Wednesday, December 31, 2008

To Tweet or To Blog? Yet ANOTHER question.

These two great reports might help you understand the difference between Twitter and Blogs and get a handle on who uses this CRAZY social media stuff and how you can get in on the action.


State of the Blogosphere 2008 by Technorati
State of the Twittersphere by HubSpot

Monday, December 22, 2008

Beware of FREE

Great post today from Laura Quinn, Executive Director of Idealware. Idealware provides solid and objective advice about software for nonprofits and educates charities on the pros and cons of different vendors/packages.

In this post (which you should read in its entirety) she's railing against an all too common nonprofit request.

"We can't afford software for our nonprofit. What can we get for FREE?"

I agree with Laura. This is a REALLY ANNOYING REQUEST.

No one is suggesting that you break the proverbial bank with your next technology purchase. However, if you want to reap the benefits of technology, i.e. enjoy the ability to share information among stakeholders, integrate data among platforms, get better reports and analytics, etc.) you have to make some investment in technology. More important, you have to invest in training for your employees so that they can USE the new tools.

Don't scrimp when using technology. Determine your goal, do you homework and invest the cash and human capital to achieve success. Beware of FREE.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

What is a Successful Brand?

I had lunch with Chris Wolz a few weeks back. He's the chief tomato at Forum One - a well-respected consulting firm in DC. I've only chatted with him twice but I like his brain and this recent meeting didn't disappoint. He asked me a great question that I'm still mulling over.

I was chatting him up about my newest venture - - and telling him how exciting it is to build a brand from the ground up and he said,

"What is a successful brand? How will you know when you've arrived?

"Good questions," I replied. (Not feeling so brilliant after all.)

I have to fess up, I used to think branding was CRAP. To me it meant paying consultants 100s of 1000s of dollars to come up with a black and white and 4-color logo and a tag line like - "creating solutions for success" (What does that mean???!!!!) But thanks to the good thinking of Larry Checco and Qui Diaz, I'm now convinced that branding is the life blood of any organization and comprises much more than adding "sparkle" to your blog. (Thank you Taughnee!)

Branding is what you do and don't stand for. It's is about how you act in public and behind closed conference room doors. It's what you say to a donor when you F##$$% UP and how your turn a volunteer away. In short, it's your organizational identity.

If I'm right on this count, then it stands to reason that a good brand (you do want a good brand, don't you?) embodies good values like honesty, integrity, accessibility, fairness, authenticity, etc. Take your pick.

In his great book, Word of Mouth Marketing, Andy Sernovitz also reminds us that branding is key to success when he says - UR the UE (You Are the User Experience.) What he means is that in the end of the day, your organization is no more nor less than how "Mary" describes it to her friend.

So here goes Chris. (Drum roll please.)

Successful branding is about becoming a better organization every day. It's about being more honest, more smart (OK, smarter :) ), more helpful and more fun to interact with so that clients, customers, employees, volunteers, donors, bloggers, etc. will want come back for more!

Take branding seriously and enlarge the concept to encompass more than your logo, tag line and "elevator speech." And for goodness sake correct your course if you're screwing up or rock on if you're on the right path.


Seems Like Everyone's Going for the Blog Makeover

Nonprofit Communications by Kivi Leroux, Evange-list by Qui Diaz and Social Butterfly by Alex Rampy have all metamorphosed (I know, lame pun.) in the past few weeks. Check out their new looks.

This has me thinking. Any good (new media) marketer will tell you that content is king but aesthetics are important as well. This is something that Andy Goodman has been trying to tell us for a LONG time.

Still, it's amazing how many fugly nonprofit websites are out here.

You get such a short time to impress people online, why not make the most of that impression?


Tuesday, December 9, 2008

You Oughta Know Inbound Marketing

This gals and guys at HubSPOT have done it again with this great music video. Kudos to Rebecca Corliss!

My favorite lyrics...
"Now I can blog I can tweet
Publish things you will read.
Won't have to bug you in the middle of dinner.

Google me organically
Search results one two and three.
You need my products? Uh huh. Yeah you'll find me."
Check it out!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Quote of the Day - Work With What You've Got

Had a great therapy session today with one of my colleagues at Yesmail who gave me the quote of the day.
"Don't spend a lot of time wanting things to be different. Instead, focus on finding the intersection between what you do today and who needs it most."

Friday, December 5, 2008

Chronicle Launches New Podcast for Nonprofits

My esteemed frolleague Allison Fine has partnered with the Chronicle of Philanthropy on a new podcast series called - Social Good to run every Thursday. (Can you say, "jealous?!")

Her first show features Jonathon Colman, who I'm sure is already missed by The Nature Conservancy, and Carie Lewis from the Humane Society talking about how nonprofits are using social media. Check it out!

Podcasting is a great way to showcase your mission. Not sure what a podcast is? Watch this video from the creative geniuses at Common Craft. Learn more about this underutilized yet high-power medium from social media guru Chris Penn. And check out Britt Bravo's Big Vision Podcast.


Quote of the day

LOVE this quote from John Haydon, Twitterer and Blogger Extraordinaire!
"Google is not in the business of serving up stale, crappy web-pages. Blogs allow for frequently produced content; websites tend to go stale each time the intern quits." ;-)
Read the whole post if you dare!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tired of BLAM!

This is the second time this month that I've gotten blammed (spammed via my blog). Someone looking for a free medium to promote their stuff, writes an irrelevant comment or in this case simply pastes a press release into a blog post.

News alert! Spamming via blogs is one of the worst things you can do because most bloggers are influencers, which means we're just as likely to share bad vs. good news others.

Do me and all the bloggers out here a favor. Show some respect. If you want to use my blog as a mechanism for promoting your stuff.

1) email me first to see if I'm interested in what you have to sell
2) leave your name!
3) be genuinely interested in my work


Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Top 10 Bloggers on Social Media for Social Change

Check out these A List bloggers who help nonprofits to use the social web for social change. You won't be disappointed.


Monday, December 1, 2008

Great Way to Support Your Favorite Nonprofit This Season is encouraging people to spread holiday cheer this year by supporting nonprofits vs. buying new shoes! I hope you'll sign up today to raise money for a charity of your choice.

On another note, here's a challenge for you. Send this link to 5 of your best donors and ask them to help raise funds on behalf of your nonprofit.


P.S. I found this little nugget via Twitter. I'm testing out this new tool to connect with folks I admire, learn and promote my own stuff. Will let you know what I learn.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Should You Merge?

These are scary times and while I hate to add to the chaos by waxing on and on about the economy, I'd also be remiss if I didn't offer some thoughts about how to hoe the road ahead.
Let's face it, 2009 is likely to be a tough year for most charitable organizations.

One strategy for staying in the game and even improving your organizational performance is to merge with another organization. That way you can share administrative costs to reduce overhead and (hopefully) provide complimentary services to your clients.

Check out this live chat on Tuesday 12/2 hosted by the Chronicle of Philanthropy to see if a merger is the next right step for your team.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

3 Things I'm Thankful For

1. the gift of friends and family
2. the ability to write and share my opinions and thoughts and ideas with others
3. good health

And you?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Enter Today to Win a Social Media Makeover!

My friends at the Case Foundation are giving away a great suite of products and services to 5 lucky nonprofits who want to become more social media savvy. Prizes include:
It's easy to apply. Take this quiz and then tell them, in 500 characters or less, how you could benefit from a Social Media Makeover!

Good luck!

Friday, November 14, 2008

How Do You Shop and Learn?

If you get a chance watch the first 4 minutes of this video.

Brian Halligan, CEO of HubSPOT, a new company which is helping small and medium-sized business marketers (that means you!) adapt to consumers new purchasing patterns, asks a great question, "How do you shop and learn?"

When you're researching a product, service or charity, do you...
  • Haul out the yellow pages
  • Email a friend
  • "Google it"
Halligan asserts (and I think he's right) that most marketers miss the market because they're still using old-school tactics like advertising, telemarketing and trade shows to get out the word and these tactics DON'T FIT the way that prospective buyers (in our case - donors) actually learn.

Take a minute to today to think carefully about how you shop and learn? If you're anything like the folks you're trying to reach you may want to rethink the marketing tools you use.


Wednesday, November 12, 2008

2008 Election is Historic for More Reasons Than 1

(This post is also archived on

2008 will most certainly be remembered as the year that we elected the first African American President. It will also be remembered as the year that mobile, email and social media generated incredible returns for political advocacy and fundraising!

The Pew Internet and American Life Project - a great source of information on all things Internet - says that “a record-breaking 46% of Americans used the Internet, email or cell phone text messaging to get news about the campaign, share their views and mobilize others.” More important, this multi-media communication turned into a pile of gold for the Obama Campaign, i.e. over $600 million in funds raised.

I know you’re not Obama. Nevertheless, this historic election has implications for you and your nonprofit.

1. Mobile and social media are here to stay. Don’t get stuck in “old-school” marketing. Start investigating and testing these new means of communication today!

2. Start/continue building your opt-in databases. Because it’s all about the list!

3. Learn as much as you can about your stakeholders so that you can personalize your communications. One way to do this is to append demographic and lifestyle data to your files. (Call me. I can help!)

3. Ask your supporters to help you. Your marketing budget will never be big enough for you to get all the signatures/donations/members you want or need. But you can leverage the dollars you do have by asking your best supporters to market for you. Help them to spread the word by building a charity widget, forwarding your emails, and sharing your research.

4. Remember that your supporters are connected to each other. You aren’t in control of the conversation. It’s already happening.


Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Still Thinking About Social Networking

Came across this interesting article yesterday in the WSJ online. RapLeaf a company which we partner with at Triplex Interactive, took a look at where voters "live online" by state. Here is what they found.

"In Iowa, there is a high usage of social-networking sites by people under the age of 25, and low usage among those 25 and older. Iowans are all over Facebook and a site called MyYearbook, but tend not to use other sites. It’s a different story in Wisconsin, however. While the social-networking crowds there are also young, they favor a site called Bebo."
To learn more about the social networking sites were/are used by voters in other states, read the article. To learn more about where your donors/members/volunteers, etc live online, send me an email!


Friday, October 31, 2008

Thinking About Starting a Social Network for Your Stakeholders? Part 2

Here is the second half of a great list of social networking sites courtesy of Everything Blog Magazine. Missed A - I?

My point again, determine where your stakeholders already "live online" before creating your own social network.


Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Thinking About Starting a Social Network for Your Stakeholders?

Think again!

Here is a list of social networks ALREADY OUT HERE. Call me crazy, but I'd check here first to see if your donors, members and activists are ALREADY hanging out on these sites. It's a lot easier to join a conversation than start your own.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Make Sure Your Message Fits Your Medium

This article from Mobile Marketer - a trade publication which focuses on everything mobile - got me thinking about how important it is to ensure that your message fits your medium.

For example, if you are advertising on the Internet you should use different language, font sizes, and even creative than if you are advertising on a billboard. The same goes for marketing via trade shows, radio, and mobile. (There's the issue of that teeny, tiny screen.)

Think carefully about space and tone when you are writing copy. Also, be aware of how much time people are likely to spend on your medium of choice. For example, last month, visitors to this site (that means you, dear friend) spent an average of 1:17 minutes reading my prose.

Yikes! Better get to the point - and quick!


Friday, October 17, 2008

Blogging 101

You're probably wondering what the heck my last post was all about! I'll tell you!

I spent the morning with the passionate state advocates for Mental Health America - "the country’s leading nonprofit dedicated to helping ALL people live mentally healthier lives." After covering a little strategy, we launched into a round of "tech-dating" tutorials. I led the one on (you guessed it) blogging.

It's always helpful to introduce newbies (old or young) to the world of blogging, because it reminds me of how new the technology is to many folks. This helps me to be more detailed in my instruction and break it down in "lay speak."

If you are new to blogging, here's what you need to know. For more info, check out this overview on Wikipedia. Debbie Weil's book, The Corporate Blogging Book, is also a GREAT primer!

1. Blogs are just another form of a website. Nothing more. Nothing less.
2. Blogs are VERY easy to launch and update.
3. You don't need to know HTML to blog.
4. Blogging software is VERY inexpensive, sometimes FREE!
5. Successful blogging requires linking to and from other blogs.
6. The more you blog, the more likely you are to come up in the search engines.
7. You can use blogging software to create a website.


Mental Health Goes Online in 3 Easy Steps

1. Old dogs learning new tricks.

2. Fear not, Facebook.

3. New tricks revealed

Stay tuned...

Fall Policy Conference Kicks Butt

Learning to connect advocacy with technology.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

The 15th Annual Washington Post Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management is OPEN!

Calling all DC nonprofits (and suburban MD and VA too)... the 15th Annual Washington Post Award for Excellence in Nonprofit Management is now open!

This program, the brainchild of the Center for Nonprofit Advancement, recognizes outstanding management practices in the nonprofit sector and inspires other organizations to strive to become more effective. In addition to the The Post, sponsors include Raffa and Georgetown University's Center for Public and Nonprofit Leadership.

Apply today and you just may get the opportunity to:
  • Showcase your management and leadership skills
  • Learn from some of the "big minds" in the sector
  • Receive a scholarship to Georgetown's Nonprofit Management Executive Certificate Program
  • Be recognized at an event with 300+ of your peers
Oh, and did I mention that you can WIN $10,000?!

The application is here. Questions? Contact Susan Sanow.

Good luck!

Full disclosure: I'm serving on the Selection Committee.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Blogher DC Hits the "She Spot"

Kudos to the whole team at Blogher who really hit the "she spot" yesterday at the DC Reach Out Tour. No, I didn't coin the term. (Just wish I did). It's the brain child of Lisa Witter and Lisa Chen who just wrote this fantastic book - The She Spot | Why Woman are the Market for Changing the World - and How to Reach Them.

Girl, does Blogher knows how to market to women! From the great food (fresh veggies and sea bass instead of yucky rubber chicken) to the FREE test drives from Saturn, to the "speed dating round" Blogher style (you'll just have to attend their next event to find out), everything about the day epitomized what women want:
  • to Connect with each other and with an awesome cause;
  • to feel empowered and in Control;
  • to Care for something that's bigger than any one of us; and
  • to know that our favorite brands are invested in Cultivating relationships with us over time.
According to Witter and Chen, these 4 principles are the ingredients of successful marketing to women (and men). Congrats again to the Blogher crew for showing us all how it's done.

If you're interested in learning more about why women are a nonprofit's best friend, check out Chapter 1 of The She Spot. And, be sure to jump on Blogher to join the MOVEMENT "to create opportunities for women who blog to pursue exposure, education, community and economic empowerment."


Sunday, October 12, 2008

Learn from Andy Sernovitz

Andy Sernovitz is my newest, favoritist blogger. He wrote Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking and blogs at Damn! I Wish I'd Thought of That Unusually Useful Ideas for Smart Marketers.

Here's is why I'm hooked.

1) He's got a very engaging style. I feel like he's talking to me directly.

2) He's got a great sense of design. Check out his cartoon characters! They're different and fun.

3) He gives away good stuff for FREE! Check out his manifesto.

3) He's got the chutzpah to hand out homework!

Read this FREE primer on his book, then translate his ideas into better marketing for your nonprofit. Here's a start.

1. Start a blog. (I know, I'm a broken record.) At minimum, start updating your website REGULARLY. Aim to be accessible, friendly and familiar.

2. Invest in a beautiful website/blog design. Good design is SO important and so often overlooked which is a shame because it doesn't have to break the bank but it can make or break your site. Andy Goodman's course will give you a head start.

3. Give away something for FREE. Offer your research report for download. Invite your members to an online chat with your ED. Better yet, get your donors together so that they can talk to EACH OTHER.

4. Give homework! Create a contest to get folks to answer the Top 5 questions about your cause. Raffle off a prize or send a bumper sticker to anyone who gets it wrong or right.

People want to do good AND they also want to have fun online. Take a note from Andy Sernovitz and get your audience hooked!


Blogher DC Reach Out Tour is Manana

What could be better than spending the day with a diverse group of SMART, INNOVATIVE, ARTICULATE, INTERESTING WOMEN? Not much!

I'm SO excited to be participating in Blogher DC tomorrow.

Lucky for you they're still accepting on-site sign ups!


Friday, October 10, 2008

Live Transparent or Die!

Listen up. If you want to succeed online, you've got to "Live Transparent or Die."

The Internet is built on a culture of OPENNESS because when you connect, converse, and transact with folks online you're building relationships with people you've never met. For example, you can't shake hands with someone online. You can't see if they squirm in response to your questions. You can't hear the tenor of their voice and intuit how they really feel. All you generally get is static pictures and words.

So how do you build trust on the Internet? How do you communicate that you are worthy of more time, money and respect?

1. Put the bios and photos of people in your organization on your site! (This is a NON-NEGOTIABLE in my book.) Better yet, tell me a little bit about who you REALLY are. Why do you do the work you do? How do you spend your spare time? Where did you come from? What's next?

2. Hyperlink to the organizations that you partner with, support and admire. I want to know who you "hang with" and where you belong. (Conversely, I'm also interesting in knowing if there are organizations that you don't particularly like.)

3. Divulge financial information. Who funds you? How do you bring home the bacon? How do you pay the bills?

4. Tell me how to reach you in person. IS NOT A VALID EMAIL ADDRESS! I want to talk to someone who is ALIVE.

In short, to build trust in your organization online you've got to embrace the Internet's culture of openness. Live transparent or die!


P.S. There are several nonprofit watchdog and "credentialing" organizations out there, for example Charity Navigator, Better Business Bureau Giving Wise Alliance, Great Nonprofits, and Guidestar; you may want to check them out. But divulging information about your clients and partners is an equally valid way to demonstrate that you are a credible and trustworthy.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Blog Action Day is Next Wed. - Oct. 15

On October 15, thousands of bloggers from across the globe will have a conversation to "raise awareness and trigger a global discussion" about one of the most pressing issues of our time - POVERTY. Over 6,500 sites are registered to participate to date.

In my mind, this is what's best about blogging and the Internet. The ability for all of us to have conversations about IMPORTANT ISSUES and share our diverse experiences and points of view. It's my hope that these discussions will lead to widespread collaboration, idea generation and change.

If you'd like to learn more about Blog Action Day, check out their video. If you currently have the privilege of being a blogger/publisher, I hope you'll take up this charge and join the conversation. If you're not blogging yet, what better time to start?


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Growing Gardens

This photo is by vgm8383.

My husband and I are having the HARDEST time figuring out what to do with our backyard.
First of all you have to understand that we have a BIG backyard. The story goes that our house was built on a lot that was supposed to be turned into a cul-de-sac. But somewhere along the way Montgomery County forgot to extend our street and we landed on a double-sized yard.

I'm not complaining. A big yard is a good thing. Especially because both Dan and I LOVE entertaining. The problem is we can't agree on how to fill the space.

My garden woes, while clearly minor, are a good reminder for me of the fact that in all groups there are sensible folks (who mostly like each other) and don't agree! It doesn't matter if it's a garden plan, a capital campaign or the launch of a new program. There will ALWAYS be folks who are engaged - deeply engaged with your cause or issue - who have very different points of view and very different definitions of "success."

When you find yourself confronted with a situation like this, it's best to STOP STATING YOUR CASE and instead spend more time listening to the "other side." Sometimes the simple act of listening helps to iron things out.

It's also important to determine what you can and cannot live without. My mama calls this defining your "non-negotiables." Of course on really BIG issues like poverty and universal health care and genocide this is EXTREMELY hard to do. It seems like heresy to eliminate or chip away at any part of your plan. But all great work requires compromise.

I REALLY LIKE my azalea bushes. But I also know that in the end of the day a rock garden could work well too. (Did I just say that?)

Take the time to stop making your case and REALLY engage other options. This may lead you to a more perfect solution after all.


Monday, September 29, 2008

My Space and PayPal Help Nonprofits "Flip the (Marketing) Funnel"

MySpace and PayPal are 1 week into a contest to encourage more people to become fundraisers for their favorite causes. This specifics of the contest are here.

More interesting than the prizes is that fact that this contest, similar to last year's America's Giving Challenge, reminds us to STOP viewing our best members/donors/advocates as individual advocates and instead START thinking of them as powerful FUNDRAISERS in their own right.

Seth Godin, marketing guru, calls this "Flipping the (Marketing) Funnel." He elaborates on this KEY marketing concept in this FREE paper.

Consider giving the folks who love you most the tools they need - like the MySpace and PayPal widget - to share your cause with their friends. Ask them to "spread the love" for you!


Thursday, September 25, 2008

Making the Case for Email

Call me a luddite. Call me "behind-the-times." But I'm here to say it loud and say it proud.


I'm not saying this because I sell email marketing software. Although it's true, I DO! I'm saying this because EMAIL WORKS.

If you're trying to determine how to allocate your limited marketing budget to reach your fundraising, advocacy or communication goals - don't forget to check out this POWERFUL channel.

Here are some stats which may help you make the case.


P.S. Don't forget that any decision on HOW to reach your constituents MUST BE INFORMED by your budget AND by the communication preferences of your constituents. There is no point in meeting people where they're NOT. That said, all things being equal - email may still be your best bet.


Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Why Blog?

If you're still on the "maybe I should blog" fence, or worse, if you're in denial about the staying power of blogs as an important channel for communicating with your constituents, take a peak at these recent research results from Technorati.

The majority of corporate and professional bloggers have seen a positive impact as a result of their blog.

  • 50% are better known in their industry
  • 25% have used their blog as a resume enhancement.
  • Less than 10% have seen a negative impact from blogging
  • 33% have yet to see an impact.
Blogging has brought many unique opportunities to these bloggers that otherwise would not have been available.
  • 25% have been invited to participate in an event as a result of their blog
  • 20% have contributed to a print publication as a result of their blog
  • Almost 20% have found themselves on TV and/or on the radio
This is a POWERFUL medium and although it will suck up your time - like anything worth doing well - blogging can provide tremendous benefits to you both professionally and personally.

Yes, you should just dive in!


Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Blogging as the Best Marketing Tool Ever

According to this short video by Debbie Weil, featuring Tom Peters. Yes, that Tom Peters, the branding, marketing, management expert. Blogging is the BEST marketing tool ever!



1. Blogging engenders conversations and that's all economics is - conversations between buyers and sellers.
2. Blogging is the best forum for quickly generating, sharing, distilling, debating, and refining ideas.
3. Blogging makes it easy to building relationships with people all over the world. Thus, blogging makes it possible to access and incorporate many different perspectives.
4. Blogging promotes the best type of communication. Talk that is HONEST, OPEN, and INTERESTING!

BTW, think about buying a Flip (or 2) for your nonprofit. It's a portable camcorder. You can take it with you and capture cool conversations like this at conferences. You can also give it to your members/clients/supporters and ask them to document and share their stories with you.


Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Earth Day for the Web


Next Monday, September 22nd is the third annual One Web Day. Similar in spirit to Earth Day, the goal of this on- and offline, international, 1-day event is to CELEBRATE the power of the Web, protect it from censorship, and promote greater access to the medium.

According to the OneWebDay site, the chief goal this year is "to encourage people to make their own short videos and post them on or YouTube tagged "onewebday2008". Suggested topics:
  • how the web has changed your life;
  • how you'd like the web to change the world in the future;
  • highlights of what you've seen online the day you make the video;
  • your favorite online event ever; and
  • something you've done online with other people in other countries."
Check out the short video in the side bar of the home page to learn more!



Monday, September 15, 2008

World Wide Web Foundation is Launched

"The Web is a platform, like a piece of paper. It does not determine what you will do with it, it challenges your imagination." - Tim Berners-Lee, at the inauguration of the World Wide Web Foundation last night.
Call me a techno-geek but this is REALLY exciting news. Last night, Tim Berners-Lee, who invented the World Wide Web (no it wasn't Al Gore), launched a foundation to:
  • advance One Web that is free and open;
  • expand the Web's capability and robustness;
  • and extend the Web's benefits to all people on the planet.

I encourage you to read the full transcript of his speech, but here is the part that got me excited.

"When you think about how the Web is today and dream about how it might be, you must, as always, consider both technology and people. Future technology should be smarter and more powerful, of course. But you cannot ethically turn your attention to developing it without also listening to those people who don't use the Web at all, or who could use it if only it were different in some way. (I have read that 80% of the world do not have access to the Web. ) The Web has been largely designed by the developed world for the developed world. But it must be much more inclusive in order to be of greater value to us all...

My colleagues and I have identified three avenues — technology innovation, Web Science, and the application of the Web for the benefit of underserved communities — that we believe lead to the next phase of the Web. However, these avenues require significant collaborative efforts, worldwide, by all those who seek to fulfill the original vision of the Web: humanity connected by technology."

Talk about a BHAG (Big, Hairy, Audacious, Goal)! What would it mean to connect humanity across language, culture, ethnic identity, gender, religious belief, geography and class? What could we accomplish as a human race?


Sunday, September 14, 2008

Walk a Mile in My Shoes

This beautiful photo is by Trey Ratcliff.

I'm always surprised when I meet someone my age who has never read a blog. (Luckily, Dear Reader, this doesn't apply to you!) But then I have to STOP MYSELF and remember that people are different. REALLY different and this is the BANE and BEAUTY of our existence. We eat different cuisine, speak different languages, worship different gods. We live in different huts. And this is something to CELEBRATE and LAMENT.

Every great prophet knew/knows this. And yes, in my book, every great prophet was/is a marketer of sorts. If we define GREAT MARKETING as the ability to:

1) reach people at a deep level

2) change the consciousness of a community

3) persuade others to adopt a new point of view

4) ignite a social movement

Take Mother Theresa, Ghandi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., or even Jesus. All of these folks were marketers of a sort and their genius lies in this. Painting a NEW picture of how the world can and should be and encouraging me to "take up the cause" by FIRST walking a mile in "my" shoes.

I TRUST these prophets because they know me. They've "paid their dues" and more important they know and care about my life. Marketers call this being "audience-focused" but it's more than this, it's about meeting people on their own turf and taking a sincere interest in their world view.

Make no mistake this is HARD to DO. I don't live in the Middle East. I don't struggle to put food on the table EVERY SINGLE NIGHT. I don't live with chronic disease and trauma. I don't worry if I'm ever going be able to send my daughter to school.

Still, I can learn about other people. I can travel and read and listen to their stories. And I can EXPERIENCE instead of IGNORE my own suffering and this can build a bridge to understanding. My own suffering humbles me and helps me to be compassionate. It enables me to EMPATHIZE with others and imagine other realities.

If you want to succeed in swaying others to embrace your cause, STOP navel-gazing. Instead, START LISTENING and LEARNING about how it is for someone else. AND, pay attention to your own pain. Let it lead you to a greater awareness of what it is to be human. A struggle that we all share.


Friday, September 12, 2008

Online and Offline Donors Get Info in Different Ways

A new survey by A.B. Data and The Mellman Group shows what we've all intuited - online and direct mail donors get their information in DIFFERENT ways. You can read a summary of the survey here.

Most notable: Online donors get their info from EMAIL and WEBSITES while direct mail donors get their info from newspapers, magazine articles, and direct mail.

Also notable: The secondary channel of choice for direct mail donors is ONLINE.

What this means for your organization?
  • You've got to match the communication channel with the donor.
  • You will not get both kinds of donors unless you engage in BOTH kinds of marketing.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

New Book About the Power of the Internet to Change the World is FREE!

I can't wait to read Rebooting America, a new anthology of essays about reinvigorating our democracy in the Internet Age. Editing was done in part by Allison Fine, one of my FAVORITE people. Allison is author of Momentum | Igniting Social Change in the Connected Age . She also pens A. Fine Blog.

In the spirit of openness and transparency, the authors have made the book available to YOU (and ME!) FREE via PDF! I hope you'll check it out!

As you know, I am fond of "all things Internet" and have blogged a LOT about the fact that the Internet is giving more and more of us the POWER to join together and become agents of change. We just need to take it!

How is your organization leveraging blogs, social networking sites, charity widgets, and good ole email to change the world?


Sunday, September 7, 2008

Is Your Cause a Commodity?

Have you noticed? We live in a world of COMMODITIES. Whether it's peanut butter, toilet paper, or a blind date - the UNBELIEVABLE variety of stuff out here makes it VERY difficult to discern the DIFFERENCE between A, B, or C. And this commodification of our world isn't particular to traditional products or services, it extends to charities too.

Just because you DO GOOD STUFF doesn't mean that there is a qualitative difference between your youth development program and the one down the street. You both have great counselors, activities and clients. And that's the kicker! As your prospective donor, employee, customer, and client, I don't know how to tell you and your neighbor apart. Most important: I don't know WHY I should INVEST in you over the others.

You've go to except the fact that there are LOTS of people and organizations that do what you do. (This is not about being hopeless; it's about being realistic.) Next, you've got to do some serious thinking about how to DIFFERENTIATE or MOVE ON.

Here are my ideas for determining how to STAND OUT. I'd love to hear your thoughts as well.

1. Learn about your "competitors." Who are the leaders in your space? What do they do different? What do you do that they don't?

2. Find your hedgehog, a term coined by Jim Collins. This is the intersection of what you do best, make money (donations) doing, and LOVE to do.

3. Be willing to CELEBRATE and LET GO of stuff that others do better.

4. Refine your focus and then stick with it! Press all of your resources into being "narrow" rather than "WIDE."

5. Ask for help. Not sure what you do best? Ask your donors, volunteers, clients and employees for their feedback. BE OPEN to their insights and let them guide you.

Again, most of us (90%) are competing in a VERY CROWDED marketplace. Don't ignore this reality or let it disappoint. Instead, learn from others. Let their experience guide you and use their feedback to stand out from the rest.


Friday, September 5, 2008

New Design is LIVE!

Thanks to Taughnee at Endeavor Creative my blog has a BEAUTIFUL new design.

Hope you like!



Thursday, September 4, 2008

Three Cheers for Survey Monkey!

I NEVER plug vendors... but I feel compelled to evangelize for a moment about my recent, GREAT experience with Survey Monkey.

For a mere $20, I was able to:

1. create an online survey
3. upload over 800 emails
4. create custom messaging
5. segment appeals based on who did/did not respond
6. test the appeals
7. send the survey out on their servers
8. analyze responses in real-time
9. learn some pretty cool stuff
10. share results with other folks on our team
11. achieve a 12 percent response rate to date! (The survey hasn't closed yet.)

Bonus: Make my boss happy!

I don't know about you, but in my book, this is some pretty good ROI! And, the experience reminds me that market research doesn't have to be expensive.

Don't put off learning more from your donors/volunteers/clients, etc. They'll appreciate your sincere request for help.


Saturday, August 30, 2008

Me and Debbie Weil

One of the GREAT things about social media is that being part of the conversation enables you to CONNECT on and offline with cool people far and wide. For example, earlier this month I had coffee with Avi Kaplan, recent college grad and new social media evangelist and yesterday I had lunch with Debbie Weil.
Debbie, of The Coporate Blogging Book fame, is a GREAT resource for understanding the historical and cultural complexity of the blogosphere. (She's been blogging since 2003!) She's also a wealth of knowledge on how the "big guys" - like Hewlett Packard, Lilly, and Marriott - do or don't do it well. But what I like most about her is her curiosity and interest in talking about what's next.

This meeting served as ANOTHER reminder for me of what's best about being online. Meeting and connecting with like-minded souls who share a passion for LEARNING, CREATIVITY, and CONNECTION.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Top 7 Tips for Building Your E-mail List + 1

I was VERY HAPPY to help brainstorm this list of Top 7 Tips for Building Your E-mail List with Katya Andresen at Network for Good and Alia McKee at SeaChange Strategies. Check it out!

Here's the +1. Once you've got your e-list together, keep it up-to-date with regular e-mail appends. E-mail appending is "the process of adding a consumer's (donor's) email address to that consumer's (donor's) record. The email address is obtained by matching those records from the marketer's database against a third-party database to produce a corresponding email address."

Why e-mail append? Because your donor's e-mail addresses CHANGE REGULARLY!

To learn more, read "E-mail Appends: The Good, the Bad, and the Realistic," by Catherine Algeri.



Full disclosure: I work for Triplex, an InfoUSA Group company. We sell e-mail marketing and list management services - including e-mail appends - to nonprofits.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Google Goes Mobile for Election 2008

This probably won't come as a surprise but Google has launched a mobile channel to cover the 2008 Elections. It includes links to video, maps of the convention cities, and election news for both candidates. Pretty cool!

Clearly we're going to be hearing A LOT MORE about marketing via mobile phones in the next few months. This begs the question, how can nonprofits use this EVERYWHERE, ON ALL THE TIME, PERSONAL medium to talk to donors, volunteers, staff, etc.

If you are interested in learning more about how nonprofits are using mobile to achieve their advocacy, fundraising, and marketing goals, check out MobileActive - "a community of people and organizations using mobile phones for social impact."

In particular, check out this blog post, "The Do's and Dont's of Mobile Advocacy."



Friday, August 22, 2008

Find Your Voice

"When you think of the Internet, don't think of Mack trucks full of widgets
destined for distributorships, whizzing by countless billboards.

Think of a table for two."
-Doc Searles, The Cluetrain Manifesto.

One of the toughest things (in my humble opinion) about succeeding online is BEING REAL. Why? Most of us have spent the bulk of our careers perfecting the art of "corporate speak."
  • Don't be passionate.
  • Don't be spontaneous.
  • DON'T SAY ANY THING that hasn't been approved by PR.
  • In short, don't be real.
We've let the natural tenure, tone, and passion of our voices erode.

This is a serious problem because talking like an organization is BORING at best and PATRONIZING at worst. There's simply no life to "corporate speak." No love.

If you want to succeed on the Web, and by this I mean, if you want people to
  • read your stuff
  • visit your website
  • "tell a friend"
  • "donate now"
  • etc.
You've got to find your voice - again.
You've got to BE REAL.

Like Doc Searles says, the Internet IS A HUGE INTERSTATE. There's so much stuff out here, it's AMAZING! At the same time - at it's core - it's still a one-to-one medium. Think about it. You e-mail me. I e-mail you. I do a blog post. You comment. You "friend" me. I chat back.

The Point: Talk online just the way you would with you next door neighbor. No jargon-filled messaging. No over-my-head euphemisms. Just regular, righteous, real-time SPEAK!

If you need help finding your voice, answer the questions below. I also ENCOURAGE you to to read Beyond Buzz: The Next Generation of Word of Mouth Marketing, by Lois Kelly. She's got some great tips on being interesting and finding your unique point of view.

1. What do you LOVE about your job?
2. What do you HATE about your job?
3. What is your organization's greatest failure/success?
4. What is the biggest misperception people have about your cause?
5. What does everyone need to know now about your issue?


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Top Tips for Marketing Your Blog

Thanks to charitynet.USA for this request. Here are some top tips for marketing your blog.

1. The best way to promote your blog is to do good work. So WRITE, WRITE, and WRITE some more.

2. Next, the blogosphere is a COMMUNITY of folks who care about stuff. To get your blog noticed you must PARTICIPATE in your online community(ies) of interest by:

  • following the conversations you care about
  • reading other people's work
  • linking, linking, and linking some more
  • asking and answering questions
  • tagging and acknowledging great content
  • volunteering for on- and offline projects in your areas of interest
3. Purely promotional tactics for getting out the word about your blog, include:
  • registering it with key search engines like Technorati and Blogpulse
  • listing the URL of your blog in your e-mail signature and on your business cards
  • sending out a press release about it's launch
4. It's also VERY IMPORTANT that you choose an intuitive name for your blog and use key words in your posts so that your blog shows up in Search.

For more tips on how to market your blog, read this article by the folks at OnlineMarketingBlog.
For more on how to get found in Search, go here.


Monday, August 18, 2008

What's in Your Pocket?

Photo by Nemos' great uncle.

Did you know:

  • that over 3 billion people in the world (nearly 1/2 of us) have cellular connectivity
  • this means that almost 50% of us are "mobile"
Check out this VERY INTERESTING TEDTalk by Jan Chipchase, Principal Researcher for Nokia. He describes how mobile phones have become:

  • fixed identity points for populations on the move
  • channels for entrepreneurship amid poverty
  • pocket-sized Western Unions
  • vehicles for charitable donations in times of crisis

Do you have any experience with mobile campaigning in the nonprofit sector? If so, please let me know


P.S. I first saw the link to this video on Many Possibilities - In the beginner's mind there are...

Moi on Blogher!

This is fun! Beth Kanter just interviewed me for Blogher.

Blogher's mission is to "create opportunities for women who blog to pursue exposure, education, community and economic empowerment...It's the number-one community for and guide to blogs by women."

Check it out!

By the by, in addition to gaining exposure, there are MANY OTHER GREAT BENEFITS of engaging in social media on your own or for your org. You get to:
Dive in!


Thursday, August 14, 2008

Don't Market Like a Librarian

Photo be gwENvision.

I've been participating in a lively discussion this week about how marketing is changing in our Connected Age and how this is impacting LIBRARIANS.

I have to admit, as a kid, there was no love lost between me and my school librarian. She was:
  • A "know it all!"
  • ALWAYS TOO BUSY to explain the details of the Dewey Decimal System to me.
  • Saying SHHHHHHHH!
Librarians out there, don't kill me. I know you are not all created equal. The picture I'm painting is a stereotype. Still, it's worth noting that this caricature of the stern, perfectionist, disengaged, expert IS something that librarians and libraries have to contend with. I suggest reframing the job and adding a few new responsibilities for today.
Dear Librarians:
  • Instead of being the GATEKEEPERS of information, be a trusted GUIDE for my data collection and exchange.
  • Talk to me. Be willing and ready to ENGAGE me in dialogue via e-mail, social media, and in person.
  • SHARE your love of books.
  • INSPIRE me to share my knowledge with others and LEARN more.

P.S. These tips aren't only for librarians. They're for everyone who wants to be a better marketer, but you knew that!

What's in Your Social Media Toolbox?

We ARE Media - a project of NTEN being curated by Beth Kanter - is off to a great start!

To date, over 60 folks (from across the globe) have contributed to building a Social Media Curriculum for Nonprofits via this Wiki.

In the past 8 weeks we've had a virtual brainstorming session, if you will, on the topics below. All of this collaboration has resulted in a great list of FREE resources for nonprofits interested in using the Internet to change the world!

Social Media Strategic Track

6: Return on Investment (ROI)

Now we're diving into the tools, i.e. blogs, fundraising widgets, RSS, photo sharing, social networks, etc. that power the house!

If you have expertise in using any of these tools at your nonprofit or have a case study about how a tool DID or DID NOT work, now is your chance to SHARE THE LOVE and SHINE A LIGHT on your organization!

An official "wiki-raid" to flesh out the Social Media Toolbox for Nonprofits will kickoff in September but feel free to get a head start!


Operation Smile is the 2008 Nonprofit Organization of the Year!

Congratulations to Operation Smile, winner of the 2008 Nonprofit Organizations of the Year Award for its use of direct-response marketing to advance its' mission.

Learn more and give the gift of a smile today!


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Send This Text to Barack

OK, I wasn't going to get political on this blog but it doesn't get much cooler (or smarter) than this.

Want to be the first to know Barack's running mate? Sign up to receive an email now or text VP to 62262 on your mobile.

Ahhh the possibilities... How are you using new technologies to change the world?


Come Chat With Me Next Tuesday!

I'm leading a workshop next Tuesday morning (Aug. 19) from 9:30 - 11:30 at the Center for Nonprofit Advancement in Washington, DC called Rise Above the Noise: Online Strategies and Tools for Success. (Don't you love wonky workshop titles?)

If you're thinking about wading into the waters of Web 2.0 by starting a blog, participating in a social network, doing online video, or syndicating your best content or just want to get better at what you're already doing - register today!

We'll have coffee and bagels (my treat) and talk about the challenges and opportunities of using the Internet to change the world!

Questions about the workshop? Email me at jocelyn_harmon (at)

Questions about registration? Contact Shaw Hipsher at shawh (at)


Monday, August 11, 2008

Someone You Should Know - Qui Diaz

If you're serious about pursuing a career in "social media" or are just TRYING TO UNDERSTAND this dense and exciting "space," there are a few folks you need to know. One of them is Qui Diaz.

Qui (pronounced "key"), my dear frolleauge (friend and colleague), is profiled here, here, and here, which is as it should be. She's super smart, creative, and soulful - great attributes of a great marketer. (She's also way into citrus but that's another story.)

The good news is her passion is social media for social change and you can hire her to think with you or read her thoughts for free.

Check her out!


Sunday, August 10, 2008

Yet Another FREE Learning Opportunity for Nonprofits

The smart folks over at Frogloop - a blog which also helps nonprofits use the Internet to change the world - are holding a FREE webinar on Aug. 21 2:00 EDT to share tips and tricks for doing advocacy and cultivating donors through e-mail. They believe (as do I) that, while it's not the sexiest online tool, EMAIL is still hands down the best way to raise money and engage folks online.

Check it out!


Friday, August 8, 2008

Search - Everyone's Doing IT

According to a new report by the Pew Internet and American Life Project, Search (i.e. asking questions of Google and MSN and Yahoo) is second only to email in popularity with online adults. Specifically, the report says,
"the percentage of internet users who use search engines on a typical day has been steadily rising from about one-third of all users in 2002, to a new high of just under one half (49%). With this increase, the number of those using a search engine on a typical day is pulling ever closer to the 60% of internet users who use email, arguably the internet’s all-time killer app, on a typical day."
If you are reading this blog, I'm sure this is not news to you. Who can live without Search? It's become a vital part of daily life. Whether we're job hunting, doing research, or Googling ourselves (I know you do it too), Search is ubiquitous.

What's interesting is how Search is changing the way we connect with others and market our organizations online. Instead of using OUTBOUND marketing techniques like sending out e-mail blasts, Search enables us to do INBOUND marketing and bring people hither!

For example, if you type "marketing for nonprofits" into Google right now, (Go ahead. Open a new browser and try it.) my blog comes up, as do links for Nancy Schwartz' blog - Getting Attention and Nedra Weinreich's blog - Spare Change. Now, if we're lucky (Nancy and Nedra and I), you will click on one or all of our links and read, comment, or hire us to provide marketing consulting for you! (Hint, hint.)

Note: I venture to guess that you've NEVER seen an advertisment or received literature in the mail from Nancy or Nedra (I know you've never seen one from me) but (and this is the cool part) we've managed to connect with you nonetheless. The point? Search engine marketing really works.

If you're interested in getting into Search, here are three great ways to get started. I'd be interested to hear other ideas re: what has and hasn't worked for you!

1. Publish new content often. This is THE MOST IMPORTANT tactic and the highest value activity you can pursue in if you want to be successful at search engine marketing. People want helpful information and frequent updating of your website or blog will increase your rankings in the search engines. Guaranteed.

2. Apply for a Google Adwords grant. Adwords are those links you see on the right hand side of your search results. Google has been giving these advertisements away for FREE to qualified nonprofits for some time now. The jury's still out on how successful Adwords are but since their FREE, I'd say give 'em a try.

3. Ask your friends to link to you! Links from other websites with good ranks and reputations will "rub off on you." In the game of Search, as in the game of life, who you know helps.


P.S. If you want to see how your website fares to date, here is a cool service which will "verify your website's placement within the top Internet search engines and directories."

P.P.S. HubSPOT has some done some great thinking on how small businesses, like nonprofits, can use search and other inbound marketing techniques to get more traffic. You can download their whitepaper for FREE. (Registration is necessary.)

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Frustrated with Flickr

Here's my beef. I LOVE FLICKR. I LOVE MANY OF THE AMAZING PHOTOS ON FLICKR. I GO TO FLICKR ALL THE TIME FOR INSPIRATION but for the life of me I can't figure out the copyright rules.

I know. The rules are listed here. But what exactly do they mean? Can I cut and paste any photo I see as long as I acknowledge the photographer or is sharing only approved for photos under Creative Commons license?

I'd appreciate any feedback. Help!

Having Faith in Strangers

I had the nicest experience today. I received a call from Avi Kaplan, a recent college graduate looking for his first "real" job and doing some networking in DC. I have to admit getting a call from a stranger who wants to meet for coffee is a little off-putting. But once we started talking it was clear that we "travel" in the same online circles and this is why I decided to meet.

Maybe this is another gift of our Connected Age - having faith in strangers.


Thursday, July 31, 2008

BookSWIM - Another Great Use of the Net

If you think all the good online ideas have already been hatched, think again!

Shamoon Siddiqui and George Book recently launched BookSWIM. It's Netflix for books!

What a great way to SHARE THE LOVE and COST of books! This is an especially great service for folks who don't live near a library.

FYI, for those parents out there, they've got some great books for kids. Check it out!


P.S. First saw this on Center for Citizen Media.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

It's 10pm. Do You Know Where Your Donors Are?

I'm conflicted.

All of my training in sales and development has lead me to believe that MORE IS ALWAYS BETTER.

More donors, more sponsors, more subscribers, more members, more advocates, more volunteers, more clients, more, more, more...

But, what if I'm DEAD WRONG?

What if the QUALITY of relationships is a better measure of success and predictor of revenue than QUANTITY?

What if "the play" is deepening the connections I already have?

It's 10pm. Do you know where your donors are? Or are you already on to the next one?

Monday, July 28, 2008

Internet for Everyone

I just joined Internet for Everyone, a coalition of individuals and organizations who believe that

"High-speed Internet, or "broadband," is one of the most transformative communications technologies in human history. In just over a decade, broadband has completely changed commerce, public discourse, and how we interact with each other and the rest of the world. Broadband is no longer a luxury—it’s a public necessity."

I was frustrated to learn that there is a growing class division in access to broadband, i.e. only 35 percent of homes with less than $50,000 in annual income have broadband, while 76 percent of households earning more than $50,000 per year are connected.

Democracy is a mute point if people lack access to public discourse and the public domain.

Interested in learning more? Read this overview and join today!


Sunday, July 27, 2008

Nonprofit Marketers Don't See Internet as a Top Marketing Priority

According to State of Nonprofit Marketing, a new report by Lipman Hearne and the American Marketing Association, only 1 percent of nonprofit marketers rank "leveraging technology" or "leveraging the Internet" as one of their top marketing priorities. (Register here to download the report for FREE!) However, 24 percent say that "leveraging the Internet" will be a key challenge in the next 5 years.

What do you make of this finding? Why aren't more nonprofit marketers are using technology and the Internet TODAY to achieve organizational goals?


P.S. I'm quoted in the report. See page 16!

Saturday, July 26, 2008

The ONLY Four Reasons to Market

Great advice from Marketing Profs Daily Fix Blog yesterday. Simply substitute "donation" for "sales" and "donor" for "customer" and it works perfectly!

"Despite how complicated we can make it at times - the good news is - there are only four different blocks we use to build marketing programs. They are:

(1) Drive Sales

(2) Build Awareness

(3) Drive Traffic, and

(4) Build Community

Drive Sales - The core of a business... The fuel that powers the engine. You drive sales (1) through new customers spending, or (2) getting existing customers to spend more.

Build Awareness - Getting people to know about your business. We do this through advertising, publicity, word-of-mouth, etc.

Drive Traffic - Getting existing or potential customers to your business or service. Simply about getting bodies to your physical or virtual location.

Build Community - There are two sub-categories of building community:
(1) Making yourself a meaningful part of your community and, (2) Building community with and between your customers.

Great marketing strategy combines these blocks in meaningful ways.

Note: Because we've always done it this way or because the ED likes/doesn't like it, are not mentioned.


Put the Creative Icing on Your Marketing Cake

Pink and Brown Birthday Cake by allaboutduncan

You've got a marketing plan, i.e. you know who you want to talk to, what they need, and how to reach out. Now, you need to put the creative icing on your marketing cake.

Here are some ideas to get you started.

1) Search photos on Flickr.

2) Read comics.

4) Ask questions.

5) Tell a story.

Other ideas? How do you get creative?


Thursday, July 24, 2008

First Comes Email, Then Comes Marriage, Then Comes the Baby in the Baby Carriage!

I know, super corny but I couldn't resist. :)

In case your wondering - e-mail is still the killer app, i.e. the best way to connect with your supporters online. Keep your eye on blogs, social networking sites, YouTube for Nonprofits, and other online marketing solutions but don't forget about good old e-mail because 92% of online adults send or read it! Don't believe me? Go here.

If you do NOTHING ELSE with online marketing this year, you MUST:

1) Round up all of your donor's e-mail addresses.
2) Buy a subscription to an e-newsletter platform. (Here's a sample to choose from.)
3) Pick a template.
4) Write a SHORT story about 1 client's success.
5) Upload your addresses.
6) Hit send and see what happens.



Have You Started To Blog Yet?

"The Internet is the most important medium since the printing press. It subsumes all that has come before and is, in the most fundamental way, transformative. When anyone can be a writer, in the largest sense and for a global audience, many of us will be. The Net is overturning so many of the things we’ve assumed about media and business models that we can scarcely keep up with the changes; it’s difficult to maintain perspective amid the shift from a top-down hierarchy to something vastly more democratic and, yes, messy. But we have to try, and nowhere is that more essential than in that oldest form of information: the news. We will be blessed with new kinds of perspective in this emergent system, and we will learn how to make it work for everyone.

Your voice matters. Now, if you have something worth saying, you can be heard. You can make your own news. We all can. Let’s get started."

This is an excerpt from We the Media (Hard Cover) Grassroots Journalism by the People, for the People. You can buy it or download the book for FREE!

We need to hear from you? What are you waiting for?


Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Problem With Customers in the Connected Age

  1. They know what they want.
  2. They have LOTS of choices.
  3. They're busy.
  4. They're connected to other people.
  5. They read and write.
  6. They're in charge!

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Read, Write, Aim

Image by chatirygirl's photostream.

I've made several changes to the name and focus of this blog over the past year. (That is what I love about blogging, it's a forgiving medium.) It's not that I'm fickle, well I am fickle but there's something else going on here too. The more I write, the more focused I get, the more I write, the more focused I get, the more I write... (You get the point.)

Writing is a key element (some would say THE KEY ELEMENT) of good marketing. Regardless of the vehicle you choose - blogs, websites, collateral, PowerPoint, direct mail, e-mail,etc. - there comes a time when you have to pick up a pen. Unfortunately writing is not easy to do and many of us are SCARED to DEATH of being the scribe.

Here's my advice.

- WRITE, WRITE, and WRITE some more and

- Don't be afraid of mistakes.

Writing is not a linear process. It changes shape and evolves over time and it works best when you just do it.

So be brave and dive in.


Monday, July 21, 2008

All You Do is Marketing

I like this post by Jeff Brooks over at Donor Power Blog. It was inspired by this chat given by Seth Godin, sponsored by the Chronicle of Philanthropy.

"All you do is marketing. You market to the people you serve.... You market to the people who fund you. And you market to the people you need to hire or get approvals from."


Got Marketing Questions?

Check out this FREE call tomorrow at 1:00 EST, sponsored by Network for Good.



Friday, July 18, 2008

A Primer on Social Media

This is also archived on the We ARE Media.

What are Social Media?

Social media comprise the vast array of communications vehicles including blogs, wikis, e-mail, and social networking sites that are powered by the Internet.

Social media can be best understand by what they are NOT. Social media are NOT mass media, defined by Wikipedia, as "traditional means of communication" like television or newspaper or radio that were "envisioned and designed to reach a VERY LARGE AUDIENCE such as the population of a nation state. In addition, social media are NOT controlled by a select group of people or organizations - think ABC or Robert Murdoch. Instead social media are communications tools that are used for communication by "the masses." When you choose to use these tools - YOU! - become a writer, publisher and editor and other people can choose or choose not to join in conversation with you.

So What and Who Cares?

Social media are POWERFUL because they enable LOTS of people (at last count Technorati, a popular blogging search engine, noted that there were over 100,000,000 bloggers in the "blogosphere") to tell their stories, market products, frame or re-frame social issues, raise money - in short, engage in all sorts of communication on all sorts of issues. This "democratization of communication" means that people who previously had LITTLE or NO ACCESS (that's most of us) to the means of distribution for sharing thoughts, concerns and ideas, now have the same opportunity as credentialed "experts" and mainstream journalists to converse and talk about the issues that matter to us most.

Social media can be particular powerful for organizations and people who are interested in changing the world and need to connect with people across space and time. By using these tools and working OUTSIDE OF or IN CONCERT WITH traditional media gatekeepers (think Dean for America Campaign) inspired individuals can find each other, join together, solve problems, raise money, and make powerful change in a comparatively inexpensive way.

To Social Media or Not to Social Media? That is the question.

Like all successful communications tools and strategies, use of social media, must be driven the goals of the organization and the needs its' audiences. For example, if you need to mobilize 100 seniors to meet your organization's goals you may choose to use different communication's tools than if you need to mobilize 100,000 teenagers. Before using social media tools or any other communications vehicles, you should:

1) determine your specific goals
2) identify who you want to reach
3) choose the tools that are the best fit, i.e. most likely to reach, your targeted audience(s)
4) craft messages/begin dialogues that will resonate with your "publics"

Forrester Research and the authors of Groundswell: Winning in a World Transformed by Social Technologies have created this tool to help organizations and individuals determine if and where their audiences "live on line." The Pew Internet and American Life Project is also an excellent resource for understanding who is online and what they are doing.

5 Key Points to Remember

1. Social media are powered by the Internet.
2. Social media are NOT mass media.
3. Social media are accessible to any organization or anyone with an Internet connection.
4. Social media enable people to connect to each other across space and time.
5. All communications strategies and tools must be driven by the needs and requirements of an audience NOT the needs of an organization.

Did I miss anything? What else would you add? How do you understand social media?