Fri, March 28 2008

Help!  My organization is boring!

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Marketing essentials •

One of the most common questions that I receive from nonprofits is this:

“Your marketing advice sounds very nice if you’re an organization that does exciting things, like saving children or planting trees or rescuing puppies.  But how do you tell a story about a process-heavy organization?  What if we’re about coalition building?  Or legal processes?  How can that be emotional or engaging?!”

Or put more simply: “Help!  People think my organization is boring!”

I usually respond by applying the four questions or CRAM to reposition their cause in a new and interesting way to show it CAN be done—but this time, the Case Foundation has done the work for me very well.  They took an extremely important but potentially dry topic - citizen engagement and civic participation (people meeting and talking) - and made it engaging and exciting.  They did it with their Make It Your Own campaign, drawing on:

1. Good story telling
2. Dynamic messengers that make it feel personal
3. A sense of urgency via competition
4. Giving it some stakes - namely, potential money for their audiences’ causes
5. Giving it marketing juice

Here’s the good storytelling:

And here’s where you can see the messengers, the competition and the stakes.  Feel free to vote. 

As for the marketing juice - in addition to doing their own work to promote the campaign, the foundation developed mini marketing kits for the cause advocates involved, so they could learn how to amplify their voices. 

I can hear you say, I don’t have a video budget or the Case Foundation behind me.  But you don’t need big bucks to tell your story better on your home page or in an email.  A simple photo of a person holding a sign with their dreams written upon it is not expensive, but it’s powerful - because it’s personal, it’s real, and it tells a story your mission statement can’t.

What have you done to make process come alive? I’d love to hear.

(Full disclosure: I know, like, and work with many folks at the Case Foundation, and they have funded Network for Good before.  But I wouldn’t plug this campaign if I didn’t like it.)

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Tue, March 25 2008

Why you need the wired wealthy

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Fundraising essentials •

The economic news is sobering.  Foundations are cutting back on grants as their endowments shrink.  Corporations are reducing philanthrophic programs.

What’s a fundraiser to do?

One of my all-too-predictable answers, of course, is to look for new audiences online.  That won’t surprise you - urging nonprofits to get online is part of my job and my belief system.  There are younger, generous people online that you probably aren’t reaching in your other outreach.  A typical online gift is over $100.

But wait, there’s more: A growing number of people are giving even bigger bucks online.  A new study, “The Wired Wealthy” by Convio, Sea Change Strategies and Edge Research, looks at these major online donors in depth.  Read the study here, or just check out these key points from the study: 

Major and moderate donors are generous and online
o     The e-mail files surveyed represent one percent of the membership but 32 percent of the revenue for this sector
o     80 percent of the wired wealthy made donations both online and offline
o     72 percent say donating online is more efficient and helps charities reduce administrative costs
o     51 percent said they prefer giving online and 46 percent said that five years from now they will be making a greater portion of their charitable gifts online
·     
Most charity Web sites are missing opportunities to fully engage wealthy wired with their organization
o     Only 40 percent said that most charity Web sites made them feel personally connected to their cause or mission
o     Only 40 percent said that most charity Web sites are inspiring
o     48 percent felt most charity Web sites are well-designed

Email shows signs of lost opportunities to connect with various donors
o     74 percent said it was appropriate for the charity to send an email reminding them to renew an annual gift
o     74 percent said that an email from the charity about how their donation was spent, and what happened as a result would make them more likely to give again
o     65 percent said they always open and glance at emails from causes they support

Three distinct groups of donors emerged based on the extent to which the donor sees the Internet as a source of connection between themselves and the causes
o     Relationship seekers (29%) – the group most likely to connect emotionally with organizations online
o     All business (30%) – not looking for a relationship or emotional connection, but a smooth and simple donation process
o     Casual connectors (41%) occupy the middle ground, showing some interest in sustaining an online relationship, but also wanting a smooth and simple process

Nonprofits should create and provide options that let the wired wealthy customize their online experience with the cause, says the study.

Get online now if you’re not already!

And read about the wired wealthy’s cousins, the wired fundraisers, here.

 

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Tue, March 25 2008

More Buddha, Less BS

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Marketing essentials •

Last Friday, Mark Rovner and I presented at the Nonprofit Technology Conference on the 7 Things Everyone Wants and how to tap into these human and spiritual needs to do a better job marketing and communicating.

If you missed it, Britt Bravo has a nice summary here.

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Thu, March 20 2008

One of the best websites ever

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Websites and web usability •

When I was presenting yesterday, I met Sherri Sager, a savvy and inspiring government relations officer at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford.  She turned me on to the hospital’s website for kids in response to my talk about the importance of an audience-centric approach online.

lpch

It is a beautiful illustration of everything a website should do:

1.) Engage with an audience from their perspective (this feels like Club Penguin, and that’s a good thing)
2.) Establish trust and authenticity - check out the great videos of kids talking to kids: the right messages and the right messengers.
3.) Provide something of value so it’s “sticky” - kids and parents will come back to this site over and over
4.) Organize navigation according to the audience’s mindframe and interests - you can find all you need
5.) Provide interactive components - kids can make their own avatars and participate
6.) Show, don’t tell: use story and compelling messengers to get your point across

I could go on and on.  Bravo to the Children’s Hospital.  Once again proving, it’s all about the audience, my friend.

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Thu, March 20 2008

Live from New Orleans - NTC

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Social Media •

I was in Miami speaking about social media yesterday at a conference of Children’s Hospitals, and today I’m in New Orleans for the Nonprofit Technology Conference.  Tomorrow Mark Rovner and I are giving a session here called, “The Seven Things Everyone Wants: What Freud and Buddha Understood (and We’re Forgetting) about Online Outreach.”  The gist is that all the technology tools on display here at NTC and all over the web are shiny and sexy, but they only work when harnessed to basic human needs, interests and desires.  In other words, it’s human psychology - not the tools - are what ultimately leads to your success or failure online. 

Or, as my colleague Jono quotes his friend Nicole, “Don’t be a fool with a tool.”  I like that.

You must tap into what people want: they want to be seen, heard, loved, belong, find meaning.  They don’t blog to blog - they blog to be heard.  They don’t join groups because they like Yahoo! groups, they join groups out of a fundamental need to connect to others.

I have a new, simplified explanation for what constitutes web 2.0 or the world of social media.  It’s about three human needs:

1. The desire to be heard
2. The desire to be seen
3. The desire to connect to others

That’s what drives everything from Facebook to Dopplr to Digg.

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