A whole company dedicated to solely to teaching nonprofits how to market? Really?

After doing marketing, communications, and outreach in-house and as a consultant for, oh, about 15 years, our founder, Erica, got depressed. She realized she could work with individual organizations until the cows came home and never substantively advance the nonprofit sector’s ability to use marketing as a mission-critical ally. She realized that would only happen when a critical mass of people working for and with nonprofits could confidently do marketing. By focusing on training lots and lots of people, we have a chance to change for the better how people engage with the causes we care about. And the people doing the marketing will be much happier since they’ll know they’re doing what will get the best results, rather than always wondering and driving themselves slowly insane. (Never good.)

Aren’t there already places where do gooders can go to learn about marketing?

There are loads of great resources online. There are, in fact, so many you could go cross-eyed reading them all. But who has time? And unless you have an idea for what to look for (i.e. you’ve trained your brain to think like a marketer), you won’t necessarily find what you need. In Washington state, we have some great organizations for fundraisers such as NDOA and AFP-WA. Marketing and communications is its own thing, however, and there isn’t anywhere dedicated exclusively to helping people who have these tasks in their job title or job description (or just know they have to do it even though it’s not written anywhere). Nonprofit and foundation marketers need (and deserve!) something similar to support their efforts to engage donors, volunteers, board members, partners, sponsors, media…anyone and everyone who cares as passionately as they do about their cause. We hope, over time, Claxon will become that place.

Do you do trainings or other public speaking?

We (and by that we mean Erica) LOVE public speaking. She loves teaching, training and really any opportunity to stand up in front of a bunch of people who will let her talk about how those doing good can get noticed by marketing with cohesion, clarity and confidence. For now, we don’t offer regular trainings and workshops, but it’s in the works to stay tuned. In the meantime, do us all a favor and hire Erica to come talk to your group. She’s a much happier person when she gets to do that on a regular basis, so help us out, would ya?

What’s the difference between Brand and Marketing?

Brand is the belief, values, personality, look, feel and voice of your organization. It informs myriad aspects of an organization, from who you hire to how you answer the phone, from whether you allow pets at the office to how you process donations. Marketing is the messaging and tactics you use to proactively engage with your target audiences. Direct mail, e-blasts, newsletters, text messaging, events, blogs, social networks…all of these are marketing tactics. Brand infuses your marketing with a consistent look, feel, voice and experience. It makes sure that whether people interact with you online or on land, they have a consistent–and hopefully compelling–experience with your organization and the people representing it.