Category Archives: Nonprofit Themes

Get inspiration and practical tips for your nonprofit communications by subscribing to this monthly newsletter, with examples of recent successes for clients.

Click on any title to read the newsletter and learn actionable tips.

Post Your Newsletter on Your Website

Embrace every opportunity to promote your insights.

Imagine someone heard about your business or nonprofit organization yesterday. Naturally, they visited your website to learn more about you.

As the reader scans the home page . . . Look! A popup window appears; it asks her to subscribe to your newsletter by entering her email address.

The site visitor has only begun an acquaintance with you. How does she know she wants to receive your newsletter?

Help her connect with you by posting your most recent newsletter issue on your website. When you feature it there, she will:

  • learn what is new at the company or organization;
  • gain insights into trends in your sector;
  • read about a client success story.

Now she has a basis for deciding to subscribe.

A potential subscriber who signs up in July may want to read the issues dating back to March, or perhaps even earlier, before submitting her email address to hear from you monthly.

When your previous newsletters are not accessible on your website, you’re actually hiding content valuable to your site visitors.

How does that gap promote your business and solicit new subscribers?

Recently, I visited the website of a Public Relations professional; within a minute, I was invited to subscribe to her newsletter. Even though no issue was available for review, I signed up. I had read some informative articles she had published elsewhere and thought her newsletter would be worthwhile.

Next, I emailed this colleague to ask why her newsletter was not on the website. Here is the reply:
I don’t keep an archive, as the newsletter content is exclusive. If anyone can access it, I don’t know if there’d be an incentive to sign up.

With all due respect, why does this writer think non-subscribers will remember to re-visit her website month after month?

You may have noticed my approach is the complete antithesis of exclusive content:

  • all newsletters are posted on my website;
  • related content from previous newsletters is cross-referenced and linked;
  • teasers of the discussion are actively promoted on social media (see below);
  • a link to the newsletter section of the website makes it easy to read prior issues.

For the other writer, only those who signed up for the newsletter at inception will be able to read the entire run of issues.

This is an enormous missed opportunity for these reasons:

  • Posting your newsletters on your website, and making all that content accessible, will engage readers, clients, referral sources and collaborators more deeply.
  • Your newsletters court potential customers and induce them to subscribe.
  • Posting is easy to do and can even help boost SEO, with the addition of new content every month.

Note also the opportunity to cite and link to the articles you have published in industry magazines, media outlets and elsewhere, as well as news stories where you are quoted.

Don’t lock up your insights in a vault where only a select few will see them.

Don’t scatter your thought leadership articles to the winds of chance.

Turn your website into a library with ALL your published work.

This Month’s Tip

Use several social media platforms, relevant to your target audiences, to promote the content of your email newsletter, now that you have posted it on your company’s or nonprofit’s website:

  • put a one-sentence summary and a link to that page of the website as an update on your LinkedIn profile;
  • tweet a question, to which your newsletter is the answer, with its website link on X (Twitter) and re-post it multiple times;
  • ask that question in a LinkedIn discussion group and post the website link;
  • post a teaser with the link on your company or nonprofit’s Facebook and LinkedIn pages;
  • put the newsletter link on your website in your email signature.

Helen may be a loyal subscriber, but that does not mean she reads every issue of every newsletter that arrives to her Inbox. Your subscribers’ attention waxes and wanes. By posting links to your newsletter on LinkedIn and other social media platforms, you give your current subscribers (and potential readers) two opportunities:

  • you increase the likelihood that they will encounter and read your timely ideas;
  • you make it easy for them to share your insights on those same platforms.


Ready to distribute your current newsletter to a wider audience? Contact me at , set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770, to post and promote your newsletter. Let’s open up the archive of all your writing so more people can read your terrific ideas.

And, if you do not have a newsletter, let’s discuss why you should have one and how to launch it.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue.

Image credit: Claudio Scott via Pixabay

WII-FM? Why Should a Dentist, Landlord or Supermarket Clerk Care About Your Nonprofit or Business?

Look beyond your target market.

Every nonprofit counts on clients, volunteers, funders and local elected officials among the groups with whom they stay in touch.

In addition to these audiences, businesses might add prospects, referral sources and membership/trade associations.

Each target market has a reason to be interested in the company or nonprofit organization.

Let’s not take any of these audiences for granted. Daily, you can find reasons why they should care about what your nonprofit or business might do for them.

Now, what about the people outside those circles, those who know nothing about what you offer?

Take the dentist, who is well-educated and also a business owner.
Or the typical landlord, who is budget-minded.
Or a supermarket clerk, working the cash register all day.

Perhaps none of them have heard of your group or business and they are not likely to immediately connect with your news or promotional information.

Why should this person care about you?

In fact, that’s the same question a reporter will ask whenever you suggest an idea for a news article or an interview.

On the world’s greatest radio station WII-FM, also known as What’s In It For Me?, the focus is on what the individual or society might gain.

It’s crucial that you find a way for these indifferent folks to connect to your group or company, so they, personally — or the community as a whole — will perceive a benefit and save time, save money or make more money as a result.

  • A dentist might consider that your local economic development group will attract larger businesses (with a greater number of employees needing dental care) to the neighborhood;
  • A landlord might think the youth who attend your organization’s GED programs may get better jobs and thus be more reliable tenants;
  • A supermarket clerk’s neighbor might need advice on managing legal and medical issues for an elderly parent.

The dentist, landlord or clerk may not have a direct need for what you offer, yet they and the community may indirectly benefit in the long term from your services — or even refer someone who is in your target market.

This Month’s Tip

Look at the bigger picture from the perspective of people in these three occupations. What is their desire or need in the community? For themselves? For their business? Which are the most pressing issues for them regarding time and money? Invite a dentist, landlord or clerk for a coffee chat, ask these questions and listen as you put yourself in her shoes.


Ready to brainstorm about how a dentist, landlord or clerk might view your company or nonprofit? Call me at 212.677.5770, set an appointment here or email me at Let’s find ways to contact these members of the public and have them connect with you.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

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Image courtesy of David M. Masters.

How Can You Attract More Visitors to a Destination?

Stage photos strategically.

A brochure promoting a self-guided tour of Roosevelt Island, my New York City neighborhood, touts its expansive vistas. Yet the accompanying photo is a promenade without a single person taking in the fabulous view of the skyline.

Who wants to go to a place where there are no people?

Consider the examples in the left column, similar to those used in the brochure. Not one of the photos features people enjoying themselves in the setting, while those in the right column do. Which shot makes you wish to visit?

This Month’s Tip

Photos of a destination appear barren and forlorn without visitors. Putting people in photos will attract and retain the reader’s attention. It will lead her to imagine herself on the scene and ideally prompt a visit to your destination.

When possible, take your own photos and have participants sign a release. This free standardized form is valid in the specified state. Visitors may be willing to pose for you, but it may be easiest to recruit employees and family members to participate in the photograph. When children are to be featured, follow the requirements of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule.

When stock photos are used, note that the business that owns the image may place limitations on the format or medium where an image is incorporated (brochure, website, advertising), period of time (one year or unlimited) and geography (domestic or international). Here is a basic primer. A sales rep at a stock photo agency or a graphic designer will guide you.


Have visitors and customers fled the scene in your photos? Make sure the images on your website and in your printed materials are appropriately populated. Contact me at, book an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s put a smile on your reader’s face when she sees a person in your photos.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue.

(This discussion has been lightly edited for updated content.)
Photo credits:
L: Roosevelt Island Promenade (Credit:; R: East River Promenade (Credit: NYC Parks)
L and R: Eleanor’s Pier (Credit: Roosevelt Islander Online)
L: Four Freedoms Park (Credit:; R: Four Freedoms Park (Credit: Rob Cleary)

Your Annual Report is Not Dead.

It is re-formatted.

A Public Relations professional declared the annual report dead, to the shock of attendees at the workshop Pathways to Excellence: Excellence in Communications held by the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee (NPCC) on February 23, 2018.

A second panelist concurred that it was not helpful for a nonprofit organization to narrate events and programs that had occurred between 12 and 18 months prior to the publication date.

I respectfully disagree. For those supporters who have come into the fold, say, in the past three months, the range of activities and successes previously conducted by the nonprofit probably are beyond their horizon. In fact, new supporters may be even more impressed to be brought up to date on the full range of achievements of the prior year.

If the annual report is dead, and is not to be produced, it’s time for the nonprofit to devise — and revise — other communication vehicles to ensure that newer supporters are fully informed about the breadth and depth of programs and services.

How might these communications be best achieved?

  • Create a Get to Know XYZ as an informative one-sheet or brochure.
  • Post the current and prior issues of the newsletter on the website (see below).
  • Provide periodic updates to programs and success stories featured on the website. For example, in the discussion of a training course, note that a graduate, who was hired after completing an internship at a tech company, was recently promoted.
  • Gather posts shared on Facebook and X (Twitter) as a timeline.
  • Keep your recent conference current. Revise notices of upcoming events upon completion by adding summaries of research, panels, results and impacts.
  • Amplify news articles about the organization with photos, videos and updates of the latest activity.
  • Take photos of services and programs in action, either live or staged; assemble the images in a video and add a voiceover.
  • Aggregate the essential financial data as pie charts: income, grants and donations in the first and program, overhead and salaries in another.
  • Finally, all these materials should be housed on the website and periodically shared on social media.

Your organization has a wealth of content that is both time-sensitive and evergreen. Transform any potentially date-driven material so it is current and timeless. Added together, you conduct a periodic review of the highlights and achievements of the year, quarter or month without calling it a traditional annual report.

This Month’s Tip

Share your newsletter. Nearly all of the attendees at a workshop on newsletters I taught at NPCC published a newsletter. Yet 90% of them did not post it on their website. Are you hiding your newsletter from people who want to learn about your organization? Making all your newsletters available is a no-cost way to promote your group’s programs, services and successes throughout the year, regardless of publication date. Each one should have a link for readers to easily view previous issues. Also, categorize or tag them to facilitate search for a specific topic.


Ready to re-format your annual report? Contact me at, book an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770 to look beyond the calendar or fiscal year. Instead, let’s aggregate the steady flow of communications that broadcast your activities and achievements all year long.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue.

Are Your Website’s Images Consistent With Your Message?

Ensure images retain their meaning amid current events.

A picture is worth 1000 words. What happens when the outside world changes and your picture might convey an unintended allusion?

A nonprofit organization that promotes dialogue among disparate — and usually opposing — stakeholders used images on its website to highlight issues it was tackling.

One picture, unwittingly, referred to a hot-button topic. It is a cement-brick wall; a ladder leans against it, suggesting the wall is rather high.

(This image from is similar, but not the one used; no attribution is required.)

Given the recent, hotly contested discussions of political relations with Mexico, this image appears to reference immigration issues.

Actually, the subject is economic mobility.

Another image: a group of smiling girls running towards the reader. This referred not to women nor exercise, but to re-thinking education, yet there were no teachers, classrooms, books nor computers.

In our discussion about the website and images, the nonprofit’s Director of Communications noted my comments on the gap between the images and the intended context of the subjects.

These two images have since been changed. One is now a graph that is more explicitly aligned with the theme of economic mobility. The other shows children engaged in using a mechanical contraption as an example of a non-traditional way that students learn and explore.

Clearly, selecting an image for a website is fraught with issues of perception, at the surface and in the context of internal and external references.

Here are some guidelines:

  1. Make sure you own the image or have properly licensed it. Respect the work of the artist or photographer and negotiate the terms of usage and credit. If you prefer to use stock photographs, search the copyright-free or royalty-free websites.
  2. Have a person in a photograph, even if viewed from behind or at a distance. If you are promoting a destination, you are asking visitors to put themselves in the photo, similar to those pictured. To pull heartstrings for an emotional appeal, display a person or animal in need.
  3. Ask people outside the organization what the image says to them — without the benefit of a caption. Take note of how closely their ideas correspond to the intended theme.
  4. When you compose the caption, make it underscore the message more than Person consulting a representative or professional.
  5. The people in all photographs should appear authentic and contemporary. Within a group of four or more, aim for diversity by gender, ethnicity and age, when possible and appropriate.
  6. Search the internet to see where else the image may have been used. Readers may sense it is familiar and conflate the two uses.
  7. As with any written content, let the image percolate for a day; consider it again, to ensure it still matches and resonates.
  8. Finally, review the image on a scheduled basis to ensure its relevance to both the nonprofit’s mission and the external environment. In addition to the photos and context cited above, references to pop culture, for example, can become outdated and reflect poorly on the organization.

This Month’s Tip

There is a difference between copyright, licensing, rights-managed images and royalty-free stock images. The company that owns the image may place limitations on the medium or format where an image is used (website, advertising, brochure), geography (domestic or international) and time frame (one year or unlimited). Here is a basic primer. A stock agency sales rep or graphic designer will advise you.


Ready to take a fresh look at your website’s images? Call me at 212.677.5770, set an appointment here or email at Let’s see what story they tell when separated from the caption.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

Click here to subscribe to this monthly newsletter and make sure you don’t miss the next issue.

Thanks to Susan Rosenberg Jones regarding use of rights-managed and royalty-free photography and also to these excellent graphic designers and colleagues for their thoughtful suggestions: Christina Hagopian, Rya Kaufman, Brandie Knox, Peter Levinson, Meryl Randman and Daniella Van Gennep.

Keep Your Recent Conference Current

Summarize and refresh the proceedings as evergreen insights.

Your company or nonprofit organization convened a large event. Speakers delivered presentations; attendees asked questions and gave feedback. All in all – there were stimulating and productive discussions.

How can you build on that momentum to keep the conversation going?

A follow-up email is sent to participants thanking them for their role in the successful conference.

This email highlights the benefits of the conference: access to the speakers and their materials, whether handouts or their PowerPoint presentations.

There are occasions when, post-event, organizers and attendees might like to share this information with a colleague.

Plus, what about those who did not attend the conference? People who were unable to travel, individuals who have subsequently become interested in the issue, new customers, vendors, elected officials and prospects? How can these newcomers tap into the discussion from an event that concluded months ago?

Here are ideas to keep the past conference current for attendees and newcomers.
Start with a summary description of the speakers’ remarks along with abbreviated versions of their presentations. Make these available for download, upon submission of an email address.

As new trends emerge, as regulations change, as legislation is enacted, these summaries may be updated to reflect the dynamics of the situation.

Revise the conference web page to incorporate a banner or sash across the top, with a link to the event summary and the condensed presentations.

Share elements of the summary and conference highlights in blog posts and via other online platforms.

Consider establishing an online forum or LinkedIn group for speakers, attendees and newcomers to keep the discussion going.

These post-event activities should be part of the overall conference plan.

Considerable effort went into preparing the event; once over, strategize so that the conference still remains relevant. Undoubtedly, the issues addressed will persist. Treat the conference as a launch pad or a way-station in the extended conversation and cultivate future exchanges for fruitful follow-up and action.

This Month’s Tip

Designate two people as recipients of the speakers’ presentations, as well as recorders of the discussion and breakout sessions. Of course, video recordings and transcriptions are also helpful. These colleagues will prepare a summary by a given deadline. Then set a recurring day, perhaps the second Tuesday of the month, for periodic updates to the conference webpage or website. Notify attendees and other interested subscribers of significant revisions and additions.


Are you prepared to keep a past event from becoming passé? Contact me at 212.677.5770, set an appointment here  or email me at Let’s review ways for it to remain evergreen.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

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Six Tips for Your Mid-Year Communications Check-up

Conduct a Self-audit of Your Communications

Nonprofit New York, formerly The Nonprofit Coordinating Committee (NPCC), created the Nonprofit Excellence Awards program with self-assessment tools. Participating nonprofit organizations conduct audits that help them evaluate their performance along specific metrics. The effort inevitably helps raise the bar in eight key areas of operations.

It’s exciting to see Communications placed so prominently among the criteria, next to governance and financial management, among others. NPCC held a workshop on Pathways to Excellence to share best practices in Communications; the discussion concisely presented six valuable nuggets that apply to all organizations: large and small, nonprofit, for profit and government.

Take a moment now to review your communications.

  1. Choose. Between Media Relations, Social Media, Website, Newsletter, Video, Annual Report and Marketing Collateral, it is unlikely your organization can deliver on all these projects equally well. Pick the ones that will have the greatest ROI for your group – based on dollars and donors — and support them with sufficient internal resources.
  2. Schedule. Create a Calendar that incorporates deadlines for events, email distribution, postal mailings, annual report and newsletters. Pre-populate Social Media posts whenever possible using automated tools, like TweetDeck.
  3. Empower. Front-line employees observe incidents and anecdotes in the moment. Encourage them to suggest story ideas as topics. Capture their insights and energy.
  4. Re-purpose. Once you’ve drafted content, distribute it widely. A narrative profile of a client published early in the year can be updated six months later, perhaps with a new photo. A new project can be re-visited with recent results and feedback from participants.
  5. Bifurcate. Write newsletters and annual reports that target hearts with photos and harness facts with charts. Many donors will connect to the personal stories; other supporters want to see outcomes. All thrill to successes and progress in accomplishing the mission of your organization.
  6. Anticipate. Invariably, a crisis arises. Prepare for it by designating a single spokesperson. That person will assemble the facts, develop the context, indicate the steps being taken to address the situation, wait for reporters to call and be responsive to pointed questions, keeping within carefully set boundaries and perhaps on a 20-minute delayed basis that will permits additional strategizing.

This Month’s Tip

Match your Communications activities to your goals. Highlight select programs by consistently featuring stories about the participants or clients, services, staff, allied partners and results. To ensure consistency, coordinate with colleagues across the group for a steady flow of new content.


Is it time for you to conduct a self-assessment of your Communications activities? How will you Choose, Schedule, Empower, Re-purpose, Bifurcate and Anticipate for the balance of the year? Contact me at, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. We’ll review the past, present and future of your Communications.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

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Thanks to the Nonprofit Coordinating Committee, whose workshop inspired this newsletter.

Make the Most of Your Event Photos

Plan ahead to strengthen six relationships.

Photos have always been a central element of special events. In the digital age, these images are available almost immediately and can be distributed through various promotional outlets, as well as informally through social media.

Part of the process of taking photos is to integrate the RSVP list of the attendees with the post-event action.

Whether you host an Open House, fundraiser, concert or conference, become familiar with the names on the RSVP list beforehand. When the event begins, be flexible and alert to spontaneously capture moments that convey the activities of the company, as well as the relationships that the organization nurtures with its many partners and allies.

At a recent event for IMPACCT Brooklyn, a nonprofit focused on affordable housing, a guest asked me how the photos being taken at the evening reception might be used.

In addition to the organization’s own promotional brochures and website, plus social media activity, I identified some key opportunities for cultivating relationships with attendees and their respective audiences.

  1. Elected officials: The Assemblymember and City Councilmember who spoke at the event will likely include the photos of their attendance in their constituent newsletters.
  2. Partners: Real estate developers and bankers work with the nonprofit to develop and finance apartment buildings with affordable housing. They may place the photos in their marketing literature and other external communications to document their Community Reinvestment Act activities and relationships with the nonprofit sector.
  3. Allied organizations: Like-minded nonprofits, neighborhood associations and local merchant groups could share the photos in their member newsletters as an update of activities and changes in the community.
  4. Funders of the nonprofit: Photos that record how the group has expanded its operations, thanks to the support received from a foundation, are a confirmation that the grant is being deployed effectively.
  5. Media outlets: Reporters who were unable to attend a public event, such as IMPACCT’s ribbon-cutting at its new office, might use a photo in their news coverage.
  6. Clients, employees, Boardmembers and donors: Photos of workshop participants, staff and supporters could be included in the organization’s own newsletters, marketing literature, website — even on the walls of the offices. These shots underscore the personal connection the organization builds with clients, similar to the snapshots of celebrities who dined at a restaurant.

Of course, the attendees might eventually add your photos to their websites and re-distribute them through their social media presence.

In sum, photos document the event and ultimately may be shared to strengthen the relationships between the host, event participants and their respective organizations. That bonding process became my goal when I accompanied Deirdre Scott, Executive Director of Bronx Council on the Arts (BCA), to an event held at Hostos Community College. I noticed a Hostos photographer taking photos; I asked if he would like to take a shot of a small group that included a Director from Hostos, who is also a Boardmember at BCA.

That Hostos connection compelled him to agree to take the photo. Later, the photographer and I exchanged business cards. When he emailed me the group photo, I replied and identified the BCA Boardmembers in the group, so that he might include their names in any future publication of the photo.

This Month’s Tip

Make a list of photos to be taken at an event, as if you plan a wedding. Prepare to stage photos with the management team, Boardmembers, key staff and special guests. Hover near the principals, with the photographer ready to aim and shoot. Keep groups to a maximum of five people. Note the name of anyone who is not immediately familiar, to identify the person for a caption and perhaps share the photo with the attendee later.


Ready to work with a photographer at your next event? You’ll have a bigger smile when you’ve anticipated how to use the photos in the weeks after the reception. You might enjoy the event even more if I direct the photographer for you. Contact me at, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

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Make Your Pro Bono Client Newsworthy

Be active and use your perspective as an insider and observer

You contribute your professional expertise in marketing, law, finance, operations or management to your work as a board member or volunteer of a nonprofit organization.

Equally important is your unique perspective highlighting the group’s programs and services.

In addition, you offer a reality check of how other audiences may view the nonprofit’s activities.

Here is where these multi-faceted roles of professional expertise, inside champion and outside observer coalesce.

As a board member or volunteer, you may suggest to the Executive Director, or perhaps the Director of Operations or Development, a quarterly audit of the top programs in order to identify the aspects that might prove most newsworthy.

  • Review services and events with the goal of pinpointing the larger social or educational issues that they address — literacy, job training or health services, as examples — for an under-served population or community.
  • List three bullet points that summarize the essence of each program in terms of its results and impact.

When you focus on those services that, on behalf of society, Save Time, Save Money or Bring More Joy to individuals and the community, the organization is on its way to attracting more news coverage that may draw donations, attendees and grants, as well as support from allied groups,the business community and elected officials.

My pro bono work with the Roosevelt Island Historical Society (RIHS), which holds lectures and tours promoting the history of New York City’s former Welfare Island, has challenged me to define the newsworthy angle of these events — with the goal to increase attendance and earned revenue.

The recent RIHS installation of the long-lost lamppost base, once a part of the Queensboro Bridge, represented a highly visual news opportunity. It was reported in 2001 that the lamppost base had been removed from the Bridge in 1976, and was missing ever since.

By linking the installation of the 6,000 pound lamppost base to the 30-plus year disappearance, the event became newsworthy, resulting in articles and photos in The New York Times and

Your pro bono client may not have monumental news like this; still, you can create a context for its programs to be connected to a current or perennial social issue. Contact me at, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s talk soon to help this group land its own news story. And if you work at a nonprofit, let’s review the programs together to create that news angle.

Click here to read prior issues of this newsletter.

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Playing Politics. Telling Your Story.

Make sure elected officials know how you contribute to your community.

Nonprofits and small businesses can improve their visibility in the community by establishing a connection with local elected officials and telling their story.

Once these politicians are acquainted with you, they’re able to advocate for you and help you secure funding or assistance. But they can only do so if they know who you are.

Your goal might be requesting or keeping discretionary funds allocated by a city councilmember or state legislator, being invited to participate in community projects or gaining access to information and in-kind resources, such as staff training. Clearly, it’s vital to be on a first-name basis with the elected officials who serve your neighborhood — and especially with their staff.

On Memorial Day Weekend, East Harlem Block Nursery hosted a block party and celebration of its 50th anniversary. Government leaders from the state, city and community were invited to mark the occasion.

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer and State Senator Bill Perkins joined in the celebration. Each spoke to the attendees and read a congratulatory proclamation. In addition, Mayor Bill de Blasio sent greetings and a representative of Comptroller Scott Stringer presented a commendation. And, an aide of Public Advocate Letitia James and an administrator from the Department of Education also attended.

In sum, four of the top four leaders of New York City and Manhattan (and their respective staffs) were apprised of the existence and success of this nonprofit, and its remarkable 50-year track record.

Here are photos of the politicians and aides who participated in the momentous day.

The opportunity for the Executive Director, teachers, parents and students to speak with these officials and administrators, plus give them a personal tour of the school, was invaluable. In this first year of New York City’s Universal Pre-Kindergarten, funding for the program at the nursery is precarious, so building relationships with various arms of city government is a priority.

The fact that several officials sent their aides was not necessarily a disappointment. These public servants are likely to run for office themselves someday, so it makes sense to start connecting with them now. As an example, New York City Councilmember Vincent Ignizio, who once was an aide representing a Staten Island councilmember at an event, was later elected to serve that very district. From staffer to elected official — a lesson to remember.

Are your local officials acquainted with your business or nonprofit group? Contact me at, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s consider how best to introduce you and get the attention of the appropriate elected leaders.

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Save Time. Save Money. Make More Money.

It’s not about you, but what you can do for them.

Recently, a nonprofit professional at a workshop on media relations posed this question: “How can I get a reporter to write a feature article about our group?”

My reply was, “Why should anyone else care about what your organization does? Let’s find something about your nonprofit that will capture an outsider’s attention and be newsworthy to the media.”

Consider: how does your organization, product or service help others to:

  • Save Time
  • Save Money or
  • Make More Money

This perspective on time and money works on two levels. First, daily, we look to save our personal time and money: a magazine subscription is cheaper than buying each issue from a newsstand; plus, a copy is delivered to the home, so we subscribe, never missing an issue.

Second, society seeks to save its time and taxpayers’ money: smart nonprofits (and companies) provide products and services that can produce savings for one individual and for many people.

In applying this newfound perspective, another workshop attendee spoke about Worksites for Wellness. The group advocates that companies provide rooms on the premises where female employees can privately nurse their infants or pump milk; the breast milk is refrigerated for a few hours, and then given to the child later.

Nursing mothers care about this issue, of course. Who else might support the group? And why should they care?

Look at how a lactation room saves time and money: Women employees are more productive when they can feed their babies or pump milk onsite. Their children are healthier, because they absorb the mother’s antibodies and resist bacteria and viruses. Consequently, these mothers take fewer days off to care for sick infants.

In sum, employers make more money. Someone who is not a nursing mother can recognize the upside and appeal of granting women privacy for an hour or so per day during a few months. Doing so, the company (and society) reaps the benefit of a more productive and loyal employee who is not distracted on the job or absent caring for a baby with a cold.

How does the save time, save money paradigm apply to your business or nonprofit? Contact me at, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s brainstorm together.

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Why You? Why Now?

How to introduce yourself to reporters.

You probably recognize that reporters call people they know. They are less likely to call someone they have not heard of.

Reporters are professional skeptics. They will always ask two questions:

Why YOU? What makes you a credible and authoritative source?

Why NOW? You didn’t contact the journalist last week or last month. What is the reason anyone should pay attention to you now?

Here’s how to write an Executive Media Profile that answers these questions and establishes the same level of credibility as the competitor quoted last week.

1. In a five-line paragraph, summarize your areas of expertise. Select a few themes of interest to those who regularly seek your advice or services. This is not an extensive bio that lists your degrees and former job titles.

2. Make a list of three to five hot topics. Reporters focus on issues that affect readers and their businesses. In the best case, there is a clear bottom-line impact. Perhaps there is a change in the law or an industry regulation or a shift in consumer preference. Show your expertise and anticipate how this affects sales, operations and the market sector.

3. Use a bullet point format. Simply list the topics; do not use sentences and paragraphs. You’ll have time to elaborate on your ideas in a future conversation and interview.

4. Identify the publications read by your target market. Selectively contact the journalists who cover topics like yours with an email that answers the two questions: Why You and Why Now. Start by demonstrating you are familiar with their work: Your coverage of the ___ market prompted me to contact you and briefly share some thoughts on trends.

5. Follow-up with a call a week later. Reporters are as busy as yourself, so you’ll probably leave a phone message. Consider this a one-two punch and a foray into new territory. As Babe Ruth said, “Every strike brings me closer to my next home run.”

By establishing yourself as an authoritative and credible source, and by highlighting timely issues that readers need to focus on, you will place yourself in the reporter’s database for future reference, or even on a to-do list for a call today.

Ready to put pen to paper or fingers to keyboard? Contact me at, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770.A sample Executive Media Profile will be emailed so you can get started.

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Do The Right Thing

What goes around, comes around.

Some say Pay it Forward.

Others say Create good karma.

It’s a professional responsibility, for me, to be alert to news opportunities — even for former clients.

When Staten Island Legal Services (SILS) held a fundraising luncheon in April 2014, in part to mark its 10th anniversary, I spoke with the reporter from The New York Law Journal whom I had invited to cover the event. She asked to be notified of any celebration on the actual anniversary date, which was December 8. The project ended soon after the luncheon, and SILS and I amicably parted company.

Early in December, at my suggestion, SILS Executive Director Nancy Goldhill contacted the reporter and secured an interview. Goldhill used the opportunity to cite impressive statistics of the thousands of people whose cases SILS had handled over the years: families recovering property damage from Hurricane Sandy, victims of domestic violence, homeowners avoiding foreclosure and immigrants securing legal status.

Success! The news story in The New York Law Journal highlighted SILS and its 10-year track record. It even re-published a photo of Goldhill and the honorees from the April luncheon.

This article put SILS in front of New York attorneys, a key audience of current and potential supporters — thanks to my reminder to this former client.

You can join me and start (or renew) the habit to do a good turn, make a referral and introduce two acquaintances. Do it often and do it selflessly, with no thought of recompense.

Please let me know the unsought favor you’ve done. Contact me at, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. They say I get half-credit for an assist in good karma.

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Networking Towards the King

One Degree of Separation from the King of Spain

Everyone knows someone worth knowing.

It’s true. I know someone who was in daily contact with a future king.

Years ago, Maria, a teacher at the Madrid, Spain elementary school the young prince attended, placed a newspaper ad for a roommate and I needed a place to live. Voila! Today, she would have used Craigslist or another online networking site that helps people with shared interests and needs make connections.

The Executive Director of a nonprofit where I performed pro bono work introduced me to a colleague, Greg Cohen of Cause Effective, who advises nonprofits on strengthening communities and fundraising. He later referred me to his contact, Nancy Goldhill; he thought my experience working with attorneys and my knowledge of Staten Island, where I had worked in Public Relations, would be helpful to draft a newsletter for Staten Island Legal Services (SILS).That project bloomed into media outreach and news coverage for the SILS fundraising luncheon.

Networking does work, when you work with it. If the traditional networking at events does not appeal to you, review these tips. Also, try reaching out to connections in the virtual sphere. Whether in person or online, networking may not lead directly to someone you want to meet. It does, however, put you closer to their circle of contacts and referrals.

Consider your own many connections and who might stand in their circles. Because you know me, you’re already only two steps away from el Rey Felipe VI; you’re also one step from a technology start-up’s CEO and from a musician who plays viola da gamba.

Together, let’s brainstorm how to reach out to someone who knows someone who knows that person. Contact me at, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s bring you one contact closer to that potential connection.

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Count on — Don’t Discount — the Intern Reporter

Make sure your pitch gets seen.

After identifying target publications for a new client, it was time to search the website of each newspaper and news service to locate recent stories on a niche topic and contact the most appropriate reporters.

Bingo! A weekly had covered a related angle six months ago. That good news was tempered by the realization that the author was not on staff, with an email on the masthead, nor a freelancer listed in a media database. He was an intern.

The problem: How to reach out, capture the intern/reporter’s interest and move the idea for news coverage forward?

His unusual name made it easy to locate the intern’s X (Twitter) account. A message referencing the prior article, and an offer of an alternative view of that subject, prompted an email reply.

My response, with the pitch sent to reporters at the other target publications, was copied to the News Desk. After all, the intern would not be granted authority to pursue the story without an editor’s okay, so this note would catch the editor’s eye.

It worked; all went according to plan. A staff reporter contacted me regarding the pitch forwarded by the News Desk’s editor. After that conversation, I sent additional background and introduced an attorney as the source for more details. An interview followed and here’s the resulting article.

Let’s find ways to put your name in front of more reporters, freelancers and media interns. Contact me at, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770.

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How Your Photo Can Attract 3,000 People

Photos Attract Prospects and Visitors

Every Picture Tells A Story.

People respond more strongly to websites and brochures with photos. “Our brains process visuals faster, and we are more engaged when we see faces,” according to the Media Psychology Research Center.

Here’s how to get started:

Show customers using the product in an eye-catching shot. People actively engaged with your product — holding it, eating it — are a powerful endorsement. Who enters a restaurant with empty tables?

Have an employee speak with a client (or stand-in) for a photo. Add a caption that cites the impact of an intangible service: it saves time, saves money or generates an uptick in sales.

Put people in the scene. Visitors at parks point admiringly at the view and museum-goers enjoy the exhibition.

Potential attendees will project themselves into the photo. If a couple is shown pushing a baby in a stroller on a paved garden path, a prospective visitor will consider visiting with a parent who uses a wheelchair.

Share the photo with the press. The reporter will quickly grasp the excitement of an event or the beauty of a location and its appeal to readers and viewers.

Having a photo in hand makes it easy for the editor to include it in the article, without sending a staff photographer to your premises.

Because a digital camera costs only $100, every business and nonprofit group should purchase one and keep it handy. Snap away to capture satisfied clients, visits by dignitaries, activities in progress, special occasions and more.

Ready to stage your story-telling photo? Contact me at, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s talk about who and what might best promote your business in a photograph.

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PS Here is the photo that attracted 3,000 visitors to the Cherry Blossom Festival on Roosevelt Island.

Make Your Season’s Greetings Card Memorable

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Time to Send a Holiday Card.

You send a greeting card in December to clients, vendors, supporters, colleagues, VIPs and others.

Is your card having maximum impact?

Would the recipient notice if the sender was changed to Megabucks, Inc. or United Nonprofits?

Plan now to send a holiday greeting card that reinforces the brand and qualities that make your group distinctive.

Find a visual, design an image or take a photo that captures what is unique about your company or organization. Ideally, no one else could appropriate that creation and call it their own.

Use that image as the centerpiece of your holiday greeting, whether a printed card or an email message.

In January, when your recipient removes all the holiday cards taped to the office door, you can imagine her saying, “This is the card from the folks at DEF,” without opening the card to confirm the sender.

Or you may get an immediate email reply, in thankful appreciation of your distinctive note.

As a writer, I send an email with a Holiday Haiku. Most recipients recognize the difficulty of composing a 17-syllable seasonal poem and they remember reading it.

May I offer you some help creating a memorable visual or message for your holiday card, or your own haiku? Contact me at, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770. Let’s brainstorm some ideas that align with your group and your successes.

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Maximizing the BIG Name

Maximize the impact with media coverage in advance.

You’ve worked hard to line up a BIG NAME at a fundraiser, so make the most of their participation — even before the date.

Build attendance by notifying the media a few weeks ahead and provide access to the principals of the event for quotes.

Falk Communications helped Staten Island Legal Services sell tickets to their first-ever fundraiser with articles announcing an award and its presenter in the local and legal press. Of course, after the luncheon, follow-up articles reported the remarks of past New York State Governor Mario Cuomo.

If you’d like to attract more supporters to your fundraising events, and also increase awareness of your group, consider the impact of a BIG NAME in generating media coverage. Contact me at, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770.

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Client Success Becomes a Case Study and Article

Turn a case study into media, marketing and promotion.

Everyone loves a success story: clients are ecstatic with the outcome, colleagues learn a lesson the easy way and you get the credit.

With the client’s permission, or referring to a generic identity (a cultural institution), draft a skeleton essay. State a theme and list three to five bullet points on the strategy, implementation and results of a recent client project that serves as an example of best practices.

Send this outline in an email to the editor of a relevant trade publication, and ask for the appropriate word count and deadline for an article.

After you’ve gotten the go-ahead, write the article to the required length and include your website URL and phone number in your one-sentence author’s bio.

Falk Communications helped Audrey Winkler of OMG! Organizational Management Group submit an article detailing a successful project. Upon publication, she extended her audience via X (Twitter) and LinkedIn activity, using a link to promote the article and her excellent results.

If you’d like to be recognized for your outstanding client success, I’d love to toot a horn for you. Contact me at, set an appointment here or call me at 212.677.5770.

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