- Mon, February 18 2008
- Filed under: Cause-related marketing
My beloved writer cousin Elisabeth just sent me this email yesterday, which I’m reprinting with her permission:
I just totally thought of you—I had a “marketing moment” looking through this catalog from “Fair Indigo.” Have you ever heard of it? I hadn’t. It’s “fair trade clothes” which sort of look like Ann Taylor Loft with maybe a sprinkle of J. Jill. Lots of t-shirts and stuff, “made fairly in Buji, China,” etc.. But as I was going through, I started dog-earing pages and making these grand plans to overhaul my wardrobe, and I suddenly realized I was going to buy a ton of stuff not because I really like the clothes (they’re ok) but because I want to buy tons of new clothes while congratulating myself on improving the lives of women in Buji, China. Almost every page has a story about how great these factories are, and what a difference they’re making. I was getting so into it when I realized, what a great marketing angle and application of K. Andresen’s marketing principles! Even the cover line is “Fair Trade Fashion helps change the world,” and here I am in the kitchen with Alistair thinking, I’m a world-changer! Let’s get that sweater in latte, too!
I love this story because it shows that good stories - and especially stories about good - sell just about anything.
We buy so many things because of their storyline, and we are especially likely to spend when we aspire to be a character in that story. Imagine helping raise someone out of poverty on the other side of the world just by being fashionable - that’s being a heroine.
Remember this! Your storyline is essential. If you have a corporate partner, your cause-related marketing effort needs a compelling storyline. If you’re about to email an appeal - check if there is a story there. Is the reader going to feel a part of it? No? Then start rewriting now. You need a good protagonist, a high-stakes conflict or challenge, and a resolution with meaning. Even fashion catalogs have them.
You can check out Fair Indigo’s fine website here.
- Fri, February 15 2008
- Filed under: Fun stuff
Since it’s a day when we’re focused on winning hearts, I’m going to take a moment to highlight in red what we all adore: being recognized and loved for who we are and connecting with those we love.
Treat those you want to reach in this world with that kind of affection. Listen to what they say. Acknowledge and appreciate who they are. They will respond in kind. Great marketing is about love.
Happy Valentine’s Day!
- Tue, February 12 2008
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
I just started writing a monthly column for Fundraising Success Magazine. Check out the current issue here - it’s pretty interesting stuff. Be sure to read Jeff Brooks’ column on “protecting victims.”
Imagine you’re waiting at the bus stop on a busy street in your town. It’s a cold day, and you’ve got your hood up and your head down. You’re thinking about a lot of things. That you’re going to be late to work if the bus doesn’t soon appear. That you forgot to pick up your dry cleaning. That all that holiday overconsumption has made your pants too tight. That your spouse doesn’t look at you the same way anymore. That you forgot to feed your daughter’s guinea pig this morning.
Then I walk up and interrupt your thoughts. I’m a complete stranger, and I say: “Greetings. I’m Katya, and I’m a good person. I was born in 1967. My mission in life is to raise my children well, love those around me and leave the world a little better than when I entered it. I need a friend, and you could be my friend. Will you be my friend today?”
I imagine that you would think I was nuts. And quite the narcissist.
Yet we fundraisers launch into this kind of creepy plea all the time. I have a stack of year-end appeals from December on my desk, and too many sound just like my stranger at the bus stop. Here’s the template:
I’m writing from XYZ Nonprofit.
Established in (year), our mission is to (mission statement).
We need money.
Give us money.
Thanks in advance.
PS: Give us money.
I think this is nuts. And narcissistic. And it sounds like the bus-stop broadside. Fundraisers can and should do better. We should beware the bus-stop broadside fundraiser in all of us.
Why? People are busy, and their thoughts are not on us. They’re thinking about their weight, their job, their spouse, their children, the guinea pig, their place in this universe. If we interrupt them and ask for their attention, we had better do it well. We should not start a conversation with a monologue on our merits. We should acknowledge our readers’ presence and speak to their interests. We should not solely focus on what we want from them. We should focus on what we can achieve together.
If this sounds like common sense, well then, you’re on to me. This column, a new one here at FundRaising Success, is going to focus on the common sense we always forget. It’s about forgotten fundamentals — those immutable laws of marketing that are so easy to recognize and so hard to remember to do. And the fundamental we forget most often is this: To succeed in fundraising, we need to focus on our audience and not just ourselves.
I can speak with great authority on this topic because I’m constantly forgetting this fundamental. I forget that not everyone wakes up first thing in the morning thinking about online giving, which is the focus of my work at Network for Good. It slips my mind that my cocktail party companions might not share my zeal for all things marketing. I have a recurring case of mission myopia. The only cure is self-awareness and regular booster shots of an anti-nonprofit-narcissism vaccine.
Last year, Network for Good processed its 100 millionth dollar for nonprofits; a huge milestone for us. I started to draft a press release, but sanity prevailed. “Who would care?” I thought. No one, I realized. So I thought about why people should care. And what I realized was we were sitting on a fascinating set of data about giving. What if we celebrated our $100 million mark by analyzing our $100 million in giving — who gives online, where, what time of day, etc. — and sending our study to media and nonprofits? It would help media covering the charity beat, and it would help nonprofits fundraise more effectively. The result? A lot of attention and coverage of our work that continues to this day.
I was reminded of that study a few weeks ago when I was drafting a year-end e-mail to Network for Good’s friends and funders. The occasion was our sixth birthday, and the purpose of the note was to talk about the great things we’d achieved the past year. Then I realized that our birthday wasn’t really an occasion at all. Who cares, besides the people in my office, that we’re 6? And why should we be beating our chests, taking all the credit for the good we’d done? I was doing the bus-stop broadside.
So I started over. I drafted a heartfelt thank-you to our friends and funders for all they’ve done to make us what we are. The e-mail talked about how much we appreciate their investment of money, time and moral support — and the incredible returns that have resulted. It celebrated the difference the audience had made, and people loved it.
Here’s the bad news. It’s hard to do this. Our tendency as fundraisers who love our cause is to talk about our cause.
Here’s the good news. When we do the work of thinking about how our cause relates to our audience, wonderful things happen. It’s worth the effort. We turn our preachy monologue into a respectful, engaging conversation. People respond because they want to have a relationship with us. We become great fundraisers, and we might even make a new best friend at the bus stop. FS
- Fri, February 08 2008
- Filed under: Fundraising essentials
Katya’s note: This guest post is by my talented colleague Rebecca Ruby at Network for Good. I want to share it because I often get asked, how do I build an email list?
By Rebecca Ruby
A philosophical question: If an e-newsletter is powerful enough to move someone to action, but no one’s around to read it, does it make an impact?
If not particularly mind-bending, this inquiry does bring up a valuable (seemingly obvious) point: You can craft a fabulous e-newsletter, send it out just the right number of times per year and impart some really powerful information, but you need to create an email contact list (an audience) at your organization to be effective.
Here are four tips to get you started on the road to contact-information glory:
1. Make it easy, compelling and cool for your website visitors to give you their email addresses (yes, it can be cool). The majority of people visiting your organization’s website is there on purpose-they may have been searching for your organization in particular or simply shopping around for a nonprofit with your mission. Make the sign-up button easy-to-spot, put it “above the fold,” and make your form brief yet informative (you risk form abandonment if you require or ask for too many pieces of information).
2. Include “join our email list” everywhere you can. Once you have your online form, send people there from all directions: your homepage, the signature at the bottom of your email (your everyday contacts may opt in), and other places you have content sprinkled around the Internet such as blogs and social networking pages.
3. Use the “people love free stuff” principle. Incentivize. You’re asking people to give you something (information), and they’re going to wonder what’s in it for them:
•Set up a drawing.
•Offer prizes to the first X people who sign up for your new e-newsletter or who sign up by Y date.
•Show people that they’re making a difference and/or joining a community.
4. Make it easy for your current subscribers to hook their friends. Promote your newsletter and gain new subscribers by asking current subscribers to forward your message along; consider including a “forward to a friend” link in your message. Keep in mind that you should always include a subscribe link in your newsletter so people who do receive a forwarded copy have an easy way to get their own copy in the future.
- Mon, February 04 2008
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
Seth Godin has a superlative blog entry today. In the unlikely event you haven’t heard of Seth, he’s author of the classic Purple Cow, the new Meatball Sundae and one of my favorite writers on marketing. He says:
People take action (mostly) based on one of three emotions:
Every successful marketer (including politicians) takes advantage of at least one of these basic needs.
Forbes Magazine, for example, is for people who hope to make more money.
Rudy Giuliani was the fear candidate. He tried to turn fear into love, but failed.
Few products or services succeed out of love. People are too selfish for an emotion that selfless, most of the time.
It’s interesting to think about the way certain categories gravitate to various emotions. Doctors selling check ups, of course, are in the fear business (while oncologists certainly sell hope). Restaurants have had a hard time selling fear (healthy places don’t do so well). Singles bars certainly thrive on selling hope.
Google, amazingly quickly, became a beloved brand, something many people see as bigger than themselves, something bigger than hope. Apple lives in this arena as well. I think if you deliver hope for a long time (and deliver on it sometimes) you can graduate to love.
I think fear is not a great motivator for good causes, unless you can also pair fear with a way to resolve the situation that is terrifying. This is why health scares often work to get people to change their health behaviors. Too much fear and negativity will make people feel helpless or perceive that your issue is intractable. Fear often prompts a person to cower or take cover. Give people the feeling that they have the power to help or change a situation.
By contrast, hope can make you commit. Hope is a big winner for us. Everyone wants to feel hope, and we are all about hope in our field. I hope you are making hope a big part of the way you talk about your programs.
Love is possible for us. If Google - a search engine - evokes that kind of emotion, we damn well can too. IF we do a good job fulfilling our mission. IF we do a great job telling our story. IF we do a better job reporting back to donors what they’ve done for others. IF we build lasting, two-way relationships with the people who support us. Do people love your organization? They will if you do these things. I hope you do!
- Sun, February 03 2008
- Filed under: Fun stuff
Not a whole lot. But it’s amusing. This is my cousin Justin’s band’s video. Give me an excuse for having displayed it! I pledge a free copy of Robin Hood Marketing to the first person who can connect this video to the topic of nonprofit marketing. No astroturfing from pickle or hotdog companies, please.
UPDATE: Wow, well done, readers! You were SO inspired that I’m awarding two books—one for the first entry below by Cindi AND everyone else who replies by midnight tonight gets entered into a lottery for an additional book. I’ll announce the winner tomorrow.
UPDATE #2: The lottery winner is Jennifer!
- Fri, February 01 2008
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
I was having lunch with some of my favorite web designers the other day, and we got to talking about the scarcity mentality. They were especially irritated with unethical web designers that create websites that nonprofits can’t access themselves, so they could generate more business for their firms in perpetuity. They told the story of one nonprofit that hired them saying their last designer wouldn’t even give them high-resolution electronic files of the logo they’d designed—so the firm could charge the nonprofit each time it needed to do something with their logo. It had never occurred to that nonprofit to beware of that in their contract. While this made the firm money in the short term, the nonprofit was so irate they hired a new designer (my friends) and doubtlessly spread lots of bad word of mouth about that awful firm.
Hoarding, secrecy and a spirit of scarcity are not good strategies.
Then I saw this excellent point made by blogger Terri:
The non-profit universe is set up so that everyone must compete for the same money. This prevents a lot of networking, partnering and coalition-building. I think this is a shame. Just as it is possible for me to invite you over for dinner without giving you my house, it must be possible for agencies and others to connect and interact in ways that increase the visibility, credibility and effectiveness of everyone.
I love the dinner/house analogy, Terri. Well said.
In addition to funding fears curtailing collaboration in our sector, I see information-hoarding as another bad phenomenon. I’m appalled by some funders, nonprofits and companies that serve our sector refusing to freely share what they know and learn.
They don’t get that scarcity mentalities lead to more scarcity.
I believe in giving away everything you can, in sharing information freely and in collaborating openly with others. While this sounds scary in a competitive world, it actually gets you more resources at the end of the day. When you’re generous with others, they usually end up reciprocating. You get absolutely amazing word of mouth and massive amounts of goodwill. When you join forces with worthy partners, you usually get more visibility and resources for both parties. When you act with integrity, you get more business. Really.
I’m not saying there isn’t competition in this world. I’m saying how we react to it is critical to our success. We can fight over the same small patches of territory or we can try to band together for a bigger land grab. The rare disease organizations have done this with great success with federal funding. Newspapers have done this to great success, making online content free - they then get more traffic and therefore more ad revenue. Network for Good does this too with our Learning Center and free calls - we share everything we know about fundraising. And we’ve ended up with more nonprofits using our services, which has led to more revenue.
Generosity has an excellent ROI.
Parsimony pays back accordingly.
- Fri, February 01 2008
- Filed under: Social Media
Today at Network for Good’s Six Degrees site, we wrapped up our part of America’s Giving Challenge, a campaign by Parade and the Case Foundation. We saw amazing performances by our wired fundraisers, and though the results aren’t yet final we can say they were incredible - many individuals raised tens of thousands of dollars for their causes.
To celebrate their achievements, I want to share this week’s tips from Network for Good on this topic, authored by my talented colleague Rebecca Ruby. Here’s what she says:
If you’re sitting at your computer hugging your organization’s mission statement, branding guide and/or special event brochure (the one that was approved by everyone in your office, your board, your babysitter, etc. etc.), it’s time to take a deep breath-this idea might scare you.
It’s time to turn your message over to your constituents.
That’s right: let your fundraisers spread the word for you, outside of your direct reach. People are most likely to donate to a cause if asked by someone they know. Unless you personally know everyone in your town, city, state, country, etc., you need to call in the big guns: your wired fundraisers.
Wired fundraisers come in two varieties: passionate fundraisers who happen to use social networking (also known as Web 2.0) tools and people who use these tools who have turned into fundraisers. In order to take full advantage of social networking opportunities, you need to develop a plan to find your wired fundraisers (and capture their email addresses), empower them with your message and let them use their social networking tools to fly solo.
Here are a few steps to get you started:
Pick one social networking channel in which to get involved. Try Change.org, Facebook or MySpace. Or set up a blog. But most importantly, don’t try to tackle everything that’s out there. It’s better to have a strong presence in one network than to spread your organization too thin across Web 2.0.
Search for potential supporters. Search the Change.org network, Facebook Causes or MySpace pages for a nonprofit with a similar mission as yours. See who their “friends” are and invite them to your cause once you’re up and running. Here are some examples:
Make it easy for supporters to find you. As proactive as you’ll want to be in terms of reigning in new supporters, they’re going to look for you-make it easy for them to do so! Name your social networking page exactly as your organization is named. Again, have a strong presence in one channel rather than all of them. (Better a potential volunteer or donor can find your blog than miss your pages scattered across many networks.)
Build your house file. Once supporters of your cause have found you, make sure you give them a strong call to action to supply their email address to you so you can contact them later.
Encourage your new supporters to do your work for you (you know what I mean). Having Facebook friends isn’t enough. Now that you’ve started to cultivate relationships with these Internet superstars, empower them to share your charity with others: ask them to recruit friends to volunteer for you, create a charity badge and invite them to post it on their own blogs and social networking sites.
Learn more about wired fundraisers by reading Network for Good’s white paper The Wired Fundraiser: How Technology is Making Fundraising “Good to Go.”
For more information about social networking, check out transcripts from the two Nonprofit 911 conference calls on Network for Good’s Learning Center - many of these tips come from them!
- Tue, January 29 2008
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
What a Ham, by Mostlysunny1 via flickr
A great nonprofit leader I know recently saw a cool online quiz that he could appropropriate for his own work, and his reaction was “Great. I love piggy backing.”
It occured to me how rarely I hear this.
In our sector, we tend to focus on how little we have and how much more we need. But we would need less if we got more creative about piggy backing - for example, aligning with an issue or news already getting a lot of attention, or riding a demographic trend, or using (with permission, of course) great content developed by other entities. Not much money for audience research? Read other research - or as my buddy Craig LeFebvre says, look at campaigns directed at your audience that work. (Not just those in your issue area—but those that target your audience. The underlying values and messaging could be piggy back material.)
In other words, never build when you can borrow.
Before you start from scratch on anything, spend an hour seeing what’s already there, what can help you and what stands in your way. Act accordingly.
Here are some marketplace forces - aka potential piggies - to get you started:
1. Is there a demographic, lifestyle, social, health, natural or economic trend that we can ride? What trends might bring attention to our cause?
2. Are laws or regs in place that could help us succeed?
3. Is there research being released that is attracting publicity and bolsters our case?
4. What’s got the eye of the media? Can we play off that story?
5. What companies benefit if we succeed? Can we co-opt them?
6. Who else is talking about our issue and how could they help influence our audiences?
7. What content or material has already been developed that we can use?
An example of piggy backing in my book is the Five a Day campaign. That highly successful campaign to get us eating more fruits and veggies piggy backed onto the increasing number of people overwhelmed by their busy lifestyles by packaging fruits and veggies so they were more easy and convenient to consume - the original fast food.
Another example is Network for Good’s own Learning Center. We didn’t start from scratch in creating a site with original articles - we feature the work of the many smart writers and bloggers who’ve already written great material.
The lesson? Piggy backing often makes us more effective. It’s not about scrimping and stealing. It’s about riding on the back of what has already been built and has momentum in the marketplace.
- Thu, January 24 2008
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
1. We’re not our audience
Check that appeal/letter/message before you send it. Is it focused on you or your audience? The correct approach: focus on, respect and engage the audience first.
2. Our audience doesn’t think like us
Check how you make your organization/services/information accessible to people. Is it presented to match your org chart or the mindframe of your audience? Correct approach: you guessed it, the latter.
3. Our audience doesn’t take action without guidance
Check every communication with your audience. Does it make it clear what you’re asking them to do and why? Is your “ask” unmistakable? Make sure it is.
- Mon, January 21 2008
- Filed under: Nonprofit leadership
We’ve heard a lot from the presidential candidates about hope, change and the economy. That’s all important. But there’s another thing we need to hear. Let’s get them to talk about us. Our sector. Our causes. Our concerns. We’re all about hope and change and a better life, right?
Sound impossible? It’s not. All of us nonprofit folks, standing together, are a force to be reckoned with—bigger than any union or corporation or other entity grabbing headlines for its influence. There are 14 million nonprofits employees out there and 60 million volunteers. We generate billions in revenue and put billions more into county and state coffers through payroll taxes. So let’s get the candidates - and the next president - to take our sector—and ourselves and our issue—seriously. We can do it.
Robert Egger, one of the great leaders in our sector and a wonderful friend and colleague, has been at this for quite some time. Robert is Founder and President of the DC Central Kitchen, the Co-Convener of the first Nonprofit Congress and, most recently, the Founder and Director of the Nonprofit Primary Project, which developed presidential candidate forums in New Hampshire. And today, he has created an easy way for this to happen in every election, national or local. V3 is his new website that shows how we can get all of this to happen. Check out V3, which he funded with money from his speaking engagements. It’s great to see such a beautiful piece of marketing for a such a great cause: us. (Full disclosure: In addition to knowing/admiring Robert and weighing in on the V3 site, I know and have in the past hired the creative folks behind the site design - I think their work is excellent.) Finally - an easy way for us to do something tangible to advance our cause and our sector as part of the political process. Robert got me very charged up about this effort when I saw him last week to discuss his message, and I hope he’ll get you charged up, too. (Read this.)
In Robert’s words, here’s what V3 does:
1. The V3 Campaign website – From the site, we will list EVERY election in America (mayor, state legislator, congress, senate, president), and provide links to each of the candidates, allowing any nonprofit employee to send a questionnaire that will ask three things: 1) Describe your personal or professional connection with a nonprofit. 2) How would you partner with nonprofits? 3) How would you strengthen the sector to be a good partner with you?
2. The V3 Site will record all written or recorded responses. If a candidate proposes a staff position, an office to work directly with nonprofits, or a bold new vision for managing community resources–BANG—it’s on V3 and other nonprofits can use it to challenge candidates in their community. If they do not respond, it’s on V3, and all of their constituents who work or volunteer with a nonprofit will know that they do not understand or value their work enough to suggest a detailed plan of action. Then, nonprofits and their supporters can vote according to their own personal convictions. Cause and effect—totally legal—only we drive the car.
I hope you’ll go onto V3 and sign up to ask any candidate what they’re doing to commit to working with nonprofits. In just a few minutes, you can feel you did something substantive to get seen and heard. If you care about your cause and want it to get noticed by your government, this is a great way to get started. Do it, and ask one other person to do it, too.
And here’s proof it’s working already.
- Thu, January 17 2008
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
Last night my older daughter read me this excellent and hilarious story from the fabulous Squids Will Be Squids : Fresh Morals/Beastly Tales by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith. It’s about the best (nonprofit) marketing metaphor I’ve heard in years. I suppose I should be disturbed that I find marketing meaning even in bedtime stories, but instead I’m going to tell you about the story.
Duckbilled Platypus vs. BeefSnakStik(R)
“I have a bill like a duck and a tail like a beaver,” bragged Duckbilled Platypus.
“So what?” said BeefSnakStik. “I have beef, soy protein concentrate, and dextrose.”
“I also have webbed feet and fur,” said Duckbilled Platypus.
“Who cares?” said BeefSnakStik. “I also have smoke flavoring, sodium erythorbate, and sodium nitrite.”
“I am one of only two mammals in the world that lays eggs,” said Duckbilled Platypus.
“Big deal,” said BeefSnakStik. “I have beef lips.”
Moral: Just because you have a lot of stuff, don’t think you’re special.
Exactly. If you’re bragging about all the nuances of your work as an outreach strategy, you’re probably sounding about as relevant (and convincing) to your audience as Duckbilled Platypus and BeefSnakStik.
- Thu, January 17 2008
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
The other night, I heard a speech by Michelle Rhee, Chancellor of the District of Columbia Public Schools system. I was blown away. This young woman has grabbed the DC schools bureaucracy by the (insert colorful term here), and she’s taking courageous, bold steps to cure the ailing system - including firing incompetent people. When she spoke of her work, her intelligence and passion had me completely spellbound.
By the end of her speech, I was ready to quit my job and volunteer for her full time. I was willing to do anything, yet there wasn’t anything to do.
Then the next speaker came up (who was also great), and moved us all. But then, again, while still contemplating what to do with my inspiration, the evening moved on.
This happens to me too often: I hear an amazing speech at an event, I’m inspired, and yet there’s no where to put that energy.
I’m about to give you such and wonderful piece of advice that NO ONES DOES, so do it! The next time you have or host an event, if you have a great speaker, get them to issue a CALL TO ACTION that people can heed in the next five minutes. Make it something people can do right away to translate their emotion and support into tangible help. Like text an email on their handhelds to a policymaker. Or sign a pledge to help you. Or give you their email address. Or write a check.
People want to help. Help them help you. Help them translate inspiration into action. They want to.
So many people ask me how to build an email list. How about by asking people tearing up at that speech?
I have never been to an event that has taken a single one of those simple steps.
Try it. If I’m there, I swear I’ll do whatever you ask.
- Sun, January 13 2008
- Filed under: Social Media
Katya’s note: This month at Network for Good, we’re focusing on social networking with our Nonprofit 911 calls. If you want to put social networking to work for you, check them out. Also, check out the terrific Social Signal blog. For a sampling of the great information there, I turn to Alexandra Samuel for this guest post from her blog at Social Signal. This is great advice. Thanks Alexandra for letting me re-run your thoughts here!
By Alexandra Samuel
We work with a wide range of non-profit and change-oriented for-profit organizations who are using the web to deliver their message, but more crucially, to engage audiences in a conversation. Some of the best practices we note:
1. Focus your site on a particular goal or conversation, rather than a general mandate. For example, the UN Foundation has had a dazzling success with its Nothing But Nets site, which focuses specifically on providing malaria nets to kids in the developing world.
2. Invite your community to make contributions other than money. Non-profits often experience “donor fatigue” because so much of their public interactions hinge on asking for money. The web is a great place to ask for other kinds of contributions—whether that means connecting people directly with people who need their expertise or services (as in Nabuur) or asking them to share their personal experiences (as with the March of Dimes’ Share your Story project).
3. Play nicely with other non-profit (and for-profit) organizations. The web is just that: a web of interconnections. Succeeding in an internetworked environment means working effectively with others, colllaborating, and interacting—it’s not just about getting your own message out there. So being a good 2.0 non-profit means engaging with conversations and ideas on other blogs. Change Everything, a project of the Vancity credit union, is in the middle of a contest that will award $1,000 to a non-profit organization—and the contest has fueled a great deal of interest and awareness of non-profit activities in British Columbia.
4. Don not feel that web 2.0 means building your own online community. In fact, it’s a lot easier to ease into the web 2.0 culture by making effective use of existing web tools—whether that means fostering internal collaboration by choosing a common del.icio.us tag to use when storing your favorite web sites, or creating an iGoogle page that lets you constantly see the latest news in your key issue areas, or creating a photo-based petition on Flickr (check out the Oxfam example). Or try setting up a Facebook group—we attracted 1300 people to a Flickr group within 3 weeks of launch. Once you’re comfortable with the idea of web 2.0, you can starting thinking about whether it makes sense to build some community features into your own site.
5. Be gentle with yourself, and your colleagues. It’s a big challenge for most non-profits to shift from message delivery to conversation, or from approaching your members as donors to seeing them as content contributors. For organizations that have been all about the message, and have approached that for decades from a paradigm of message control and careful rollout, it is a genuine (and at times frightening) adventure to bring your audience into the conversation in public, and before you’ve got everybody lined up to stay “on message”. Be patient with colleagues who need to get comfortable with this new approach.
6. Stay current with how other non-profits are using web 2.0, and learn from their experiences. A great way of doing that is to track the “nptech” tag on del.ici.ous, where people from all across the nonprofit sector share the latest resources on nonprofit technology activities; it’s a great place to find blog posts or tech developments to comment on. And Compumentor’s NetSquared project is dedicated to helping non-profits make the most of web 2.0.
- Fri, January 11 2008
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
I recently gave a presentation and was floored by the response. And not in a good way. I heard the following after I talked about ways to tweak a message to make it work far better - just by focusing on the audience perspective and speaking to audience priorities. Here’s the reason why this is “not possible”:
1. I don’t have the budget to do that.
2. I don’t have the staff to do that.
3. I don’t have the time to do that.
4. I don’t have the internal support to do that.
5. I don’t have the expertise to do that.
6. The dog ate my homework.
Okay I didn’t hear #6 but I did hear the rest.
It all reminded me of the same kind of excuses that keep us out of shape:
If you hear yourself saying any of the above, stop yourself and think differently.
Think like this:
1. My budget is so small I’d better invest the time to have the right message so I get bang for my buck.
2. My staff is so small I need to focus them on working smarter.
3. My time is better spent fixing a bad message than sending out more bad messages.
4. I need to market internally what I want to do by showing how it helps my colleagues meet their goals—that time spent will mean far less time overall on internal politicking, resistance and drama.
5. I do have the expertise to do a better job - there are great blogs and resources (like my organization’s free http://www.fundraising123.org learning center) to help me.
DO NOT THINK IN TERMS OF CONSTRAINTS. Think in terms of possibility. It’s not about what you can’t do. It’s about what you must do. Just do it!