July 7, 2016

Building your Nonprofits Thought Leadership Capacity


By Caroline Avakian

Content marketing has risen to the forefront in recent years as an important tool (if not the most important) in the nonprofit communication toolbox. It’s about creating great content on your blog, through social media messaging, email, quarterly and annual reports, case studies, whitepapers, etc.

At its core, content marketing is about communicating wisely with your supporters. The nonprofit, social enterprise or organization is providing value by creating and sharing information, innovative ideas, and insights that makes your supporter smarter and in the know. You become a resource. The result, much of the time, is that you earn the trust and loyalty of your supporters and donors. You no longer interrupt them with “messaging” but invite them into a conversation they find value in, that resonates, that they deem worthy of sharing with others, that makes them come back and ultimately invest in you.

The issue with creating great content is that often change-makers and nonprofit leaders are unsure about how to activate the most powerful resource they have: their intellectual capital. Nonprofits can be treasure troves of insights, experience and expertise, just waiting to be unleashed and shared with the world, but often the best of ideas and expertise lies dormant within the walls of an organization.

The Readiness Dance: Share your insights despite the misgivings

There are many reasons why organizations keep their most valuable thoughts and findings internal. I call it the Readiness Dance. People will say, “Our data isn’t completely ready yet – we’re not 100 percent clear internally on our direction with this project,” or something similar. While I completely advocate for presenting breakthrough insights that are research-based and clearly thought out — in fact, that is the essence of true thought leadership — very often it’s more about that “readiness” variable. It’s less about how analyzed the data is and more about how comfortable and confident we are in sharing our ideas and insights with the world.

Continue reading

June 23, 2014

5 tips to start your nonprofit thought leadership plan


Thought leadership can be one of the most effective communications strategies for nonprofits

Target audience: Nonprofits, cause organizations, foundations, NGOs, social enterprises, social strategists.

Caroline AvakianEvery so often, change makers and nonprofit leaders are unsure about how to activate the most powerful resource they have — their intellectual capital.

Organizations can be treasure troves of big ideas just waiting to be unleashed and shared with the world, but these same organizations can have limited resources and small or non-existent communications and marketing teams more focused on sharing information and trying to drum up support in an overcrowded charity marketplace. Continue reading

November 17, 2010

Hey nonprofits, what’s better than a BIG donor?

Answer: Me!

Yep, I’d love to volunteer for your nonprofit for free.

Who am I?

My name is David Spark, founder of Spark Media Solutions, a custom publishing/social media firm. So many companies and organizations want to be seen as leading voices in their field, but they try to do it with marketing, branding, and public relations alone, which is not possible. To develop thought leadership, organizations must create editorial content, just like any other media outlet does in order to create voice. And that’s exactly what our organization does. We help companies build their industry voice.

Please feel free to look at my bio, my blog, and my business site.

I’d love to help your nonprofit be seen as an industry leader.

Why I want to volunteer for your nonprofit

  • While I’m very busy, I’d like to reserve 10-15 hours a month to volunteer for a nonprofit.
  • I’ve been on a couple of nonprofit boards in the past and I’ve really enjoyed the experience.
  • I’m eager to experiment with many different publishing and social media techniques.
  • I’m looking to work with a nonprofit to generate stories of what works and what doesn’t work in social media.

Continue reading

August 6, 2009

99 foundations that actively use Twitter

Beth Kanter this week cited 10 examples of thought leadership from foundations:


And the Philanthropy411 Blog listed 90 foundations that tweet (and foundation staffers who tweet), along with a Google spreadsheet showing how many people they’re following and how many followers they have, as well as additional notes. Together with the comments on the Philanthropy411 blog, here is an updated list of:

99 foundations that actively use Twitter