been operating. Not only is this information redundant, but the number of year operating is an evolving number that needs to be changed each year. If you insist on including it, you’d better be committed to updating it every single year. As it stands, you’ve been dormant for about 5 years. Okay, that’s just an example, but in a historical statement, STAY AWAY from figures that change. Also, if you include a blurb about where you are today, which is good–update that at least annually. Do it the same time you do your annual report–that’s a good reminder that all your company’s content should be reviewed, including your website
  3. Make sure your website looks good. Honestly, this is not an expensive or difficult thing to do. If you have a website, and you certainly should, make sure it’s attractive. Certainly, if it’s easy to navigate, lots of content, etc.–even better. But, first, make it visually pleasing. If your web page is hard to look at, no one will want to bother, and it reflects poorly on your company’s image.
  4. Less is more when it comes to text. WOW! So much verbose copy, laden with industry jargon–I’ve been working in the helping fields for over 20 friggin years, and if I wonder what you mean by what you’re trying to say, and I’m getting tired of reading wordy copy, I can’t begin to imagine what the public at large thinks when they see it. Tighten it up, and keep it simple. If that’s too hard for you pros in the field to do, get some clients and community members together to focus group your marketing copy for you. If you don’t believe me, listen to what they have to say…
  5. Include a link for media on your website. Please, think of us and throw us a little bone. Include your press releases there as a link. Include contact info. and brief bios of subject experts that we can contact for quotes and insight into issues–we are always looking for expert opinions. Make it easy for us to find. Give us your logo and other graphics that we have total permission to use as stock art for articles. And, tell us who your media contact is so that we can contact them directly. When a story is breaking, and we want to use your organization as an expert, we don’t have time to wait around or hunt to find “maybe” the right person. Get us linked to them straight away, and we’ll get you into print faster and more often as the experts in the field that you are.
  6. Be responsive to media. We matter. In a time when funding is tighter than ever, getting and keeping your company’s name in the community dialogue is critical when you are cultivating donors. If a development director has to spend too much time explaining to a potential donor what the organization is and why they care about it, it’s probably already too late to bother. Keeping your name in the media as noted experts in what you do is key to raising the value of your organization in the mind of your public. There’s no short cut. There are many creative ways to do this, and traditional media isn’t the only one… but it’s important to do in some fashion.
  7. Reach out to media. Don’t just send us a press release. Trust me, we often don’t “get” why your story is important. Talk to us. Get to know us. Take us to lunch (we really like that!). But, develop a relationship with us. And this is critical–don’t bother telling us why your story is important to you. Tell me why I, the media professional cares, and why it’s cool, interesting or important to the public. THAT’s the story. Don’t count on the fact that the media professional will be able to see why your story matters. Spoon feed THAT to them, because why your story matters IS the story.

The Wilson Van–rocking philanthropy in the ‘burg

Photo credit: Les Bartholf

Too often philanthropy is thought of as ‘that thing rich people do.’ With charity balls and writing big checks to planned giving—please remember us in your will. And certainly, these big gifts and large donors are enormously important to keep needed and wanted services afloat in our community. Philanthropy really is giving that comes from the heart, and it manifests in many forms. It’s about giving of yourself in large and small ways whatever talents or resources you may have and directing it in a way that benefits others, a cause and your community. This past weekend, three brothers—Paul, Mark and Patrick Wilson did just that.

Memorial Day weekend, Van Wilson, I mean: The Wilson Van took the stage by storm at St. Petersburg’s State Theatre, which resulted in raising $30,000 of unrestricted funds for Southeastern Guide Dog’s program Paws for Patriots. What might come as a surprise to many—it did to me—is that the government does not provide guide dogs or any funding for guide dogs to military personnel who are blinded in the line of duty.

So, as it should be, community steps in where government does not. The end result of this benefit was not just a bunch of guys on stage rocking the ‘burg, but the real take-away from this concert is the knowledge that an additional six blinded military personnel or veterans will soon be able to partner up with his or her own guide dog to help them rock ‘n’ roll through life.

Rewinding to the beginning, the whole story started a few years ago as Mark Wilson, news anchor at Fox13, was about to celebrate his 40th birthday. As the story goes, brothers Paul and Patrick Wilson were trying to plan a party for their aging sibling, and they had an idea—to find a band that would let Mark go up on stage and play a few Van Halen tunes with them. You know, just something fun to do.

Says the oldest brother, Paul: Patrick was to check with Mark to see what songs he knows and to report back. According to Paul, Patrick called him back saying, “Uhh… I think I screwed up. He says he knows them all. And so instead of him playing with a band, we could form our own band for the night.”

Or something like that, which then turned into a succession of annual benefit concerts, selling tickets for charity that went from raising just a few thousand dollars to a total of $30,000 for this most recent event. Ambitious, this Van Wilson trio. Oh, and about the name…

Fans couldn’t help but notice a conspicuous last-minute name change for the band–switching up the formerly known Van Wilson to The Wilson Van. The reason, says Patrick Wilson via Twitter to a fan asking a similar question, “Van Wilson was too darn obvious [since we cover a lot of Van Halen songs]. Not even sure who gave it to us. The Wilson Van has a little more… hoomer.”

When I asked Paul Wilson if the brothers even had a van, inquiring into the name change myself, he talked in more esoteric terms than his sibling, “Scribe Daphne, circular thoughts not literal musings. High sweeping arcs.” My high sweeping arch, then, envisions a “Crazy Train” with a little less crazy, swapping out the train for a van, and that’s The Wilson Van. All abooooard!

So, let me introduce you to The Wilson Van, virtually. Pictured at the top from left to right—Lt. Colonel Kathy Champion (Paws for Patriots beneficiary), Paul Wilson, Former Navy medics Eric Kallal (Paws for Patriots beneficiary), Corporal Mike Jernigan (Paws for Patriots beneficiary), Patrick Wilson, Bill Malik, Matt Stocke, Mark Wilson in front left and Tom Overbey front lower right.

These are the band members along with honored guests for the evening—local recipients of guide dogs from the Paws for Patriots program. At one point during the concert Kallal joined band members playing bass guitar for a roaring performance of Bon Jovi’s “Have a Nice Day.”

“That was the highlight of the night for me,” said Mark who played lead guitar throughout the event. “I was really moved when I first talked to Eric, and he told me that he was practicing his guitar.” Kallal said that he uses music to help channel his energy, and Mark reports that Kallal did not hesitate to agree to join the band on stage with a song—the energy for that performance was palpable.

As successful as the night was by anyone’s standards, the work that goes into pulling something like this off is incredible, and the Wilson brothers each have rather demanding day jobs—often night-time too, plus family responsibilities. In short—they have no spare time.

Case in point, Mark happens to be an Emmy Award-winning journalist/anchor with Fox 13 News; Paul is a local advertising mogul; and Patrick is an Emmy, Tony and Golden Globe nominated actor—seen often on film, TV and Broadway. So, how did these guys find time to do this?

According to Mark, much of it happened organically, but taking a little extra time was key. This event was unique in that the brothers took three months to plan, while previous events were pulled together in a matter of weeks.

The selection of the benefit was an obvious choice for Mark as he kept learning more and more about the work of this organization randomly in his personal life. First, he heard about it from a Paws for Patriots recipient, Jernigan, whom Mark and his family knew through church. Then, Mark’s daughter, Logan, came back from a field trip “puppy hugging” at Southeasten Guide Dogs, and he heard more about the organization.

“It was a no-brainer,” said Mark. “We knew we wanted to do something to benefit the military, because we already had the date set for Memorial Day weekend.” Then, the benefit side of the event took off.

According to Mark, Beverly Young, wife of Congressman C.W. Bill Young, was instrumental in helping Mark connect with the local veterans who are program participants. This part was the catalyst, bringing the cause to life to the public—seeing these men and woman on stage with their dogs and hearing their stories kept the meaning of the event in focus throughout the night.

As if the charity part wasn’t enough, with a concert, band members need to practice, preferably together. Moreover, the Wilson brothers wrote and performed four original songs, and Patrick had to remain between New York and New Jersey until the final hour. They only had one in-person rehearsal the Friday before the show. How does that work? Technology.

Enter the age of apps. Yes, apps. Patrick wrote an entire song entitled “Heal You,” using the “Garage Band” app on his iPad, banging on cups in lieu of drums while he was on location in his trailer. He sent his creation to Mark who duplicated it with real instruments to create a demo for the rest of the band to learn the song.

Everything else went similarly. Mark would send lyrics and such using Voice Memo on his iPhone, usually from his car, and the band even practiced via Skype. Anyone familiar with Skype knows about the delay inherent with the program, so the band practiced with their drummer, Patrick, appearing on a computer screen and adjusting to a constant one-second delay.

Said Patrick, “Eric [the Paws for Patriots recipient] playing bass with us was a metaphor for the whole show. It represented the most important thing—the injured military and how you just go on. In a much smaller way, that’s how the whole show was. The band played 16 songs, including four originals, with very little practice. You just have to keep going forward. It’s gonna happen. And everyone there wants to have a good time.”

The Wilson brothers did not do this alone, however. While the music was totally on their shoulders with the help of a few other musicians, they give heartfelt thanks and credit to family, friends and other big hearts in the community who gave generously with time, talent, moral support and donations, including those for a live and silent auction.

Specifically, Michael Moorefield, a representative for Brown Foreman Wine & Spirits, helped gain a Jack Daniels sponsorship for the cause, which donated liquor—a significant cost-savings and additional revenue stream for the event.

Another star donation was a collaborative effort spearheaded by Mark Wilson. This is a gorgeous 2011 Gibson USA-made Les Paul I electric guitar, customized with a graphic by Declan Flynn, clear coat by Professional Auto Body in St. Petersburg, and the truss rod cover was hand designed and donated by Bill Nichols at To see a photo of this rockin’ work of art, CLICK HERE.

The Wilson family spent the rest of their holiday weekend together, mostly gathered at their parents’ house, John and Mary K. Wilson.

“Actually, the charity helped bring the family together,” said Patrick. “Two uncles of ours are vets, and this charity meant a lot to them. Grandfathers on both sides of our family were military—in fact, most of the men in our family were military until our generation. We all have great admiration and respect for our military. This cause meant a lot to all of us.”

First published on SaintPetersBlog:

UPDATE: Podcast of my internet radio interview with Paul Wilson on Write At Five on, talking about the creative process and the upcoming benefit concert:

Philanthropy Rocks! Van Wilson supports St. Pete Free Clinic

This is a tale of caregivers, philanthropy, stewardship and rock ‘n’ roll.

Patrick, Paul and Mark Wilson

On Oct. 15, Van Wilson, a local band made up of three brothers and some others, rocked the stage at St. Petersburg’s The Local 662 to a sold-out crowd. What matters here is not the rock show, which really did rock, but who these brothers are and what their rock concert did.

The brothers three happen to be Emmy and Tony Award nominated Patrick Wilson, Fox 13 news anchor Mark Wilson and advertising mogul Paul Wilson. What the concert did was raise about $4,000 of unrestricted funds for the St. Petersburg Free Clinic. The Brown Forman Corporation donated spirits to the event to be enjoyed by the patrons and to help raise money.

Rocking Out for a Cause

The concert opened with the John Kelly Band, warming up the crowd with original tunes that seemed familiar, though I’ve never heard them before. The venue began filling up with an enthusiastic crowd that soon swelled to a tame mob — a packed house made up of community members, friends and family of the Wilson brothers and, perhaps most significantly, Patrick Wilson’s graduating class of 1991 from Shorecrest Prep.

Let the show begin! Enter Paul Wilson from behind the crowd, looking like the smooth devil he is, covering the Rolling Stones classic “Sympathy for the Devil.” The music was a walk down amnesia lane for many of us who grew up listening to Van Halen, Guns N’ Roses and even a touch of Jimmy Buffett.

Mark Wilson captivated the crowd with his masterful guitar riffs. Patrick Wilson never missed a beat, playing drums while his brother Paul Wilson played front man with larger-than-life incarnations of classic rock stars such as Mick Jagger and David Lee Roth. Yet, the majority of the songs were crooned by the Broadway veteran Patrick, never disappointing his adoring fans.

Philanthropy Is in the Blood

I’ve known the Wilson brothers since I was about 10 years old, growing up with them in the church where their mother, Mary K. Wilson, was the choir director of four choirs at the Cathedral Church of St. Peter, and their dad, John Wilson, news anchor at Fox 13, was often nearby lending a hand with nearly anything for anyone.

Beyond John and Mary K. being extraordinarily talented professionals, their overarching shared attribute is that they both have hearts the size of planets. It would be alien to their nature to not give of themselves in large and small ways to their community and to people in need. They are far from pushovers, but they have a level of integrity that flows beyond honesty and manifests in stewardship and philanthropy.

Certainly this sense of stewardship and philanthropy influenced Patrick, Mark and Paul, but I believe it goes beyond that — it’s in their DNA. Paul Wilson said, “At a nascent age, my parents instilled in us a sense of giving. My mother wrote checks to the power company to pay for others — paying someone else’s power bill, someone who couldn’t afford it. My mother is altruism personified. To us, helping others was always part of our family values. My dad seldom ignored the chance to give someone a ride when their car broke down. So we get it from both sets of genes.”

The brothers have been raising money for charitable organizations through their “family reunion” concerts for a couple of years now. Mark Wilson explained that this is an opportunity for the family to get together, have fun and give back to the community.

Patrick Wilson said in a recent interview with CBS, “if you can get the common person that may just want to come out and have a good time and hear some music and give to charity — especially a very noble one like the free clinic — then we’re in good shape.”

I asked Paul why giving back is so important to him and why it is so meaningful to his family. “In today’s fast-paced world, it’s easy to forget how easy it can be to help others, how valuable it can be for the spirit, yours and those in need. But it is the giving that nurtures the soul and replenishes it,” he said.

How to Give Back in Your Community

Each week I write a simple column, raising awareness and celebrating the great works caregivers do in your community. This article is a call to action.

This story is all about the power of a little generosity and a lot of commitment to making communities and lives a little better and a little stronger through raising awareness and funds. Right now, our economy is putting a strain on most families and unemployment is plaguing more and more of our neighbors, making large-scale philanthropy and fundraising increasingly scarce. Yet, if we all joined together and dedicated just a few hours of our time, talent and resources, it would make a world of difference to those most in need right in your own neighborhood.

Just think of a nonprofit or a cause that means something to you, and then think of a way that you can donate talents, skills, time, resources or even money to help support that cause. If we all work together to make the change we want to see in our community, imagine what great things we could do.

For a listing of charitable organizations in your community, call 211 or visit


UPDATE: Check out the upcoming concert 5/26/2012, benefitting Paws for Patriots:!/vanwilsonband



Be the messenger



Be the messenger. If you are the source of the leak, you have a better advantage in framing it, controling content and reducing the overall sting. The main objective: reduce the impact of the message. Make it common and therefore not so newsworthy. Also, Comment on reports of the message often. Correct misinformation and continue to control the content and frame. Chances are, the gossip wil fizzle out before it gets its wings. And if it takes flight despite your efforts, you’ll be a few steps ahead, piloting the plane and plotting a safe landing.

The real damage begins when you are not prepared for the gossip, you didn’t predict possible pitfalls, and you’re left playing catch-up to the rumors after they began spreading. This leaves you in a position of reacting, which makes it difficult to keep a cool strategic head. The likelyhood of ever being able to gain control of the situation when it starts like this is slim to none.

Lastly, try to have eyes and ears everywhere. Know who you can trust, and always report mishaps rapidly upstream. While reputations can usually be rebuilt and public trust reestablished, it’s better to not be in that position at all if possible.

A solid communications plan addressing damage control will help you and/or your company predict potential risks of damage and allow you and your team to rapidly unfold a well-plotted damage control plan vs. reacting at every turn in fear and uncertainty.

Who is Daphne Street?

Daphne Street

About who I am:

Daphne Taylor Street is a freelance writer, blogger, grant/proposal writer, nonprofit development consultant, communications consultant, public speaker and internet radio personality in the Tampa Bay area. She has been a professional in the nonprofit industry for more than 18 years, spanning everything from fine and performing arts to substance abuse and mental health services. In the summer of 2011, Daphne left her full-time job as a grant writer to pursue her freelance writing and communications consulting business in full-force, and added her former employer as a client.


WHAT DOES DAPHNE DO? Daphne’s focus is on strengthening her local community and beyond through dynamic business strategies, creating value for businesses while helping to develop diverse revenue streams.


To further this goal, Daphne works hand in hand with small businesses, nonprofits and artists; armed with a background in communications, marketing, private sector funding procurement and nonprofit development; to help them amplify their branding and communications to increase overall business sustainability and growth.


RESULTS: Daphne’s grant and proposal writing services have resulted in millions of dollars of local, state, federal and foundation awards and private sector funding, spanning 14 years of experience.


Countless new business offerings, programs, products and services have come to life through Daphne’s visionary approach to matching a company’s mission and strengths with opportunities for growth, enhancement and expansion.


Daphne is regularly published as an author through a variety of media and has ghost-written, co-authored and written published articles on behalf of many clients, further positioning them as experts in their field. Daphne currently has two books under development, co-authored with a client.


Daphne’s copywriting and graphic design skills are engaging and action-oriented, amplifying brands from diverse industries.


Combined, these strategies have generated revenue; lead to procuring private investments, grants and contracts; and helped businesses survive and grow.

You can visit Daphne on her blog:; check her out on LinkedIn:; or contact her directly via email:
A link to some published articles:
  • Freelance Writing: articles, blogging, grants, proposals, books, business writing, press releases, business plans, strategic plans, communications plans, marketing plans, white papers, copywriting, research, editing
  • Communications Consulting: strategy, implementation, collaborations/community partnerships, media relations, new media/social networking, crisis management
  • Training/Public Speaking: writing for dollars, winning proposals, winning presentations, media literacy, freelance writing, grants/nonprofit development, communications/marketing, community development, personal branding, internet safety, social marketing
  • Design: photo journalism & graphic design: logos, multi-media presentations/PowerPoint, posters, brochures, web design

Please feel free to contact me directly at

Dare to be great!  –Daphne

Daphne’s List of 7 (Part 2): Values-Centered Branding

 Daphne’s List of Seven–VALUES-CENTERED BRANDING STRATEGY For Visionary professionals 

DEFINITION: Values-Centered Branding is when your brand directly and clearly reflects the values of your public. Your brand goes beyond marketing products & services–you are marketing the values of your customers–your public–by amping up the image of these values and reflecting them back to your public. Your brand is about representing and mirroring values that your public holds dear.


E.G. Nike doesn’t market shoesThe company markets values. Oh, and by the way, you can buy a really expensive pair of athletic shoes that show the world that you are all about those same values: “Just do it,” “Pledge your heart to the game,” all about endurance, character, commitment, perseverance, etc. McDonald’s doesn’t market hamburgers. Coca-Cola doesn’t market soda. The list goes on… These companies market experiences, emotions and VALUES.

(hint: they should be the same)

2. Who is your public–your customers/clients? What do they value? If you’re not sure, ask them. I promise, they will tell you.

3. Values match: Do your values match theirs? If not, work on this so that they do match.

(hint: sometimes a very progressive visionary company is in a position to attempt to amplify the existing values of its public, usually by increasing the visioning capacity of its public. Imagine a more compassionate, resourceful, sustainable and collaborative culture. Imagine homes, food and clothing for all. Imagine art and creativity is as valued in education as math and reading. Imagine teachers are paid their worth.)

4. Create the image: Imagine the future is already here–what does this picture look like? If the values your business represents become a large part of the culture, what will change? Define the image of that change.

(hint: This is not your logo. This is an image that can speak louder than words–can be a video, a photograph or something more creative. It is at least visual or at most multi-sensory)

5. Tie this into your communications strategies: key messages, elevator speeches, ad campaigns, media relations, blog and Twitter posts, etc.

6. Get feedback/research: Ask your public if they feel your brand is representing the targeted values well? Ask if these values are representative of the public’s values?

(hint: your overall business operations and practices must also mirror the values you promote. Your communications strategy must be woven into your business culture. In other words, you can’t claim to be a champion for valuing diverse voices and devalue the voices of some staff members. hypocrisy will be revealed sooner or later.)

7. Communicate: Respond to the individuals who took their time to give you feedback. Thank them for participating in surveys or answering questionnaires, etc. Most importantly, let them know you’re listening by taking action based on their responses. Be authentic, responsive, transparent and accountable. Think of creative ways to make sure this happens.

Want to know more? How can I help you? Please contact me Web:

YOUR Brand = Identity

Daphne’s List of 7 (Part 1): Communications Strategies for Visionary Professionals

Daphne’s List of Seven (Part 1):

Top Seven Steps Towards a Comprehensive External Communications Strategy: For Visionary Professionals

Communicate YOU!

1. Determine one over-arching key message that defines everything you/your business does and stands for. Keep it genuine and values-centered. This message is a part of your branding and should not change unless determined that it is absolutely necessary.

2. From this, determine two – three key messages that target a specific audience, product/service you offer or initiative that you/your business is championing. This should directly branch off from the over-arching key message mentioned above and reflect the same values. These messages can change as products/services or initiatives change, launch or are emphasized, etc.

3. Media watch—pick three key topics that directly pertain to your business for you and your representatives to watch in media. This includes traditional media such as TV, newspapers, etc. and new media such as blogs and social networks.

4. Divide this media “chatter” by how your company will respond to this media content:

a) Using data from newly released reports/studies to craft your own position and statement using this data;
b) Supporting an initiative, idea, activity, etc. and including a fresh perspective or compelling story directly related to your business;
c) Denouncing an initiative, idea, activity, etc., including a fresh perspective or compelling story directly related to your business

5. Decide on the best avenue for addressing this media you’ve identified:

a) Press releases to staff writers, TV or radio
b) Query a feature story from a columnist, TV station
c) Draft a letter to the editor
d) Draft an article for a community publication
e) Submit an OpEd article as a guest columnist
f) Request TV interview
g) Request radio interview
h) New media: Blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc.

6. Offensive media tactic—at least once per month, take an offensive stance on media relations. Utilizing the strategies d in number 5, pick unique angles on a story your business is passionate about, and work to get coverage in each of these media sectors.

7. Be the news—develop citizen journalism strategies to continue to get your messages out there. Think new media implementation. Write blogs and respond to blogs. Post on Twitter and Facebook. Use pictures. Develop a Vlog on YouTube. If your story will draw a broad audience, consider utilizing or other citizen journalism sites.

Nonprofits & the arts have something very special in common: OR what is values-centered branding

Nonprofits and the arts have a need to market products, services and messages just like any other business. They need followers, champions, spokespersons, supporters and customers for them to remain relevant, successful and sustainable. Yet, nonprofits and the arts have something very unique in common when it comes to their communications strategy development. Something that sets them apart from any other type of business. They organically speak to man’s need and unique ability to imagine and create. A nonprofit imagines a world that is better and works to create that world through education, service, empowerment, advocacy and faith. Artists look at the world or imagine new worlds and create music, art, poetry, theatre, dance and other forms of expression to communicate these new worlds or new perspectives on the world with their audiences.

The result is something very intimate and profound. This intimacy and profundity is the basis for communications strategies as it pertains to nonprofits and the arts.

Identify the intimate and profound values of your creations, your dreams–what your imagination and vision tells you the world is or should be or could be or just “Wow, that’s so strange, I just can’t stop looking!”

This is your value-centered branding. This will be the foundation for your communications strategies that will speak directly to the values of your audience.

Examples of values-centered branding: hope, passion, health, liberty, commitment, pain, joy, success, community, anarchy, freedom, humor, control and never forget “cool.”

Note that not all values have to be positive. Some might seem rather benign, and you can still find an eager audience focusing on the darker side of nature. The point is, this isn’t about judgement; it’s about finding an authentic voice for your values-centered branding.

Yarn Tank: The Daily Green

Nonprofits and artists represent the human spirit directly.

The next step is finding your audience–your particular public who will find that your values mirror theirs and theirs yours. This is the foundation for deep loyalty. Not one to be taken for granted, but one that has the potential to become very intimate and steadfast. If courted and nurtured properly, your following, based on shared values, can become unbridled public champions on your behalf.

Want to know more? Contact me Web: How can I help you?

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