Subtle Positioning Pays Off

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It’s a real challenge. Finding just the right words when friends and family are experiencing hard times. Too much sounds patronizing. Too little sounds impersonal.

Hallmark knows this challenge of course … and apparently, so does CVS.

I found this point of purchase brilliance in the card aisle at CVS, the very place someone would be grappling with the right way to communicate love and support. These “tip sheets” give sound ideas for navigating these turbulent waters.

And here’s the thing: they are ACTUALLY HELPFUL. The tips are realistic, practical and address a variety of common (and heartbreaking) scenarios.

This is a great example of marketing done well … underscoring the brand and strengthening the relationship with the consumer.

Right place. Right time. Right message. Right on, Hallmark and CVS.

Storytelling Checklist

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 We recently collaborated with Nonprofit Connect to share a presentation on storytelling in fundraising campaigns. One of the most helpful parts of our conversation with the nonprofit professionals who joined us was this quick checklist.

Add it to your creative arsenal the next time you’re working on copy — and let us know what’s on your checklist…

Storytelling To Do’s 

·      Test your assumptions

·      Add urgency

·      Get approvals and photo releases

·      Be a generous writer — but be a brutal editor

·      Close the loop — don’t assume your donor will…

Interested in sharing presentations like this with your nonprofit organization? Check out our suite of presentations and let us know how we can help.

The Experience is Everyone's Responsibility


The experience. Be it members, donors, users, customers … there’s plenty of talk about the experience people should have with your organization.

But what experience are they actually having?

Does everyone on your staff see how they have a role in recruiting and retaining members, building donor relationships or shaping the experience someone has with your organization?

Membership is everyone’s business. So is development or any other relationship or customer cultivation. Ultimately, you won’t serve your mission with maximum effectiveness unless everyone on staff works together.

Yet, almost every nonprofit deals with silos and individuals or departments who don’t see the big picture and how they fit in it.

So what can you do?


Communication is at the heart of anything you can come up with to get all staff on the same page.

Communication takes time and intentionality. But ask any organization making the time and they will tell you it makes a difference and is worth the effort.


Communication can take many forms. You have to figure out what works best for your team. Some simple ideas include:

  • A chart with key information everyone should know

  • Internal emails that function as a staff newsletter and forum

  • An overview of the organization’s communications calendar

  • In-person/video meetings to let staff exchange ideas and concerns

Ideally, you’ll go a step further …

At a recent KCSAE event, the CREW Network shared how they email updates to all staff and also have a team comprised of one person from each department that meets to compare notes on questions and comments they hear in working with members. If similar issues are raised by multiple departments, then they begin looking for and implementing organization-wide solutions.

Guess what? The members notice.


Through formal and informal feedback, the CREW Network knows members feel heard and can see concerns getting addressed. This builds trust and relationships … and leads to member retention. Plus, everyone on staff sees how their interaction with members played a part - it’s not just the job of the membership director to listen to and champion members.

If your nonprofit struggles with getting your team to operate as if they are all truly on the same team, try out ways to get everyone sharing information and having constructive conversations. If you have a team that does this well, we’d love to hear about it.

Please leave a comment and let others know what’s working for you.