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June 24, 2020
Big Duck CEO Sarah Durham explores ways in which COVID-19 shelter-in-place restrictions have made us all increasingly dependent on video conferencing tools like Zoom. She shares a couple of tips and tricks to get more out of each digital interaction and to also combat the accompanying screen-time fatigue. Listen in to learn how creating “pop-up rules” or norms can improve the experience for everyone involved.
June 10, 2020
Sarah Durham and strategist Hannah Thomas discuss how DEI plays an important role in your capital campaigns and other major donor communications. Centering your communications on participants and being aware of how you may be “privileging” your donors is the first step. Tune in to find out how you can reevaluate your organization’s donor centrism.
May 27, 2020
What happens when people hang on to an old idea of your organization? Learn how Teresa Younger, CEO of the Ms. Foundation for Women, shaped and advanced a well-known brand.
May 13, 2020
Big Duck’s latest book, The Nonprofit Communications Engine, outlines a simple model for nonprofit communicators and leaders that makes it easier for them to leverage communications in order to advance their mission. Nonprofit CEOs and staff who manage communications can use this book to set clearer goals, guide their planning and activities, identify gaps in their expertise, and discover opportunities to strengthen their communications. In this podcast, Sarah Durham breaks down six key communications elements.
April 29, 2020
Communications can have a big impact on many aspects of your nonprofit's mission, from mobilizing activists to attracting donors and other supporters who are critical to your work. Farra Trompeter and Sarah Durham talk about the importance of communications, how to get your executive director to think differently about it, and a few of the principles in Sarah’s new book.
April 15, 2020
Big Duck’s CEO Sarah Durham and Design Director Sandy Zimmerman discuss logos. If you are contemplating a new logo, should you go with expected imagery or go with the unfamiliar? This blog examines the merits on both sides and shows how a little bit of both can help your brand shine.
April 1, 2020
Sarah Durham shares some quick tips and resources to help nonprofits communicate and fundraise during the COVID-19 pandemic crisis.
March 18, 2020
How does your brand resonate with your participants? Sarah Durham and Big Duck’s Senior Strategist Laura Fisher discuss the ins and outs of interviews, focus groups, and surveys. Learn how you can conduct your own research, make your focus groups more diverse, and how to get more accurate responses.
February 19, 2020
What are the most important skills to have on your in-house creative team? Learn how consistency, production, breadth, and the right experience can make your creative team flourish by tuning in.
February 5, 2020
CCS Fundraising’s Managing Director Eric Javier discusses the feasibility of your organization receiving large donations. This podcast explores feasibility studies, organization context, and audience research and redefines the 80/20 rule.
January 22, 2020
Big Duck’s latest book, The Nonprofit Communications Engine, outlines a simple model for nonprofit communicators and leaders that makes it easier for them to leverage communications in order to advance their mission. Nonprofit CEOs and staff who manage communications can use this book to set clearer goals, guide their planning and activities, identify gaps in their expertise, and discover opportunities to strengthen their communications. In this podcast, Sarah Durham breaks it down.
January 8, 2020
Big Duck’s Farra Trompeter and communications professional Chris Tuttle discuss the importance of captions and alt titles, how to use color palettes, creating an inclusive team, and specializing your communications. Listen in to learn how your communications team can be more inclusive.
December 6, 2019
From broken links to automated testing, learn how to continuously improve your website’s “hygiene” with Sarah Durham and Rory Tucker.
December 5, 2019
CCS Fundraising’s Managing Director Eric Javier discusses the feasibility of your organization receiving large donations. This podcast explores feasibility studies, organization context, and audience research and redefines the 80/20 rule.
December 4, 2019
Marcus dePaula, audio expert and producer of Big Duck’s podcast, gives insight into the right audio professional for your team, the best mics to use, how to present your sound, and how to make people listen in to your content. Hear how you can up your recording game.
November 20, 2019
Making sure your clients and other key stakeholders are happy can be difficult. What do they really need and want from you? Tune in to understand how to be more mindful about engaging donors and clients every step of the way with Sarah Durham and Farra Trompeter.
November 8, 2019
What are the most important skills to have on your in-house creative team? Learn how consistency, production, breadth, and the right experience can make your creative team flourish by tuning in.
November 7, 2019
Big Duck’s Farra Trompeter and communications professional Chris Tuttle discuss the importance of captions and alt titles, how to use color palettes, creating an inclusive team, and specializing your communications. Listen in to learn how your communications team can be more inclusive.
November 6, 2019
Big Duck pros Sarah Durham and Claire Taylor Hansen discuss the do’s and don’ts of design—how and when to use white space, how less is more, typographic hierarchy, and staying on-brand with little frill to get in the way. Listen in to learn more about how you can design as a non-designer for your nonprofit.
October 23, 2019
Ochen Kaylan, Senior Developer at Advomatic and attorney, is passionate about online privacy. He discusses how to store and manage your donors’ and clients’ information, when enough information is enough, and how your own information is being used. Tune in to learn more.
October 9, 2019
“You’re never going to get 100% buy-in...” is one of many lessons Elisabeth King, Director of Communications for Lycée Français de New York, learned during her organization’s rebrand. Over two-plus years, she oversaw a process that thoughtfully involved over 2,000 people—students, parents, teachers, and staff. Listen in to hear how she undertook this complex change management process and navigated buy-in. You’ll get tips for involving your community in a significant organizational change, too.
September 25, 2019
Ambar Mentor-Truppa, VP of Communications at the Shriver Center on Poverty Law, chats with Big Duck’s Gil Mejia and Sarita Joseph about the rebranding process. Formerly a communications consultant to nonprofits, Ambar shares her collaborative approach, ensuring all key stakeholders have a say in the decisions that affect them.
September 11, 2019
Sandy Zimmerman, Big Duck’s Art Director, shares her experiences freelancing for nonprofits and managing new freelancers at Big Duck. She offers tips for organizations looking for freelance designers and writers, including where to find them, how to vet them, and logistics around hiring.
August 28, 2019
Michael Hoffman, CEO and founder of Gather Voices, shares his perspective on how nonprofits can harness community-made video to create more engaging, honest, and diverse content. His new tool allows nonprofit communications teams, large or small, to collect, manage, edit, and publish videos submitted by the communities they serve.
August 14, 2019
Vince Warren is the Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and a frequent guest on MSNBC, Democracy Now, CNN, and other news channels. He joins us to talk about communications as a tool to advocate more effectively. He shares an example of how CCR leveraged the media to shift public views about stop-and-frisk in New York City, tales from appearing on FOX News, and recommendations for media relations rookies.
July 31, 2019
Laura Fisher, Big Duck’s Senior Strategist, chats with Sarah Durham about how interviews can help you understand audience behavior and motivation.
July 17, 2019
Dan Gunderman was Big Duck’s Creative Director and Senior Copywriter for over 12 years. Before moving to Scotland, he sat down with us for a conversation about writing for nonprofits. He shares two simple rules for nonprofit writing, key differences between writing and editing (and how to do both well), and simple tips busy people can put into action right away.
July 3, 2019
Farra Trompeter, Big Duck’s Vice President, and Chris Tuttle, digital engagement strategist, bring their respective love for cats and dogs to the analogy of fighting communications and development teams. Hear how they create cross-departmental alignment and collaboration.
June 19, 2019
Alice Hendricks is the CEO of Jackson River, a firm that helps nonprofits harness the power of technologies to achieve their goals. In this mind-blowing conversation, she shares how the consumer marketing space is using technology (chatbots, artificial intelligence, and more) and outlines how nonprofits can apply those tools to create more personalized and relevant experiences for supporters.
June 5, 2019
Elizabeth Toledo, President of Camino Group and former Vice President of Communications at Planned Parenthood, is a crisis communications expert. She discusses the biggest internal communications challenges she’s seen and how strong values alignment can help nonprofits communicate more effectively internally and externally, especially about social issues and controversial topics. Plus, she shares recommendations for nonprofits looking to advance diversity, equity, and inclusion in the workplace.
May 22, 2019
We sat down with Andrea Kihlstedt and Amy Eisenstein, capital campaign experts with over 50 years of collective experience in the fundraising space, to talk about their new project: the Capital Campaign Toolkit. They discuss how the model of capital campaign development is changing—from nonprofits relying on consultants to lead the process to embracing online resources and tools staff can use themselves. Listen to learn more about what kinds of nonprofits can benefit from the toolkit and when calling a campaign consultant will be an organization’s best course of action.
May 8, 2019
Claire Taylor Hansen, Big Duck’s Creative Director, helps nonprofits answer the age-old question: Do we need a new logo? She discusses signs that a logo might need to change, the power of using visual elements—typography, colors, patterns, and more—consistently and well, and shares a simple exercise in-house teams can do to assess whether their nonprofit’s materials align with communications goals. If you want more resources to help you ensure your nonprofit’s brand is understood and applied consistently, download our free ebook, Brand stickiness: Building, integrating, and managing your nonprofit’s voice so it succeeds.
April 24, 2019
Christine Hughes, Vice President of Institutional Advancement for Burke Neurological Institute, is a world-class fundraiser and scientist with extensive experience in the biomedical field. Christine is in the process of building the Burke development and communications departments—and their pipeline of donors—from the ground up using precision communications. By applying this strategy, she’s built a lean and efficient in-house team with a passionate network of consultants to fill in the gaps. Tune in to hear how she did it and for tips on building a team from scratch.
April 10, 2019
Stephanie Paul, Vice President of Marketing and Development at the American Parkinson Disease Association, sits down with Sarah Durham to discuss her experiences creating PSAs and shares lessons learned along the way. Tune in to learn how APDA uses their PSAs as tools to raise awareness, reach new audiences, gather stories, and change perceptions about Parkinson’s disease.
March 27, 2019
George Weiner, Founder and Chief Whaler of Whole Whale, a social impact tech company, sits down with us to discuss all things data—why it matters for nonprofits, what data to pay attention to, how to visualize and share it, and how to get started with Google Analytics. This is a must-listen if you’re a nonprofit communicator responsible for collecting and measuring data related to your mission, or a nonprofit leader looking to foster a more data-driven culture at your organization.
March 12, 2019
Farra Trompeter, Big Duck’s Vice President, and Dan Gunderman, Big Duck’s Creative Director, have successfully facilitated many nonprofit name changes throughout the years. In this episode, they discuss reasons why more nonprofits are changing their names, what it takes, and lessons they’ve learned that may help organizations thinking about evolving—or radically changing—their name.
February 26, 2019
Suzanne Shaw is Director of Communications at the Union of Concerned Scientists and has over three decades of expertise in nonprofit and private sector marketing and communications. She restructured her communications department with the intention to build in-house capacity, increase efficiency, bridge “channel-silos,” and measure marketing efforts more effectively. Tune in to hear how she did it and get tips for deciding what a nonprofit with a small communications team should take on in-house vs. outsource.
February 13, 2019
Marcus dePaula, co-founder of Mixtus Media and producer of this podcast, is an expert in online content creation. In this episode he breaks down creative commons licensing, explains the ethical (and credibility) issues in grabbing images from Google for fundraising appeals or marketing communications, and shares resources for great, free photography and music every organization can use.
January 30, 2019
Nonprofit leaders must make their vision clear and get everyone—staff, board, and other stakeholders—aligned and motivated to work toward it together. For Wayne Ho, President and CEO of CPC (Chinese American Planning Council), this means communicating effectively with over 4,000 employees. In this episode of the Smart Communications Podcast, Wayne shares three essential rules that guide all of his internal communications. Want to learn more about how Wayne encourages all 4,000 of his staff members to be effective brand ambassadors? Listen here.
January 16, 2019
Vince Warren reflects on his twelve years (and counting!) as Executive Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights. Over the course of his tenure, Vince has built the organization around its potential—and his vision of what it could become. Tune in to learn about his, and the Center for Constitutional Rights’, journey. Want more on the Center for Constitutional Rights? Read all about our branding work together in the case study, or listen to a conversation we shared with Chandra Hayslett, the Center for Constitutional Rights’ Communications Director.
January 2, 2019
In this episode of the Smart Communications Podcast, two members of Big Duck’s strategy team, Laura Fisher and Gil Mejia, define strategy, unpack the differences between strategic goals, objectives, and tactics, and offer tips for nonprofit communicators looking to develop their strategic thinking. If you want more resources on strategy, download our free ebook, Achieve more: Putting strategy to work for your nonprofit.
December 19, 2018
Chandra Hayslett, Communications Director of the Center for Constitutional Rights, sits down to share her experiences launching the podcast, The Activist Files, for her organization. She discusses why she started the podcast, results she’s seen so far, the nuts and bolts of production, and shares practical tips for starting a podcast for your nonprofit. Curious about the Center for Constitutional Rights’ rebrand? Read about our work together in the case study here.
December 5, 2018
Craig Shelley, Managing Director of Orr Group, shares how nonprofit leadership and staff can foster stronger, more productive relationships with board members. He unpacks different board types and offers simple suggestions for executive directors looking to build trust and partnership with their board, and more.
November 28, 2018
Elise Dowell is Vice Chancellor for Communications and External Affairs at The Jewish Theological Seminary. Since joining JTS in 2002, Elise has lead transformational communications efforts, upgraded their recruitment marketing program, and won two Emmy Awards. She sat down with us to share lessons she has learned over her illustrious career, focusing on how to collaborate more effectively and build organizational alignment around the value of communications.
November 14, 2018
Jenny Dyson, Ruler and Creative Director of Pencil, a creative agency specializing in brand storytelling in the UK, shares her experiences turning content from one conference into a rich, multi-channel story for her client, One Small Thing. She also shares practical advice for nonprofit communicators looking to translate their organization’s work into clear, compelling, and authentic stories.
October 31, 2018
Sarah Durham and Farra Trompeter head to Fundraising Day to ask development professionals one question: “What can communications do to support development?” You’ll hear answers at the beginning of this episode from Samantha Coolidge, New York Area Director of Advancement at Moishe House, Margaret Fredrickson from Graham Pelton, Leslie Weber, Deputy Executive Director for External Relations at Hudson Guild, Gary Weinberg, President of DM Pros, Cathy J. Sharp, Director of Development and Communications at Care for the Homeless, Simone Joyaux, author and consultant, and Arik Thormahlen, Director of Development, New York Eye and Ear Infirmary at Mount Sinai Health System. Then, Farra and Sarah have a candid conversation about the relationship between development and communications, sharing tips for building stronger donor communications.
October 17, 2018
Stephanie Paul, Vice President of Marketing and Development at the American Parkinson Disease Association shares how the rebranding process helped APDA unite its 19 local chapters and ensure all had the tools to communicate with one clear voice.
October 10, 2018
In this episode of the Smart Communications Podcast, Ally Dommu, Big Duck’s Director of Strategy, shares the four core elements a nonprofit organization needs in place internally—culture, team, assets, and reflection—to ensure the hard work of a rebrand doesn’t go to waste.
September 19, 2018
Simone Joyaux, author of “Firing Lousy Board Members,” and organizational management, development, and fundraising expert tackles what makes a great nonprofit board. She maps out the process of getting smarter about governance and shares the steps nonprofit boards can take right away to begin reflecting, discussing, and reaching consensus about what good governance looks like.
September 5, 2018
Liz Ricca, Big Duck’s Managing Director, shares tools and practices that can help facilitate great internal communications. She gives tips on how to use organizational values actively as an HR tool and provides a structured feedback exercise you can put into practice to spark meaningful, productive conversations between staff. Listen in.
August 22, 2018
Should nonprofits squeeze in a full rebrand when their website needs an update? In this episode of the Smart Communications Podcast, Sarah Durham, CEO of Big Duck, outlines the basic order of operations for a successful rebrand process—from the strategic plan to the website overhaul.
August 8, 2018
Cecilia Clarke, President and CEO of the Brooklyn Community Foundation, shares her experiences listening to over 1,000 community members about their vision for Brooklyn, and how those insights helped redefine their work and organizational values. She also shares tips on how to articulate your nonprofit’s values and get to the underlying why of your work.
August 1, 2018
Elianne Ramos, Senior Director of Communications and Public Affairs at National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health and prior Latino Digital Coalitions Desk for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, shares her experiences launching and maintaining a YouTube Live platform for her organization. She discusses the benefits of YouTube Live in helping maintain consistent, digestible, and shareable communications that tie together all threads of her organization’s work, what it takes for nonprofits to start their own, and more.
July 24, 2018
In this episode of the Smart Communications Podcast Claire Taylor Hansen, one of Big Duck’s Art Directors, shares digital brand guide trends and best practices in the nonprofit and for-profit worlds and offers suggestions for keeping your brand guide alive.
July 11, 2018
Dan Gunderman, Big Duck’s Creative Director, tells all about taglines. Dan defines what taglines are, the function they serve in a nonprofit’s brand, and shares tips for crafting a tagline that is simple, meaningful, and truly unique to your organization.
July 3, 2018
Jessica González-Rojas, Executive Director of National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health, shares her experiences planning for her sabbatical and the unexpected benefits it brought to her organization. She also shares tips for how nonprofit leaders can prepare for their own sabbaticals and set sabbatical policies for staff.
June 27, 2018
Word choices are important! Tune in to learn what words and phrases nonprofit communicators should avoid, gleaned from our popular “Words to Avoid” annual blog, plus tips for making more thoughtful language choices.
June 13, 2018
To successfully increase their organization’s visibility through campaigns, nonprofit leaders need to ensure they’re grounded in strategy—with concrete goals, audiences, and actions in mind.
May 30, 2018
Organizational values and brand personality are related but very different, and often get confused. We’ll define and differentiate them in this podcast.
May 16, 2018
Special events and annual galas may no longer be a nonprofit’s best bet for fundraising. Why? The world is changing rapidly—and so are audiences’ expectations. Tune in to learn more.
May 1, 2018
When materials need to be reviewed by working groups, committees, and senior level staff, project managers must master the art of getting consolidated feedback and, in some cases, herding cats. In this episode of the Smart Communications Podcast, Maya Ovrutsky, one of Big Duck’s expert Relationship Managers, shares her strategies for keeping projects moving smoothly.
April 25, 2018
Photography is an excellent way for organizations to show rather than tell. Tune in for tips and insights on how to invest in great photography on a budget.
April 11, 2018
Having a dedicated communications team is out of reach for many nonprofits, but the need to communicate effectively to external audiences is still there. This episode of the Smart Communications Podcast features a conversation with Wayne Ho, President and CEO of CPC, a large social services organization located in NYC. Out of CPC’s 4,000 employees, none have “communications” in their job title. Listen in to find out how Wayne encourages all staff to be effective brand ambassadors.
April 2, 2018
Figuring out the right people to have in the rebranding process at the right time is a real struggle. In this episode of the Smart Communications Podcast, Big Duck’s VP, Farra Trompeter, and Big Duck’s CEO, Sarah Durham, share their experiences leading nonprofit rebrands and serving as nonprofit board members, plus provide expert recommendations for defining the board’s role in branding.
April 2, 2018
Generally, we recommend avoiding jargon. But in this episode of the Smart Communications Podcast, Dan Gunderman, Big Duck’s Creative Director, sits down with Sarah Durham, Big Duck’s CEO, to discuss when nonprofits communicators should embrace industry-specific language.
April 2, 2018
The Smart Communications Podcast helps busy nonprofit leaders build their communications skills and develop their organization’s voice. Every episode shares insights and practical tips to help you leverage strategic communications to advance your nonprofit’s mission. The Smart Communications Podcast is hosted by Sarah Durham, CEO of Big Duck and produced by Marcus DePaula. Our music is by Broke for Free.
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