Thursday, February 7, 2008

10 mistakes to avoid with email newsletters

Newsletters have become the primary tool for nonprofits to keep donors informed about how their contributions are being spent and why the checks should keep coming.

In MarketingSherpa's report on Top 10 Email Newsletter Mistakes, publisher Anne Holland makes the case that newsletters must remain kept fresh to be effective. "Your official newsletter has to be taken up, shaken upside down, tested, and then revamped every year or so," she wrote.

She also advises being careful. "I believe newsletter revamps are a lot like (Web) site revamps, where enormous changes ... can be dangerous," she wrote, especially in the short term. To minimize the disruptions, she ticks off several common mistakes to avoid, including:

  • Don't assume you have permission to put someone on the mailing list.
  • Don't write a "one size fits all" newsletter; readers may delete it quickly. Canvas readers to learn their interests, then tailor a newsletter accordingly.
  • Don't send a plain acknowledgement email for a subscription. Dress it up in the text or with graphics or both.
  • Don't set a publishing schedule arbitrarily. Research when readers will most likely read it.
  • Don't write an institutional newsletter. Personalize it where possible without getting too cute.
  • Don't make it one way. Include ways for readers to reply.
  • Don't write too long. Include graphics or links to audio and video.
  • Don't assume your email will get through filters.
  • Don't use a typeface too small to read.
  • Don't rely solely on email. Paper, for example, still has a place.

Gates Foundation CEO Patty Stonesifer Stepping Down

Patty Stonesifer, Chief Executive Officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, today announced that she will be transitioning from her role as CEO by January 1, 2009. Stonesifer has led the work of the foundation since its inception in 1997.

“When Bill and I set out to help ensure libraries in the U.S. offer free access to computers and the Internet, we turned to our friend Patty, whose management ability and effective leadership made her perfect for the job,” said Melinda Gates, co-chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. "More than a decade later, as we reflect on the progress and depend on the foundation team she built to continue and expand this work, we know enlisting Patty was one of the best decisions we have ever made.”

During the past 11 years, Patty Stonesifer has built a strong, stable organization committed to reducing inequity in the world. The work of the foundation and its partners to date has led to millions of lives saved globally through immunizations and other health advances and more young people graduating high school ready for success in places like New York City.

“Patty would be outstanding in any job but her talents have been particularly well suited to foundation management,” said Warren Buffett, foundation trustee. “Both head and heart go into decisions made in this activity – and Patty has an abundance of both.”

Under Stonesifer’s leadership, the foundation is organized into three program groups, each led by a president: Global Health, Global Development, and the U.S. Programs, and to date, has committed to more than $16 billion in grants aimed to ensure all people have a chance to live productive lives. The Seattle-based foundation has a $38.7 billion endowment and more than 500 employees. Stonesifer’s tenure has been marked by growth and a steadfast commitment to learning, improving, and delivering results...

Read Complete Article Here...

Wednesday, February 6, 2008

That's Hot! Foundation Getting Most of Paris' Inheritance

Paris Hilton might someday actually have to get a job. Well, probably not.

The woman who made being famous for being famous a fulltime occupation likely won't be seeing as many zeros in her inheritance. Her grandfather, Barron Hilton, plans to donate 97 percent of his net worth ($2.3 billion) to the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation.

Paris, 26, will have to make due with her share of the remaining 3 percent, a paltry $69 million, to split amoung Hilton's eight children and numerous grandchildren.

The 80-year-old Barron Hilton, chairman of the foundation, plans to donate $1.2 billion of the proceeds from the $900-million sale of Hilton Hotels Corporation and $300 million in stock of Harrah's Entertainment into a charitable remainder unitrust. It would be one of the largest charitable contributions made in 2007 and boost the foundation's totaly value to $4.5 billion.

The foundation expects to increase staff from 19 to 100 once the bequest goes into effect, according to Fortune magazine, so who knows, Paris might yet get a job.

- Mark Hrywna

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

NPT's New Editorial Section - with new posts from Don't Tell the Donor and More!

Starting February 1, NPTimes.com will have its own web exclusive editorial, articles not found anywhere else. Updated every two weeks, you can find more information in the print edition of The NonProfit Times, which contains a new NPT Online Table of Contents.

Be sure to view this week’s hot stories, including one from Don’t Tell the Donor, the hottest blogger in the nonprofit industry. Click here to view now.

Monday, February 4, 2008

Branding ... Reshaping a recognizable name without changing it

When drawing up a new logo and graphics package, leaders at the United Negro College Fund had to wrestle with a touchy subject: its name.

Although mainstream in 1944, when the Fairfax, Va.-organization was founded, the term "negro" had gone out of favor by the 1970s, said President & CEO Dr. Michael L. Lomax. In approaching what he termed the "sensitive issue" of the name, he said, "We didn't want to lose our heritage, but we didn't want it to be a barrier to attracting the attention and engagement of a new generation."

The solution, unveiled on Jan. 17, was to place just the acronym next to a restyled torch and above the signature tagline, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste."

Going forward, the organization will use UNCF as a first reference in all its public materials. However, added Lomax, "We are, as far as I know, always going to be the United Negro College Fund" when it comes to the legal name.

The new logo caps a four-year organizational review that began when surveys identified an age problem: the World War II and baby boomer generations understood the UNCF's mission, but the iPod generation was hazier about it. "That was somewhat troubling," Lomax said.
That led to a revamping of the communications strategy two years ago, including freshening up the "Evening with the Stars" annual fundraiser. Last year, the UNCF turned to graphics, recasting the previously black-and-white torch in light blue, yellow and burnt orange, as well as changing the typeface.

The fund not only underwrites scholarships -- amounting to about $80 million for 8,000 students -- but also sends money to 39 historically black colleges and universities and runs education advocacy arms.