Wed, November 27 2013
Filed under: Fun stuff •
You are the changemakers, the risk takers, the champions, and the power behind great causes that make the world a much better place.
On behalf of the team here at Network for Good, thank you for all the good you do in the world. You amaze and inspire us each day and we are grateful to work alongside you. And for those celebrating in the U.S., have a happy and safe Thanksgiving.
Fri, July 26 2013
You’ve seen them all over Facebook, YouTube, Tumblr, and Pinterest: grumpycats,talking babies, even Ryan Gosling. Entertaining memes have exploded across the Internet. But have you also noticed an uptick in charitable memes, memes that are doing good? Many nonprofits are capitalizing on the popularity of memes to gain visibility and connect with new supporters.
Nonprofits aren’t always great at piggybacking on the work of others, but that’s the key for a meme to take off. Senior Strategist Avi Kaplan of RAD Campaign has compiled some tip-top examples of nonprofit memes that worked because they borrowed a cultural phenomena, as did tech writer Zachary Sniderman.
One of the best examples of nonprofit meme-jacking came from a 132-year-old organization, the American Red Cross. Capitalizing on Charlie Sheen’s 2011 outburst and proclamation to have drank tiger’s blood, the American Red Cross tweeted:
By tapping into the #tigerblood hashtag, Zachary reported that tons of media outlets picked up on the story, resulting in a modest increase in blood donations.
So what’s in it for you? Why should you consider making a meme?
1. Sure, memes can be just plain silly and fun, and but they can also humanize your nonprofit’s public image. Who doesn’t love an organization that embraces its humanity and sense of humor?
2. Memes can create connections and start conversations because of their two-prong premise: A meme is based on an aspect of popular culture and spread from person to person.
3. Memes give supporters an easy way to publicize and promote your cause. Once you create a meme, fans can quickly share it over email, social media, and their own websites.
Want to create your own nonprofit meme to help build buzz for your cause? Check out our tips on using memes to spread your nonprofit’s message.
Mon, July 01 2013
Filed under: Fun stuff •
Recently we asked some of our favorite fundraisers and social do-gooders to share their summer reading lists. If you’re looking for inspiration, here’s a good starting point.
The top pick for the summer appears to be Give and Take by Adam Grant. Sasha Dichter, Chief Innovation Officer of Acumen, along with Network for Good’s Kate Olsen and Dan Cohen, put this hot read at the top of the list. Give and Take was also Beth Kanter’s pick (she recently shared in-depth thoughts on this book on her blog).
Another popular recommendation was The Impact Equation by Chris Brogan and Julian Smith. John Haydon has this on his reading list, which is a pretty impressive endorsement!
Amy Sample Ward, CEO of NTEN, shared her summer reading strategy: “Summer is a great time to read something totally different. Get away from all of those work-related, business books and pick up something that is purely for fun. I find that when I let my mind truly wander and dive into a story, that I get refreshed in the light-hearted and people-centric side of our work and that refreshed perspective comes through as I draft appeals and think about calls to action. On my list: Let the Great World Spin, The History of Love, and Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls.”
Some more summer reading ideas:
Friendfluence: The Surprising Ways Friends Make Us Who We Are by Carlin Flora
“How does this relate to nonprofit marketing and fundraising? Understanding how to foster better relationships in our personal lives is key to fundraisers understanding how to foster meaningful relationships with our donors. There are many parallels that we can draw between our pursuit of being better friends and being better relationship builders with our constituencies.”
—Alia McKee, principal at Sea Change Strategies and founder of Lifeboat
The Black Swan by Nassim Taleb
“A must-read, although it will be slow-going for some. Most fundraising programs are dependent upon a very small group of people, and this book explains why.”
—Jeff Shuck, CEO of Event 360
Inspired - How to create Products Customers Love by Marty Cagan
—Scott Harrison, Founder and CEO of charity: water
Joe Waters offers up a change of pace with his choice:Bunker Hill: A City, a Siege, a Revolution by Nathaniel Philbrick. Joe tells us, “This book on the first major engagement of the American Revolution had colonists seriously outnumbered by redcoats. Nevertheless, the colonists stood their ground, inflicted heavy casualties and almost won. What fundraisers can learn: Holding your ground when you want to run can lead to victory ... or at least a failure you’re sure to learn a lot from!”
Are any of these books on your summer reading list? What would you add? Chime in by adding a comment below and tell us your reading picks for the summer—whether you’re focusing on reading for business or pleasure!
Fri, March 29 2013
Filed under: Fun stuff •
When we think about what motivates people at work, some cliches come out. Money? Maybe. Power? Perhaps. But as someone working for a mission you know it’s something else—altruism.
But what may surprise you is this isn’t just a truism in the nonprofit sector. It works in most places.
This past Sunday, the New York Times had a fascinating magazine profile of Adam Grant, the youngest-tenured and highest rated professor at Wharton. Grant focuses on workplace psychology and the effects of altruism in your career. His research shows generosity at work is a strong motivator that spurs increased productivity and creativity. Helping others, it seems, helps ourselves. (As a person, Grant is radically generous, spending hours a day helping students, colleagues and strangers for the sake of being useful to others.)
Early in his career, Grant worked with a demoralized call center to show the positive effects of altruism. Since one of the center’s purposes was funding scholarships, Grant had a student who benefited from the fundraising efforts speak to the telemarketers for ten minutes. The student told the callers how the scholarship had changed his life - and how he was headed off to work for Teach for America. A month later, the call center reported workers were on the phone 142 percent more and raising 171 more. A follow up found revenues had rocketed up 400 percent. Grant concludes the greatest untapped source of motivation is service to others. This reminds me of Daniel Pink’s writing on a higher purpose being a powerful professional motivator.
Maybe that’s why there is research suggesting that the first instinct of humans is to contribute to the greater good at their own expense. We’re wired to do what motivates us to do our best.
In my own work at Network for Good, where we not only support nonprofits like yours but also seek to help companies bring philanthropy into the workplace, we find these ideas hold true. Allowing employees to do good for others builds loyalty, increases job satisfaction and boosts morale. Giving rewards to employees like charity vouchers have been documented to make people happier and more satisfied with their jobs.
We know giving makes us happy. Maybe it makes all of us more motivated - and successful - too.
Wed, March 13 2013
Filed under: Fun stuff •
Jono Smith at Event360 asked me to share the following contest with you. Since I imagine the readership of this blog has thousands of big fundraising ideas, I’m inviting you to participate!
By Jono Smith
It’s been said that “prototyping is the language of innovation.”
A video of the human experience of your proposed new event concept is a prototype. Used correctly, an Excel spreadsheet is a prototyping tool. Google’s Gmail started out as a prototype. A temporary pop-up shop is a prototype.
So how do you prototype fundraising ideas?
Last week, The Jimmy Fund launched its “Big Ideas Contest,” a competition that encourages community involvement in the prototyping of new fundraising ideas on a large scale. Not only does this initiative “engage the public in creating the Jimmy Fund’s next great fundraising initiative to help conquer cancer,” it also inspired a judging panel filled with CEOs from such prominent companies and organizations as Legal Sea Foods, Stop & Shop, The Kraft Group, the Boston Red Sox, BJ’s Wholesale Club, and others. What a great idea to engage both the business community and the public in a collective effort to help conquer cancer.
The contest is open to anyone with creative fundraising ideas and people are encouraged to think big. Nothing is off limits — events, apps, products, promotions — anything that is a feasible and viable fundraising idea will be considered. And, as if helping advance the Jimmy Fund’s mission isn’t enough incentive, there are prizes, including Boston Red Sox and New England Patriots tickets (a great tie-in for this iconic New England-based charity). For more on how to enter, visit the Big Ideas Contest site.
The campaign’s tagline is “YOUR IDEA can change the course of cancer.” So what’s keeping you from making your next big fundraising idea real?
Jono Smith is vice president of marketing at Event 360.