Spring Clean Your Social Media

spring flowersSometimes it is a good idea to go back to the basics of social media marketing, and what better time than right now? Take a fresh look at your social graphics suite. Social outlets adjust their systems over time, so that header image you designed a year ago, or the thumbnail image that used to work well, may no longer fit the platform’s format. Surely your communications goals have surged forward: does the content that was perfect last spring now look dated?

Read more

Fundraising: More Than Just Asking For Money

doorbellRemember the days in elementary school where we went door-to-door to our neighbors and asked them to buy cookies or wreaths or flowers to support some program we were a part of? Like many children, asking strangers for money was not a highlight of my youth. Many of us conscripted our parents by sending the order sheet to their offices.

I’ve realized my nonprofit peers are equating their development strategy to the days of the elementary school fundraiser. They’re not even asking people to buy a product, but to simply to give up their money. This beggar’s attitude means few have a desire to go into fundraising.

But fundraising is about so much more than asking for money!

Read more

What’s your style?

I love Claire Kittle’s Talent Market emails!

SPN AM_gift bags2_2016-10They’re clever, well-written, and illustrated. Each contains a message beyond “here are jobs,” a message that inspires. Mind you, I’m not even looking for a job.

Each piece of outgoing text, image, or sound conveys more than its elements; it also broadcasts what sort of organization yours is. It says either, “This is from us” and is worth reading, or it says, “Yeah, I threw this together, but you need to join our effort, anyway.”

Read more

8 Lessons Learned from Starting a Podcast

Once a fringe “new media” tactic, podcasts have come into their own by taking advantage of smart phone automotive audio link capabilities and catering to the expectation of “my content, my choice.”

Podcasting is an easy tactic to deploy, well worth the time and money – so long as those who create the content tailor the way they talk about policy to a podcasting audience. Given a tech-savvy audience, it will help you achieve your communications objectives. You should know ahead of time that podcasting is also a regular time commitment on the scale of maintaining a website or a regular radio spot. Don’t start one until you evaluate how it fits into your organizational plans and structure.

Are you interested in getting a podcast going at your organization?

Read more

Episode 2: Arts and Minds

This week, on Episode 2 of the Arts and Minds Videocast:

A quick recap: What is Arts and Minds?

This July, on a street in Portland, Oregon, artists, activists, and everyday folk will get together to paint a mural on an ugly wall. We have this wild idea that we can use creative talents to spotlight Oregon’s broken criminal justice system.

The main event: everyone will help paint that mural. The context of painting such a large work of art is exciting: an all-day block party with activities, stories, demonstrations, and entertainment.

There is a lot to do. We have a four-page to-do list, and it’s growing. We’re slowly checking things off, but we still have to find a wall, set a date, and solidify partners.

Essentially, Arts and Minds will combine the energy of art with the power of the community and the experience of dedicated organizations to tell a story of the need for criminal justice reform.

We are making headway in the partnership department! Countless state and national organizations are taking the system on, and we are trying to hook up with them. After hours of researching, emailing, and cold-calling, some organizations are right on the brink of joining the effort as official partners! There is certainly still room to include great organizations who are already fighting the good fight. Can you help connect us? Give a call or an email.

I mentioned that Arts and Minds is an art collective. That means a group of people willing to help get the art on the wall and the event on the street. We’ve had a very warm response to an invitation to find out about Arts and Minds at a Meetup gathering. We will reach out to the community, gauge interest, and learn about the virtues and talents kind, passionate people want to make available.

The first Arts and Minds Meetup gathersFebruary 16 at 7 pm at Zoiglhaus in Portland, Oregon. More info: http://meetu.ps/36lFpH.

To get involved yourself, please contact Ginger@SparkFreedom.org

Thanks for tuning in, and we’ll see you next week for Episode three!

Episode 1: Introducing Arts and Minds

Introducing Arts and Minds, a new, freedom-focused art collective advanced by Spark Freedom. We’re just getting started, finding our wings, and preparing for our big debut, an interactive art event in Portland, Oregon this summer. Join us on our journey, via this new (sometimes awkward) videocast, as we mold the dream and make it a reality.

This is episode one, and our host, Ginger, lays out the plan:

This summer 2017 in Portland, Oregon, Arts and Minds presents a special one-day arts event dedicated to showcasing our country’s need for Criminal Justice Reform. What does this event entail?

The main draw:

We’re painting a mural, and everyone (including you) is invited to come paint with us. The design will show the ills of our justice system. Participants needn’t be skilled painters: we’ll use a paint-by-numbers style. We’ll paint to the sounds of freedom-focused music, storytelling, poetry, and performance. It will be a day filled with camaraderie, hard work, education, introspection, and fun.

There’s a lot to do, think about, and get excited about before this summer. We have to set a date, find and secure a wall to paint on, create partnerships, design the art, deal with government stuff, and on and on.

We just said we’re an arts collective. More realistically, we want to become an arts collective. We are looking for artists and activists who believe in the beauty of personal liberty and want to celebrate and fight for it through art, not violence.

Do you want to be involved? Do you want to help plan this event? Can you contribute something awesome? We’re looking for all types of people – artistic experience not required.

To get involved, please contact Ginger@SparkFreedom.org

We look forward to sharing this journey with you!

November Spark Session: Improve Your Digital Marketing

Our November Spark Session “Improve Your Digital Marketing” explored meaningful metrics, focusing your message, and tying up loose ends.

Show Notes

Intro 1:20

Most Important Aspects of a Digital Strategy 3:13

Customer Journey 4:58

Web Design Concepts 6:11

What to Communicate for Success 11:25

Organic Synergy 12:50

Meaningful Measurements 15:30

Digital Strategy 17:21

Cohesive Messaging 20:15

What’s Coming Next 22:05

Summary 22:40


Digital Marketing Tools 27:02

Becoming the Best 29:43

Marketing Targets 32:11

General vs. Specific 34:35



September Spark Session: Telling vs Selling

The September Spark Session, “Telling vs Selling,” explored how to listen intently so you “sell” the right aspect of your product. Be sure to watch the whole recording!

Show notes

Figure out which story to tell (4:50)

Who does your story target? (6:15)

How to sell a cellphone (7:30)

The 3 principles of ALL selling: Ask, Listen, Link (9:30)

Telling or Selling #1: GOP.com vs Democrats.org vs LP.org (11:00)

Telling or Selling #2: Organ donation (14:15)

Sell a complex policy in bite-size chunks (18:05)

Making Fiscal Federalism (somewhat) sexy (18:40)

Why people buy (24:45)

When should you tell? (27:45)

Make numbers memorable – even emotional (30:20)

Selling to policy wonks (32:00)

Q & A:

How can a policy paper sell, not tell? (34:15)

Should my selling points always be positive? (36:35)

What policy area has been the most difficult to sell? (38:55)

What if I just can’t figure out my listener’s desire? (41:10)

When you don’t yet know your audience – say, as you develop a policy – how can you sell? What if you can’t afford market research? (45:00)


Roger Dooley, Brainfluence


Save the date! Our next Spark Session is November 17.

To catch up on past Spark Sessions, visit our Archives.