Tue, June 24 2008

Guest Post: Good Ideas Party

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Fun stuff •

Katya’s note:  A few weeks ago, I got invited to a very cool party for cutting edge nonprofits in New York.  (Can’t believe I made the guest list…)  I couldn’t go, sadly, so I asked the organizers of the NY event to fill in me and my blog readers on their party via a guest post.  Here is Jerri Chou of alldaybuffet with her report.

By Jerri Chou

If anyone needs to understand how to get things done, it’s those working on some of the most important social causes and issues of our day.

So recently, alldaybuffet, an organization that brings together the creative and social worlds, teamed up with Behance, a company that helps creative people be more productive, to throw an Internet Week event called Make Good Ideas Happen.

In an introduction to the world of creative productivity, three nonprofits—StartingBloc, City Year, and Sustainable South Bronx—presented themselves and their initiatives, inviting the creative community to provide ideas, action steps and contacts to help make their ideas happen.

And for one hot night, 250-300 creative and idealistic professionals showed up to the roof of the Delancey in New York where business cards flew, next steps filled white boards and engaging conversations flooded a tropical rooftop. In addition to generating contacts, strategies awareness, a rare level of communication between nonprofits and the creative community was a great productivity driver.

Mission statements came to life as City Year corps members explained what they do day-to-day and StartingBloc executives showed off the breadth of a network that reaches from London Business School to Goldman Sachs. Meanwhile, creatives filled the gaps in knowledge of these social leaders and put a face to everything from IA to brand planning.

At alldaybuffet we really feel (and it’s often proven by our initiatives) that one of the best ways to ensure next steps is to connect and learn about the people you’d like to be working with face-to-face.

You can pour over websites, brochures and PDFs, but when it comes down to it, you learn differently through dialogue. It’s the same reason a teacher is often more effective than a “How To” book. You can ask questions and dynamically fill in your gaps in information based on what you know, what you don’t, and where your interests lie.

That effort to understand is extremely important. One of the biggest confusions comes from lack of knowledge of how things work. Indesign what? XML who? Nonprofits, just like creatives need to make an effort to understand where each person is coming from, if you’re open, that understanding will come and will help you better understand what the next steps really are instead of dodging lingo.

Of course, while we can all learn a lot through dialogue, it also helps you understand what you don’t understand. Finding out what you don’t know, and either learning more about it or accepting that you can’t possibly make the time to will help you determine what resources you actually need and who you need to help you implement them.

How do you find those people? By building personal connections and, while we love the Internet, ala Internet Week, face-to-face meeting is still one of the best ways to make a direct, impactful and lasting connection. After all, we’re social creatures and as faces are one of the most familiar social tools, putting a name to a face is still one of the most powerful means of communicating. But more than any face book profile, engaging with someone allows you to read body language, see a person’s passion through expressions, ideas and gestures of another human being. It’s these human components that motivate people to act more than any email list.

Of course, if you’re going to be doing a large-scale project, you will need large scale help. Understanding exactly what someone can do, and a realistic idea of how much they can do is key to creating a long lasting relationship.

We look forward to seeing what the creative world can do to help and what more we can teach the social world about being more productive. If anything, we and the future depend on it.

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Wed, June 18 2008

How to compete like a champ

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Marketing essentials •

I recently chatted with a roomful of nonprofit folks before giving a speech, and I heard the same things over and over:

1. Money is tight.
2. They feel a keen sense of competition for resources from other organizations. (No wonder, given more than 100 new nonprofits crop up every day)
3. They are anxious about the future.

So how do you stand out?  How do you compete in that environment?

By focusing on your audience, NOT your competition.  This is about reaching out to your audience better than anyone else.  You must do a better job connecting with those people than your competition does.

We get into so much trouble imitating others organizations.  Don’t waste energy worrying about another nonprofit’s website, event or corporate sponsor.  Focus like a laser beam on pleasing your audience.

When you meet with corporate partners, stand out by impressing them with your ability to listen to them and by showing how you’re uniquely qualified to help them reach their business and philanthropic goals.  It’s not about your needs, it’s about theirs.

When you reach out to supporters, stand out with your ability to connect to their interests and values - and with your gracious gratitude for their help.

That’s how you win - by focusing on the people you want to reach, not the organizations around you.

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Wed, June 18 2008

Ask Without Fear interview is online

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Fundraising essentials •

If you’d like to listen, to my interview with Marc Pitman is online here.

You can check out some of Marc’s fundraising tips here.

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Mon, June 16 2008

Tune in to hear me talk on Ask Without Fear

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Fundraising essentials •

If you’d like to hear me field questions from Marc Pitman on his Ask Without Fear show tomorrow, check it out here.  It’s at 11 am EST.  I’ll be talking with Marc about how I stumbled (literally) into social marketing, trends in fundraising and my book.

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Mon, June 16 2008

The two essential, yet oft-forgotten, marketing questions

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Marketing essentials •

There are two questions you should ask yourself before planning any kind of marketing or communication effort.  I’m sure I’ve mentioned them here before, but they bear repeating.  They are so often forgotten.

THE TWO QUESTIONS

1. Who is my audience?
2. What do I want them to do?  (DO, not think - awareness is not a marketing goal)

The answers to these two questions are the first sentence to a marketing plan.

You must answer these two questions before you ask questions like:  Should I blog?  Brochure or flyer?  Green or red?  This message or that message?

When you know your audience and what you want them to do, the answers to all the tactical questions become clearer.

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