Our Blog


Be Honest About Competition—It Might Just Make You a Better Collaborator

People don’t like to talk about competition in the nonprofit world. Competition suggests a dog-eat-dog fight to the finish where one valuable nonprofit edges another out of the marketplace. Instead, it’s more comfortable to suppose that do-gooders work together to collaboratively accomplish shared goals. Typically this line of thinking leads nonprofit leaders to avoid thinking about market competition. When an organization is clear about who it is, what it stands for, and what makes it different from other similar organizations, that organization is in a better position to raise... +Read More

Is Your E-newsletter a Must-read or a Yawn?

Is your newsletter one that people welcome? Do your supporters read and get inspired by it? If you’re not sure, or if you have a sinking feeling it could be better, we’re offering 7 ways to make your writing the kind people want to read. Most of these ideas will make your annual report, website, and fundraising campaign materials better, too. How to turn your next newsletter from boring into bedazzling: 1. Say less. Shorter is better. Your newsletter doesn’t have to say it all, but it does need to engage your reader. Why make a point in three paragraphs that you could make in three... +Read More

The O2 Sabbatical Award: Elevating leaders, lifting organizations

What happens to a stellar nonprofit organization when its equally stellar executive director takes a three-month leave of absence? “Fall apart?” you say? Wrong. It gets stronger. O2 Initiatives, a new Bay Area-based philanthropic partnership and a Mission Minded client, knows how and why this works — and they’ve launched a new grant program to make sure it happens more often. The O2 Sabbatical Award offers exceptional nonprofit executive directors a three-month break for personal and professional reinvigoration. The program, inspired by the successes of the Durfee Foundation’s... +Read More

All-Call for Independent Schools: School’s Out—But You Should Be In

Ahhh. Admissions season is over, summer is nigh, and it’s time to recharge before the fall frenzy starts up again. Before you take out the margarita glasses, Mission Minded is here with a suggestion that you’ll thank us for later (though you might not feel too fondly towards us in the next few paragraphs): You need to get started on your next admissions season’s communication materials very, very soon. Preferably now. We counsel our school clients to plan more than a year in advance of the admission season for which they want new materials. That means starting now on a new campaign for... +Read More

The Zuckerbergs, Education, and the Power of the Problem Statement

Recently, Mark and Priscilla Zuckerberg posted an op-ed in the San Jose Mercury News to announce a $120 million donation to Bay Area schools. Because we’re brand and communications nerds over here at Mission Minded, we couldn’t help but read this exciting announcement with a bit of a critical eye. Sure enough, it proved to be an interesting study in messaging. The Zuckerbergs’ op-ed, titled “Why we’re committing $120 million to Bay Area schools,” relies heavily on the power of an essential messaging tool: the problem statement. Problem statements accomplish... +Read More

Snow in May: The Value of Expectations in Branding

Also titled: Why I Refuse to Get Out My Snow Shovel Today is Monday, May 12, 2014, and I’m feeling a bit glum. I’m feeling glum because I expect certain things from May 12th: standing barefoot on my lawn while playing catch with my kids, a nice glass of wine while sitting on my front porch, gazing expectantly at my garden. Instead, this is what today looks like: And this. And this. A little less than two weeks ago the world celebrated May Day with flowers and parades. Spring was definitely supposed to be here now. All of this offers a lesson on the value of setting clear... +Read More