Monday, November 7, 2016

From Fundraiser to Copywriter: Everything I Learned About Sales I Learned From Fundraising

As a freelance copywriter, I didn't always spend years hacking away at my computer and writing content for clients. In my "past life," I was a fundraiser and worked for national non-profits planning fundraising events and raising thousands of dollars for public health charities.

I'm the first to admit that I never liked sales and never wanted to pursue any type of sales job. I am not a fan of number crunching or peddling products to people--or that was my limited perception of sales. However, as a fundraiser I quickly learned I was a salesperson and I was actually good at raising money, despite not wanting to pursue a sales-focused career.

As a fundraiser, I learned a lot about sales, especially how to effectively network, how to research and target corporations for sponsor donations, and learned that rejection comes with the territory. While it's been years since I pitched a sponsorship donor package to a large corporation I learned invaluable lessons as a fundraiser.

These top 3 lessons that have stuck with me over the years: 

#1 Set realistic and obtainable goals for your team 

My biggest challenge as a fundraiser was communicating with my directors that some of their fundraising goals and expectations were unrealistic. Fundraising is a tough and stressful gig and the financial bottom-line is crucial for not-for-profit organizations. When setting campaign goals, create small achievable goals (i.e. monthly, quarterly etc.) so you and team members don't feel overwhelmed. Yes, you want to push team members in a positive direction to achieve their goals. However, you also don't want to make them feel they have failed even before they begin.

#2  Develop a targeted list of prospects and do your research first 

As a fundraiser, I spent countless hours researching Book of Lists and searching online for targeted companies that I thought would be a great sponsorship fit. Use both personal and professional connections and network, network, and network. It really is about WHO you know. Attend community meetings and networking events but make sure these events are a good return on your investment. Don't waste time networking with groups of people that are not interested in your services, products, etc. Use and invest your time wisely when networking.

#3 Keep it real and authentic when approaching people 
I don't like people telling me what they think I want to hear. As a fundraiser, I prided myself on my real and honest approach with people, especially when I walked into corporate offices and pitched my sponsor packages. I was very respectful of their time (which was usually limited as they were incredibly busy people) and made sure my fundraising pitch was tight and cohesive before I walked into the meeting.

I learned that the best way to approach people, especially when asking for donations, is to keep it real and to always be honest and transparent with people. You want them to be truly invested in your cause, product, service, etc. You will know right away if a person is truly interested or is dozing off and is turned off by your sales pitch.

As a fundraiser, if a person was not invested in my cause and organization, I thanked them and walked away and moved onto the next company or conducted more research to find more viable prospects. I didn't hound companies for money and I always gave them different options. I never turned down ANY donation--no matter the dollar amount. It's crucial to keep the lines of communication wide open. A "no" right now might be a "yes" in a few months down the road or even the following year. Some of my best and loyal company sponsors were based on solid relationships I built over the years and not all of them said "yes" the first time I approached them.

These invaluable lessons I learned as a fundraiser helped me immensely in my writing and marketing career. I highly recommend picking a salesperson's brain. Find out what makes them successful and learn from their success stories. I promise you that sales and marketing folks have a LOT of real-world experience and wisdom to share and it only makes you a stronger writer and marketer.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

My latest wine articles on CrushBrew

I'm a contributing writer to a craft beverage digital publication called This is my "fun" writing and I love learning about wine and beer, and the research has been fascinating.

A huge thanks to Phil and Heather Burton at Barrel Builders who kindly shared their expertise and knowledge about barrel making. It was an interesting topic and I learned a lot about coopering and how wine barrels are made.

I also had fun learning more about the growing trends of the new and improved rosé wines aka #summerwater. Big thanks to Michael Croteaux of Croteaux Vineyards and Michael Duarte of Popie Wines who shared their rosé winemaking knowledge with me.  If you have any questions about these articles, just let me know! Also, make sure to check out because they have a ton of awesome articles about the craft beer and boutique wine industries...and we've added a new category for distilled spirits.

Coopering: The Art & Craft of Barrel Making 

Summer's Favorite Beverage 

Friday, March 13, 2015

The Contractual Agreement: Why It's Important to Read & Understand the Fine Print

Hi folks!
It's been awhile since I posted on my blog. I had the flu twice and then caught a cold and was buried in a challenging book editing project. No excuses though! I'm back to blogging on a regular basis so stay tuned!

One of the biggest questions I get from newbie solopreneurs and freelance writers is about contracts. I pride myself on being very specific with my proposals and contracts, but I still work with clients who don't have experience "reading and understanding" the fine print of a basic contract. I've learned a few lessons recently about being VERY clear and specific with clients when they agree to project parameters, deadlines, etc.

Here are some personal tips I want to pass along if you create a contract OR if you're on the other side and need to sign a contract. Please note: I am NOT a lawyer and the tips below are based on my own personal experiences as a freelance copywriter who works on contract with my clients. Always check with a professional attorney for legal assistance before signing a legal contract. 

1. If you plan to work with a contractor or a contracted company/agency, ALWAYS sign a contractual agreement. Depending upon the scope of the project, most contractual (work-for-hire) agreements are fairly basic. However, if the language sounds like mumbo-jumbo hire a lawyer to review the contract before you sign anything.

2. Make sure deadlines, your rates, and the scope of the project are crystal clear before you sign on the dotted line. I ran into some issues with deadlines with this last project which was very frustrating on my end. Also, don't assume the other person understands the terms of your agreement. Run through the proposal with them and make sure they understand ALL the details, payment structure (especially if it's a long-term/extended contract), and your project responsibilities. This will save you a lot of hassle and legal trouble down the road.

3. If the other contracted party does NOT follow through on their agreed upon responsibilities and duties, you may have just cause to terminate the contract. If you run into issues with a client (or the contractor) and they fail to do what they agreed to do, you may be able to terminate the contract. Make sure to include a rescission clause (aka termination for convenience clause) that allows the contract to be ended. The rescinding party has to compensate the other party for work already completed. However, check with a lawyer before you terminate a contract, especially if you aren't sure. You usually need to have a justifiable reason for ending a contract. For example, if the products or services aren't delivered according to the agreed upon contractual parameters, or the contracting party delivers shoddy products or gives you poor service.

The Scoop on Non-Disclosure Agreements

As a copywriter and editor, I've signed a few of these agreements throughout my career. A non-disclosure agreement is also known as a confidentiality agreement. Basically, you agree not to share any proprietary information or trade/company secrets and if you do, you could be in hot water. If you aren't sure about signing a non-disclosure agreement, check with a lawyer.

Just be very careful when signing a contract. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of scammer companies out there who might be trying to make a quick buck off you so just be wary and do your research. Ask for references and testimonials before you hire the contractor or work with the company. When in doubt, hire a lawyer to review the contract before signing. 

Additional resources:

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Wine, Wine & More Wine: My Placer County Wine Article Featured on CrushBrew

I had a lot of fun writing this article featuring my stomping grounds: local Placer County wineries. Check it out, especially if you want to learn more about the great wines and boutique wineries in northern California!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Happy Election Day!

Hope you get out and vote today. As a female voter, I feel it's very important that we exercise our right to vote. The suffragettes fought long and hard so women could have the right to vote!

If you live in the U.S., get out there and vote today!

Happy Election Day! Let's use our voices and make that vote count! 

Friday, August 1, 2014

5 Easy Marketing Tips for Personal Trainers and Fitness Instructors

A fitness business, especially if you are a personal trainer or fitness instructor, can be difficult to market. I'm a Certified Zumba Instructor so I know it can be tough to spread the word about your classes. 

These five easy online marketing tips will help you get started with your personal training and fitness business. It doesn't matter if you are a newbie instructor or have years of fitness experience under your belt, you need to jump on board and use online tools and social media to your advantage.

1. Create a Facebook page - First, sign up for Facebook (if you don't have an account) and create a Facebook page. Make sure you don't create a Group. You want to create a professional business page on Facebook. Invite your friends to sign up or pass along to your students and clients who are on Facebook. Make sure you connect to everyone you know but remember don't spam everyone either. 

2. Interact on fitness-related Facebook pages - Search for other personal training and fitness sites. For example, if you are a yoga instructor connect with other local yoga networks or instructors in your area. If you work for a gym or fitness center, like their page and ask permission from the owners/managers if you can promote your classes on their page (if they don't market your classes already). 

3. Join LinkedIn and start networking - Are you a personal fitness trainer who works exclusively with stressed-out business professionals? Think outside the box. Join LinkedIn and look for groups that are in need of personal training/fitness instructors. It also helps to join industry fitness and health groups on LinkedIn. This is a great way to share and swap marketing ideas. Just remember to be courteous and professional when interacting on LinkedIn groups.  

4. Post on Twitter  - Twitter is another great social media platform to cross promote your classes and personal training services. Use hashtags, especially if you want to catch the attention of local people who'd be interested in what you have to offer. 

5. Search online for guest blogging and interview opportunities - One of the best ways to promote yourself online is to share your fitness expertise. Use social media to network or conduct a Google search to find health and fitness-related guest blogger opportunities. Sign up for Help a Reporter Out.  Reporters and freelance writers are always looking for fitness experts for their stories. If you have a specific fitness niche, this will make you even more marketable. 

Word-of-mouth marketing will only get you so far so start spreading the word about your fitness business online. Best of luck! If you need more helpful hints and tips, please search my past blog posts that go into more detail about social media marketing and online reputation tips. 

Friday, May 2, 2014

Spruce Up Your Brand: Why It's Time to Change Your Office Design & Decor

My mom and I went for much-needed pedicures this week. She told me that the nail salon we frequent completely changed their decor and theme of the salon. I was looking forward to checking out their renovation!

The change was night and day. They went with a relaxing beach/Hawaii theme and it looked amazing. I felt like I was really in a spa instead of a stinky, chemical-smelling run-of-the mill nail joint. Their pedicure chairs are really comfy (love the chair massage!), and the colors and design are very soothing and relaxing. I felt like I went on a short mini-spa-cation. The salon didn't have any personality before but after this updated design renovation, it really boosted their salon's brand and look (complete with new signage).

I work from home so when I have meetings with clients, I usually go to their office or meet them for lunch or coffee. However, if you do have an office space, look around your surroundings right now.

What does your decor and design say about your brand? Is it warm and inviting for your clients and employees? Does it truly reflect your brand's personality?

You don't have to spend thousands of dollars on a brand new office renovation but even a fresh coat of paint could do wonders for the look and feel of your work/office space. If you meet with clients on a regular basis and your office is blah and uninviting, you are sending the completely wrong impression to clients. You want to provide a comfortable space for your clients and your employees. Also, if you and your employees feel comfortable working in a warm, spacious office, I have a strong feeling that your productivity will probably increase!

Check out these additional business/office design tips:

Therese Pope, Copywriter/Content Developer & Digital Buzz-icist

Content Writing & Marketing Tips ** Online Buzz Branding

** Digital & Social Media Strategies