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Sometimes you just have to “go analog”. Grab a pen and paper and just start writing. A personal brain storm if you will. Work through a couple of drafts, read it out loud and keep working the process.



During a recent PRSA board meeting about a yearly non-profit development day called PR360, the question was raised: “What type of presentations would benefit both non-profit and for-profit PR professionals?”. How can the pR360 meeting help all PR practitioners? I blog a lot about non-profit PR and marketing, so I thought a roundup of post would help spur on some conversation about the similarities and differences between these two types of communications. Enjoy!

The Perfect Pitch: How do you secure sponsorships – Looking at sponsorship request from both sides of the conversation

Audience Development for Traditional Arts Organizations – Running an orchestra or museum like a corporation by focusing on new market development

Economic Impact of the Arts – Art creates positive economic impact in the State of Oklahoma

Business Possibilities For Creativity in OKEmbracing the creative class is good for business and non-profit organizations

Expert Non-profit Direct Mail Tips Many of these tips are non-profit specific, but many will improve any direct mail program

BONUS: “Creativity In PR” presentation for PRSA Little Rock (video)

On my business site The Golding Group, we also discuss improving non-profits via business techniques:

Cher Golding’s Top 5 Tips for NonprofitsGood ideas everyone can use

Community Engagement is Good For BusinessWhy corporate/non-profit partnerships make sense

How to Start a 501c3 Non-Profit OrganizationMore complicated than you think

Overall, there are so many ways for-profit and non-profit marketing and PR professionals can learn from each other. The key is to begin the conversation. What ideas do you have for corporate and charity collaborative learning?

Watch my Ignite OKC presentation: Everything I Know About Starting A Business I Learned From Riding A Motorcycle

This is the full version of my 5 minute Ignite OKC presentation from 11-13-12. Special thanks to Darwin Motorcycles for many of the images. Check them out if you’re into custom motorcycles.

Watch the Ignite video of this presentation here

Everyone wants to own their own business because everyone wants to be the boss. Why, because it’s awesome!

You know what else is awesome, riding cool motorcycles. The problem is that both activities are much harder than they look and if you don’t know what you’re doing, you can end up hurting (or even killing) yourself. Here are a couple of key things to consider when riding a motorcycle or starting your own business.

Want to start a business? Already own one but need some advice. Contact me at The Golding Group.

I finally overhauled my personal website with a ton of help from my friends at T & S Web Design. Bonus, they also created cool 404 page for me:

I live in two worlds, that often seem to be polar opposites. In reality, they are not that far apart: Art and Business. Some will tell you there is no place for creativity in business (just cold, hard facts) and others would say artist should not be concerned with commerce (cheapens the work). They would both be wrong.

In today’s world, you cannot have business without creativity nor artistic endeavors without economic support. The most powerful part of art in our lives is both can be reached at the same time. 


That’s right, business benefits from art in our schools and communities.

  • According to a study released in 2010, nonprofit arts and cultural organizations have a $314.8 million impact on Oklahoma’s economy (The Economic Impact of Nonprofit Arts and Culture Organizations in Oklahoma). The study showed the industry supports 10,156 full-time equivalent jobs and generates over $29 million in state and local government revenues.*
  • Students with four years of arts education in high school score significantly higher on college entrance exams than students with little or no arts education.*
  • Arts education has been shown to increase performance in non-arts subjects like math and science. Other proven benefits include an increase in school attendance and civic engagement  and a decrease in anti-social behaviors.*
  • The arts help attract (and retain) young professionals, appeal to businesses and provide a setting where people want to live and raise families = Quality of Life.*

Overall, arts programs create better students, reduce crime, create economic opportunities and return $8+ for every dollar spend on programs like the Oklahoma Arts Council. In business speak, that’s significant ROI (Return on Investment).

As an artist, community supporter and business owner I see the value of the arts in Oklahoma (and beyond) and I hope you do to. It’s time to get involved. Call your local and state political leaders, volunteer, donate or support the arts by purchasing tickets to performance, visiting a gallery or buying something from a local artist. In return, we all see tax revenue, tourism, better students, cleaner community and a higher quality of life.

If your still not convinced, hit me up on twitter or comment on this blog post below and I will provide you truckloads of information and examples of the positive economic impact the arts has on modern society and show you ways to get involved. If you agree, “like” and share this post.

* Source

Your Next CEO Should be a Creative Professional

Marketing Podcast: Personalization is Real Relevance

Non-Profit Event Sponsorship Tips

Expert Non-profit Direct Mail Tips

Business Possibilities For Creativity in OK

Audience Development for Traditional Arts Orgs.

Improve Your Marketing with Response Tracking

REVIEW: 2012 VW Touareg

Here are a few direct mail tips and techniques specifically for non-profit organizations. Contact me if you need more detailed information.

Non-profit direct mail facts:

  • $5.2 billion (estimated) amount in fundraising driven by non-catalog direct mail in 2010
  • 91% of US non-profits use direct mail (Direct Marketing Association)
  • Make-A-Wish, St. Jude Children’s Hospital and United Way all rely heavily on direct mail

Direct Mail Benefits:

  • Lower initial investment than other forms of advertising
  • Lower cost per $1,000 compared to TV/radio commercials, publication ad placement
  • No spam filter, direct mail is delivered straight to the intended target
  • Stays around longer and stands out – on average, direct mail sits on a desk or coffee table for 3-5 days after being received (How fast do you delete emails, forget web pages or print ads?)
  • Can be signed and returned – very beneficial for membership and donation forms that require physical signatures
  • Can be combine with print, e-mail, online and mobile to be a part of a comprehensive marketing campaign
  • Consistent results – direct mail tend to perform the same each time it’s done (if done correctly)

How to do it better:

 Use a Non-profit indicia or Non-profit Stamp (with automation):

  • Only 200 piece minimum to use (total, not per zip code)
  • .9 for a non-profit indicia or stamp, .29 for a 4″x6″ postcard with a stamp, .39 for Presort First Class and .44 for first class (stamp)

Saving Money on Postage Pays for a Lot of Printing, Stuffing, Folding, Tabbing and Addressing:

  • Do not hand address, label, fold, stuff, tab or insert ever again
  • Machines are faster and much more efficient
  • Time is money labor + time occupied + toner + labels = expensive
  • Free your staff, interns or volunteers to do other important work for your organization

Clean Your Mailing List:

  • USPS sees 10 billion pieces of Undeliverable-As-Addressed (UAA) mail per year
  • More than 45 million Americans (14% of population) change their addresses each year
  • NCOA (National Change of Address) Link can correct changed addresses up to 48 months
  • Run NCOA close to mail date to get the latest information
  • Our data department can eliminate duplicate and incomplete addresses – we see this on EVERY list we see
  • Reduce cost of sending mail to people who are not there
  • Get a report of bad addresses (UAA mail) back from us
  • Avoid missing good donors by knowing you missed them
  • “Churn” is the term for missing a willing donor simply by not asking them to donate again

Return Service Requested:

  • So worth the work to clean your list – Less mistakes = less cost and budget waste
  • Know who you missed and avoid that postage cost of future mailing
  • The Post Office will destroy all UAA non-profit mail that does not request Return Service

Three C’s of Addressing:

  1. Complete – All required elements are present
  2. Correct – All elements are accurate
  3. Current – most recent is always the best

CASS Certification Software:

  • Standard processing software from USPS
  • Confirms and corrects ZIP+4 codes and carrier route information
  • Necessary for some USPS discounts

Profile Donors/Supporters:

  • Purchase list of new prospects based on demographics of current donors/members/supporters
  • Utilize Variable Data Printing to personalized letters and postcards
  • Use a PURL (personalized web address) for increased impact and customization

Control the Timing of Your Message:

  • Blast Campaign (send all at once) only if you can you handle the response volume all at once, if not try a drip campaign
  • Drip Campaign will split up your mail total over multiple weeks or months, allowing for control of response or increase repetition of message
  • Event participation invitations can hit homes on a specific date if planned well

Direct Address Your Direct Mail:

  • Avoid label retail cost and over buying
  • Avoid labels falling off
  • Clean up the design of you mailer
  • Utilize IMb (Intelligent Mail barcode) tracking and postal discounts – even on return envelopes

Don’t Forget About the Envelope:

  • Utilize the space by printing on the front and back
  • Teaser copy on the outside will promote opening, but you need to keep it simple
  • Keep the text/graphics specific to offer or audience For The Golfer or Coupon Inside
  • Have a clear Call to Action such as See offer inside, Open today or Get your free gift
  • Use a photo or graphic element, easy to interpret visual images are worth a 1,000 words
  • Do not “fake” official or government looking documents, it’s considered unethical by most

Postcard Sizes & Layouts Have IMPACT:

  • Up to 6″ x 11″ card for same rate, why use a small 4″ x 6″
  • Use one of the USPS guides to make sure your design meets all requirements

You did your research, created a target market profile and know what makes your product/service better than the competition. Now you have to deliver that message. A consistent message over multiple channels works best, but which should you use? How do you prove your marketing worked? Can you justify cost to your client/boss? The answer is tracking.

The best way to justify cost and measure success or failure is tracking the response rate. But how do you know it was direct mail and not radio/TV/print/ect… that did the trick? By using a trackable device in conjunction with the call to action.

One advantage of printed items is the (potential customer can keep it, give it to a friend or bring it to your location to redeem for a discount, special offer or attend an exclusive event. This is how a trackable device works.

If someone needs to show a postcard, coupon or code word to get the deal – they will. Now you have proof of response rate. You can’t just look at the sales numbers to know if your marketing work because part of that equation is up to your sales staff. Closing a sale opportunity created by direct marketing is conversion rate, not response rate. Walking in the door with direct mail in hand is response rate. Marketing will only get the sales process started.

Once you know response rate and cost, you can track which advertising medium provides the best return on investment for your budget. A call to action and trackable device is a highly effective and easy way to track success.

I say it all the time: “The Marketing department should be in charge of everything”. I know it sound self-serving since I’m a marketing guy, but there are some strong points to consider.

  • Creative professionals (designers, writers, marketers) are natural problem solvers. When you use your right brain all day, you become very adept at finding a solution and not just relying on what has been done in the past.
  • Marketing has to play all angles. The Sales department just wants to see high dollar figures, Production just wants to make as many items as possible, Accounting does not care about the customers needs, Customer service does not have to justify their existence with sales numbers and Engineers just want to make cool stuff, don’t care if there is demand for it or not.
  • Marketing, advertising and public relations are big picture, long-term endeavors. It takes a person of vision to strategically plan 18-24 months on advance. It also takes research, attention to details and being open to all possibilities. It also takes stick-to-it-ness to not abandon the program too soon, or at the very first setback.
  • Once you create (or adapt) a brand (the whole persona of a company or product) you take it to heart, you defend it and you think of it as a child or major appendage. That attitude leads to a committed and passionate corporate leader.
  • Who knows the company better than the guy or gal or writes all the brochures, web site content and press releases? No one.
  • Working in marketing requires you to wear many hats on a daily basis. Being a CEO is hard, ever-changing work. The boss has to understand the entire company, each department, the products/services, company history, the competition and have ideas for the future. The many roles of marketing pros = on the job CEO training.
  • We have BIG ideas. Creative professionals always look at problems, opportunities and even day-to-day operations from a different view-point. Willingness to try new approachs or be open to ideas is very powerful.
  • Who is most likely to have public speaking, media relations and crisis management training? Who do you want on camera or speaking to a reporter if something is going really bad (or really well)? A marketing pro will know what to do and say, always sticking to predefined messaging and brand protection.
To survive (and thrive) in today’s market, every company needs a creative leader who is prepared for the challenge. I’m willing to bet, that person is working in your marketing department right now. If not, you might want to consider who it is that is crafting the image and message of your company. Today’s Director of Marketing (or Advertising or Creative) should be tomorrow’s CEO.
If you think being creative is overrated for corporate leadership, I have two words for you: Steve Jobs. The perfect example of a visionary leader who understood what the market wanted (even if they didn’t), innovation and sticking to your core principles and messaging. As Apple advertising once said: “Think Different”.

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