The Nonprofit Marketing Guide Interview: Wit and Wisdom from Kivi Leroux Miller

first_imgI’m very excited to announce my friend esteemed marketing guru, Kivi Leroux Miller, has a great book hot off the presses: The Nonprofit Marketing Guide. It’s highly recommended reading. You can order it here and at Network for Good we’re hosting free webinar on the book on June 29. I should add I was pleased and proud to write the foreword of the book.Pictured: Me (left), Beth Kanter (second from left), Wendy Brovold and Kivi Leroux (far right) at Kivi’s book signing at NTC.I interviewed Kivi about the book this weekend. Here’s what she had to say:Katya: Writing a book is tough – speaking from experience, it can be maddening. You’ve got to really feel motivated about what you have to say! What compelled you to write your book?Kivi: I worked for about 10 years as a communications department of one for maybe a dozen nonprofits as a staff member, volunteer, board member, and consultant. It was 100% on-the-job training and trial-and-error because I couldn’t find any books or websites or anything that told me how to do this job. Everything out there was either too fundraising specific or for large, well-funded organizations, or it was just too academic and boring to slog through. When I decided to transition out of consulting and into training and blogging full-time in 2007, creating a real-world, easy-to-read handbook with a balanced mix of strategy and tactics seemed like a natural fit. And you told me to go for it! So I wrote the book I wished I’d had available to me when I started working in nonprofit marketing way back when. Katya: What single most important insight do you hope nonprofits will gain from this book? What’s the “if you only remember one thing, remember this” thought of the book?Kivi: That a single person – that lone communications director – really can do some very powerful, creative work that will produce lasting results for their cause. My greatest hope for the book is that it really inspires and empowers nonprofit staff, volunteers, and board members to believe they can do amazing things with their marketing, no matter how little money or staff they have. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am not cheerleader material at all, but I do feel like a cheerleader for all those small nonprofits out there. Katya: You and I are professional soul mates in many ways – one is we agree all marketing should begin with the question – who am I engaging with and what do I want them to do? Then you plan from there. How does one embark that process – which is (like all things) of course easier than it sounds?Kivi: The feeling is mutual! I answered this question on Nancy Schwart’z blog last week (Nancy is another professional soul mate of mine). The first thing to do is to get really specific. When I ask nonprofits what they want people to do, I often get answers with words like support, help, or understand in them. And that’s where I start quoting you: I tell them to make it a “filmable moment.” Show me what someone physically does when they support, help, or understand. Forcing people to visualize someone following through on a call to action is the very first step. Then you can start talking about what it would take to get the right people to take those actions, including who those right people really are, why they would do it, what’s stopping them now, etc. And it’s very rarely one thing. It’s ultimately about building a relationship with that person. Once you get through those conversations, then I usually try to circle back to the bigger goals. If these people did what we are asking them to do, what difference would it make? That’s how you tie the marketing back into the mission.Katya: What do you have to say to the statement, “my organization/boss does not believe in marketing”?Kivi: Your organization/boss is an idiot. OK, maybe not an idiot, but still desperately in need of a reality check. Helping staff who must endure a lack of support like this for their work is one of the reasons that I started the book with a chapter called “Ten New Realities for Nonprofits.” It’s a brand new world out there. The Internet, generational changes, the recession, they’ve all changed the way that nonprofits have to operate in very significant ways. In Chapter Two I talk about what marketing is and isn’t, which will also be helpful for people who need to do a little remedial education with the higher-ups! Katya: What’s your favorite sentence/soundbite in the book? Kivi: Hmmm . . . I might have to go back and read the book to answer that one. Actually, my favorite sound bite isn’t something I wrote, but from the review blurb that Danielle Brigida of the National Wildlife Federation wrote about the book. She said, “Kivi’s book delivers solid tactics and strategies, while at the same time driving home the point that nonprofit marketing should have a soul.” I just love that. It’s the perfect summary of what I was trying to do, even though I never articulated it that well!last_img

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