Thu, January 22 2009

Online = snack; Mail = meal

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Websites and web usability •

Don’t forget:

Things online should be short.  People skim online.

Things offline often work better long - like fundraising letters.

If your home page is text heavy, you’re trying to serve a full meal to a snacker.  Don’t do it.  Save the purple prose for direct mail.

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Tue, January 20 2009

Show, don’t tell, if you want a following

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Marketing essentials •

Yesterday, I took my daughters for a cold snowy walk in Rock Creek Park here in Washington DC to pick up trash.  We wanted to do something to feel of service, and we didn’t have to walk far to pick up an entire bag of garbage.  Apparently there are a lot of beer drinkers in the forest with a predeliction for Budweiser.


The best thing about the experience was the many walkers and runners who stopped us to thank us for what we were doing.

It reminded me:

If you really want to move people, be the change you want to see.  Good nonprofit marketing is about showing, not telling.  It’s about acting, not instructing. 

If I were trying to get people’s attention for my cause right now, I’d make very public the good I was doing.  When people see it in action, it’s hard for them not to be a part of it. 

Just look at what happened today.

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Tue, January 13 2009

When the Ax-Man Cometh: What to cut out of your budget

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Fundraising essentials •

Jeff Brooks is not only one of my favorite bloggers and fundraising experts, he’s my personal hero for giving his time today to speak on our Network for Good Nonprofit 911 call on the topic of where to cut if you’ve got to cut your budget.  He is still talking (this is live blogging, folks) and I’m happy to say he is wise, helpful, insightful and provocative, my favorite combination in a speaker.  You can see his slides here and access the MP3 file at this same link in another day or so.

Here are some gems from his talk:

1.) DO NOT CUT net-positive donor cultivation programs.  To be wise enough to keep those programs, though, you have to know which are NET positive (not gross positive).  How much did you NET from your gala (as opposed to raise)?  Figure out net present value of a donor: what money do you expect in projected lifetime giving from that donor (take their first gift and multiply by ten), then subtract the cost of acquisition and the ongoing cultivation cost.  Measuring net present value can tell you where you’re spending too much and where you can spend more to get more. 

2.) KEEP ACQUIRING DONORS.  Cutting donor acquisition is the quick path to long-term pain.  Donors are worth more every year (he suggested two times the second year and exponential growth from there, for example) so if you get far fewer donors this year, you’re going to feel bad pain next year and far worse pain the following year.

3.) CUT WHAT’S UNCLEAR.  If you’ve got less money to spend, don’t spend it on things that have unmeasurable or questionable impact.  In hard times, stick to things that have demonstrable impact, not things like your warm fuzzy brand awareness effort.  Direct response fundraising is a better investment now than general “branding” campaigns.  PR and media relations are a relative bargain - positive impact for very few dollars - but non-response advertising (with no measurable response vehicle) is not.  Kill the “we exist and we’re really cool” ads if you’re short on dough.  Leave that to people who can do it on a scale where it’s effective - like Coca-Cola.

I completely agree with the last point.  And it’s going to make some people nuts.  Really nuts.  I like how Jeff put it—

What would you rather do with your limited budget:

• Move 100 people 10% of the way toward giving?
• Move 10 people 100% of the way toward giving?

He added a positive note that I’d also like to second:  In hard times, innovation doesn’t happen because people are afraid of risk.  New ideas often don’t work out, but you can’t let these times cut off innovation or let fear rule you.  Be wise, but also be bold.

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Thu, January 08 2009

Preach to the choir - then get them singing your tune outside church

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Social Media •

Faithful reader and commenter Luke Renner had a great new year post I’d like to share.

I really agree with it, and the message is right.  I’d sum it up this way: preach to the choir (the people who care about what you do in some way OR have some personal connection to a person who does care).  Then ask the choir to leave the church and go do personal performances wherever they go.

Don’t try to convert the people who will never ever care.  It will never ever work.

Here are excerpts from Luke’s post:

1 - Most of the people who support us right now are FRIENDS AND FAMILY.

2 - For the most part, friends and family generally support WHO WE ARE more than WHAT WE’RE DOING. That doesn’t mean that friends and family disagree with what we are doing. It’s just that they know us as people first and foremost… and can find a way to support us on the merits of that relationship, even if they may not understand or agree with our choice of “mission.”

3 - Most of our “new friends” who do support us ALREADY AGREED WITH OUR VISION before they met us. In other words, we did not change their mind or convince them of anything… we simply found them.

There are countless people who already think like we do! In our case, these people might include: educators, filmmakers, technology companies, software developers, civil rights groups, etc.

These groups of people already believe (strongly) in the merits of:

- Education
- Mass media as an instructional tool
- The use of technology for human advancement

In other words… I DON’T HAVE TO CONVINCE THEM OF ANYTHING!!! These fine people are already sitting around somewhere, in total (or partial) agreement with what we are doing… they just don’t know we exist yet.

Without a doubt, these groups are prone toward lending a helping hand.

The job cannot be to convince people to believe in something. The job must be to find others who already hold the same values we do and invite them to join us.

In other words, I have been working too hard at the wrong job!

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Tue, January 06 2009

Katya’s websites of the week: toilets and trips

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Websites and web usability •

I’m starting a new feature in 2009 - website(s) of the week.  This week’s have nothing to do with marketing - they have to do with urination and travel!  Because I want to make your life easier not just as a marketer but also as a fellow human being.  In the future, I promise to sometimes feature content relevant to marketing.

This week’s winners:

Check out MizPee to find the nearest clean toilet to where you are now.  Ratings available - measured by little toilet paper roll icons.  (I read about this in today’s Wall Street Journal.)  I’ve always been too intimidated to rate anything at Zagat’s but this I could do.

Check out TripIt for your next journey.  When you get all your confirmations from airlines, hotels, etc., just hit forward to their email address and they assemble a nifty little itinerary for you!  They’ll even tell you the weather!  I learned about it from TechCrunch, natch.

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