Nicola's blog

Nyman Ink posts on not-for-profit marketing, design, communications and everything in between.

Putting your mission statement to work, internally

I have a friend who volunteers for a not-for-profit organization. When I asked her if she felt that achieving that NFP’s goals (that is, living up to the organization’s mission statement) was as important as it might be at a for-profit corporation, she laughed. “That’s a no-brainer! What kind of organization doesn’t want to accomplish its mission?”

Then I asked her what her non-profit’s mission statement was.  She was stumped. Not a good sign. I’m sure she had and has a good idea of what her chosen not-for-profit does, but she wasn’t really able to put it into words in a clear and concise way.

The art of composing a mission statement

mission statement

Recently, Jen blogged about what visitors want to see on the homepage of your not-for-profit’s website. She told us about a great study that says that if you want to encourage donations, you need to be explicit about who you are and what you do. What better way to communicate this than through your not-for-profit’s mission statement?

Step one: You need to have a mission statement.

Supporting endMS

This year I decided to throw my support behind endMS, an initiative of the Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada that aims to raise $60 million to fund research activities surrounding the causes and potential cures of this unpredictable disease.

Judy Nyman at the 2011 Canadian Business & Community Partnership Forum

Nyman Ink and our friends in the non-profit community are excited about the 2011 Canadian Business & Community Partnership Forum. Imagine Canada and Volunteer Canada are teaming up to put on this three-day conference for businesses and NFPs to share ideas and best practices on how to maintain a community focus while running a successful organization or business. The fact that the forum is taking place at the Fairmont Montebello will only add to the attendees’ inspiration, as visual stimulation is known to spark creativity. What could be better than the beauty of Quebec in June? 

Learning curve: a print management disaster

Once upon a time, I spent a summer volunteering for a not-for-profit. This was a long time ago, when I was young and inexperienced. Long before I worked for Nyman Ink. If only I knew then what I know now.

It was my job to run a quick fundraiser, selling custom bookmarks. I designed a graphic, made a plan, and felt ready to print 2,000 copies of my design. I was in good shape. I proudly took my MS Word document to the local print shop. That’s when things started to unravel.

The essential ingredients for a brand

Here's the formula for a form-perfect brand:

Brand = who you are + what you stand for + how you engage your community

Still not getting the math? Let me explain.

National Geographic: a branding case study

National Geographic is a classic publication. Revered the world over, it’s known for its awe-inspiring, imagery and iconic design. When you see that yellow rectangle, you just know… it’s National Geographic. According to the NG Society’s own website it “is one of the largest non-profit scientific and educational institutions in the world.” and it “has been inspiring people to care about the planet since 1888" (source). And since its inception, way back before globalization and digitization, when the internet was less than a gleam in our collective eye, NG was all about establishing a unique brand that would stand the test of time.

Understanding the basics of Twitter

So after reading our introduction to the major social media channels you’ve probably (we hope) visited Twitter and registered your organization, with an intuitive userID (that’s your screen name) and a tagline that is interesting and descriptive (that’s your two-line bio).  As well, you’ve listed your website and uploaded an image (ideally, a human face or your logo) to be your avatar. You know that your text-based message is called a tweet and that a tweet can be no more than 140 characters.

Now what?

Why I Support the MS Society of Canada

I choose to support the MS Society of Canada because it is our guiding force in dealing with important aspects of a mysterious and scary neurological disease: supporting the everyday struggles of living with multiple sclerosis (MS), understanding our current treatment options and leading research to find a cure.

MS is most often diagnosed in women in their 20s. Goals like graduating from school, starting a career, trying to save money and planning a family seem very far away if you are suddenly told that your brain and body are beginning to deteriorate. Your future is uncertain and there are no concrete prognoses. No neurologist or MRI can predict how the disease will progress or affect your life. These uncertainties stay with you for the rest of your life.

How’s your pitch?

This morning began like any other. I’ll paint you a picture:

Imagine me, rushing through the Dufferin subway station on my way to work. I was nearly late (it’s a Friday! Need I say more?). I was focused on getting through the crowd.
That is, I was focused until something caught my attention. Something heartfelt. Something unusual. Teenagers were in the station, shaking cans of coins for charity. “Help the children,” they called to the moving blob of commuters. “Support the fund!”

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