There is no question about it, social media is a force to be reckoned with. In the words of Eric Qualman, author of Socialnomics, “We don’t have a choice on whether we do social media. The choice is how well we do it.” He estimates that the usage of social media has now overtaken pornography as the number one activity online.  If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest country in the world, behind China and India. The Pew Research Center estimates that as of January 2014, 74 % of all adults use social media.

What does that mean for nonprofits? Social media can be an incredible tool for nonprofits to connect with supporters, potential volunteers, and potential clients when leveraged correctly. It is also very easy to get lost in the chaos of social media if you’re not careful.  Aaron Keller in an article in Entrepreneur magazine calls poorly managed social media “a bombardment of billions of tiny cannons.” This webinar will help you to wisely navigate Facebook and social media in order to create awareness of your brand and to cultivate community with your key audiences.

The objectives of this webinar are to give nonprofits an overview of social media, to provide an introduction to content and communication strategy, and to give a focused look at how to optimize Facebook as a nonprofit. Some of the topics covered are:

1. Identify 6 major social media networks and hundreds of smaller niche sites. Each site has a slightly different purpose and focus. It is more important to choose one site and develop a good content strategy than to be on every site.

2. To be effective on social media, you have to build your brand online through great content.

– Know your audience.

– Know yourself.

– Remember that social media is a conversation.

– Social media relies on community and collaboration.

3. Facebook is the largest social network and offers a great platform for nonprofits.

– Create engaging status updates and posts.

– Maintain an editorial calendar so that your campaigns aren’t overlooked or forgotten.

– Use Facebook Page Insights or other analytics to see what is working.

– Create a vanity URL for your Facebook page.

– Remember that your profile photo represents your brand.

– Facebook limits the reach of Facebook business posts, but by optimizing your posts, you increase the reach of each post.

– Reach is not always the best indicator of effectiveness.

If you want people to know about your organization, your organization has to go where the people are. These days, the people are on social media, especially Facebook. If you’d like to learn more about how to maximize the effectiveness of your organization on Facebook, check out the complete webinar at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=syd9_AoXtlg.



Stephanie Quick



Stephanie has over 10 years experience working with nonprofits on communications strategies and events. She is currently pursuing a Masters in Professional Studies in Public Relations and Corporate Communications at Georgetown University’s School of Continuing Studies.

Most of us have been confronted with the old, “What are your strengths and weaknesses?” question during job interviews. Even if you’ve practiced your answer in the mirror a thousand times, it’s always awkward and never completely true. “My strength is that sometimes I just work too hard,” might sound familiar.





Most times when we’re asked these questions, we don’t really know the “right” answers. This is partly because we don’t really know what our strengths actually are. Neither are we aware of what makes us unique, our preferred “working styles” or instinctive ways to solve problems. An even bigger problem, neither does our supervisor or team lead.


While this may not be much of a red flag in “Corporate America”, being unaware of these team member characteristics could cause major issues for a non-profit organization and its ability to effectively communicate and work as a team.


Typically, non-profit organizations are focused on specific issues, improving situations and having a real impact in addressing the many challenges facing the world. Often, the focus is so exclusively on what is going on ‘out there’ that very little attention is given to what is going on within the organization. However, it is just as important (if not more) to focus on what’s going on within the organization because when communication is strong internally, your organization will more likely be able to effectively communicate externally.





Luckily for you, I have a solution (or two…maybe even three)! To help improve both communication and teamwork within the non-profit workplace, resources such as personality assessments can measure team member’s communication styles. Learning the differences among these styles often help organizations develop programs and workplace rules that minimize conflict and improve communication among co-workers themselves and between workers and management.


I know what you’re thinking, “…but there are just so many of these things around!” or “I’ve heard about these but I’m not sure which one to use for my organization nor how to use it!”


Surprise *does the birthday dance*! Here are 3 assessment tools (and their uniqueness) in which I think would be beneficial to any non-profit organization:

  1. Myers-Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI) – This tool helps you identify gaps in your team, group team members into certain personality types, develop more leaders, and help improve work culture as a whole.
  1. StengthsFinder - Thistool helps you focus on your strengths and the strengths of your team members, and improve on them, to feel more fulfilled, and to perform better in your chosen field or role.
  1. Kolbe A Index-This tool provides insight on how someone prefers to take action. It provides a holistic understanding of the natural instincts and unique talents of each team member.

In my webinar (watch here), I share exactly how each tool works and what they measure; how to make results from the assessment(s) work for your organization’s growth; and general tips for getting the most out of each assessment. I strongly believe that these tools can help improve internal communications and teamwork within an organization, which will in-turn improve its external communication practices.


Challenge: If you or anyone else can prove me wrong, I’ll give you a cookie ;)




Sankaya Hall is a 2015 masters candidate in Georgetown University’s program for Public Relations and Corporate Communications. She has worked and volunteered for several non-profit organizations and specializes in leadership and communication training for college students. You can find her on LinkedIn, or contact her at sankayachall@yahoo.com

A strong sound bite can help nonprofits stand out among the sea of organizations competing for potential donors, volunteers, recognition and media placement. Effective messaging is essential for nonprofits to tell their story in a way that evokes a call to action for their audience. Creating moving quotes and memorable quips can give the nonprofit’s stories a human voice, change the pace of a news piece, and add creativity and color to content and copy.

Unfortunately, quotations in press releases and media interviews can often sound as if they were manufactured by a computer; not spoken by a human being. Quotes can be the least interesting parts of copy – but they shouldn’t be. By making your quotes or sound bites easy to remember and easy to repeat, your message will be heard and shared, among the audience you are targeting.

In today’s blog, I will discuss ways in which you can transform your quotes and quips from blah to brilliant, as well as provide a crash course pitching and interview skills, with an emphasis on creating quotes that speak to the audiences of nonprofit organizations.

There are 3 key topics that I will review at a high level in the blog, but for a more in-depth look at each of these topics, and others, I encourage you to watch my webinar on Media Training for Nonprofits (link below).

Best Practices for Pitching

The Elevator Pitch

The first step in getting others to be interested in the story of your nonprofit is to craft and hone your elevator pitch. All staff members and volunteers at your nonprofit should have some training and knowledge of what the elevator pitch is for your nonprofit organization. Take the time to perfect your pitch – it’s your best tool in your toolbox to quickly get the attention of your audience.

I will briefly touch the top tips for elevator speeches for nonprofits, but I encourage you to read the Blog, Through the Eyes of The Nonprofit, to really dive into how you can perfect and hone your elevator speech. As a nonprofit, this is not only important for pitching media, but it’s extremely important in advancing your nonprofits mission with all audiences – donors and partners, government agencies, volunteers, staff members, and those who receive assistance from your nonprofit organization. I encourage you to really spend time on the key points in your elevator speech. You can combine those message points with the tips in this blog to immediately begin to stand out to your audience – no matter your stage.

  • Keep it short. Your pitch is longer than your sound bite, but not a long narrative. Your pitch should be longer than 30 seconds, but no longer than 3 minutes. Time it. Practice It. And get feedback on your pitch from others in your organization before trying it out on external audiences.
  • Don’t wing it, script it. Map out your key messages for the audience you want to engage with.
  • Include a story. Talk about the people or the cause you help. Put a face to the aide you provide.
  • Check out other pitches for inspiration. The blog suggests Peter Singer’s book, The Life You Can Save and features a 3 minute video that I encourage you to watch.
  • Know what you want – and include an ask.  This can be a direct ask for financial, volunteer, or in-kind support and donations, or just an invitation to your audience to learn more about your nonprofit organization.
  • Delivery matters. As a representative of a nonprofit, it’s important to make sure you think through all of the verbal and nonverbal aspects of your pitch. Have passion, clarity and focus.

Join the Conversation by Understanding How Top Journalists Work

  • Start small. Leverage your closest media contacts and pitch reporters who know you and/or your nonprofit best.
  • Prove your credentials.
  • Make introductions. If you know a reporter is likely to cover your issue in the months ahead, reach out to them for a possible meeting now. The goal is to introduce the reporter to your nonprofit, your expertise and familiarize them with the sources who might benefit them as they report the story.

Before You Pitch

Before you write an email or pick up a phone to call a reporter, take the time to ask yourself the following questions:

  • How exciting, timely and unique is my story?
  • What is my hook/focus/goal/key message?
  • Is the pitch tailored to the media that I am pitching? 
  • Have I worked with this journalist before?
  • Who is my intended audience?
  • Why should the journalist’s editor/boss/reader/audience care?



Writing Memorable Quotes and Snappy Sound Bites

Make It Meaningful

Ok, so you pitched your story. And the journalist is interested! What’s next?

Now it’s time to create your message content. Words are powerful. They convey your message and influence the audience and its perception of you. Word choice and arrangement need just as much attention as speech organization and purpose. Select clear, accurate, descriptive and short words that best communicate your ideas and arrange them effectively and correctly.

Every word should add value, meaning and punch to the your quote.

Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall.
President Ronald Reagan



Make it Creative

Rhetorical devices are special ways of arranging words to make an idea or thought sound more pleasing and easier for listeners or readers to remember. Below are some of the more effective devices.

  • Simile - A simile is a comparison that uses the words “like” or “as.”
    • Example – “If we deny our children an education, ignorance will grow like a cancer.”
  • Alliteration - In alliteration, the initial sounds in words or in stressed syllables within the words are repeated in a pleasing or memorable manner.
    • Example – “Unnoted and unused.” “Hallowed Halls.” “Protect and Preserve Peace.”
  • Triadic Phrases - Triads are ideas, adjectives or points that are grouped together in threes. Expressed this way, thoughts have a pleasant rhythm, are dramatic and become more memorable.
    • Example – We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes and our sacred honor.
  • Not X, but Y
    • President Barack Obama has used this type of rhetoric in many of his speeches over the past few years.
    • Example – “Our destiny will not be written for us, but by us.” Barack Obama
  • Watch for Jargon. Use specialized terminology only when speaking to people familiar with those terms.
  • Tell an Appropriate Anecdote - Tell an appropriate anecdote to drive home the message of your story.


Best Practices for Interviewing

In addition to preparing your message and content, it is also important to practice your delivery so you know how you sound and look when you respond to questions throughout an interview.

How people react to our message:

Message Graph

It’s hard to be natural when you’re talking to a reporter on the phone – with the keyboard clack clack clacking, or face-to-face with a microphone and camera in your face.

The truth is, however, that people leave the best impression and have far greater impact when they communicate in their own, natural expressive style.  Start paying attention to how you communicate when you’re at ease, with friends and trusted colleagues.

I want to keep driving home the importance of practicing your responses to questions. The more knowledgeable you are about the subject and the more prepared you feel, the more confident you will sound. Practice so that you can speak with confidence.

In your deliver, focus on:

  • Vocal projection
  • Rate of speech
  • Pausing naturally
  • Using enthusiasm (as appropriate)
  • Show energy and emotion to support the words you are saying
  • Annunciate and articulate
  • Practice avoiding verbal fillers (Um, ah, actually, well, etc.)

Your delivery will keep getting better with practice, so make sure you are practicing by yourself and with others who can give you honest feedback to help you improve.

Tip from the Pros: When conducting an interview – stand up. Whether it’s on the phone or in person, your voice with be more even, your tone will be strong and confident and it will be easier to breathe naturally as you speak.

At the end of the day, the important thing for nonprofit organizations is to effectively share their message with the appropriate audience in a way that elicits an action. When preparing for and conducting media interviews, make your audience curious. You want them to finish watching the news piece, or finish reading an article wondering what they could do for you and what more they could learn about their cause. Your message elicited an emotion in them, which speaks to one of their five basic needs.

Get your audience to discuss your story with others and know what you want and don’t be afraid to include an ask. This doesn’t have to be a direct ask for a financial contribution – it can be expressing a need for volunteers, ideas or inviting the audience to learn more about your nonprofit organization. Many times reporters will ask you if there is anything else you want to add. This is great time to plug your website or your social media pages and encourage your audience to interact with you in the future.

Call to Action

For more information on media training for nonprofits, watch my webinar on Media Training for Nonprofits (link below). In the webinar, we take a deeper dive and explore the following topics more in-depth:

  • Best Practices for Pitching
  • Targeting Media Outlets
  • The Message Triangle
  • Writing Moving and Memorable Quotes
  • Creating Snappy Sound Bites
  • Persuading with Power
  • Message Delivery
  • Verbal and Nonverbal Cues
  • Best Practices and Interviewing Tips


Webinar: Media Training for Nonprofits: Creating Moving Quotes and Memorable Quips


For more resources on how to improve the effectiveness of your communications and media relations strategies and skills, visit the following websites and blogs for inspiration:


Content in this blog is based in the author’s 11 years of media relations experience. Research, content and messages were reinforced by the following:

  1. Through Nonprofit Eyes (Blog), http://blog.moredonors.com/
  2. Toastmasters International, Competent Communications, http://www.toastmasters.org/225
  3. PR News Media Relations Guidebook: Navigating the Changing Media Landscape, Volume 2, http://www.prnewsonline.com/media-relations-guidebook-vol-2/
  4. Public Relations Society of America, Pitching Challenging Brands, http://www.prsa.org/Learning/Calendar/display/6098/Pitching_Challenging_Brands
  5. Pew Research Center’s State of the Media 2013 Annual Report on American Journalism, http://journalistsresource.org/studies/society/news-media/news-media-2013-pew-research-center
  6. Big Dog’s Leadership Page – Presentation Skills, D.R. Clark, 1998, http://www.nwlink.com/~donclark/hrd.html

About Rachael Lighty:

Rachael Lighty is the lead spokesperson and media relations associate for Baltimore Gas and Electric Company (BGE), the largest natural gas and electric company in Maryland. Ms. Lighty has a Bachelor’s degree in Communications from Bloomsburg University and 11 years of diverse media relations and strategic communications experience – ranging from business-to-business communications and promotions to media relations, and crisis and political communications, with a focus in corporate social responsibility. In her role at BGE, her main focus is on media relations, crisis communications, corporate social responsibility, public relations and executive speechwriting. 

Ms. Lighty is currently pursuing her Master’s Degree at Georgetown University’s in the school’s Public Relations and Corporate Communications Master’s Program – a program that has been selected as the “PR Education Program of the Year” by PR Newsweek for three years in a row.

In her free time, Ms. Lighty serves as the Vice President and Communications and Marketing Chair for the Baltimore Public Relations Council. She also serves as a board member of the United Way of Central Maryland’s young professionals group, Emerging Leader’s United. Ms. Lighty provides freelance publicity consultation for a Baltimore-based publishing company and serves as a communications consultant for the United Way of Central Maryland Emerging Leaders United, the American Heart Association, Young Professionals for Alzheimer’s Awareness, Ulman Cancer Fund for Young Adults & the USAF Tech Sgt. Daniel Lee Zerbe Memorial Foundation.

Connect with Rachael Lighty on LinkedIn (www.linkedin.com/rachaellighty) or via Twitter, @rachaellighty. 

What is Multimedia? Why do I need it? How do I use it well?

Although it could be said that it is common knowledge that the internet (including social media) has changed the landscape of communication, it is also a sad fact that there are still nonprofit organizations that are not harnessing the power of the web to its full advantage.

Multimedia, which for the purposes of this webinar will be defined as online media using different content forms (photo, video, animation, or other interactive content). In the last few years, character limits have gotten shorter, videos are being consumed in a matter of (7 or less!) seconds, and only the most provoking photos are being shared. Plain text is an anomaly, and to have it without an accompanying video, chart, or photo should be left to press releases and white papers.

As an important piece of the nonprofit communications and marketing plan, the advantages and disadvantages of multimedia are not often discussed. Neither is the need to create personalized content based on the medium your nonprofit is using to disseminate. That is what I will be discussing in the following webinar. Please see “The New Rules of Marketing and PR: How to Use Social Media, Online Video, Mobile Applications, Blogs, News Releases & Viral Marketing to Reach Buyers Directly” (4th edition, 2013) by David Meerman Scott for a full scope of how multimedia can fit into your overarching communications plan.

Key takeaways:

  • Different types of multimedia- photo, video, widgets, infographics, etc. used in the context of a nonprofit organization.
  • Common applications that your nonprofit can use multimedia in to engage, inspire, or inform your audience- weblogs, podcasts, blogs, websites, and social media. This article in Nonprofit Quarterly discusses statistics on nonprofit social media use and engagement. Spoiler alert: websites and email still rule. Luckily, multimedia fits into those as well.
  • Advantages and disadvantages of multimedia- will it be cost effective? Can your organization use all of this different content while keeping your message clear? (Follow this link for examples of great nonprofit websites that use multimedia)
  • Why your nonprofit should use multimedia- do you host a number of events that should be broadcasted? Do you have intimate stories of volunteers in the field that are essential to retaining and attracting donors? (for more information, please see the Nonprofit Technology Network Blog post on how nonprofits can use social media to recruit donors and volunteers)


             Photo, video, and audio are the norm for a well-rounded approach to online communication for any business or organization that cares about reaching its audience directly. Nonprofits depend on donors for their lifeblood, and using creative ways to get a message across, or reach someone directly through their smartphone or laptop is important to being noticed among the cacophony. Once you have evaluated your message, figure out how best multimedia will work for you, and harness it to your advantage.




Jazzmin Williams is a graduate student at Georgetown University SCS studying Public Relations and Corporate Communications. She works as a communications specialist for an LGBT Entertainment company, Rainbow Noise Entertainment, whose bread and butter has been using high quality video and other multimedia to distinguish itself from the low budget competition

Social impact reporting has become an essential aspect of business practice in the nonprofit sector; however, many nonprofits are largely unaware of the usefulness of reporting and transparency beyond just the need for compliance and marketing. There is an unspoken obligation of nonprofit organizations to be ethical with their policies and practices; however, many simply do not know how or do not have the processes in place to do so successfully.

A 2006 Harris Poll found that only one in 10 Americans strongly believed that charities are honest and ethical in their use of donated funds. To combat this public perception, nonprofits need to better communicate best practices and be more transparent. This is directly in sync with most nonprofits’ core values and mission statements. Additionally, there are numerous benefits to reporting. It provides a competitive advantage over organizations that do not report that may have similar missions and goals. This can result in better engagement with stakeholders, increased investments from donors, and more ideally matched partnership and sponsorships. So the question is simple, why not start reporting your impact?

Don’t know where to start? A great example to help you get started is the annual impact report put out by The Fairtrade Foundation, a charity based in the United Kingdom, that works to empower disadvantaged producers in developing countries by tackling injustices in trade. Reporting their impact doubled the investment to the organization in staff development and staff members internationally. In the report, they used storytelling through images to break up the information and used clearly defined sections to address impact that related to their objectives, goals, and financial statements for the year.


In this webinar, you will learn the six reasons why you should report your impact as it relates to:

  • Addressing the lack of transparency that is so often found in the business practices of many nonprofit organizations
  • Fostering a sense of ethical responsibility towards stakeholders and the surrounding environment
  • Encouraging adaptability and practicing what you preach while building a sense of credibility and trust
  • Attracting top talent and top donors to invest in the organization
  • Attracting more prestigious corporate partnerships and sponsorships
  • Budget and cost savings

As you can see, social impact reporting has become essential to earning trust and credibility with the public and potential corporate partners.

Learn more about the benefits of social impact reporting and how you can get started by watching my webinar: https://vimeo.com/112138481

Karin Bloomquist is a marketing communications specialist at Accelera Solutions overseeing the company’s marketing communications programs. She works on corporate communications and marketing initiatives to provide creative direction for digital and content strategy as well as corporate campaigns. She enjoys learning about strategic partnerships, corporate social responsibility, and sustainable development. Ms. Bloomquist is currently a graduate student at Georgetown University in Washington, DC, working towards obtaining a master’s degree in Public Relations and Corporate Communications. She currently holds a bachelor’s degree in Communication with additional studies in Conflict Analysis and Resolution and Global Affairs from George Mason University. Connect with Karin on LinkedIn and Twitter!

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