Designing More Effective Email Appeals for Your Biomedical Nonprofit

October 15, 2014

shutterstock_223092481 [Converted]
Leadership Marketing strategies for generating more gifts

I recently ran across a must-read post by Mike Snusz of Nonprofit-Fundraising. In the post, Mike offers tips for improving email fundraising efforts. Many of his suggestions are especially relevant for Biomedical Nonprofits that are attempting to share their mission in addition to requesting gifts.

Send Multiple Emails with Connected Messages
Mike believes that follow-up emails often outperform the initial appeal, and I agree. In today’s fast-moving world, it has never been easier for recipients to overlook emails. Biomedical Nonprofits face the added challenge of translating the science behind their research into benefits that improve human health. This can lead to sharing too much information in one email appeal.

Streamline your ask with an email campaign that builds interest over time. Use the principles of Leadership Marketing—sharing valuable information, becoming a trusted resource—to help potential donors understand and connect with your mission before you overtly ask for financial support. Keeping your brand top-of-mind will inspire your audience to get more involved on their own.

Here’s an example of an effective email strategy:

Email 1: WHY
Explain why your institution’s research is important by sharing statistics or stories that demonstrate a need for it. For instance, share compelling statistics about the prevalence of Alzheimer’s or the national impact of childhood diseases. It is still important to put the email in context (i.e. connect it back to your institution) so it can stand alone, but try to stay focused on WHY you do what you do.

Email 2: HOW
How does your Biomedical Nonprofit make a difference? Share news or events that highlight specific solutions your institution provides that address the issues raised in Email 1. Again, this email should be able to stand alone, so frame it as news and drive readers to your website to learn more.

Email 3: WHO
Finally, why not invite those who support your work to your institution to meet with those scientists who are doing the work? Connecting the “whos” behind your brand can humanize your institution and personalize its mission. Some research institutions create this connection by offering tours of their facilities. For bigger donors, these may even offer private tours. But you can also create a more personal connection with planned events that allow donors to meet with scientists one-on-one.

Design Your Email Appeal for Every Device
In addition to the kind of email content you send, think about how you are sending it, because the majority of email appeals are never opened. Reasons include subject lines that are vague or cryptic on small screens and images that are too large for devices other than computers.

Making sure your campaign works across all channels will help raise more money. To improve your response, keep emails simple in both content and design. Use more white space around text to improve clarity of your message, keep donation forms as straightforward as possible, and include compelling images that tell your story quickly. Remember, smaller image files download faster on mobile devices.

Do you have questions about managing your Email Appeal Campaign? Feel free to contact me by calling 866-960-9220 or by emailing

In case you are interested, here is the link to Mike’s original post:

Top Tweets from Agents Of Change Conference 2014

October 8, 2014

Agents of Change, or AOC (as it’s affectionately called) is an in-person and online conference dedicated to helping you leverage the three most important channels in digital marketing today: search, social & mobile.

By understanding how your business or non-profit can utilize search (to be found), social (to engage), and mobile (to be right where your customer needs you to be), you can level the playing field and build your business regardless of the competition.

If you missed this year’s Agents of Change Conference in Portland, we’ve pulled together the top tweets that stirred up a buzz on Twitter:

Pinterest drives more referral traffic than Twitter, LinkedIn, Reddit, & Google+ COMBINED. #AOC14

“The fortune is in the follow-up” via @NickUnsworth #AOC14

Listening to @johnleedumas @agentconference Podcasting key to #digitalmarketing especially for #entrepreneur

“Say your keywords out loud in your YouTube video.” – @therichbrooks #AOC14

If your brand is the hamburger, give away the ketchup, not the burger #AOC14

@johnleedumas “Always Deliver Value” “Follow one course until success” “Practice the 80/20″

Identify who your ideal customers are. @RickMulready #AOC14

Building the Biz of You: Share your value. Be an agent of change. #AOC14

Do not take for granted that people know what you want them to do. Write it out. ‘Click Here To Get That’ @RickMulready #AOC14

Get their attention – offer benefits – get to the point – tell them what to click. @RickMulready #AOC14

You’ve got to pull people off Facebook & into your email list #AOC14

Know your audience, know their problems, give them the content you need…Podcasts, webinars, blogging…Oh MY!!

After a weekend to digest I’ll say #AOC14 was informative, thought-provoking. Left my head swimming. Nicely done @therichbrooks and team.

Dunno what #AOC14 is, but getting enough push notifications about it, certain it must be most awesome thing in the history of ever…



Building a Sustainable Brand for Your Biomedical Nonprofit

October 7, 2014

Your brand relays your institution’s image to the world.
If you want to ensure the effectiveness of your brand and sustain your reputation as an industry leader, here are some things to consider:

How Interactive And Engaging is Your Biomedical Nonprofit?
Marketing like a leader is less about shouting what your institution has to offer and more about participating in conversations with those who share its mission. True brand engagement strengthens the investor and consumer experience. Smart brands are mastering engagement by becoming more interactive, and yes, social. A two-way conversation with potential investors, researchers or others offers an inside track for others to learn about your work in more meaningful and personal ways. For your Biomedical Nonprofit’s brand, this level of engagement can lead to longer-term relationships, market sustainability, and greater brand value overall.

How Contagious Is Your Institution’s Brand?
Your brand message should be valuable enough to your audience that, not only are they interested, they want to share it with others. Sure there is an innate level of brand value for Biomedical Nonprofits that are working to improve our health and the health of our planet. Beyond this greater purpose, your brand must focus on and communicate the one thing that makes a difference for your investors and researchers – and make it viral.

Paying It Forward for a Greater Purpose
Today, Biomedical Nonprofits look at the marketplace with a global vision. And hopefully, as a leader in the industry, you’ve positioned yourself and your institution as a valuable resource. What if you used that global vision to share more of what you believe is of value? In other words, pay it forward by sharing what and who you know. What resources do your researchers find valuable? Are they sharing their insights and ideas? In this day and age of content marketing, brands that provide added value are staying top of mind. Your generosity with resources and information will ensure your institution is seen as a thought leader.

Can Your Biomedical Nonprofit Afford Not to Be Social?
The power of the consumer is stronger than ever. Newsletters, blogs, Facebook, Twitter—almost any platform for sharing opinions enables your audience to be brand stewards. By engaging with them and taking an active, social role in building consumer confidence, you demonstrate that you care. Today, basic marketing must also be social marketing. Being a marketing leader means engaging your audience and continuing to respond to their specific needs as they evolve. If you’re continually striving to serve your brand purpose and audience well, sharing that emerging story with the world should be exhilarating, not frightening.

3 Quick Ways to Monitor Feedback:

  • Conduct a random satisfaction survey via phone or email by asking donors or potential donors about how they view your brand.
    • Review comments and monitor online networking sites to see what customers are saying about your Biomedical Nonprofit.
    • is an online monitoring tool to help track what is being said about your company online. It scans millions of websites, news, blogs, video, forums etc., allowing you to monitor content about your institution if it matches the keywords you place in.

This post was inspired by Michael Hyatt, author of the book  Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World, who also wrote an insightful article about how to monitor your brand’s effectiveness.

Click here to read the complete article: 5 Ways to Monitor your Brand’s Effectiveness. 


Connect the Dots Between Your Biomedical Nonprofit’s Work and Its Impact

September 29, 2014

L.A. Biomed reveals 3 ways to show scientific leadership with a “Mission Moment.”

Los Angeles Biomedical Research Institute (LA BioMed) is a non-profit scientific research organization that prides itself on innovation and scientific leadership. The institution asserts that over the past six decades LA BioMed’s physician-researchers have been responsible for some of the most important breakthroughs in medicine today. The key to bringing that claim to life lies in communications like their Mission Moment, a roughly 6-minute long video on the institution’s website that gets to the heart of what they do and makes it difficult not to support their work.

Here are 3 things we can learn from their approach:

Focus on Those You Help
LA BioMed’s Mission Moment tells the story of Mark and Jeanne Dant, whose son Ryan suffers from a rare genetic disease, mucopolysaccharidosis or MPS-I. The video begins by focusing on the impact this disease first had on the Dant family and how it threatened their personal hopes and dreams. This perspective communicates that LA BioMed is a compassionate institution that puts people first and that it values the human impact of its work even more than the work itself.

Show the Passion of Your Researchers
At the time of Ryan’s diagnosis, there were no researchers working on a cure. Yet one of LA BioMed’s researchers, Dr. Emil Kakkis, stepped in to give the family hope by using his expertise to innovate new treatments that vastly improved Ryan’s quality of life. As a representative of LA Biomed, the geneticist’s passion and dedication reflected back on the institution’s values. His work proved that the LA BioMed and its researchers value the impact they can have on one patient’s life more than potential profits from large-scale drug discovery.

Show Where Donations Go
La BioMed’s Mission Moment is a dramatic depiction of the institution’s values: scientific leadership and tireless dedication to bettering the lives of children through research. Sharing this story on their website is a powerful way to share that unique culture and to show how it drives scientific breakthroughs. It is this type of marketing communication that sways potential donors to give and builds a positive reputation that reaches beyond formal appeals.

How do you feel about LA BioMed’s Mission Moment? Is your Institution using similar storytelling tactics to show leadership and drive support? I’d love to hear your thoughts and stories. I may even include one in a future issue of Leadership Marketing at Work.

Contact me, Karan Cushman, calling 866-960-9220 or emailing

What are people saying about your Biomedical Nonprofit?

September 24, 2014

3 Reasons Reputation Management is Critical to Leadership Marketing

Biomedical Nonprofits spend a great deal of time trying to communicate what their institutions do. But, let’s not forget that Leadership Marketing is also about building a positive reputation with donors, the general public and other scientific institutions. Reputation Management means knowing what others are saying about your brand—especially online—and proactively responding with positive messages when necessary. Here are 3 reasons why managing your brand reputation is a good idea:

Information is power. Potential donors, and even current donors, may think twice about giving to your Biomedical Nonprofit if they are seeing negative comments in the press or online. If you know about such comments, your communications or development team can take steps to counter or clarify, such as posting proactive responses or links to more accurate information.

Tip: Regularly do a Google search of your Biomedical Nonprofit to see what information is rising to the top. If you sign up for Google alerts , you will know any time your institution’s name appears online.

Your institution can own the conversation. When someone posts a negative comment, article or even a Tweet about your brand, it can stay around forever. You can’t always prevent that from happening, but you can make sure that positive news about your brand outranks negative comments in Internet searches.

Tip: Create a blog or eNewsletter where you can regularly share news and information that shows your institution at its best. Make sure your content is search engine optimized so that it will appear at the top of Internet searches.

Your team can update Marketing Messages accordingly. If you are aware that your Biomedical Nonprofit is getting bad press over a specific issue, you may decide to launch a leadership campaign that addresses the issue head on.

Tip: Avoid staying silent on an issue even if it is difficult to address. Not commenting can imply that your institution has something to hide, while open communication builds trust and understanding.

Do you have questions about managing your Biomedical Nonprofit’s reputation? Feel free to contact me by calling 866-960-9220 or emailing

Using Twitter to Expand Your Biomedical Nonprofit’s Fundraising Goals

September 16, 2014

5 marketing strategies for using Twitter to position your Biomedical Institution as an industry leader, spread awareness about your research, and expand critical funding for your brand.

First, Why Twitter?
It’s a tool that enables people to connect and maintain relationships as part of their normal everyday routine and from the convenience of their desks—or wherever they have internet. For Biomedical Nonprofits that want to build legitimacy around their brand, engaging donors and investors regularly is key. Twitter enables engagement across the globe in an instant. Now, here’s what you can do:

Build A Stronger Community
Twitter is a powerful communication tool that can help spread your message, but it’s people who raise the dollars. The key is to spend time building your online community with the right people who are most interested in your Biomedical Nonprofit’s brand story – i.e. investors, etc. They are the Twitter engine that can grow your audience, empower your cause, and ultimately impact your bottom line.

Make It Count.
With only 140 characters per tweet, Twitter forces us to make each Tweet count. Help investors understand your Biomedical Institution’s specific purpose and your request in a concise manner. Simply: Why should they care about your work and how will their monetary contribution make a difference to your research?… To the lives of patients?…To our global health?

Generate Excitement. Brand Your Initiative.
Creating exposure and excitement around any fundraising initiative is crucial. Get creative and set your campaign apart from other Biomedical Institutions by giving it personality and a distinctive voice on Twitter. An easily recognizable avatar and clever #hashtag can serve as smart and vibrant brand extensions for your campaign.

Celebrate Those Who Are Making a Difference.

Leadership Marketing via Social Media is about sharing information, but it’s also about generating positive energy around an important cause. Recognize those who are making an impact on your campaign. It could be a researcher, a donor, a volunteer, an investment group, or even your CEO. Share your thanks and acknowledge the contribution through a simple tweet, your newsletter, blog or an event. These are the roots of your campaign and online community.

Strengthen the Relationship. Stay Top of Mind.
As part of your everyday routine and without leaving your desk, Twitter enables you to regularly engage with your investors and stay top of mind. Sharing timely information enables investors to stay current with your progress. People want to know where their money is going and how it’s making a difference. A simple Tweet can keep them up to date. You can nurture developing relationships with ongoing communication that builds trust, enables your audience to have a greater sense of your needs, and also encourages a more regular and loyal following for your Biomedical Nonprofit.

Is Your Biomedical Institution using Twitter? Tell us more. You can reach me at 866-960-9220 or email

Melissa Jun Rowley from shared her list of helpful tips for successful Twitter fundraising that inspired this post. Click here to read the her article 10 Tips for Successful Twitter Fundraising

Marc Pitman is the author of You may find this introductory article helpful: Twitter for Nonprofits and Fundraising

How well does your Biomedical Nonprofit’s Brand Identity fit?

September 9, 2014

7 ways Leadership Marketing can ensure that your brand identity resonates.

Though the first chill of fall has barely hit the air, I’ve already felt the need to reevaluate my wardrobe for the cold months ahead. Finding pieces I’ve never worn at the back of my closet got me thinking about how you can be attracted to something that really doesn’t fit your personality. The same can be true for a Biomedical Nonprofit’s brand identity.

Amongst all the colors, styles, and options available right in your own closet, you only wear 20% because they fit and flatter. Your everyday choices become your own personal brand that it is projected to the world daily. If you are like me, you hope that brand reflects confidence and leadership.

Sure putting all of the elements of a brand identity together for your Biomedical Nonprofit is a lot more complicated than getting dressed in the morning, but perhaps it’s time for a second glance in the mirror. Is your brand identity reflecting leadership?

If one layer of your Biomedical Nonprofit’s identity is out of place—whether it’s your tagline, website or latest email campaign—there’s a good chance your projected brand image isn’t resonating with key investors, researchers or your sales team. Time to go shopping?

7 Ways To Tell If Your Biomedical Nonprofit’s Identity is a Natural Fit:

It’s Empowering
Just like a well-tailored suit your institution’s identity should empower everyone who represents it—from your CEO to your sales team.

It’s Distinct
A well-coordinated brand identity shows the world how your institution is uniquely advancing human health.

It’s Alluring
A Biomedical brand identity that resonates instantly makes investors and researchers want to know more about your institution.

It’s Supportive
Each element of your brand identity should thoughtfully work together to reinforce your overall brand purpose—from your logo and tagline to your investor presentations and fundraising collateral.

It’s Versatile
Once you have those foundational pieces – logo, tagline, corporate fonts, colors, supporting graphics, etc., they can be coordinated and accessorized to suit a variety of purposes.

It’s Resilient
A purposeful brand identity inspires leadership and improves performance by giving your team members the resources, confidence, and energy to persevere.

It’s Celebrated
When others are rallying around your Biomedical Nonprofit’s brand, you know you’ve got a good fit!

Do you have a specific Marketing tactic that truly defines your brand image?

Please share it with us here, or simply contact me, Karan Cushman, by calling 866-960-9220 or emailing



Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 52 other followers