stupid things nonprofit marketers can stop doing

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21 stupid things that nonprofit marketers can stop doing, including bad attitudes, approaches, strategies, and tactics. Delivered as a live webinar on June 27, 2013 and available as a recording after July 2, 2013 at under "Freebies." Also see the Twitter stream with #npcommstupid and share your ideas there!


  • 1. 21 Stupid Things Nonprofit Marketers Can Stop Doing! #npcommstupid Kivi Leroux Miller Nonprofit Marketing Presented as a live webinar at on June 27, 2013

2. Want to Hear the Commentary That Goes With the List? Listen to the Recorded Webinar to Get Kivis Commentary and to See Which Stupid Things Other Nonprofits Admit to Doing. Visit and Look Under Freebies in the Menu after July 2, 2013. Free registration required. 3. 2- or 3- Year Comm Plans Who knows what will work best for you by then! INSTEAD: Plan seriously six months at a time, and more broadly 18 months at a time. 4. Outreach or awareness campaigns to the general public You dont have that kind of money to waste! INSTEAD: Focus on the groups or types of people likely to lean your way. Create for them. 5. Asking for help or support No one knows what you really want them to do! INSTEAD: Get very specific about your calls to action and limit them to a few or just one at a time. 6. Listening to people who truly dont know what they are talking about. Someones opinion should never outrank your professional experience and data. Facebook is full of pedophiles. Im just saying, we shouldnt be associated with that kind of filth. INSTEAD: Politely nod or change the subject and do what you know is right. 7. Letting lawyers or accountants dictate your marketing. Your tolerance for risk should always be higher than theirs. INSTEAD: Listen to their advice and then make a judgment call about the level of risk. 8. Going with what you, or your ED, or your board would respond to. You are not the kind of people you are trying to reach! INSTEAD: Match your marketing to the communities you are trying to reach, even if it doesnt look and sound as clean and pretty as youd like. 9. Getting too fancy and heady with your rebranding. If you have to explain your name, tagline and logo before anyone understands what you do, your branding sucks. INSTEAD: Use plain English and easily understood imagery and metaphors 10. Referring to your org and staff in the third person Its too institutional and formal, therefore irrelevant and boring. INSTEAD: Use first (I, We, Our) and second person (You, Your) as much as possible. 11. Excessive editing and handwringing By the time you get it out, its no longer relevant! INSTEAD: Give everyone a shot at it, then be happy with Good instead of Perfect. 12. Press releases You are more likely to get media attention by being a real person with an opinion or a story than an org with airbrushed talking points. INSTEAD: Get to know your top ten media outlets and the people who work there. And blog and tweet your real news and opinions (& newsjack). 13. Writing articles that are waaaaaaay too long. They take forever to produce and then no one reads them. INSTEAD: Write appetizers, snack packs, tapas or a salad bar, not seven course meals with heavy entrees. 14. Focusing more on acquisition than on retention. Acquisition is a lot harder and takes longer to produce results. INSTEAD: Make understanding and retaining your current donors a higher priority. 15. Mobile apps You just arent that fun or helpful! INSTEAD: Focus on making your website and email mobile friendly.[email protected]/6227748188 16. QR codes They require more steps than needed and most people cant figure out how to use them anyway. INSTEAD: Get a custom url shortener. We use for and 17. Paying for custom software It never keeps up with the open market and costs ridiculous amounts of money to maintain! INSTEAD: You are not THAT special! Go with a commercial or open-source product and only tinker around the edges. 18. Saying anything is Dead Its just an excuse not to do your job, which is now integrated, multi-channel marketing. INSTEAD: Accept that your job will be complicated and will require lots of juggling. 19. Obsessing about SEO Google is smarter than you are! INSTEAD: Quit worrying so much about optimizing a page and focus on creating content people will share.[email protected]/8356305433 20. Measuring too many things The numbers are meaningless without analysis and knowing what triggers action! INSTEAD: Choose a handful of numbers to watch and learn what you can from them. 21. Sitting on your butt waiting for someone else to do it They hired YOU and they think its YOUR job! INSTEAD: Go for it. Make something anything! happen. Its OK to learn as you go. 22. Trying to do it all at once Youll end up doing a lousy job at most of it. INSTEAD: Prioritize and focus. 23. Walking on egg shells Youll never get anywhere if you dont step forward boldly. INSTEAD: Make educated guesses and then try. Learn. Be fearless. 24. Kivi Leroux Miller @kivilm [email protected] Follow @kristinaleroux for live tweets from Kivis webinars