The Importance of Strong Sales Leadership in Nonprofit Businesses

There’s a lot of selling going on at nonprofits, and it’s going on despite the fact that the idea of selling is horrifying to some people who work in the nonprofit world. However, a nonprofit needs to be selling if it expects to continually bring in new volunteers and donors to grow. And this is why strong sales leadership is so important if you run a nonprofit.

Leaders earn respect

If you’re a boss, your subordinates don’t exist in order to allow you to become lazy. Good leaders will ask their subordinates to do the same work that they would do: Sales leaders make sales calls with their sales team. They know it’s their job to make cold calls and call on accounts.

A big part of selling in the nonprofit world is fundraising. You are selling the idea of donating to your organization and cause. That means attending community events so that your nonprofit’s leadership is visible and can promote your organization’s mission.

I know of one executive director who wouldn’t go to outreach activities to gain more supporters. She said she didn’t have the time, yet she expected members of her team to attend the events. How can a leader like that earn her subordinates’ respect and dedication? Simply put, she can’t.

Good leaders will earn the respect of new people they meet when they display appropriate behavior. Leaders who publicly complain about other organizations are behaving inappropriately; good leaders are discreet. Good leaders will assume more formal behavior when meeting new people. They don’t assume someone they’ve just met is their new best friend and don’t disclose personal information. They also don’t hug people they just met—it’s creepy and inappropriate. Nonprofit leaders who haven’t earned respect will often find people are unwilling to donate to their cause; volunteers will drop off their board.

Respect other people’s time

Nonprofit volunteers are people who donate their time to support the causes they believe in. Since most volunteers have other full-time jobs, meetings with volunteers usually will occur at night or on weekends when board members can attend. The requirements for nonprofit meetings are the same as those for business sales meetings. Meetings should start and end on time; there should be an agenda.

I was involved with a nonprofit whose meetings were more like random events. Action items that were considered closed at previous meetings suddenly were reopened during subsequent discussions. Meetings that were called to start at a certain time were delayed until those who were “coming but running late” could arrive.

It is disrespectful to those who manage to organize their time and arrive on time to a meeting to delay a meeting’s start. Those who are running late, for whatever reason, have the responsibility when they arrive to quickly pick up the meeting’s discussion and not disrupt the meeting. Leaders who accommodate latecomers are detracting from their credibility as a leader. These leaders reward bad behavior and don’t promote team cohesion.

RELATED: 7 Ways to Create More Productive Meetings

Model fiscal responsibility

In some nonprofits the idea of being fiscally responsible is not part of the business conversation because the leaders are working for a good cause. Fiscal responsibility, however, should be uppermost in a good nonprofit leader’s mind.

Just as sales profitability is key, so is nonprofit profitability. For a nonprofit that serves the needy, each wasted dollar takes away from money that could have purchased additional food, equipment, or other benefit the nonprofit is working so hard to accomplish. It does not engender confidence among donors to see their money being wasted, and it will difficult to ask for additional money or bring on new donors. There’s a balance between spending money to make money and wasting money. Here’s what I mean.

At one international nonprofit, the executive leadership decided to invite a nonprofit employee who worked in another country to speak at the annual fundraising gala. However, the plane ticket for this employee would cost the nonprofit many thousands of dollars. One local board member proposed an internet link which would allow the nonprofit employee to present live from his office overseas along with several of the nonprofit’s recipients; this would be at a minimal cost. The idea of having a live communications link would be exciting since some of the recipients would be speaking to the gala participants and showing them their gratitude for the donors’ hard work.

The argument of whether to fly in the employee vs. doing the link came down to cost. The national executive director told the local board member who proposed the live link idea, “Don’t worry. The money for the ticket isn’t coming out of your budget.” The local board member replied, “But it’s coming out of someone’s budget, and that’s not right.”

Why didn’t the national executive understand that demonstrating fiscal irresponsibility makes those who volunteer less likely to ask for donations and donate money themselves?

Successful leaders of nonprofit organizations are able to sell the idea of donating to their cause. Only nonprofit leaders who understand they are in sales and act accordingly will grow their nonprofits and get more donors willing to support their work.

RELATED: 15 Key Steps to Set Up a Charity

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Seasonal Success: Industries that Excel During the Holidays

The increased excitement and willingness to spend money makes the holidays a very lucrative time for businesses. Certain industries are exceptionally productive during these periods — whether it’s the fireworks for sale on special occasions or the retail frenzy of Christmas.

The modern business world continues to evolve and its progression shows no signs of slowing down. The various special days, seasons and holidays throughout the year are very important on both a social and professional level. For businesses, it provides the platform for increased marketing and producing unique products or services to coincide with a vital period of the year.

In this article, we’ll take a look at a few of the industries that enjoy seasonal success and how they’re able to do so.


The first industry on our list has to be retail. Christmas represents a time to eat lots of good food, enjoy quality time with your family and unwrap presents — all of which require the retail world to enjoy. Whether you’re an organised person who buys gifts a few months in advance or a last-minute hero (in fact, the 23rd and 24th are usually the biggest sales days) who embraces the frenzy, this period is a money-making goldmine for the retail industry.

Of course, the retail industry is continuously at work, but it’s the holidays when things get turned up a notch. Even the quietest, most unique stores that can’t compete with big chains will make a lot more money during the holidays. You also have to consider the money-saving potential at the start of a new year, just after the mayhem of Christmas, so that means there are a few solid months of massive retail success. Promotions and sales strategies built around Christmas, Black Friday and the January are not even an option now for retail businesses; they’re a necessity.


With all four seasons offering something unique in regards to temperature and aesthetic, people love to travel to experience a new place during a particular time of year — or merely to escape the less favourable weather that their local area is experiencing. No matter people’s reasoning for travel, the tourism industry is happy to oblige and enjoy seasonal success.

Take Christmas, for example. The festive season is hectic for the tourism industry, as many people will be coming home to celebrate with family. You then have to consider how many people travel to amazing locations to experience an unforgettable Christmas. A massive increase of people in an area has an effect on companies who provide travel, accommodation, hospitality, entertainment and anything else a tourist requires. Whilst the summer is the stereotypical season for high tourism rates, Christmas certainly isn’t far behind.

The Firework Industry

Bonfire Night is right around the corner in the UK, which means that firework season has begun. During this period, there are plenty of fireworks for sale and people will continue to use them throughout winter and over the new year. In an era where products are available to us as and when we want them, it’s interesting that we aren’t able to buy fireworks outside of the permitted dates.

While most countries allow the sale of fireworks during Christmas and the new year, others have additional holidays where you can find fireworks for sale. For example, the UK has Bonfire Night and America has Independence Day, both of which permit people to buy fireworks for a few weeks before and after the event. In these lucrative markets, sales strategies are accelerated during this time to get the absolute maximum amount of interest and purchases during this small period of time.


This time of year is when a massive amount of office parties, family meals, social gatherings and other celebratory events take place. Hotels, bars and restaurants are jam-packed with people getting into the festive spirit by eating their body weight in food and drinking one too many alcoholic beverages. Although the hospitality industry is active all year round, the holidays are undoubtedly the time where big business is done.

We already mentioned the tourism industry’s boost throughout various seasons and holidays, and this naturally affects hospitality businesses. Increased tourist activities mean that more people will require a roof over their head, places to eat and activities to enjoy. This makes the holidays a lucrative business opportunity for any company providing this type of service.

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The Importance of Disclosure in Influencer Marketing

The Importance of Disclosure in Influencer Marketing

Disclosing an influencer-brand relationship in blog posts, social media posts or other types of content isn’t just a good idea — it’s an actual requirement.

Small Business Trends caught up with Rachel Honoway, CEO of Performance Marketing Association at the recent Influencer Marketing Days conference in New York City’s Times Square. The Performance Marketing Association is a trade association for the performance marketing industry, which includes things like affiliate marketing and influencer marketing.

Importance of Disclosure in Influencer Marketing

At the event, Honoway discussed some of the legal issues involved in both affiliate and influencer marketing. One of the biggest requirements for influencers and affiliates is disclosure. Per the Federal Trade Commission, influencers must let consumers know they’re receiving compensation for posting about a particular brand or product, no matter what format the content or compensation might take.

Honoway elaborated, “What happens is a lot of influencers and even the brands want to be able to get product reviews and these blog posts and these Instagram posts out there that look authentic. But it’s a little bit of a gray area there because the FTC says consumers need to know that this was a compensated positioning, right? This was an actual advertisement. But just the compensation might not have been as straightforward as something like a TV ad or a radio ad.”

That disclosure might take a lot of different forms depending on the type of content you release. For example, you might include a short sentence in a blog post. But in an Instagram post, you could just use #ad. However, Honoway warned against using any language that could be confusing. The FTC has said not to use #spon in posts, for instance. To simplify, Honoway recommends using “the mom test” or “the grandma test.”

She explained, “If you sent your mom to that page, would she know that there’s a material relationship between you and that brand. If not, if she can’t look at that and say, ‘oh I get it, he’s getting compensated for this in products or in exposure or sometime — or money,’ then you have to say that.”

This article, “The Importance of Disclosure in Influencer Marketing” was first published on Small Business Trends

How to Become a LinkedIn Power User

The rise of LinkedIn has meant more than the death of paper and pdf resumes. It has required a whole new look at how we do business, how we assess potential recruits and collaborators, and how we present ourselves to the professional world as a whole. If you want to boost your chances of getting more, better business opportunities through LinkedIn, you need to do more than just copy and paste your CV into the relevant fields: you need to conceptualize your profile as a living, breathing representation of who you are as a professional.

Retaining the URL that LinkedIn provided you with, for instance, is a beginner’s mistake. It may only be a question of perception, but strings of random letters and numbers are more associated with spambots than real humans these days. And okay, probably nobody thinks you’re a bot – but personalizing your LinkedIn URL (you can do it in ‘Edit Public Profile’) is a good example of how neatening your profile around the edges will show that you are organized, conscientious – and net-savvy.

On a more dynamic front, once your profile is ready to go then it is well worth connecting with relevant communities across the platform by clicking Work > Groups > Discover Groups. You can build connections, trust, reputation, by becoming part of the conversation in your chosen industry – or even in the areas of your other interests. Show that you are active, engaged, and confident, and employers will keep you in mind when recruitment opportunities come around.

And finally, don’t forget about the people you already know. Not only will you be surprised by the number of real-life connections that you’ve made who can be converted to LinkedIn contacts, but you can also ask them to provide recommendations on your profile to give your skills and interests more credibility.

Sounds like an effective way to advance your career? Run through this new step-by-step guide from Onward to put these ideas and more into action!

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How to Find and Manage the Right Virtual Assistant for You

As an entrepreneur or small business owner, you may have adapted to being a jack-of-all-trades when it comes to the many varied tasks that need to be accomplished on a daily or weekly basis to promote your company. However, as your business grows and your to-do list lengthens, it can be almost impossible to accomplish everything that has to be done. This can create a whole new set of problems: Should I hire someone to help me? How much will an employee cost me and can I afford this expense? Where do I look to find an assistant I can trust? Do I have enough low level work to hire someone part time?

If you find yourself in this situation, have you considered hiring a virtual assistant (VA)? Many times we don’t think twice about outsourcing specialty jobs like web design, graphic design or bookkeeping, but a VA can be just as valuable because they can buy you the time to focus on the more important projects that propel your business. In this world of telecommuting, VAs are becoming more and more commonplace. In fact, Global Market Insights, Inc. predicts that between 2016 to 2024 the “global intelligent virtual assistant market size is estimated to grow at an annual growth rate of 34.9%.”

Benefits of a Virtual Assistant

There are obvious benefits to hiring a VA. First of all, they tend to be independent contractors so you don’t have the added expense of paying for benefits. Secondly, if you work from home or in a co-working space, you don’t need to rent an office or purchase computers or other hardware that would be needed for an onsite assistant. Next, a VA allows you to find someone who specializes in your industry and you’re not limited to the local talent pool. Finally, many virtual assistants have multiple clients which means that you aren’t required to hire them for traditional full or part time hours. For example, maybe one week you have a project that takes eight hours and the next you have 15 hours’ worth of work. Since he or she is managing several clients, the hours are more flexible instead of being solely dependent on your income.

How to Find the Right VA for You

There are countless job sites on the Internet and the hard part is knowing where to look and determining what type of help you need. Do you want to an employee in the US? Does the work need to be accomplished within a certain time zone? How much are you willing to pay per hour? What types of tasks do you need completed? Once you pinpoint what qualities you want your ideal candidate to have, you may want to check out these websites:

Time Etc. – This site is great because you can find professionals who specialize in projects such as social media, writing, administrative duties, research and more. Their pricing model is segmented into 10, 20, 40 & 60 hours per week and the rates start at just $25/hour (plus unused hours roll over into the next month).

CloudPeeps – With CloudPeeps, you can search for a VA or create a specific job outline and have freelancers pitch for your job. This puts you in the driver’s seat to have potential assistants come to you rather than having to scroll through long lists of candidates.

Belay Solutions – It can take time to find the right VA, and Belay Solutions simplifies the process by looking for you. You’ll type in your contact info on their website, a representative will discuss with you what your needs are, and then they’ll match you with one of their professionals.

How to Train and Manage a VA

Once you’ve found a great VA, how do you get started? I’m glad you asked! Telecommuting and working virtually continues to gain popularity and it’s because of the awesome tools that are available.

Basic Tools

Google Drive – As someone who works with virtual employees, I rely heavily on Google Docs and Sheets for to-do lists, project in-process charts, timesheets, shared docs and messaging.

Slack – Emails are cluttered and texts get deleted. This allows for up-to-the-minute communication and documentation to provide accountability.

Join Me – It’s almost impossible to train a VA without this awesome screen sharing platform. This allows your VA to see your monitor on their computer so you can explain how to update existing spreadsheets, where to find needed documents and you can review presentations and visuals easily since you can show and not just tell what you want addressed.

Trello – If you have a team of virtual assistants or a group working on a project, this puts everything in one place. You can prioritize projects, divide tasks and know when each job is completed.

Consistent Check-Ins

It’s going to take a few weeks to get both you and your VA to work cohesively. You’re going to have to adjust to each other’s work and communication styles and daily check-ins might be needed initially. Here are some basic questions to ask:

  • What did you work on today?
  • How far did you get? What did you accomplish?
  • What problems did you have?
  • What questions do you have?

Building Trust

Trust takes time and not working with someone face to face can make this process take even longer. Even though time is money, invest in small talk. Get to know your VA as a person and tell them some basic things about you. This will do two things: 1) if you treat them with care and respect you’ll build loyalty (you don’t want to invest time and money into training someone only to have them leave three months later) and 2) people tend to do a better job if they like who they’re working for (didn’t you?).

It can be overwhelming when you think about hiring a virtual assistant, but a little bit of planning and training can free up your time… and isn’t that worth the effort?

The post How to Find and Manage the Right Virtual Assistant for You appeared first on Home Business Magazine.

3 Mouth-Watering Content Marketing Case Studies That Bring Home the Bacon

If you’ve ever been pregnant, lived with a woman who’s pregnant or even just been around a pregnant woman, you can guess it is not smart to lie to a woman who’s pregnant about food.

Well that’s how I felt today. 6 months along and in arrives a marketing email with the subject line: “[Infographic] Good Marketing starts with good snacks.” Yes, I understand, I’m not literally going to get any food out of this, but I expect to see some mouth-watering graphics upon opening the email. Nope.

Instead I found food references in the copy like “Are you giving your prospects nourishing snacks or asking them to bite off more than they can chew?” and “Make your content highly snackable”. Still, this email teased me enough to click on the CTA to the infographic: Surely within it food will reside!

The infographic was 100% unrelated to food. This is what I call an unfulfilled promise.

As content creators, it’s our job to catch our audience’s attention. Check, done. But it is also our jobs to pay off what we’ve promised the audience within our content.

So, today, my promise – like my headline, title tag and meta description state – is to fill your senses with mouth-watering case studies of money-making campaigns. In following best practices, like delivering on a promise, this content has been able to drive outstanding results, bringing home the bacon for brands. Oh, and I might include some tasty food pics. I mean, “mouth-watering” and “bacon” are in my headline.

Paid-First Digital Marketing Strategy Drove Impressive ROI in Month One

The Strategy:

A new client came to TopRank Marketing recently craving customers – FAST. Sound familiar? But seriously, this B2B startup needed to see ROI as the first course – not dessert – in order to be able to keep investing. In addition, they were looking for support in SEO, developing landing pages in the short-term and gathering the insights needed to create a long-term organic content strategy.

We used AdWords to drive leads quickly and to test keyword viability for the landing page content and to help inform the upcoming organic content plan.

The Results:

Just four weeks after launch, we had driven 18 leads with an average CPL of $192. For this client, a single lead has the average value of $5,000-$20,000 (and sometimes up to $100,000) in revenue. In talking with the client, we were able to uncover that within one month we had driven roughly $10,000-$75,000 in ROI. 

Takeaway for Marketers:

Don’t get discouraged by tight timelines. Hyper focus on your core marketing objectives and pivot to tactics that you know can fulfill them – even if it seems out of order. Just be sure to set expectations with your leadership team as to why you’re making a shift, what your hypothesis is and what results you anticipate.

Focus on core marketing objectives and pivot tactics that you know can fulfill them.
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Interactive, Multi-Channel Campaign Resulted in 4% Lift in Market Share, 12M Media Impressions

The Strategy:

By now you’ve heard about and likely drank at least one can of Coca Cola that held the “Share a Coke” campaign branding. Did you know the campaign started in Australia? The challenge was Coke had lost its relevance among Australians leaving sales in a not so happy place.

Coca Cola added the 150 most popular names to their cans and bottles, changing their biggest piece of advertising real estate. Supporting tactics from traditional to digital platforms rolled out from there: #ShareACoke hashtag, apps, an interactive website, outdoor billboards, interactive kiosks in top city centers and more.

Customers fueled digital content for the #ShareACoke campaign.

The Results:

From the initial campaign, in Australia alone, Coke earned 12 million media impressions, a 7% increase in young adult consumption and a 4% increase in sales across the category. With this success, Coca Cola has pushed it out to nearly 60 markets since their 2011 launch and have continued to add additional tactics. One of the more recent additions aimed to turn the enthusiasm for the campaign into even more revenue and earned advertising. To achieve this, Coke has begun selling personalized bottles and gear.

Takeaway for Marketers:

B2B or B2C – A truly impactful campaign integrates with the entire customer experience. Just because your packaging department is in a different building or state from your digital advertising or SEO departments doesn’t mean you can’t or shouldn’t work together. Put your heads together across disciplines to unlock potential you never saw before.

A truly impactful marketing campaign integrates with the entire customer experience.
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Consistent Publishing and Strategic Partnerships Drove 15.5% Increase in Revenue

The Strategy:

When this B2B and B2C eCommerce company came to TopRank Marketing wanting to drive sales, we knew a breadth of integrated tactics would be the way to reach their lofty revenue goals. And, we saw a huge opportunity to leverage co-created content with influencers and other brands as a way to drive stronger brand awareness. To reach their objectives, we deployed a strong marketing mix of weekly blogs, co-created influencer content, SEO, organic social, paid social and AdWords.

The Results:

In just under one year, we were able to drive a 14.4% increase in organic traffic, and 7.7% overall. The even more appetizing part of the story is these traffic spikes resulted in a 23.7% increase in organic revenue year over year; 15.5% increase in overall website revenue year over year!

Takeaway for Marketers:

A consistent cadence of relevant, SEO-driven blog content set the foundation for success for this client. And, what really made the difference was our strategic partnerships with influencers and other brands. The co-created content bolstered brand awareness in a way this brand had never before seen.

Use SEO & content to set the foundation and form strategic partnerships with influencers.
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Are You Bringing Home the Bacon?

Hopefully, you just read all of that and thought, “I know. I already do all of that. I eat unlimited bacon!” If that’s you – fantastic! Are you looking for a job? We’re always open to strengthening our team!

But all joking aside, a wise marketer knows there is always more to learn. Keep up on the latest digital marketing trends and tactics by following our blog, or if you’re interested in learning what TopRank Marketing can do to help your business bring home the bacon, please, reach out today.

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