- Fri, March 15 2013
- Filed under: Mobile
The team here at Network for Good has been working on our new mobile-friendly donation services lately so I thought I’d pass on our tips for making your site more mobile friendly. Don’t worry - you can start with baby steps. You don’t need a special mobile version of your site or an custom-built app to improve how mobile visitors experience your site overall. With a few simple design tweaks, you can make your nonprofit website much more usable on a mobile device – and improve your visitors’ experience across all platforms.
Try these best practices from my colleague Caryn Stein to help optimize your nonprofit website for mobile use and make your pages smartphone friendly:
1. Make it snappy.
Keep your website’s page load times under 5 seconds – under 3 seconds is even better for mobile delivery. Remove anything that makes your pages stall or fail to load.
2. Minimize data entry.
Whether it’s on a donation form or a newsletter sign-up box, try to minimize the amount of typing your visitors will have to do. It’s already a best practice on a desktop (they’ll be more likely to fill out your form or complete the action they’re trying to take), and it’s absolutely critical for mobile users, since typing in a lot of information can quickly become a drag on even the smartest of phones.
3. Your copy must be short and sweet.
Remember: online visitors don’t read, they skim. Reduce the amount of text you have on each page and break up longer blocks of text with headings. Use an easy-to-read font size and type. Choose shorter sentences and clear calls to action over long paragraphs.
4. Focus on one high-quality image.
Images can help quickly communicate a story or call to action, but make it your mission to focus on one high-quality photo rather than using multiple images on a page. More images will take longer to load and they won’t look good on a smaller screen.
5. Remove the roadblocks.
6. Keep relevant content front and center.
Don’t force mobile users to scroll across three columns and all four corners of your site to find what they’re looking for. Make it easy to access the key pages of your site by placing them prominently near the top and center of your page.
7. Make links and buttons easy to use.
Review your links and buttons: are they large enough to click on from small screens without zooming? Be sure to provide enough space between links or buttons to prevent a wayward thumb from clicking on something by accident.
8. Keep it simple.
A simple, clean design is a good idea for any site, whether it’s accessed on a desktop browser, tablet or smartphone. Embrace the use of white space, clear the clutter and narrow your visitor’s focus to one or two clear calls to action. This not only improves the usability of your website, but it will improve your conversion rates by removing unnecessary distractions.
- Thu, March 14 2013
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
I’ve enjoyed teaming up with Kari Dunn Saratovsky and Derrick Feldmann at several events over the years, and I’ve always been impressed with their insights on Millennials. They’ve now pulled together their thinking into a new book, Cause for Change: The Why and How of Nonprofit Millennial Engagement. I asked them to provide a summary of the key points in the book for us, and here’s their post.
By Kari Saratovsky and Derrick Feldmann
Like it or not, the Millennial Generation – those 80 Million of us born roughly between 1979-93, are hard to ignore if you are a leader of a nonprofit – or a leader of any sector for that matter. Sure, they may not be among your most active donors or largest contributors today, but these 20-30 something’s will soon become the recipients of the largest transfer of wealth from their Boomer and Greatest Generation parents and grandparents. So what does this mean for your organization? It’s time to start creating a culture of openness and dialogue with the Millennial Generation, before they start creating it without you.
Given the size and diversity of this generation, many executives become overwhelmed at the mere thought of where to begin. If this sounds like you, you’re far from alone. You’re coming into contact with Millennials in every facet of your work and life. You may be hiring them to lead your programs, to tweak your marketing strategies or even to develop and enhance your fundraising efforts. And if they’re not currently on staff, you’re either raising them yourselves or are connecting with Millennials when your donors or volunteers bring their children with them to fundraisers or events. You know they are out there, but with all of the competition for their attention, you’re just not sure what it will take to connect with them.
Before developing any Millennial engagement strategy, you must create a foundation, a platform, within your organization for such involvement. One that will ensure every employee, volunteer and donor has an appropriate role to play in order to achieve the greatest success. Creating this foundation will not happen overnight – for some it will take a complete shift in organizational culture. It will take an acceptance of opening up your organization to a generation that’s not only eager to involve themselves in your work but also eager to understand how you operate, how you generate money, and how you have impact. It is about releasing some of the control that may have prevented you from connecting with Millennials in the past. But, creating a platform for engagement requires ongoing resources and time. Without either of the two, almost all Millennial engagement programs are destined for failure. We know, we’ve watched many attempts at engaging Millennials fizzle into good intentions without results.
So how do you position the Millennial platform—and by extension, your organization—for success? You must BUILD it – and here’s how:
Be unified as an organization about working with the generation. This starts by getting every level of your organization interested in what this generation can provide. Most gravitate to the financial opportunities, but that’s the wrong framework to lead with. Instead, all leaders, both volunteer and paid, must understand and agree that engaging Millennials is a long-term investment and there are different starting points for cultivating them – most of which do not begin with the immediate transfer of dollars.
Understand the complexities of this generation’s environment. Beyond understanding why you should work with Millennials, appreciate the environment this generation is currently in and the environment in which they have grown up. We all live in a society that’s connected 24-7, but for the greater number of Millennials, they can hardly remember when that was not the case. They have a multitude of people, organizations, and brands competing for their limited attention spans. Take the time to understand and appreciate their environment and then you can create a role within that environment to engage them.
Identify those seeking to make a difference. For every uninterested Millennial, you can bet there’s a Boomer or Gen X-er who exhibits the same qualities. Forget them. You must find those who want to work with you to make meaningful change. Create calls to action that ask for Millennial leaders to identify themselves by inviting them into the process of creating solutions. Find Millennials in the community who want to take their participation to the next level and then have them engage their peers. This peer identification is a great brainstorming activity for your existing Millennial supporters and volunteers, and it’s a way to expand the network in a controlled but authentic way.
Lead through engagement rather than participation. Focus on conversational and relationship engagement. If you are going for pure numbers at your event, you may have short-term wins, but that doesn’t get at the heart of the platform. True engagement comes from attendees who return and tell their friends about your message. As an organization you can create new levels of engagement that focus on getting to know Millennials and their interests. Engagement means you understand how they want to communicate, participate, lead, and challenge the organization to be better.
Determine your own Millennial success. Before you begin, create a standard for Millennial success and engagement, and then institutionalize it. Some organizations do really well with Millennial engagement because they have defined what it means for their cause and how they want Millennials to be involved. They identify a starting point, a goal, and the steps they’ll take to get there. Help the organization you serve to understand those benchmarks and rally around them for short- and long-term success.
There’s no such thing as a silver bullet when developing your engagement strategy – we wish there was. It will take time for your organization to change its current thinking and culture, especially if your workforce like many includes all three generations in the workplace. But if you start your Millennial engagement strategy by incorporating elements of the BUILD concept, you will begin to lay the foundation for success in future campaigns, solicitations or volunteer calls to action.
- 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.
I speak a lot about the connection between behavioral economics and our work, and after every speech I get asked for reference materials. People also often email me for a list of my writing on the topic. So I thought I’d pull together in one post all the resources I’ve created. Here’s a mini library on understanding how people really think - and adjusting our marketing, communications and fundraising strategies accordingly.
Plus, as a bonus, I’m including this hour-long video from the Science of Communication speaker series run by the Communications Network and Spitfire Strategies. In this video, Harvard behavioral economist Sendhil Mullainathan provides a great overview of how his field applies to you.
The Mini Library
The best place to start are the two ebooks I’ve written on the topic with Mark Rovner and Alia McKee of SeaChange Strategies:
Homer Simpson for Nonprofits: The Truth about How People Think and What It Means to Your Cause
Lisa Simpson for Nonprofits: What Science Can Teach You About Fundraising, Marketing and Making Social Change
I also wrote a series of blog posts reviewing the latest research on what compels generous behavior and giving. Here are the best of them:
How giving makes you happy
Which makes people happier - giving or receiving?
The relationship between giving and pain
How pledging eases the pain of parting from our money
The power of social norms in giving
How do social norms, price & scrutiny affect what people give?
The role of personal connections in fundraising success
How the power of one (the singularity effect) prompts giving
The effect of mood on giving - and who we choose to help
What happens when you try to making giving less emotional
Sea monkeys and the case for tangibility
Interview with the Science of Giving authors
The time-ask effect
Neuromarketing tips for nonprofits from Roger Dooley
Brain tricks to sell your cause
Your gut is more generous than your brain
- Mon, March 11 2013
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
Network for Good is hosting a free webinar this Thursday, March 14 at 1 p.m. ET on neuromarketing - a topic definitely worth your time!
The urge to help and give is hard-wired into the human brain. As a champion for a cause, it’s your task to tap into those recesses by appealing to that urge. The simplest things – images, words, gestures, even type fonts – can have a major effect on the potency of your message. Neuromarketing expert, Roger Dooley, has discovered some brain-science-based tweaks you can make to your print, web, and in-person outreach that will boost the effectiveness of your marketing efforts.
Join Roger Dooley for this free event as he makes neuromarketing easy for nonprofits. Register here.
- Fri, March 08 2013
- Filed under: Social networking and web 2.0
As I noted yesterday, Allyson Kapin and Amy Sample Ward have written a new book, Social Change Anytime Everywhere: How to Implement Online Multichannel Strategies to Spark Advocacy, Raise Money, and Engage your Community. Since I get so many questions about how to best integrate online and mobile efforts into an overall strategy, I thought I’d ask them to share their thoughts with us.
This is the second half of our conversation (I posted the first half yesterday).
Katya: What can advocates of online and mobile do if their organizational leadership doesn’t see the potential?
Allyson: Read Social Change Anytime Everywhere of course;) Seriously, my best advice is to educate senior leadership about the different online channels by showing them examples of how other organizations are using them successfully. Also give them concrete suggestions on how your organization can start using them. Make sure you are setting realistic expectations though. You can’t go from A to Z overnight. It takes time to develop a strategy, experiment and test to determine what is going to be successful for your organization.
Katya: What’s one organization that we can look to for inspiration because they’ve really mastered social change tools on a shoestring?
Allyson: I’m a huge fan of Epic Change. As a volunteer led organization by Stacey Monk and Sanjay Patel, they have been able to inspire and mobilize friends and total strangers online to raise money to build two classrooms and a library for Shepherds Junior School in Arusha, Tanzania. Epic Change has used every channel at their disposal to connect with people and build relationships with supporters. They even have a Facebook group to organize and plan campaigns with a core group of volunteers.
I have also been impressed with how much they treat their donors like rock stars. Donors receive personal, hand written thank you notes from Stacey and Sanjay and other members of the organization. This past year, donors had the opportunity to meet Gideon and Leah, two of the students who traveled to the United States and hear all about what they are learning in school and aspirations. We learned that Gideon wants to explore becoming an astronaut. And Leah wants to become a doctor to find cures for different diseases. Supporters are also sent updates from the children and teachers about how the school is progressing and how the children are advancing academically. It’s really inspirational.
Katya: If you could go back in time and tell your younger self the most valuable lessons you’ve learned about advancing causes, what would be at the top of the list?
Amy: I think my beliefs and knowledge have expanded and gotten a bit more seasoned, but I still truly believe the same thing today as I did when I was in elementary school: we really can make change and it’s a lot more fun when we do it together.
Allyson: The people working at our organizations are not necessarily our target audiences. They are already very committed to our movement. Our activists, donors, volunteers, and decision makers are our target audiences and they should always be the focus. I feel like we lose site of this all of the time to get multichannel campaigns approved and launched by senior leadership.
Thanks to Amy and Allyson for this conversation.
- Thu, March 07 2013
- Filed under: Social networking and web 2.0
Allyson Kapin and Amy Sample Ward have written a new book, Social Change Anytime Everywhere: How to Implement Online Multichannel Strategies to Spark Advocacy, Raise Money, and Engage your Community. Since I get so many questions about how to best integrate online and mobile efforts into an overall strategy, I thought I’d ask them to share their thoughts with us.
This is the first part of our conversation. I’ll post the second half tomorrow.
Katya: Your book is an answer to the question, “How will online and mobile tools really help our nonprofit and the issues we work on?” So, how will they?
Allyson: I think it boils down to the speed of connecting with people wherever they are, giving them access to information and sharing personal stories to get people involved with your issues. As organizations it’s critical that we reach people across multiple channels and identify what channels they want to communicate with us on. For some of your constituents it can be through social networks like Twitter. For others it can be through your blog on your website or a through a thought provoking blog column that your President writes on Huffington Post. Yet others may prefer to receive a text message or an email alert from your organization reminding them about an urgent action to take.
You realize how the Internet, social media, and mobile have evolved into some of the most effective tools to facilitate social change when you reflect on how major disasters like Hurricane Sandy or the earthquake in Haiti unfolded across multiple online channels. You remember hearing about personal stories of the destruction of homes and local businesses, the loved ones who did not survive. And how can you forget the numerous opportunities organizations offered people to get involved and support disaster relief efforts through donations, volunteer opportunities, etc. Nonprofits quickly raised $50M through mobile fundraising for the first time in the U.S. just through $5 and $10 donations. Can you imagine how long it would have taken for the news of either of these tragedies to reach people or raise that amount of money if it had happened 20 years earlier? It would have taken so much more time, resources, and money to connect directly with people, gather and share stories, and mobilize people into supporting relief efforts.
Amy: Your mission and message don’t live on your website or in your office. Using multichannel strategies to ensure you’re meeting your supporters wherever they are - online or offline, Facebook or email - means you get your mission and message out to them more directly and can help them spread it even farther.
Katya: What are your top three pieces of advice for organizations struggling to integrate these tools into their work?
Allyson: The first step is to set up a small multichannel campaign and test it. To do this you will need to set up a multichannel campaign plan, which should include identifying realistic short term and long term goals, identifying your advocacy target (if it’s an advocacy campaign) and who your supporters are, developing the core campaign message, outlining what actions you want people to take and what different channels you will reach your target audiences on, etc. (We have a chapter devoted to setting up a multichannel campaign plan and rolling out the plan in the book.)
Amy: You can also start where you can have the most impact: personalization and segmentation. Are you segmenting your email messages to go to those who respond to that kind of content or are interested in that topic? Are you personalizing those messages? What about segmenting content for each social channel instead of just having your tweets auto post on your Facebook Page?
Use your current communications or content to test what works and what doesn’t - it’s great to invest in some of this testing and tinkering when you aren’t running a campaign so you know what gets the most response from your community. Try subject line lengths or message lengths for email, test out links to your website or ways to engage that keep people on the same page on social media.
Katya: Thanks. Tomorrow, we’ll cover how to get your colleagues on board with mobile and online tools.
- Wed, March 06 2013
- Filed under: Fundraising essentials
As the so-called Snowquester flakes fall outside my window here in Washington, DC, I thought I’d share a timely piece of research about storms.
The wonderful team at Influence at Work this week covers a study with surprising findings about inspiring disaster relief donations.
Apparently, people are more likely to donate to storm relief efforts if their name sounds similar to the name of the storm. I am not making this up: “People were more likely to donate if the initial of their first name matched the name given to the hurricane. For example, those whose names began with the letter R, such as Robert or Rosemary, were 260% more likely to donate to the Hurricane Rita relief appeal than those whose name didn’t begin with the letter R. A similar effect was noted after Hurricane Katrina with folks whose name starts with a K significantly more motivated to donate.”*
In addition, says Influence, Adam Alter, a Professor of Marketing at NYU’s Stern Business School, suggests, “If people are more likely to donate to hurricane relief programs that share their initials, then the World Meteorological Organization which is responsible for naming hurricanes has the power to increase charitable giving simply by giving hurricanes more commonly occurring names.”
Anyone have contacts at the WMO?
This research reminds me of studies I read that people choose professions close to their names. There are apparently many dentists named Dennis.
So maybe it’s impractical to start naming hurricanes John Smith, but in all seriousness there is a lesson here. As Influence points out, we always pay more attention to anything involving our name. You’ve experienced this in a noisy room where you’re tuning out conversation - until you hear your name mentioned.
I think it’s therefore useful to test using people’s real names in fundraising appeals (better than Dear Valued Supporter) or naming initiatives or campaigns after common names or initials. It’s easier to try out than naming storms!
(By the way, I donated to Katrina but not Rita relief so there you go.*)
- Tue, March 05 2013
- Filed under: Mobile
There are more than 1 billion smartphones on the planet. That means one in seven people on the earth have the ability to do so many things at their fingertips. Here we have an unprecedented opportunity to unleash generosity through technology and make what people want to do, easier and more compelling.
We set out to answer:
• Why is it so imperative that your cause be experienced through a smartphone or tablet?
• What are the benefits of using mobile for deeper engagement?
• How can you optimize your organization’s mobile website for giving and pledging?
You can download the guide here (free but registration required). Enjoy!
- Mon, March 04 2013
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
Imagine this. You’ve had a bad day at work. For months, you’ve been trying to persuade everyone to recycle. No one is complying. In frustration, you send out a mass email. “Only 5% of staff is putting paper in the recycling bins. We need to do better,” you say.
Why? When we are deciding whether to do something, we typically look to see what others are doing (“social proof”). As Robert Cialdini has thoroughly documented, we’re compliant creatures. If we see everyone else is ignoring the recycling bins, we’ll ignore them too.
If you lament that no one is listening, no one will listen. By emphasizing inaction, you discourage the very behaviors you’re seeking.
If you want action, make people feel they are are part of something positive: “We’re aiming for 100% of paper recycled by Friday - and we’re on our way there.”
If you’re at a nonprofit that’s attracted hundreds of donations when you wanted thousands, don’t say, “Fewer people have supported our cause this year. So many kids are going without lunch. We really need your help.”
Say: “Your donation will provide a school lunch to Jason every day this year. Join the hundreds of donors supporting kids like him.”
Here are three tips for turning your frustration over what isn’t working into a message that compels action - instead of more inaction.
1. The number one thing you can do to overcome resistance is to celebrate and publicize the people who are taking action. It will help inspire the ones who aren’t.
2. If you don’t have enough people to highlight, try getting just one - preferably a person who people respect (or who has authority). Ask that person to explain why he or she is taking action. Maybe you’re not the best messenger and that person would be better.
3. Last, if you can’t succeed on those fronts, try to convert just regular one person. Then ask that person to explain why they changed their mind. Converted skeptics are the most motivating of any messenger for the people who have failed to act. The people who aren’t on your side are more likely to relate to someone who once felt like them.
Bottom line? Accentuate the positive if you want a positive reaction.
- Fri, March 01 2013
- Filed under: Fundraising essentials
M+R had a fascinating post* last week about political fundraising. It highlighted insights from the digital team who sent out fundraising emails for the Obama campaign. While political fundraising is its own animal, I do think many of these insights apply to all forms of fundraising. So whether you’re a political activist or a nonprofit fundraiser, or of the red or blue or purple persuasion, you will find this interesting.
(The whole post is here. These are some highlights along with my commentary.)
1. It’s hard to predict what will work - so testing matters. There were 18 very smart people on the email team alone, and they often predicted the wrong winners among versions of emails. And just when they figured out what worked, it stopped working. So they tested again. Keep testing!
2. The best segmentation was based on what donors did - not how they voted or their demographics. Segmenting their message according to the ways people responded worked far better in yielding strong fundraising results than any other variable. What have people donated in the past? In response to which appeals? Segment accordingly.
3. Length didn’t seem to matter a lot, until the end of the campaign, when shorter did better (reminds me of my advice to write very short appeals on December 31!). What did matter was the content and relevance of the message.
4. For fundraising, setting a big goal for number of donations worked, but little, very local goals (we need six more donors in Washington, DC) did not. Those only worked for advocacy. Interesting. Something to test?
And my favorite finding? The best appeals also had the highest unsubscribe rates. Like Mark Rovner always says, evoking passion means you get strong opinions on all sides. Bland is safe - and gets NO reaction.
For more findings, check out the full post, “Surprises from Obama’s New Media Staff.”
*Hat tip to Jono Smith of Event360 for sharing the post.
- Thu, February 28 2013
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
A reader of this blog, Joe, asked me the following question in response to my post on diagnosing message problems.
Can you point us toward some resources for understanding our audiences’ mindsets? Good questions to ask, good ways to ask questions, etc. For organizations without the resources to hire an expert researcher, where can we start learning how to do it right?
Here’s my answer based on my chapter on the topic in Robin Hood Marketing.
If you have no research budget at all, try to glean what you can from those around you in your daily work. What trends have staff or volunteers noticed among our members, clientele, or donors? We and our colleagues can use all interactions with our audiences to gain insights. If we run a homeless shelter or a legal-aid organization or a health clinic, we should listen carefully to how our clients answer questions such as “How have you been doing?” or “What do you need?” If we are fundraisers meeting a major prospect, small talk can tell us a lot about what’s inside that person’s head: “How are things at your foundation?” “What are people focused on these days?” If we are knocking on doors as a canvasser or answering a toll-free line, we should listen as much as we talk. Find out how people feel about their lives, our issue, and current events. We can also gain important insights by simply observing our audiences. I worked on a project where policymakers were a key audience; I wangled an invitation to a health-policy forum and heard them discuss their priorities firsthand. The forum provided a gold mine of information.
Go wherever your audience congregates. If we work at a museum, we can observe the people coming in the door. Who are they? Greet them and ask them how they are. Try to figure out why they came or how they learned about our exhibit. If our audience members are online, go to their social networks, blogs, and websites and read what they are saying. Watch the television shows they watch and read their magazines.
An important point about what to ask: Our research questions should not probe directly for the information we want, which is why people think and act the way they do and what we can do to change their thoughts and actions. Unfortunately, our audiences cannot easily explain their thoughts and behavior nor predict the messages that will cause them to change. Human behavior is complicated, and most people are unaware of why they are the way they are. They can often provide a logical explanation for why they behave and think as they do, but, unfortunately, that self-justification has more to do with what they believe the “right” explanation to be than with their true motivations. Asking “why” will not tell us “why.” People are emotional, busy, and preoccupied with paying the mortgage, losing weight, helping their children with homework, and being loved—often all in the same moment in the middle of the night when they can’t sleep. All those thoughts are influenced by a host of factors, such as the events of the previous day, their social and economic status, or their sense of self-esteem. We can find out what’s going through their head in the middle of the night and what they’ve been up to lately, but we can’t expect them to make sense of this information for us. As marketers, that’s our job.
We can understand “why” by listening to their stories and getting at their feelings. The psychiatrist does not ask patients, “Why are you depressed?” but instead talks to them about how they decided to come for an appointment and elicits from them stories about their life that contribute to a picture of who they are. In hearing a story, an attentive listener comes to see the truth. The person who tells the story, in turn, benefits from that attentiveness and may see life in a new way through speaking about it; in this way talking about experiences can be therapeutic. Good research gets at the truth in a similar way, for different purposes.
Just as people aren’t reliable sources about the reasons for their behavior, they are also poor predictors of how they will behave in the future. They may readily express intentions to take action if they believe taking action is “right,” but we cannot be sure they will follow through. Most of us would say, yes, we will try to exercise more this year. But will we? Good research recognizes that gap between promise and action.
When framing questions, ask people about their daily lives, their priorities, their experiences, and their stories. Then ask how they perceive our issue in this context. This changes the type of information we get. If we had surveyed people about what they thought about the Hummer or the iPod or a $4 cup of coffee at Starbucks when these products were first conceived, we would not have necessarily discovered whether those products would sell. But by learning that people seek relaxation, power, convenience, or social contact, we could have known these products had the potential to meet unmet wants.
Hope this helps! Good luck.
- Tue, February 26 2013
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
The whip-smart Kristen Grimm of Spitfire Strategies has a great piece in the Stanford Social Innovation Review about how we can more effectively influence others - and what blind spots get in the way of those efforts.
Read the whole piece here. I share here the highlights.
The first point Grimm makes is that we fail to influence others because we have blind spots. She identifies the common mistakes we make that lead to ineffective efforts to persuade others:
—moving forward without thinking through who needs to be influenced and how
—forming coalitions without a strategy that would inform who should be partners
—focusing only on allies rather than opponents in thinking through strategy
—assuming decision makers will be willing to step out on a difficult issue
—filtering out facts and evidence that suggest not everyone is on board or shares a sense of urgency
—assuming what motivates you about an issue motivates others - and misinterpreting what is in their perceived self interest
—refusing to recognize efforts aren’t working for one of the above reasons - and the need to act accordingly
Instead, organizations should focus on the following four factors, says Grimm.
—A clear sense of the decision(s) that need to get made;
—An understanding of who makes these decision(s);
—An informed hypothesis about how the decision(s) will get made; and
—An understanding of how the organization can influence the decision-making process and a game plan for making that happen.
For more on how to work through those steps, read the article here. If you’re in the business of persuasion (and aren’t we all!), take the time to check it out.
- Tue, February 26 2013
- Filed under: Marketing essentials
If your messaging isn’t getting through or your marketing campaign isn’t making a difference, it is probably for one (or all) of these three reasons.
1. Falsely assuming that information results in action. It’s tempting to assume that if people have information, they will act on it. But sadly, information doesn’t equal action. We know it’s healthy to exercise every day - but that doesn’t mean we’re going to do it. Inertia is a strong force. Good causes are forever in conflict with the status quo and business as usual. We can’t just lay out information. We need to create a compelling reason for taking action that beats doing nothing. In marketing terms, we need to improve our reward and lower our price.
2. Forgetting that we’re not the audience. The messages that appeal to us aren’t the ones that necessarily resonate with others. Every assumption should be suspect until we understand our audiences’ mindsets. When we assume our audience thinks the way we do, we are at odds with the principles of marketing. We must think like the people we want to reach if we want to succeed.
3. Treating marketing as an afterthought. Marketing and communications are often tacked on to a good causes’s efforts at the last minute. In treating marketing as an afterthought, we deprive ourselves of the great benefits that marketing can bring to all our work. A marketing mindset throughout every dimension of our cause can help us design more effective projects, better meet the needs of people we want to help, win us more resources and support, and motivate people to act.
- Mon, February 25 2013
- Filed under: Nonprofit leadership
If you feel the need to strengthen your financial management savvy, check out StrongNonprofits.org, a new website featuring free tools, how-tos and guides.
Developed in partnership between The Wallace Foundation and Fiscal Management Associates, the site contains more than 64 resources for anyone involved in nonprofit financial planning, monitoring, operations or oversight, and particularly nonprofit afterschool program providers. Features range from a nonprofit accounting guide, to an article on sensible growth strategies, to a podcast on how to understand the true costs of programming. The site also offers an array of helpful tools, including the “Go or No Go Decision Tool,” a questionnaire that helps an organization decide whether accepting a contract would help – or hurt – the group’s bottom line.
The site includes:
• A Five-Step Guide to Budget Development—a presentation that describes a team approach to budgeting essentials such as setting financial goals, forecasting results and monitoring progress.
• Budgeting and Financial Planning Tools—Excel-based templates to provide organizations with a framework for building program-based budgets, projecting cash flow, and evaluating revenue scenarios.
• Guide to Effective Board Leadership—an easy-to-follow description of how nonprofit boards can do the necessary financial oversight of their organizations.
You can find the site here.