Mon, November 10 2008

What Diane Aviv said in her Independent Sector keynote

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Nonprofit leadership •

An excerpt from Diane Aviv’s keynote at Independent Sector:

This election season has ignited, for many, a newfound interest in the well-being of our polity. As millions of people enter the public square for the first time or return after a long absence, heeding a loud national call for hope and unity, our organizations should be there to embrace them—to help convert their fresh ideas into real-world change, to help transform their enthusiasm into bold new action.

If we stand, as I believe we do, at a moment of profound rethinking about the American social compact, then the values of mutual concern and shared responsibility that unite us must be central to the discussion. We must use our voice — the organized expression of what we collectively call the independent sector, a voice founded on the values and aspirations that are embedded in the work we do.


–When we address matters of public policy, we tend to do so from our respective corners of expertise. We may have something to say about health or child welfare, about the arts or education or urban planning. We haven’t, though, had a common message about the fundamental rules and principles that would keep the economy strong, provide for urgent needs, and make sure the bills are paid. It is time we found our voice not only on the issues directly related to our missions, but on the issues that will determine whether we or our neighbors have the means to discharge our missions at all.

–The surest way for us to grow stronger—for civil society to rise to the mounting challenges that the current moment presents us—is to ensure that we are not charting our future in isolation. The purpose of a new social compact—beginning now, in the extraordinary weeks and months we are living through—will be to weave a new, more durable, more responsible web of interlocking obligations among all the sectors of society and then with our partners in all corners of the globe. We are well equipped to participate vigorously in serving that purpose. What’s more, we need to participate, for the sake of our missions, and of all the things we hope to achieve.

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Mon, November 10 2008

Game theory that applies to you

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Social Media •

At the Independent Sector session, “Developing Online Simulations, Creating Real World Change” Stephen Bennett, President and CEO of United Cerebral Palsy discussed their game for simulating care giving – Ruby’s Bequest.  I liked some of the principles he used to design the game.  They apply to just about anything online.  I paraphrase them here:

1. Don’t create a new destination if you want to reach a lot of people from the get-go
2. Connect existing groups already predisposed toward your issue
3. Let people stay where they are virtually when they interact with you
4. Make it easy for people to engage

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Mon, November 10 2008

Your own website vs. Facebook?

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Social Media •

A member of the “Community Empowerment through New Media and Innovative Journalism,” session at Independent Sector (moderated by Ben Binswanger of the Case Foundation), just asked the above question.

I’m going to answer that question here.  The problem with this question is that it implies an either/or choice.  In my opinion, the answer is all of the above with a third piece the questioner left out.  This is NOT about your organization setting up a nice website vs. setting up a nice Facebook page!  It’s about not just having a website, but also ensuring your champions have the tools they need to take action wherever they want, including Facebook. It’s about having little satellite presences in those places, IF YOUR SUPPORTERS HANG OUT THERE.

Here’s what I mean:

ONE: A nonprofit needs a basic website that has key information on why anyone should care about you, why your work matters, and how to engage with you. 

TWO: In addition, you need to provide portable elements on your website so people who find you online can spread the word about you in other places online.  Don’t have a “what’s news” page, have a “what’s news” RSS feed.  Don’t just have a donate button.  Enable people to fundraise for your cause anywhere they want.  What will happen then is those champions will start spreading the word all over the place, creating the Flipped Funnel phenomenon.

THIRD: Build toward a few hubs around the Internet where your audience tends to congregate.  If you take step #2 AND regularly explore online where people are talking about your issue, you’ll know where to go.

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Mon, November 10 2008

3 questions before plunging into new media

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Social Media •

Here are three good questions to answer before you start going crazy with technology, from Alyce Myatt of Grantmakers in Film + Electronic Media.  I’m sharing them from the session I just blogged:

1.What are you trying to do?  (As opposed to what you are trying to say.  What are you trying to get a certain audience to do?) 

2.How best can you make that change occur?  How can it best be done?  (Given your audience and where they hang out online or in the world, what technology or media will engage them best)?

3.What resources do you have at hand? (This will help you determine the right scope.)

I’m not sure we’re asking these questions enough before we get started.

I’m also concerned we’re not getting started.  Ramya just noted in this session that YouTube for nonprofits is the slowest growing vertical on the site.  Not enough nonprofits are involved, and too many just slap up a video without seeking to build a community or reaching out to popular YouTube users.

 

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Mon, November 10 2008

The 2 reasons you need new media, even if you’re old school

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Social Media •

I’m blogging from the session at Independent Sector, “Community Empowerment through New Media and Innovative Journalism,” moderated by Ben Binswanger of the Case Foundation.  The panelists are Linda Fantin of Minnesota Public Radio and the Center for Innovative Journalism, Ramya Raghavan of YouTube Nonprofits and Alyce Myatt of Grantmakers in Film and Electronic Media.

Here’s my take on the panel.  Just as marketing is no longer a monologue but rather a conversation with an audience, so is new media.  It is two-way communication.  As Linda pointed out, public insight journalism is predicated on the idea that everyone has expertise, and people know what matters to them.  The audience isn’t just an audience – they are a participant that takes part in creating the content – either by interacting with those covering the story or suggesting angles to a story, or by creating the story themselves. 

If you’re still doubting this idea, or don’t know how it relates to you, consider two principles of persuasion: relevance and trust.  These are two old-school, good old bread and butter ideas.  First, we only tune into what is personally relevant to us.  Second, we trust ourselves (and people like us) more than traditional authorities.  That’s why word of mouth is so desirable.  What’s great about new media is it allows us to establish personal relevance and trust on unprecedented levels.  Because the audience is the messenger!  That’s where old school meets new media.
Take the example from Ramya of voters filming their experience at the polls at Video Your Vote at YouTube vs. CNN talking about long lines on air.  There’s nothing quite like watching a first-time voter in Georgia filming herself talking about waiting in line for seven hours to vote – with her baby.  It has a level of immediacy and credibility that traditional media doesn’t achieve.

As Linda put it, this ideally changes the nature of how stories are reported via traditional media as well.  She said, “If you want to find a left-handed baker who can make pineapple upside down cake while making a YouTube video, you could.  But this is not about finding the right example to plug into a set story.  It’s about what is happening among real people, and that information shaping the story.”

So what does this mean to you, even if you’re not in the business of media?  The bottom line is these tools can make every interaction with your constituency more powerful.  Put video in the hands of your donors or people you help.  Engage your supporters in a conversation about how they spread the word about your issue.  Give them the tools to do it.  And then if they give you input, be sure to acknowledge it, use it and celebrate it. 

When you lose control of the story, it’s a little scary, but the alternative is having an audience of only one: yourself.

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