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Inflight Briefing: 026

5 min read
Apr 6, 2023 1:04:06 PM
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Delivered weekly, the Inflight Briefing is designed as a blueprint for the builder and inspiration for the curious. It's for those doing good marketing

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026: The State of Nonprofit Marketing

We dropped our State of Nonprofit Marketing report yesterday where we unpack the latest trends in nonprofit and association marketing. We heard from over 400 marketers, leaders, and experts in the field, and these are the things they suggest keeping an eye out for in 2023:

  1. The most effective nonprofits meet their supporters where they are, and they approach them as people instead of numbers. They test new approaches and measure results, optimizing campaigns to better meet the needs of their unique audiences.

    Brady Josephson, VP of marketing & growth at charity: water, said, “One of the things that makes charity: water what it is is its care for donors of all kinds. It doesn’t matter if you give $5 a month or $100 a year or $5 million.”

  2. Caring about the words we choose, making every email or text or web page feel like there’s a person behind it, and telling the story of our cause and community is what Good marketing is all about. This is the way that we show supporters, members, and donors that we truly care about them as people.

    Marketing isn’t a sideshow to programs — it’s an essential part of making the world a better place. Connecting people to community and cause is itself world-changing. 

  3. Organizations that will thrive and expand during uncertain times are those who take risks on their own people. Dana Snyder, host of the podcast Missions to Movements said, “Surround yourself with the right people. Bring them in and make sure they understand their purpose. And your organization is going to thrive.”

At nonprofits, you aren’t selling the shiniest new thing, you’re selling a better world. And when people buy into that thing, it makes them significantly happier than if they had instead bought the shiny new thing.

We hope our report offers your team questions that spark dialogue. And we hope 2023 is the best year your organization has ever seen!


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Snackable snippets 

How charity: water cares for every single donor 🎧

This was the very first Good Marketing Unplugged session, and it definitely set the bar high. Brady Josephson, charity: water’s VP of marketing & growth, shared about strategies he uses for testing and frameworks he uses for storytelling. But all of his marketing tactics are ultimately geared toward better serving their supporter base and caring individually for the partners that push their cause forward.

Rethinking what we’re selling 📖

All of us know there’s more to life than accumulating things, but when it comes to making those daily decisions, advertisers often have a larger impact than we’d like to admit on behaviors. This is why it’s so important for nonprofit organizations to be a part of the conversation. We need people thinking about the world in ways beyond profit. And if nonprofits are able to effectively sell their product — a better world — we’ll all benefit from the impact.

How to buy happiness 🎥

In this classic TED Talk, Michael Norton, a professor at Harvard Business School, shows us how life changing generosity can be. It truly is better to give than receive, and science is only proving what many in the nonprofit world have known all along. Giving to others isn’t only good for the world, it’s also good for the giver. This is yet another reason to have a confident ask. People who respond and donate are given greater happiness in return.

Putting the phone down: A how-to guide 📖

The MIT Technology Review offers a quick guide on responding to that persistent habit of picking up the phone. As marketers and leaders, focus is essential, so knowing what’s giving and taking energy from you is essential in pushing yourself forward. Only then can you shift your energy to pushing your team and organization ahead. A lot of breaking habits starts from recognizing them as patterns. Then you can ask yourself if it’s adding to your life or taking from it. And then you can find patterns that instead bring more happiness into your life.

What’s the difference between machine learning and deep learning? 🎥

Hubspot compares machine learning with deep learning and offers definitions and examples of the two. While AI and machine learning are pushing boundaries, deep learning and “unsupervised learning” are the real cutting edge of technological advances. As machines more and more mimic the human brain through deep learning, we’re moving further and further into uncharted territory.


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In the news

In one of the most aggressive moves to curb the dangers posed by AI, Italy temporarily banned ChatGPT as a response to a personal data breach. And on a larger level, more and more tech leaders and CEOs are signing a petition to pause further AI experimentation before current security concerns are properly addressed.

Get ready for new Pepsi cans. The company is rebranding itself and moving away from anything that isn’t bold. Todd Kaplan, Pepsi’s CMO, said, “We’re doing all these things that are not shy, they’re not recessive. The logo and visual system just felt inconsistent with how our brand has been behaving.” 

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Something for your inspiration folder

Deb Liu is the CEO of Ancestry.com, and she’s collected 10 charts that tell powerful stories. Heads up: some of them are the opposite of inspirational, but number 3 and number 10 get close to making up for the less optimistic ones. Here’s a sneak peak of number 3:



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