Thu, August 09 2007

Should you social network?

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Social Media •

It seems like a new social network or social network application targeting do-gooders sprouts up every day - like change.org, zaadz or razoo, Causes on Facebook, etc.  So what is an overwhelmed do-gooder to do?  What should a nonprofit do?

My clever colleague Justin Perkins of Care2 has some great materials to help you weigh the relative merits and risks of investing in social networks.

First, he does a nice analysis of the “Long Tail” of Facebook causes here.

Second, he created a nifty ROI calculator to help you decide which investments are worth an effort.

Both are required reading! 

And listen to the bottom line:

The same old organizing rules still seem to apply, though there are some obvious advantages to playing in social networks if you are promoting a nonprofit cause.  Social networks are different from other mediums, in that they tap into some basic human needs in a new way—the need to be part of a group, the need to be creative, and the need to have a voice heard in a public forum. But it’s tough to get in the middle of that, as an organization.  It can take a lot of time.

In the meantime, on a self-promotional note, don’t forget that you can create a Six Degrees badge that works on many social networks—as a way to experiment to encourage supports across different platforms!  (Six Degrees is part of Network for Good, where I work).  You could win a $10,000 matching grant if you’re really good at it!

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Tue, August 07 2007

Donors who can’t say no

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Fundraising essentials •

An article in today’s Washington Post once again underlines how friends, families and colleagues are often the best messengers for mobilizing people to give:

When Michael A. Mingolelli pulled out his checkbook on June 25 and made a $500 pledge to Sen. John McCain, he was not thinking about the promise of a McCain White House. The financial and estate planner from Farmington, Mass., was thinking about keeping one of his best customers satisfied.

“One of my dear clients asked me if I would help contribute and I said yes, even if I don’t think McCain’s going to win,” Mingolelli said. “And to be honest, if it came down to McCain and Romney, I’d probably go with Romney,” he added, referring to former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney (R).

The kind of solicitation directed at Mingolelli is not unusual as presidential candidates grow more reliant on their stables of “bundlers”—well-connected supporters who can tap vast networks of associates for money and whose special status in a campaign is enshrined with such honorifics as “Ranger” (President Bush’s 2004 reelection campaign) or “Hillraiser” (Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton’s 2008 presidential campaign).

The bundlers are under their own kind of pressure to produce for their candidates. And they pass it on—corporate executives hitting up employees, real estate developers seeking checks from vendors and law partners prevailing upon less-senior lawyers.

One sign of where this pressure—direct and indirect—is applied is the rising number of contributions from secretaries, administrative assistants and executive assistants for whom a $1,000 political contribution is a major expense. At this point in the campaign four years ago, 127 donors making contributions listed one of those three occupations. In the first six months of this year the number was 526, and the average check was for nearly $800.

“Almost everyone raising the big money these days will tell you: You start your fundraising network by thinking of people . . . who can’t say no,” said Clyde Wilcox, a Georgetown University professor who has studied the psychology of political giving. “They may not tell the person they have to give, or even imply it, but both of them know that’s not true.”

We’ve found this applies to fundraising outside of politics too.  Top fundraisers at Six Degrees attest to it.

Don’t forget - you don’t have to be your organization’s only messenger.  When it comes to fundraising, your most ardent supporters are probably better at it than you.  The people within their own circles can say no to you, but they can’t say no—to them.

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Fri, August 03 2007

Some of my favorite charities

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Fun stuff •

As part of the giving carnival, I was asked by Holden what are my favorite charities. As I made a list of a few of them, the common denominator is, I know the people running the organizations or I’ve seen proof of the effectiveness of their work firsthand:

1. PSI and YouthAIDS, for doing an amazing job marketing their way to social change (they sell safe sex better than anyone). I’ve lived in two developing countries where they work - Madagascar and Cambodia - and seen their success in halting the AIDS epidemic firsthand. I actually wrote about it in my book. 

2. Sharing Foundation, which helps Cambodian kids through school and amazing people involved (including their founder and board). I covered Cambodia for Reuters back in the late 1990s and am highly supportive of focusing on education in Cambodia as a means to improve people’s lives.

3. Chernobyl Children’s Project International, which helps victims of the nuclear disaster in Belarus. The director, who I’ve had the privilege to know, is an incredible advocate, and having lived in Ukraine just a few dozen miles from Chernobyl, I want to give back to this cause.

4. The National MS Society, because I have a family member with MS, and I admire the support they give people with MS. Plus I’ve met many of their staff and think the world of them.

5. Network for Good, and not just because I work here. I believe passionately in our mission of helping the little guys - small and medium nonprofits - to get more money for their vital programs through the efficiencies of online fundraising. I’m very proud of the fact that for every dollar invested by funders in our organization, we generate over $10 in new donations for other nonprofits around the country and across the world. I’m also very proud of the fact that our staff’s compensation is based in part on our performance as an organization. I get paid less if I raise less money for nonprofits, and I think that is how it should be.

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Fri, August 03 2007

Cultivating constituents online

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Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Thanks Jonathon for posting it on Slideshare!

 

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Fri, August 03 2007

Cultivating constituents online

Katya Andresen's avatar

Author, Robin Hood Marketing

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Filed under:   Social Media •

I’m sharing here the presentation from the AMA Foundation Conference, when I shared the stage with three very smart people on the above topic.  They were Jonathon D. Colman of The Nature Conservancy, Jacob Colie of Mercy Corps and Arlin Wasserman of America on the Move

Thanks Jonathon for posting it on Slideshare!  You are fabulous.

 

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