Mon, September 22 2008

Model website… from the government no less

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Websites and web usability •

I get a lot of inquiries during speeches and here on the blog about good websites.  Which websites do I think are effective?  Who has the right stuff?

These are hard questions to answer, because most nonprofit websites fall prey to “all about us disease.”  They fail to be laser-focused on the audience.  They forget to answer the question “how we can help you?”

Today, I was alerted to a website that does all these things right - and it’s from the government, no less.  Bravo.

The newly launched has all the things a home page should: 

-A big engaging visual focal point
-Clear calls to action (in this case, ways to get fit that are easy, clear and rewarding)
-A clear set of benefits for taking action
-Tools that help me
-Clever information-gathering mechanisms for the site owner - they are going to get great audience data from the quizzes on here

The only thing that’s missing is a way to take these cool tools and share them or post them on my blog or Facebook page.  But I’m told they are planning widgets soon.

This is great stuff.  Unlike the dreadful redesigned food pyramid, which I panned in my book, this is health advice I understand and want to use.

Follow this model.  It’s going in my next speech.

Hat Tip to Dan Jeffers for the site information.

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Fri, September 19 2008

GREAT branding: Bald Girls Do Lunch

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Suppose you’re creating an organization for women with alopecia areata — the autoimmune skin disease which stops the normal growth of hair on the scalp, brows, lashes and body.  You want to convey that you are about community, support and fun.  You want to make women with this condition feel empowered.  And you want them to be absolutely COMPELLED to join you.

Typical nonprofit approach?

Call it the Alopecia Areata Association.

A brilliant approach?

Call it Bald Girls Do Lunch.


Congratulations Bald Girls Do Lunch on amazing marketing.

PS Full disclosure: I learned about this group when they signed up for Network for Good fundraising services. I work at Network for Good.  When I saw their name, I just had to know who they are.  But this post isn’t about business, in fact they don’t know I blogged this:)  Yet.

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Fri, September 19 2008

Wall Street is tanking, but your ROI is gold.

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Fundraising essentials •

It’s easy to worry the financial crises rocking our markets are going to kill fundraising this year.

Just remember, in an era when Lehman is nearly worthless and so many investments look like they’re offering low returns, you are priceless.

Remind your donors of their amazing ROI with you.

For a few dollars, they get a helper’s high.  They feel good because they did good.  It’s cheaper than therapy.

Their investment in your organization doesn’t yield paper profits.  It changes lives.  Always.

Be passionate and persuasive about your emotional ROI - and your human ROI. 

Those who can afford it will get it and give.

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Thu, September 18 2008

Good thoughts from Seth Godin

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Marketing essentials •

Seth Godin kindly donated his time to Network for Good yesterday, presenting our most popular Nonprofit 911 call ever.  Over two thousand people registered for it!  You can listen here, but here’s my most favorite thing he said (and I paraphrase slightly):  we have to stop spamming people for support.  Stop trying to interrupt them and get them to pay attention.  There are too many people doing it.

As Seth said, this not working as well as it used to.  The number of people who are trying to interrupt audiences has gone way up.  The noise has increased dramatically, so a lot of nonprofits are struggling.

If you take this approach, you have to talk to 100 people to get one donor or 1,000 people to get one trustee. 

Instead, you should get your biggest supporters talking for you. 

That changes the equation fundamentally.

So what do you do?  The opportunity is to not to interrupt people.  What you do is empower people who already believe in you to speak up on your behalf.  Create ideas worth spreading. 

People don’t talk about our causes for many reasons, from discomfort to laziness, so we have to change that by organizing our work to be worth talking about.

You can read Seth’s free publication on this - called Flipping the Funnel here.

Thank you Seth for your ideas and inspiration!

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Sun, September 14 2008

Why and how to listen

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Marketing essentials •

My father does a funny thing with chairs.  If he hasn’t seen you for a long time, he’ll rearrange the furniture so he can sit directly across from you and fully absorb every word you utter.  At my house, he once moved an immense armchair and ottoman clear across the living room to better hear an old friend sitting on my sofa.

It was startling gesture for the friend.  It was something I’m used to.  My father always removes any obstacle that gets in the way of listening to friends or family or patients in his work as a psychiatrist.  My whole life, he has started most conversations with the words, “Tell me everything.”  Now he says it to my own children.

This is very, very rare.

We don’t face each other very much any more, and we rarely listen.  We are stunned when someone devotes their full attention to us.  Imagine if you did that for the people you want to reach. Imagine what might change.

Bad things happen when we stop paying attention to the people around us.  We lose them.  Our relationships suffer.  Social injustices occur – just ask a homeless person how invisible she feels.  Our supporters abandon us.  Our customers hate us.  (Our customers really hate us – look no further than, a website devoted to people frustrated their complaints are not heard by United Airlines.)

My frolleague Mark Rovner and I believe that extraordinary things happen when we recognize people – when we truly hear, see and acknowledge them.  Making people FEEL HEARD creates great relationships, strong societies, powerful organizations and profitable, popular businesses. 

That’s different from listening to everything people say and acting upon what they say.  Seth Godin has helped me see that distinction.  They key thing is to make people feel heard - and then as a leader of a customer service department or philanthropic organization, figuring out what patterns in the comments and subtext beneath the comments signal something you should address.

Make sure, as Seth says, you have a way for them to speak.  That gives you a way to make them feel heard.

More on that this week.

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