What’s the big idea?

Big Ideas, Small Budget will be a discussion about how nonprofit organizations can communicate better without spending wads of cash. Big Ideas, Small Budget will start as a conference call, the contents of which will become a special episode of the Trafcom News Podcast. You are invited to participate in this conference call.

Who can take part?
Anyone who works for or with a nonprofit organization can contribute – whether you’re a board or staff member, volunteer or consultant (writer, PR specialist, graphic designer, Web expert, podcaster, and so on). If you are involved in any way with communicating for nonprofits, we’d love your help.

The conference call is at 12 noon Eastern Standard Time on Friday, February 15, 2008. Dial 1-605-772-3285, then key in the access code 877696#. Don’t forget the pound key (number sign) at the end.

How will the call be structured?
I will pose one question at the beginning and invite callers to join in. For starters: What are the biggest communications challenges faced by nonprofit organizations with small budgets? After a discussion about that, we can talk about problems and solutions.

What kinds of things will we talk about?
Creating a communications strategy with a tight budget in mind; developing a Web presence; using traditional and social media; hiring internally or contracting out; training staff in communications tactics.

How long will the call be?
I’m planning on 45 to 60 minutes for the call. The eventual podcast will be shorter.

Can the knowledge gained in the Big Ideas, Small Budget discussion be transferred to government and for-profit organizations?
In a word, yes!

Do I have to RSVP?
If you’re fairly certain that you’re going to take part, please let me know by commenting on the blog or sending me an email at Donna AT Trafcom DOT com. Of course if your schedule suddenly frees up on February 15, you’re more than welcome to dial in even if you haven’t alerted me in advance.

Who came up with this big idea?
Big Ideas, Small Budget was inspired by Tina Hansen, a frequent commenter on the Trafcom News Podcast. Tina volunteers her time and talents, particularly with the National Federation of the Blind. She and I have enjoyed an email exchange on this topic, and I’ve decided to run this conference call and then create the subsequent podcast to help her and others. I am a volunteer, too, and I know that communicating on a small budget can be challenging.

Who designed the nice logo?
Registered Graphic Designer Branimir Zlamalik created the Big Ideas, Small Budget logo. He and I often collaborate on projects. In fact, we both work on communications for a nonprofit organization here in Oakville, Ontario. Check out his GBCom Unlimited Web site.

Do I get any glory for participating?
I will ask everyone who dials in to send me their full name, organization name and URL, which I will include in the detailed show notes for the podcast. Even more, you’ll know that you’ve done something to contribute to the greater good, and what’s better than that?

What’s next?
Please mark your calendar for noon Eastern on February 15. And spread the word too!


  1. Hi Donna,

    I’m so glad you’re pursuing this fantastic idea.

    I would love to participate, but unfortunately, I’ll be in a meeting at the scheduled time–with a nonprofit client, as a matter of fact.

    I’m hoping, though, that you can touch on some ideas this has been inspiring me to ponder.

    First, nonprofits should consider hiring new(ish) communications consultants with the intention of allowing them to try new things, learn and expand their own repertoire as they develop your nonprofit’s communications efforts. Of course this is a tricky quality vs. savings balance to strike, but I think it’s worth it.

    Another point is that if you’re looking to engage help with your communications on some part volunteer, part paid basis, allow for looooooooootttttttssssssss of room in your timelines. In addition to determining and defining your scope concretely ahead of time, nonprofits that are catching a break on their billing need to respect their consultant’s time and not expect to have huge projects done in tight timelines. Often, consultants cannot afford to focus entirely on projects they’re only being partially compensated for, because it would leave no time for their other obligations. Building in longer than usual periods of time to complete tasks and projects avoids potential conflicts and unnecessary pressure,and helps make the relationship more productive all around.

    Okay, that’s probably enough “commenting” (read: rambling) for now. I hope it makes some sense.

    Thanks again for taking this on!

  2. Sounds great, Donna. I’m in, and I’m telling some friends about it too! I work with the Oakville Literacy Council — we tutor adults in basic reading and writing. Fresh outreach ideas are always useful.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here