Fri, June 13 2008

What makes for motivation

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Fun stuff •

Jeremy Gregg at the Raiser’s Razor blog asked me to answer the following question: What drives your philanthropassion? 

In other words, why have I, like you, chosen to be overworked and underpaid in the third sector?

Part of the answer for me is, I spent a number of years working as a journalist in very poor countries.  And the poverty and pain I saw on a daily basis was hard to simply witness, over and over.  So I stopped reporting and started working to remedy what I was seeing.  (This is not to say journalism does not do much to contribute to the social good or to right wrongs - it does.  I just wanted to be more involved in the story.)

So part of my motivation is based on need.

But the bigger part of it is based on change.  I saw enough good when I was reporting that I also grew to believe there was hope in most situations.  And that, ultimately, is the most motivating thing of all.

I started my book this way: We all have moments in life when we happen upon our calling, and mine was when I encountered a giant, smiling condom in Cambodia.  I go on to tell the story of being inspired by the ground-breaking work of the nonprofit PSI to make AIDS prevention fun and hopeful (including via a giant condom balloon), to great success.  I saw the good in the story and possibility in the future.

I think ultimately, what makes for the most powerful motivation (at least for me) is not how bad something is now but rather how much better it could be.

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Mon, June 09 2008

More sticky advocacy: The girl effect

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Advocacy •

I like it, and I think it works - it got forwarded to me, after all, and I forwarded it.  That’s what sticky advocacy is all about…

Thoughts?

UPDATE: Be sure to read the comments to this post - I agree with the commenters that the call to action could be better.

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Thu, June 05 2008

How to make advocacy sticky

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Advocacy •

Imagine you had to mobilize an audience of working moms to advocate for paid sick days - something that too few receive.

You could talk about the importance of paid sick days for the working mom.  Yawn.

Or you could use humor and interactivity to relate to how moms experience this issue - which is by living in fear of getting ill and avoiding sick people like the plague.

I pick door #2.

So did RisingMoms.  This is the first RisingMoms email (and they send too many) I’ve really liked - because it makes the issue sticky and VIRAL!

 

 

 

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Thu, June 05 2008

3 ways to transform your message

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Marketing essentials •

1. Put it in someone else’s mouth - someone who loves - but does not work for - your organization.

2. Start the message with the word YOU not WE.

2. Put in online, so if people are moved, they are one click away from action.

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Wed, June 04 2008

Three pieces of fundraising advice

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Fundraising essentials •

Here is my Fundraising Success column for June, featuring my alter ego, the maven.

Dear Marketing Maven,

My donations are down, my heart is heavy, and my job is on the line.  Worse, I think I’m coming down with something.  Paging Dr. Dollars!

-Sick in Syracuse

Dear Sick,

I don’t need a stethoscope to diagnose these ailments.  You’re suffering from one or all of the three most common diseases in the nonprofit world.  Sadly, they are at epidemic proportions.  We’ve got to stop their spread!

#1: “Field of Dreams” syndrome. Those who have this disease believe that, “If you build it, they will come.” By “they,” I mean a big team of generous donors.  For example, if you have FODS, you think that if you build a website and stick a DonateNow button on it, donors will arrive and click.  This disease also manifests itself as an assumption that uttering your mission statement will inspire people to give.  If you find yourself saying, “If people only knew, they would” then you have FODS.  Declaring your existence is not a fundraising campaign.  It is a symptom of FODS.
The cure? You need to reach out to people and build relationships with them.  Then maybe they’ll want to support you.

#2: “It’s all about us” disease. Nonprofits suffering from this disease are easy to spot—their home pages, emails and all of their correspondence reads like an “About Us” page. Sometimes, this ailment is called “Nonprofit Narcissism.”  Mission statements, the history of your organization and other related details should not be found everywhere and do not constitute a strong message. 
The cure? Make it about your donor, not you.  Why should they care?  What can they accomplish?  How have they changed the world with their support? 

#3: “Call to inaction” problem. In order to generate donations and increase your donor base, you need to have a clear call to action. It’s not enough to state who you are, what you do and what’s new. You need to clearly state what you are asking and appeal to prospective donors to take that action.  “Save the earth” is not a call to action.  Nor is “support us.”
The cure?  Be specific.  As in, “Click this button and give us $10 for a bed net so a child will be saved from malaria.”

Be well,

Maven

Dear Marketing Maven,

Our image is not what I want, so I’m thinking of rebranding with a new logo.  Thoughts?

-Making Over in Hanover

Dear Makeover,

Bad idea.  Branding is not about logos, it’s about how people perceive you.  That’s got a lot more to do with how you treat them, how you conduct your programs, and how you communicate your achievements than it has to do with your logo.  Don’t spend a cent on a new logo until you dig deeper into these aspects of your brand.  Without that level of makeover, a new logo or color palette is about as effective as slapping lipstick on a pig.  I don’t think it’s worth spending money on a logo change unless you conclude after fixing everything else that your logo is in direct violation of the brand you’ve built. 

Happy makeover,

Maven

Dear Marketing Maven,

Why did you not open my last eNewsletter?

—Hurt in Halifax

Dear Hurt,

I get about 20 email newsletters a week.  I read about two.  I must have somehow overlooked yours – I’m sure it was worth a read, unlike the other 18.  For what it’s worth, here are some thoughts on newsletters:

1. Maybe you don’t need one.
People are inundated with newsletters.  I’m not the exception – we all get too many.  Yawn.  Why not put your time and energy into something truly exceptional?  Like the packet a friend just got from DonorsChoose to thank him for buying a carpet for a classroom.  He got a picture of the kids on the carpet – along with the students’ little handwritten notes and pictures.  Wow.  Not feasible, you say?  How about simply sending out something useful to your audience?  At Network for Good, we send out weekly free fundraising tips rather than a newsletter about us.  Our nonprofits love it!  If you’re an organization focused on diabetes, how about weekly tips for managing diabetes? 

2. If you do an enewsletter, don’t forget the “e.”
You can’t just slap your print newsletter into a PDF, email it, and consider yourself the editor of an “enewsletter.”  Write to the medium. Online communications need to be shorter and formatted for the web. People skim online.  They don’t read.  Don’t make them download a PDF and turn pages on your computer. Grab attention with photos, short text and good stories.

3. Make it about the donors and not you.
Don’t manifest “All about us” disease in your newsletter.  Your newsletter should not be about how great you are.  It should be about how great your donor is!  Make your donor feel like the center of attention.  No one can resist reading about themselves – or about what they accomplished.

Write on,
Maven


Stay tuned… more on email newsletters in next month’s column!

 

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