Archive for The Small Business Marketing Plan

How to Create More Successful NonProfit Solicitation Emails

Every holiday season, I am bombarded by a bevy of Nonprofit Solicitation Emails. They have become sort of a hobby. When you are on the contact list for dozens OF nonprofits, getting nonprofit solicitation emails in December comes with the territory.

The hobby part of reviewing nonprofit solicitation emails is to see how many of them are poorly executed. They expect you to just hand over the money because they are a nonprofit.

Another part of the hobby is to see which nonprofit solicitation emails are executed well. And my favorite nonprofit solicitation emails are the ones that, with a few changes, could be even more successful.

Why Most NonProfits Are Not as Successful as They Could Be

Before I show you an example of each, I want to discuss why most nonprofits are not as successful as they could be.

Simply put, it is because they are not militant for their cause.

Too many nonprofits approach donors with their hand out, palm up, expecting us to drop coins just because they are a nonprofit.

They fail to understand that the 501c-3 designation is just a tax status. NonProfit orgnizations are allowed to make a profit, just not for the benefit of any given individual, only for the mission.

Fundraisers SHOULD approach donors, hand up, with a piece of parchment in hand, showing us what they do for the community. It should be a list of what would not be getting done by private business or government if their nonprofit did not exist.

Another way to picture this is Ebeneezer Scrooge getting to see, with his own eyes, how much different his life could be if he was more giving to the right organizations.

This lack of sales ability is why so many nonprofits struggle. It is also one of the reasons we offer a free copy of our product, The Small Business Marketing Plan, to the nonprofit of choice to the business owner who invests in the program.

Here are 3 examples of what I received the last week of the year.

My Ghosts of Christmas NonProfit Solicitation eMails Past

First is from Cancer Support Community. They sent it to me at 4:12 pm on New Year’s Eve. They should have been making their case a long time prior to that. Their message is not a very strong one: no stories and no photos. The subject line of “Only a Few Hours Left…” does not reach out to me, either.

The next is from a local hospital. They got to me earlier in the week, and had been asking since Thanksgiving.

Their subject line assumes I am finally thinking about tax deductions the last two days of the year.

Their headline is missing a WHY. Or more specifically, a “Y.” Imagine them reminding me that I had just one more chance to support MY community instead of THEIRS.

They do have a good photo, showing me their medical team in action. Unfortunately, I have to read down into the body copy to find out that the money is to support their Emergency Department.

It turns out, this campaign brought in over $150,000 thanks to a very large matching donor. They did not mention the matching donor campaign in the email which is disappointing as it would increase donations. What is great, however, is that there are 2 direct phone numbers that allow you to speak to the nonprofit directly.

The last email was from Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington. They gave us a time limit, and a reason to donate in the subject line. That increases open rate. They gave us compelling reasons to donate and how they will be using your money. They also highlighted a matching donation which lets me see that I can donate an amount and it would be doubly effective. One more thing that is GREAT about this email is that on their donate button, they are telling me that it is secure to add my credit card.

I have brought up tactics which should be used year-round to improve your nonprofit solicitation emails fundraising. If you want more help, give us a call at 800-705-4265 or, even better, take our free marketing assessment at

Your 5 Part Year End Review

It’s time for all those office housekeeping and year end review activities, and here is a list from us for your marketing.

Here are 5 Parts of Your Business to Review

First is your Marketing Report Card. This part of your year end review will have you list everything you are doing to market your business and give it a letter grade. You can be as subjective or as ‘numbers based’ as you want. Here is an example of 3 things WE have done this year and how they were graded:

Seodona Referrals Club Sedona Referrals Club B+
Reason: We got enough promotional product business to cover our costs and marketing plan clients to make it profitable.

Encino Chamber of Commerce A
Reason: Hank has remained on the board of directors and as our ‘first chamber’ it always has a warm place in our hearts. Hank was also awarded as an honorary Lifetime Member in 2017.

Teaching at OLLI (Osher Lifelong Learning Insititue) D
Reason: Though it was fun, it generated zero business. Didn’t even put us in front of a lot of people. This will not be repeated because though we were able to try out a few new teaching methods, that is not worth the time invested.

Small Business Marketing Plan Bootcamp A
Reason: Generated more business and leads than all other marketing tools. We have 6 (maybe 7) bootcamps on the calendar for 2018. Gives us the best opportunity to educate the widest audience on how they must market their business.

Business (objective) plus the Feeling (subjective) are put together to come up with a grade. You should also grade each method based entirely on Dollars Generated.

Are you placing ads in a local newspaper? Did you generate at least 4 times the dollars for each dollar spent? If not, give it a C. If it did, then a B or greater.

Second, Review Your Supplier/Vendor Relationships and Contracts

In your year end review this is where you will look at your non-employee team.
Is your accountant responsive? How fast does she answer your phone calls?
Is your financial planner pro-active? Does he bring you financial ideas? Has he already looked at the tax bill and called to set a meeting?
Is your auto lease and all your other leases (equipment) up soon?
Is your web hosting agreement up to date?
Is your credit card processor still giving you the rate they promised? Is their service worth the fees? What ARE all those fees?
Is your office rental still serving you? Do you need to have a meeting with the building manager?

Is now finally the time you are going to hire the marketing coaches you and your company deserve? The kind of team that could double your business? Here is someone who did:

Third is to Update Your Emergency Program

2017 taught us all that we need a plan in place to deal with weather issues. But your year end review is more than worrying about weather. Not everyone has to worry about hurricanes or earthquakes, excess snow, or a truck running into a power pole which can all leave our business unable to function in our normal space. You need a printed binder of ‘what ifs’ that is copied to your entire management staff.

Where will employees work?
How will they check in?
How will you continue to pay your bills? Can you literally write checks without a computer?
There are a ton more questions we would ask here of clients, but you get the point: Walk through your office and ask a lot of WHAT IF THIS WERE NOT THERE?

We have a plan to run our entire Small Business Marketing Plan bootcamp without power. It would be more challenging, but we can do it.

This is also when you should review your Continuity Plan: how will your business function if your key employee is suddenly unable to work for any reason?

Fourth is your Digital Assets Review

So much of what we do is online and electronic that we need to check on them. Here is a checklist of what to check on:
* Are your sales funnels operating? Do you need to change the offers? Do you need to A/B test them?
* Is your website up to date? Does it still reflect your image?

We just decided to change our name (don’t do this twice in 15 months without professional assistance) to Yuloff Creative Marketing Solutions so we need to phase out the Sedona Marketing moniker we put into place just two years ago. This meant that we had to change the landing page and video. Here are photos of the layout prior to the change (or click so you can see the difference).

Here is an important tip:  We just added the CLICK HERE starburst on each button because we found that people did not know to Click Here.   It was not obvious.  We made it obvious.

We will update our main sight next year, after fully launching The Small Business Marketing Plan, which, we decided in our year end review, would take priority.

What in your business needs priority attention?
* Have you done a recent internet search of you and your brand? Find any old phone numbers or addresses lurking on various websites?
* Are your URLs about to expire? We caught 3 for two clients in one week which would have essentially put them out of business.
* By the way, is all the information on your business card up to date? I had to send a box of our marketing books to someone running a silent auction and the address on his card was wrong. When it came back, wasting $40 in my shipping charges, he explained that he had changed it on his email signature but was just getting rid of the last few hundred business cards. His business is based on getting tiny details correct. I wonder what he misses when he is doing what he does. What if someone is sending him paperwork and has his card on their desk? What business is he losing?

Last is a Team Review

This part of your year end review does not mean to decide who stays and who goes, but getting input from your team. Get them into the constant mode of asking for feedback from your clients.
I can always tell when a restaurant is not doing this when I ask a server if I can speak to the manager. 90%+ of the time they think they are about to hear something bad and when I tell the manager something wonderful about our experience, there is almost a reaction of “What am I supposed to say? This is very unusual.”

The questions here are:
* How are we doing?
* What learning moments can we share with everyone?
* What are the three most important things we need to change in how we operate?
* How can we improve our training? Train your staff to be open to gathering information.

Prior to this meeting, you should have your business ‘secret shopped.’ We call clients all the time to see how the phone is answered and how our questions are answered. That is the first line of contact so it best be strong.

You’re probably thinking that your “Year End Review” could easily be a “Year Long Review.” You are thinking correctly! The more we are open to improving, the more we are coachable, the better our business will be in the short and long term.

Would you like help putting your year end review together?

Have you done the review and need help with the ‘What Now’ part of the process?

Is now the time to hire a marketing coach and hugely improve your sales and bottom line?
Call us: 800-705-4265.

Email us:

Get in touch with us through social media.

Or head to and take the short assessment and then click the link to get into our calendar. We are here to help and look forward to serving you.