VENDOR SERIES: Three Ways to Market with a Non-Profit

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I’m a big fan of content marketing. Most of you see this everyday as you engage with your favorite online blogs. Blogs are a great way to connect with your target market. You can educate you clients, capture your audience and create a window into the heart of your business. But they are a ton of work, I get it! Im known for having bursts of blog energy and then fading back into silence after burn out. But the more I stay true to my blogging schedule the more results I see with community, impact and profit within my business. Not to mention its a huge help with SEO!

So today we are discussing three ways to market with a non profit. All of which leads back to one amazing marketing tool, your blog. Here are a few blog series ideas to get your wheels turning…

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Solve a Problem Series

Blog Post for Week One Welcome the Non-Profit to your blog. Introduce them and share their mission! Also, explain why your getting behind their cause and what it means to you!

Blog Post for Week Two Interview an employee from the non-profit, discover one need or struggle they’ve been having and brainstorm how you and others can help!

Blog Post for Week Three Introduce the solution for the non-profit’s issue and explain how your readers can help.

Blog Post for Week Four Update your audience with progress and keep encouraging involvement!

Blog Post for Week Five Final Interview with your non profit, celebrate and discuss the success of the campaign!

The issue can be small, surely don’t try to solve world hunger in five weeks! The goal of this blog series doesn’t have to yield a million dollar donation to be deemed successful. The important thing is that you are engaging with your nonprofit, spreading awareness and reigniting that fire inside us to help others!

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Courage to Serve Series

Blog Post for Month One Commit to serving once a month at a non profit of your choice. Share the reason behind this challenge, your goals and introduce a hashtag so others can follow along!

Blog Post for Month Two Share you first serving experience, what you’ve learned, who you met and how you found it challenging or rewarding! Introduce your next serving challenge for month three.

Blog Post for Month Three Share you second serving experience, what you’ve learned, how it was different from last month’s opportunity and introduce your final serving challenge for month four.

Blog Post for Month Four Share your third serving experience. Recap the entire series of Courage to Serve by explaining the top three memories of your serving challenge. Talk about your perspective on serving, has it changed since the start? Encourage others to try the challenge for themselves!

This is just a small way to start transforming your heart into a business leader that lives to give. By challenging ourselves with serving opportunities, were stretching outside our comfort zone and expanding our understanding on what it means to serve.

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The Power of Many Series

Week One Connect with your local church or non profit and find a big project that can be done in a day. Like organizing a game day for the elderly, landscaping a school yard or cleaning up a park. Set a date, time and gain an understanding of everything that is needed for the event.

Week Two Announce via social media for local wedding vendors to join in on the service day. To help organize, lead and volunteer. Create a hashtag so others can follow along. Every vendor involved should commit to collective blog posts and social media advertising through out the event!

Blog Post One for Week Three Collectively announce the service day on your blog and be sure to open the invitation to anyone who wants to come. List all wedding vendors that will be involved. Don’t forget those precious website links, credits and social media tags through out the marketing process. Also, be sure to mention you are looking for a volunteer photographer to capture the day of service!

Blog Post Two for Week Four Collectively announce the volunteer photographer and recap the date, time and details of your service day. List all the wedding vendors involved and get your readers excited!

Week Five The day of the event starts with a morning brunch together. Get a social media post in and then head off to the work site! Enjoy the experience of serving your community and connecting with new friends (No Phones!). Cap off the day with a social media shout out.

Blog Post Three for Week Six Using the photographs from the day, create a final blog post about the experience. List the challenges and celebratory moments you enjoyed through out The Power of Many series!

This series is a great way to pool everyones social media and blog followings together to make an impact! This kind of involvement in your community is honestly unheard of, when do you see a group of wedding vendors (That are supposed to be competing against one another!) working together to create a positive change!

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I hope you’ve enjoyed out guest series! It’s our last week as we wrap up an amazing month full of digging deep, uncovering our purpose, getting started with a socially conscious business, financial health and creative ways to give back. Phew! What a list. Thanks for having me and welcoming me with open arms here on Black Sheep Bride. Don’t be a stranger, stop by anytime and say hello, Im always up for a good chat!

xx, Rachael

VENDOR SERIES : CREATIVE WAYS TO GIVE BACK!

BSB_WeekFour-07After organizing our finances last week, I think its time to dig into a more light hearted subject. I absolutely love the creative ways I’ve seen and experienced small businesses dive into the lives of others. Here are three ways to give back with your business. Time to think outside of the box…

Donate Your Time
Service Saturday
The first Saturday of every month – volunteer at a local nonprofit. Build a relationship and invest in their mission! Document the experience online through social media and create a hashtag so others can follow along. This not only impacts the lives of others but can potentially attract your followers to join in on the challenge.

On A Mission
I try not to play favorites, but this idea gets personal for me! I’m afraid of just about everything (HA!) and mission trips are on the list. Experiencing something new, with people I don’t know, in a place I’m not comfortable in, oh please, my fear would much prefer a cozy Saturday watching Netflix. So to challenge this (somewhat, irrational) fear, lets set aside 10% of our business income for a mission trip. It can be domestic, overseas or even a local weekend investing in our community – I just find it important to push yourself outside your comfort zone when it comes to serving. Setting the bar a little high makes room for heart changing experience! Journal about your personal growth and invest the new found wisdom back into your business. The more we stretch our hearts for others, the more a priority it will be in our daily lives!

Donate Your Services
Client Spotlight
Once a year be on the look out for a deserving client that could truly benefit from your discounted services. I say once a year, because its extremely important to provide this perk with the knowledge and understanding of where your business stands financially. Make wise choices! But when we are financially fit we can bless others! Bless someone once a year with a surprise donation of your time. Feature an interview on your blog to capture the heart warming gesture and loving relationship with your client. Your readers will appreciate the transparency in your values and a peek behind the heart of your brand.

Group Effort
What we are able to do as one, can be multiplied if we work together! Create a social media campaign with other wedding vendors. A group of local vendors can partner up and create a gift worth celebrating. Maybe raise funds for a specific cause or give away a free wedding to a lucky nominee. All are ways to build community, burst social media followings and create excitement around giving back!

Donate Your Resources
Just for Them
For all the product based businesses out there, create a product that is specifically for your nonprofit partner. After running the numbers of course, decide if its possible to donate 100% of all sales or just 50%. Remember this is your business, so do the research before you jump into it. What is the cost of the item? How much do I need to cover cost? etc. Important questions to make sure your business remains financially strong. Creating a product just for donations can even encourage marketing participation from you nonprofit partner. Cross promote together through social media, build excitement and reveal your generous heart to your customers!

The Classic Percentage
There is a reason the business plan of giving 10% has been around forever – it works! It creates the change we all crave to experience. As much as our hands-on work can shift the course of a human life – these amazing non profits also need funds to keep their walls up, lights on and impact moving forward! What’s incredible is 10% makes a world of difference for people that make every penny go a long way. The men and women running these organizations are the definition of resourceful. So when you look at your donation check (My last one was $267) and your tempted to think, “This really doesn’t do anyone, any good!” Slam that door immediately! Its a lie. What is $267 to someone that is struggling? Its comparable to a million dollars. Its telling them they are seen, they are cared for and they are loved. Encouragement for the hurting human soul is priceless. So whether you give one dollar or $1,000 every month. Know a million times over, the amount – no matter what it is – fulfills a need.

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Giving is not just a duty, but a life value! We don’t do good because we are supposed to, we do good because we want to. But this value doesn’t come naturally. Honestly, I WANT to stay in my comfort zone. I WANT to do what is safe. But if we can muster up the courage to start small, serve small, I believe one day we will be the fearless givers that this world so desperately needs! I’ll be cheering you on friends, each one of your reading, we can challenge each other and do this together. We are not in this along.

Until next time, have a great week! We’ll be back next Tuesday for our final discussion. Want to chat? Reach out to me at Rachael@appetitepaper.com

VENDOR SERIES: SMART BUSINESS FINANCES

BSB_WeekFour_01It was hard to admit that the success of my small business required a little more than just talent and hopeful wishes. As an entrepreneur, we are passionate. That is a given! However one mistake we’ve made is letting that passion be in the drivers seat of our small business.

Honestly, this time last year you could sum up my business finances in two words, avoid it. I was the master at avoiding that pile of receipts on my desk. Day after day, eventually tossing that neat little pile into a drawer. Whoops!

Oh what a mistake. A few minutes each week could have saved me so much wasted time and money. Thankfully, when I was finally ready to face the facts, I had some incredible DIY resources to help me wise up. Here are a few tools that bridged the gap between running my business on passion vs. wise business practices…

 

First, Educate yourself

The E-Myth RevistedI found this book through a business podcast. Honestly, my creative mind found it a bit dry, but the knowledge in this book was well worth pushing through those less-riveting pages. Im so, so glad I came across this gem. It woke me up out of my foggy haze, thinking all I needed to survive was passion and talent and I couldn’t have been more wrong!

Creative LiveAn incredible resource for small business owners, Creative Live offers online line classes from the most renowned experts in their field. If your able to watch these classes LIVE (hence the name) – they are FREE! Ive been lucky to catch a few in Small Business Finance and Bookkeeping. They are so rich in information, I was scribbling down notes like I was in college again. Im constantly checking their page and signing up for courses and it can be incredible resource!

 

Now, Get Organized!

Fresh Books. This is one of those tools you kick yourself for not using sooner. Fresh Books is a huge blessing in my life. It not only gives me peace of mind, but Its super easy to use, navigate and organize your finances without lifting a finger (Literally all you have to do is click your mouse!). Another perk? Its all online and secure. Also, their blog has a generous amount of resources. Check it out, even better, its free for the first 30 days! Alright, Im starting to sound like a paid advertisement…Moving on!

 

Always, Make It a Priority!

Administrative Mondays. I adopted this practice from a very wise business owner! Blocking off every Monday morning to play secretary and catch-up with my finances has worked wonders. Its the black and white rule I needed to get this “boring” stuff done. I also benefit all week from simply knowing whats going on in my bank account. The financial knowledge naturally defines my daily decisions; Is this a wise investment of my time? My resources? Can I afford this? All important questions when trying to maintain high profit. Reviewing and organizing my finances every Monday gives me the confidence and knowledge I need to run a smart, efficient work week!

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Most importantly, this all relates to one very important issue. Giving back. Can you see how your financial health of your company directly affects your impact? The better I manage my money flow, the more intentional I can be with my time/money, and in turn build a stronger foundation and more profitable business. If we are strong, we can help others become stronger!

Also, actually understanding the financial health of my company allows me to give back with confidence! No more writing a blind a check, not knowing the impact it could have on my business. I can now give without jeopardizing the foundation I’ve worked so hard to build. My business is officially a celebration of our blessings
So fight for that financial confidence in your business. Don’t let it be pushed to the back burner! Ive learned its not so scary after all, you just have to get started!
(P.s.  Just a reminder, Im not a certified accountant. These are just business practices that have proven to be very helpful to me. So please take this thoughtful advice as you wish!)

VENDOR SERIES: UNCOVERING YOUR PURPOSE

BSB_SC_AppetitePaper-02Good morning, I’m Rachael, the owner of Appetite Paper. You’ll find me here each Tuesday as we unfold a range of topics that both enlighten and challenged your perspective on generosity within the wedding industry.

Last week we ended with one simple question.  What is the motivation behind your small business? Why do we slave away each day, perfecting our craft, answering countless emails and working on the weekends? What is our business purpose?

I’ll be honest, when I started Appetite Paper, my business purpose was as sweet as pie. I was determined to serve others through my passion for design and creativity, pretty noble right? But my actual motivator unraveled into a different story. I soon discovered my strong work ethic stemmed from one simple dream, to be recognized as the best, most talented, creative business owner in the whole wedding industry! A pretty long winded ambition right? So there I was, building my little stationery kingdom, gunning to be the best.  Defining my success on the fleeting approval of others.

Thankfully, months later, I was presented with another option. I could continue down this road, puffing up my pride or focus my talents on building others up.

Whoa, even as a socially conscious small business, this was new territory for me. Yes, I was giving away 15% of my profits but my business purpose was headed down a dangerous road. It’s hard to admit that in 50 years all I really wanted was for you to step back and declare, “Rachael is pretty damn talented, a hard worker and incredible artist, I wish I could be like her!”, a perfectionist’s dream in a nutshell, the recognition of others. BSB_SC_AppetitePaper-05

So I’m switching gears, won’t you join me?

Build Ourselves Up
When I focus on personal gain, I find that these lies are sure to follow…

I am only as talented as others say I am.

I will never be as successful as ____________.

I have no unique skills or perspectives to offer this industry.

I can not keep up, I will never be enough.

My success is measured through the recognition, likes, followers and the approval of others.

Build Up Others
When I focus on serving others, I find that a confident purpose quickly follows…

I can bless others with my talents and strengths, how can I serve others today?

I am on my own path and Im grateful to own a business that offers new challenges and growth each day.

I am one of a kind, I have a unique skill and perspective to offer this industry.

I will do what I can, with what I have, where I am at – Doing my best is enough and rest is essential.

My success is measured by how well I’ve served others today, through my hard work, talent and caring service.

Our satisfaction in business will increase tenfold by simply readjusting our perspective. We will remember a life fulfilled, is a life in service to others. Ready to put your talents to good use? Join us next week, as we tackle how to get started!

Until then, if you have any questions or just want to say HI reach out to Rachael@appetitepaper.com for a quick chat about building a socially conscious small business, see you next week!