Effective Fundraising Materials for Your Biomedical Nonprofit

April 22, 2014

Attentive listening
4 Leadership Marketing tips that can strengthen your donor presentations

Whether you are a biotech startup with very little funding or a long-standing biomedical institution with formal development teams, the fundraising materials that you leave behind after in-person presentations are critical to meeting your goals. Pitch materials can range from basic 2-sided Leave Behinds to in-depth Case Statements. Regardless of the package they come in, there are 4 basic Leadership Marketing tips that can help make your fundraising communications more effective:

1. Communicate Your Mission Powerfully
Giving powerful face-to-face presentations to major potential donors is key to meeting your biomedical nonprofit’s fundraising goals. The way that you communicate your mission in your marketing materials must be equally powerful to ensure follow-through—especially when you are raising money for multi-million dollar capital campaigns or endowments. The greater the ask, the more important it is to clarify your institution’s purpose, immediate goals and past achievements. Donors are more likely to give when they can see the human impact of your success and believe that your biomedical nonprofit can do what it says it can.

2. Focus on Key Messages that will Resonate Visually
You’ve just met with a major donor. As you say goodbye, you hand him or her a Leave Behind or Case Statement. After spending an hour listening to your presentation, will he or she immediately sit down to read those materials? More likely, they will begin by skimming the information. Be sure there is a hook that grabs their attention from the start. Use key phrases that reinforce your donors’ motivations for giving, and give real-world examples of how your work improves the lives of the people it touches. Remember to strike a balance between showing scientific expertise and using language that will resonate with non-scientists.

3. Put Yourself in Their Shoes
Be sure your content is both fact-filled and engaging. Anticipate objections and answer them with carefully considered responses that reiterate your institution’s scientific expertise. When possible, include press clippings, quotes, transcripts, or personal stories that support your message, demonstrate success, and inspire confidence in your institution. Sharing success stories can make repeat donors feel that their past gifts made a difference and encourage new donors to support future efforts.

4. Tell Donors How They Can Help
This is your opportunity to be specific about your institution’s needs. Major donors choose to give because they feel they are changing the world for the better. Make the connection between where their money will go (to build a larger facility, for instance) and how that investment will affect your work (enabling you to expand your research, in this case). Finally, tie that back to the impact it will make on people’s lives, now and in the future. In other words, make sure potential donors know that you view your supporters as heroes.

Do you have questions about designing presentation materials like Leave Behinds, and Case Statements? Please feel free to contact me with questions by calling 866-960-9220 or emailing karan@cushmancreative.com.

Successful Fundraising for Biomedical Nonprofits

April 15, 2014

plant in female hands
6 Leadership Marketing Tactics for a Successful Investor Development Program

For any new biomedical nonprofit, attracting investors and securing early operating funds is critical. With the proper materials, you can help your development team hit the ground running.

There is no shortage of breakthrough ideas in the biomedical industry, so as competition for venture capital and grant dollars continues to grow, the more your biomedical nonprofit must stand out. Creating a Leadership Marketing strategy that influences every communication will ensure that you are communicating your team’s expertise and building legitimacy for your institution. Here are a few elements that could make the difference in how well you connect and continue to cultivate investors:

Elevator Pitch
“Why should I invest?” If you had only 15 seconds, could you answer this question? This simple and compelling entry point is your value proposition and the foundation of a strong development strategy. A concise value proposition will show that your biomedical institution has special expertise that sets it apart as a leader in its industry. It will spark an investor to say, “Tell me more.” Your development team should be able to convey this statement easily and consistently. It will also live on every other piece that you share with investors in the form of a tagline, intro sentence or short paragraph, so be sure your strategy starts here.

Case Statement
This printed brochure serves to make a case for why your research matters. A case statement might be given to investors following a formal presentation, meeting or event launch and serves as a thoughtful and compelling reminder of why your venture deserves their investment. This is an incredibly important place to discuss your biomedical nonprofit as a scientific leader and innovator. Your case statement should introduce and illustrate the importance of your initiative and include everything investors would need to further the discussion. In addition to simple items like development team business cards, interchangeable support materials, such as investigator bios that highlight expertise and research updates, can be added as the campaign progresses. This will keep your package fresh and relevant for your audience.

Presentation Template
A fully integrated campaign should include a PowerPoint or Keynote presentation that is consistent with your other development materials. This doesn’t mean you need to rely on your in-house creative group or agency to create the entire slide deck every time you present, but a simple title and sub-page slide template can go a long way towards helping you introduce and reinforce the power of your idea.

7 Ways Social Media Marketing Can Raise Your Biomedical Nonprofit Visibility as a Leader

April 8, 2014

By now, most biomedical institutions are regularly using digital marketing tactics like websites and eNewsletters. But Development and Communications Marketing Directors may still be experiencing resistance to broader social networking. When trying to help higher ups understand the value of social media, you need to present solid reasons for implementing an SM strategy. A compelling reason is that raising your brand’s visibility can help gain and maintain the funding your biomedical nonprofit needs—especially when seeking federal or regional grants and funding. Highlighting industry leadership through social media is a great way to do it.

Here are 7 ways social media can help your biomedical nonprofit build its reputation as an industry thought leader and gain more visibility:

1. Tell Your Story to a Wider Audience
Focusing your online efforts on your institution’s website is limiting. One platform can’t be all things to all people. For instance, how can you ensure that your homepage is equally engaging to scientists, trustees and potential donors? It’s a challenge. Giving visitors the option to connect with your brand on a deeper level through social media sites demonstrates innovation and gives you the opportunity to tailor information and resources for each audience. Doing so will build stronger relationships with other scientific leaders, donors, and the general public.

2. Share Thought-Leading Content
Social media is a great way to disseminate content that highlights your biomedical nonprofit’s work and expertise, such as white papers, Slideshares, Infographics, and articles written by your institution’s top researchers. Regularly sharing valuable, informative content via your social media networks will create a buzz and keep that buzz going as your fans pass it on.

3. Invite Conversation
Social media is not a one-way marketing tactic. A good social media strategy creates space for open dialogues and shared learning. The goal is to create a sense of community and build a network of people who agree with and support your goals. Used well, social media can spark a swell of support among your existing donors, generate interest in potential donors, and even improve connectivity between researchers, post-docs, and other biomedical experts.

4. Create PR for Community Education Efforts
Biomedical nonprofits are usually savvy about organizing educational events to connect with the public. Many of these events, such as Science Cafés or public lectures, happen offline. But their impact shouldn’t stop there. Social Media gives you the opportunity to broadcast those successes to a larger audience, creating greater levels of interest in future events, and getting as much mileage as possible from the goodwill created by current events.

5. Promote Your Ideas
Social Media is a great way to disseminate branded information, but the real goal is to show thought leadership by sharing expert opinions and insights. When your biomedical nonprofit’s researchers and other experts are actively engaged with LinkedIn Groups or other social media think-tanks, they are able to promote your institutions ideas. Sharing your research goals and challenges in an open forum can lead to new channels of support or even scientific partnerships with other institutions.

6. Target Specific Audiences
Your biomedical nonprofit can choose different social media platforms for connecting with different audiences. For instance, you might use LinkedIn to recruit for scientific staff, board trustees, and advisors, while you favor Facebook for donor communications. Distinguishing between audiences allows you to tailor your messaging and engagement efforts for maximum impact. Just be sure that your branding elements (logo, tone, etc.) are the same on all platforms in case you have audience cross-over.

7. Give Your Institution a Human Side
Scientific institutions like biomedical nonprofits can benefit from involving the outside world with what goes on behind their walls. Transparency builds trust and invites participation, which can help potential donors feel more connected to your work and more willing to support it with their dollars. Being active on social media sends the message that your biomedical institution values open dialogue and will listen and react to other people’s ideas. It also gives your institution the opportunity to show how it is working for the greater good.

These are just some of the many ways that social media can build trust and support for your biomedical nonprofit. If you have questions about using social media effectively, post them here or contact me Karan Cushman, by calling 866-960-9220 or emailing karan@cushmancreative.com.

Can Pinterest Help Grow Your Biomedical Nonprofit?

April 1, 2014

5 ways visual marketing can help you communicate like a leader

As a virtual pin board of your favorite images and videos, Pinterest enables your biomedical nonprofit to share and highlight stories that inspire and encourage a loyal following.

Many think of Pinterest as a place to pin ideas for weddings and home décor, but more companies are using the online platform to promote their businesses and causes everyday. Why? As a virtual diary, Pinterest is a powerful tool for collecting and displaying the things that matter most to your brand and your audience. It is also a great marketing tool for brands that want to show industry leadership. Pinterest can quickly communicate your value to the world through categories that resonate with your audience and highlight the most meaningful aspects of your business.

How? With Pinterest, you simply create pinboards of the subjects that are most important to your brand and pin photographs, Infographics, videos, etc., for all the world to see. Each pin offers insights into your brand’s personality and reinforces your organization’s purpose and impact. Best of all, it encourages others to share your message.

So, what boards to create? What to pin?
What does your audience care about? Get personal. Get your creative team brainstorming. This is an opportunity to profile stories and highlight thought-leading data in a much different way than you do on your corporate website. Take a look at how other biomedical institutions are using Pinterest for ideas. Also, think about the other publications that your biomedical nonprofit is already creating, like your newsletter. You probably have content waiting to be shared through this social platform. Once you’ve done some research and established vibrant categories…start pinning.

Many biomedical brands have built good momentum on Pinterest:

  • Genentech: We Love Science, Patient Perspectives, Science is Personal
  • The Mayo Clinic: Healthy Recipes, Fitness, Health, Tips for Parents, Cancer Care, Diabetes, In the News.
  • Dana Farber Cancer Institute: Races, Faces of DF, Things that Make Us Smile, Portraits of Care, Our History, Things Worth Reading
  • American Cancer Society: Life Lists, Statistical Infographics, Become a Volunteer, Stories of Hope, Events, Donate to Fight Cancer, Get Inspired, Screenings, Eating Healthy
  • Boehringer Ingelhrim: A-Fib and Stroke Visualized, COPD Inspirations

Here are 5 ways Pinterest can make a difference for your biomedical nonprofit:

1) Promote Your Research Focus
Create pinboards based on your specific research areas. Compelling visuals go a long way towards helping donors, investors and patients understand the effectiveness of your research; how your organization is advancing science; and ultimately, how you are impacting our health. These are all important components of effective Leadership Marketing. To use the platform effectively, you should incorporate visuals and graphics that draw in viewers. Compelling Infographics can bring focus to impressive numbers and highlight the potential impact of your work. Dynamic scientific illustrations can also help donors understand complexities in your work. Videos that feature your biomedical institution’s thought leaders can be powerful for connecting with potential investors. This personal touch gives viewers an opportunity to get to know, trust and value your work, scientists, and institutional brand.

2) Position Your Biomedical Nonprofit as a Leading Institution
From the examples above, you’ll see many in the biomedical field are using Pinterest as a way to share their expertise by helping educate patients about specific diseases and health issues. Custom Infographics explain statistics, how the body works, warning signs, treatment procedures, etc. Short videos that simplify complex processes can be a helpful educational tool that can engage potential donors.

3) Inspire Hope and Confidence
One of the best parts of social media is bringing individuals from all over the world together with shared interests, such as battling cancer or recovering from surgery. One of the most obvious representations is the American Cancer Society listed above, but also Live Strong where boards like Cancer Inspiration exist for those seeking support. Baylor Health also has a robust collection and following. Living with Diabetes, Heart Health and even Healthy Tailgating are a few of their categories.

4) ROI: Repurpose Existing Content
Social media enables you to repurpose content from your website, blog, print publications and events. Consider creating a pin from an important infographic in your annual report or from your latest blog post, then include a short description and keywords that are linked back to your website.

5) Digital Collaboration & Donor Cultivation
Some say contemporary biomedical research is about breaking down silos and solving biomedical problems together. If so, Pinterest gives us the opportunity to share and collect information globally. And not just within the scientific community, but with patients and donors, too. As more and more of us turn to social media everyday, Development and Communication Directors should give Pinterest some thought.

Do you have questions or need help getting your biomedical nonprofit started with Pinterest? I’m here to help. Call me at 866-960-9220 or email karan@cushmancreative.com.


2 Ways Biomedical Nonprofits Can Create Content That Encourages Social Sharing

March 25, 2014


Effective leadership marketing tools for disseminating valuable information

Your biomedical nonprofit is probably already sharing research, studies and educational information via your website, eNewsletters or online sites like LinkedIn. These are all great ways to reach your audience. But, how can you create content that encourages more social sharing?

Here are 2 highly effective Leadership Marketing tools that will get people clicking:

White Papers
It doesn’t matter whether you are targeting other scientists and researchers or the general public. People have a natural desire to learn, and a White Paper is a great way to share educational content. The best White Papers help people make decisions or provide insight into a topic that is regularly debated. White Papers are a powerful Leadership Marketing tool because they position your brand as an expert that can sift through information and provide a focused, insightful takeaway. Depending on the topics you choose, your biomedical nonprofit can use White Papers to generate leads, build industry alliances or even to drive donorship. It is easy to share White Papers both online or off. Consider offering a White Paper as an incentive to join your mailing list or as a bonus for joining one of your online communities.

Tip: White Papers don’t have to be boring! Focus on how the topic might impact your reader, and be sure you are solving a problem for them (i.e. Providing a new perspective on old research or sharing healthcare challenges and offering solutions.) Dress up a dry-looking layout with inspirational quotes or graphics to keep it interesting. If you’re presenting your White Paper online, add interesting links or find clever ways to make it more interactive.

People respond to platforms that simplify complex topics, and Infographics are one of the most effective tools for doing this. Infographics are exactly what they sound like: graphic depictions of data or multi-faceted topics. Infographics are a great Leadership Marketing tool because they allow you to share facts in a quick, organized, easily digestible way. Plus, they allow you to serve up information in a certain order that leads your audience to draw specific conclusions.

This Infographic created by the Novartis Institutes for BioMedical Research is a great example of how an institution can simplify the real-world impact of its work: http://www.novartis.com/stories/medicines/2014-02-rare-disease-infographic.shtml

Biomedical nonprofits that need to convince donors of the importance of their research might think about sending a similar Infographic in an eNewsletter or posting one to Pinterest to encourage social sharing. Whatever form it takes, be sure your Infographic leads the viewer back to your website.

Note: Infographics don’t have to be static. You can easily create and post animated Infographics on a community platform called Visual.ly (http://visual.ly/).

If you need help creating a share-worthy White Paper or Infographic, feel free to contact me, Karan Cushman, by calling 866-960-9220 or emailing karan@cushmancreative.com.

5 Ways Leadership Marketing Can Humanize Your Biomedical Nonprofit

March 11, 2014


Make your institution more relevant to donors and investors by showing how it impacts their lives.

Biomedical institutions often struggle with putting a human touch to what they do, because they aren’t on the frontlines of medical care like hospitals or doctors. They need to work harder to connect with the people who may benefit from their work. Luckily, sharing and connecting are basic Leadership Marketing activities that can help humanize your brand. Here are 5 ways to do it:

Explain Why Your Work Matters
People don’t normally get the warm fuzzies about scientific institutions. One way to overcome this obstacle is to demonstrate how your work impacts others. Biomedical institutions are rooted in science and facts, but ultimately their work translates into solutions that improve our quality of life. Donors in particular need to know how your institution is moving toward that goal. Whether your biomedical nonprofit is focused on extending life or to fighting a specific disease, communicating a commitment to the greater good can turn casual supporters into passionate followers.

Engage in Conversation
Leadership Marketing means making others aware of your expertise, but that’s only part of the story. Just “talking at” people isn’t communicating like a leader. You should also facilitate two-way conversations to show that your brand is willing to consider new ideas—a very human quality. Institutions that are closed off from human interaction are working in a vacuum. Break out of your silos, open up, and be as transparent about your work as possible.

Show Emotions
Showing emotions in biomedical marketing is sometimes seen as too frivolous for the serious scientific community. But it is critical to reach your non-scientific audience on an emotional, human level, especially if they include donors or other key investors. Showing emotions—happy, serious, hopeful, etc.—tells consumers that your institution understands people and patients on a deeper level and that it cares about their feelings and opinions. This extends to visual branding as well as marketing content. Wise designers choose colors, fonts and other elements that illicit an emotion from the viewer.

Have Opinions
All humans have opinions, and institutions that want to connect should, too. Luckily, Leadership Marketing is based on the sharing of expert opinions. For every study or scientific article your biomedical nonprofit shares, it should share an equal number of opinions. This will enable your brand to build emotional connections with its customers. Even if they disagree, opening up an interactive dialogue will facilitate the humanization of your brand.

Respond Like a Human
When you send out direct mail pieces, go a step forward to customize the recipient’s experience by adding a Quick Response (QR) code. Sure, if it’s an annual appeal, your call to action may be a donation request or invitation to an event. Either way, QR codes allow you to route responders to a specific area of your website to learn more. Strategically preparing for responders is always a good idea, because they may be at different stages of the buying process. It will help you manage conversations within a context and avoid giving consumers the feeling that they are all the same, regardless of their history with your brand. Whenever someone reaches out to connect or comment, avoid responding with a form letter or generic pitch. Make it a goal to listen and react with genuine interest, because you may be communicating with a potential donor.

Do you have questions about humanizing biomedical brands? Contact me, Karan Cushman by calling 866-960-9220 or emailing karan@cushmancreative.com.


Online Leadership Marketing Challenges for Biomedical Nonprofits

February 25, 2014

4 Questions Development and Marketing Directors Should Ask About Their Social Media Strategy

Biomedical nonprofits face unique challenges when it comes to using Social Media effectively. Asking 4 questions about your Social Media strategy can help you isolate some of those challenges and focus on implementing Leadership Marketing solutions:

How can we help senior management understand the value of Social Media?
Biomedical nonprofits must use every dime wisely, which means legitimate marketing strategies can be seen as frivolous. To convince higher ups that Social Media is an effective outreach tool, start with the basics. Show examples of success stories from other nonprofits—and not necessarily bioscience nonprofits. For example, this video from the organization Water for Life demonstrates how Social Media can emotionally connect to build awareness and drive support for a nonprofit.

How can we get our entire team involved with Social Media?
An effective Social Media strategy requires the active participation of those outside of your development or communications marketing team. This includes your researchers, post-docs, and other influencers behind your work. After all, the thought-leading content that you will be sharing has to come from somewhere! Give a presentation to these key team members about the ways in which Social Media can improve outreach, create greater awareness for your institution, inspire partnerships, and enable your team to connect with other thought leaders around the globe. Invite your team to brainstorm some SM tactics. People are more willing to invest time and energy in something if they think it was their idea. Once you have buy-in, support team members by helping them flesh out ideas and refine what they write and publish. This will encourage participation and avoid “dead air” if they struggle to finish what they started.

Are we currently using Social Media well?
Looking through the lens of Leadership Marketing can add safety rails to your Social Media strategy. Leadership goals include communicating the value of your research, highlighting your team’s innovations and creating new and better connections with donors, potential donors and other thought leaders. Activities that accomplish one or all of these will ensure positive results. Some specific tactics to consider:

  • Form alliances with other advocacy groups to increase your brand’s exposure and maximize networking opportunities.
  • Leverage a high profile scientist, physician, donor, trustee or industry influencer who can articulate the value of your research to others.
  • Find new ways to connect with the “rock stars” of science on Twitter and LinkedIn.
  • Stay open to discovering Social Media growth areas, including Google Hangouts or Flipboard (a magazine-format networking tool).

How can we avoid a “one-and-done” mentality?
To be successful, posts should be part of an overall strategy, organized effort, or a campaign. But it can be tough to get others within your institution to realize that Social Media is more than a one-off post. Before beginning any Social Media project, have members complete a Creative Brief. This will facilitate their understanding of the scope of the project and get you the upfront information you need to plan a campaign. Some questions might include: Why is your work important? Who is the audience? Which Social Media channels will best facilitate sharing this content? What is our end goal for sharing this work? Does this work communicate our value as a biomedical leader?

Is your biomedical nonprofit facing Social Media challenges? Feel free to contact me, Karan Cushman, for help by calling 866-960-9220 or emailing karan@cushmancreative.com.


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