Friday, June 27, 2008


I'm off for a week to discover the Southwest!



Be the Media

I'm SUPER excited to be a part of this exciting project from NTEN and Beth Kanter called Be the Media. The project - as the name suggests - is encouraging nonprofits and folks with important stories to tell to STOP waiting for the traditional gatekeepers (multi-national media conglomerates) to tell our stories and instead to START distributing our own news!

The goal of the project is two-fold:

1. To develop an online social media training curriculum chock full o' resources to help nonprofits to understand and use social media.

2. To do the project online in a collaborative way to both create a "community of practice" and use the tools that are being discussed.

I hope you'll follow this project as it evolves. In fact I hope you'll add your 2 cents and get involved.


Thursday, June 26, 2008

Blogging Questions and Answers

Britt Bravo has put together this great FAQ about blogging.

I especially like her thoughts regarding what to do about Blogphobia!

"Blogphobia often manifests itself in a fear of comments. Here's the

1. You can moderate comments.

2. If someone writes something bad about your organization, I'll betcha that they are saying it to other people, and that other people may have the same feelings. Wouldn't you rather address the complaint out in the open, where everyone can read your response, instead of having talk about you behind your back?

3. Everyone wants comments, but not bad comments. You don't get to choose what the comments are about."

Check it out!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Does Your Website Work?

Websites and weblogs are TOOLS for communicating something specific to a broader audience. Whether it's educating folks on the dangers of global warming, recruiting volunteers to teach summer school, or signing up kids for camp, websites are VEHICLES for reaching an audience and getting stuff done.

I know, I know, you know already know this but when was the last time you actually evaluated the performance of your website? How do you know your website actually works?

Here's your homework:

1. Write a paragraph outlining what you want your website to do. For example, facilitate online donations, recruit volunteers, educate law makers, etc.

2. Go to Google Analytics and attach it to your site. (It's FREE!)

3. Pick one or two metrics (at most) and begin tracking them once a week. For example, take note of where your traffic comes from and/or check out what content folks actually read.

4. Commit to making one or two changes based on what you learn. For example, reach out to your "referring partners" and thank them for linking to you and/or put your best content on the home page of your site.

Good luck!

Friday, June 20, 2008

Karen Mulhauser and GENEROSITY

I had the GREAT privilege of meeting Karen Mulhauser today. This pictures DOES NOT do her justice. Sorry, it was my cell phone's best effort!
Karen is a consultant in town (DC) who specializes in organizational development, management, and coaching for nonprofits. Her pre-consulting accomplishments include being national Executive Director of National Abortion Rights Action League and the Center for Education on Nuclear War, Citizens Against Nuclear War. She also has this "little gig" right now as a Senior Advisor for the Obama Campaign! (All I can say is that I'm glad I didn't google her before the meeting. I would have been SO intimidated!)

Here's what I liked best about Karen and why I can't wait to chat with her again. She was willing to meet with me! Seriously. What impressed me most about Karen was the value and interest that she places on mentoring other women.

GENEROSITY. It's such a good value and an important ideal. And yet, like LISTENING it doesn't always come naturally. Thank goodness for folks like Karen who model this behavior and inspire us all to GIVE more FREELY.


Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The Girl Effect

This great video by Nike Foundation, called The Girl Effect, has been covered on Katya's Nonprofit Marketing Blog and over at GlobalGiving but I thought I'd add my 2 cents.

1) The music rocks! Consider adding music to your online work. Music engenders feelings and people connect to feelings.

2) The text rocks! Words are even more powerful when they are


Think E.E. Cummings.

3) The narrative rocks! Much has been said about using stories to "make the case." People think and remember in narrative. Consider creating a tale to tell others about what you do and why it's important!

4) The call to action falls short! This video needs a clearer, more dramatic, more creative CALL to ACTION.

Your thoughts?


Sunday, June 15, 2008

Listen UP

"You can't TALK anyone out of anything, but you can LISTEN them out of it."

This "biblical" phrase is one of the best pieces of advice I've ever received. It was ushered by my LOVELY momma, but originates with Harvey Jackins, a brilliant man who developed a technology called "Reevaluation Counseling" to help people (re)discover their own brilliance and move out of distress.

I've been thinking a lot lately about the power of LISTENING and about the fact that it DOESN'T come easily to most of us and thus, doesn't happen often.

I am a culprit of non-listening too. As a natural-born sales gal, I get paid to develop arguments to PERSUADE other folks to:

  • think a certain way way;
  • see my point of view; and
  • take my advice!

But...I've been wondering if -based on Harvey's insight - there might be a better way.

  • When was the last time you felt like someone truly listened to you?
  • When was the last time you stayed silent in the face of critique?
  • When was the last time you waited (1 whole minute) before responding?
Try it!

LISTENING is hard AND it's really helpful. It enlivens a conversation and helps people RELAX. Good listening makes the listener and the "listenee" feel connected, respected, and heard.

We're ALL wedded to our opinions, our prejudices, our points of view (especially by our late thirties!) but this doesn't mean that we need to fight for the most "airtime," all the time.

Instead, try being silent. Try listening carefully and genuinely to what your members, clients, customers, employees, supervisors, co-workers, and even strangers have to say. See what happens.



Saturday, June 14, 2008

Why MORE is Always LESS

Sometimes when I'm speaking to a group of nonprofit leaders I see their eyes glaze over when I start to list the INCREDIBLE VARIETY of technology tools they can use to achieve their goals. For example, last week during a workshop, I gave students a list of tools to create e-newsletters, including Constant Contact, My Emma, Vertical Response, etc., etc... I do this to be helpful, but I'm starting to think that this is not helpful at all. Instead of energizing my students with options, I'm actually creating paralysis!

This "eyes glazing over phenomenon" has a name. It's called the "paradox of choice." The idea is that the incredible range of options presented to us daily re: where to shop, what to buy, where to donate, what to eat, who to date, where to bank, even how to choose - actually makes us feel MORE anxious vs. less. Why? Because being confronted by a myriad number of choices (which we have no way to vet or assess) makes us worry about our ability to make the "right choice." And, the theory suggests that when feelings of paralysis set in, we're just as likely to DO NOTHING, as choose!


I know, I know, this goes against the grain for those of us who are in the business of "empowerment" but give it a try. For your next fundraising campaign consider ELIMINATING vs. ADDING options to the mix. Give prospective donors 1 or 2 options for how to help and see what happens.



Saturday, June 7, 2008

Most Important Marketing Questions REVISED

Here is my updated list of the "Most Important Marketing Questions!" Kivi Leroux Miller at Nonprofit Communications convinced me that there are really 5 crucial questions to ask REGULARLY so that you can stay clear on your goals and stay audience focused.

Don't do ANY MARKETING for your organization without answering these questions first!

Note: Notice that 2 of the questions are about YOU - your organization, your nonprofit, your objectives and the other 3 questions are about THEM - your clients, donors, customers, partners - the folks you serve.


1. What is your quantifiable goal? What are you trying to do?

Examples: Deliver 1,000 signatures to your local school board, Raise $100,000 for your annual event, Increase the size of your e-mail list by 25 percent in 1 year.

Hint: Raising awareness is not a good goal.
2. Who are you trying to reach, i.e. who makes your goal a reality?

Examples: Individual donors, Foundation reps, Corporate leaders, Activists, Members of Congress

3. What do your "customers" need?

Examples: To get more "eyeballs" so that they can increase sales. To realize their ambitions and change the world with you. To meet other people that they need to know, i.e. NETWORK.

4. Why should they "buy" from you?

Hint: Because you are uniquely qualified to deliver what they need! See ques. 3.

5. What's the best way to reach them?

Examples: Join a board, send a hand written note, sponsor an event, send an e-mail.

Friday, June 6, 2008

3 Important Questions

1. Who do you serve?

2. What do they need?

3. Why should they "buy" from you?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

How Do You Live Online?

Forrester Research has created this great tool to help you understand who is online and what they are doing. Simply choose the age, geographical location and gender of the folks you want to reach and the tool will tell you HOW your stakeholders live online.

I pulled up data for total US and for the "Millenials" - age 18 - 24 and this is what jumped out at me.

1. Very few people are "Collectors," i.e. tag or organize content for others. Hmmmm?

2. Almost 50% of online adults are "Spectators," i.e. they read/watch other people's blogs and videos but don't create their own content.

3. 64% of younger folks are members of a social networking site, i.e. they LIVE online!

What do these numbers mean for your marketing/outreach?


Wednesday, June 4, 2008

Don't Direct, Guide.

I spent the day with some great folks at Nonprofit 2.0 today. Lots of good ideas and tools to share. Here is the first of many posts.

Holly Ross, Executive Director of NTEN, a key leader in social media for nonprofits, and one of my FAVORITE presenters did the opening keynote. Here is my summary of her remarks.

1. Information is POWER and social media is EMPOWERING us all by giving us greater access to information than ever before through tools (technologies) that are CHEAP, EASY TO USE, and EVERYWHERE.

2. Because of this greater access to information (think Google Search), we don't need institutions, for or non-profit, to think for us. What we do need is help SYNTHESIZING all of the information out there and TRANSLATING it so that it we understand its' relevance to our lives.

3. As nonprofits we would do well to stop thinking of ourselves as CRUISE DIRECTORS of our CAUSE SHIPS (my silly metaphor, not Holly's) and instead start thinking of ourselves as FACILITATORS and GUIDES.

4. Being peers with those we support and serve challenges us to become better LISTENERS. Listening is HARD because we're all afraid of critique. But if we can learn to listen better and act on what we hear it will help our issues to move forward.


Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Nonprofit 2.0

I'm off to Nonprofit 2.0 to hear from some of the best and brightest in the "web 2.0" and "cloud computing" world. Will let you know what I learn.



Radio Silence

Is a BAD strategy for dealing with clients, customers, partners, grantees - ANYBODY. While it's true that we all get busy - nobody likes to be ignored.

It's much better to MANAGE others' EXPECTATIONS by keeping people apprised of your process. Especially in this Age of Openness and Connectedness you run the risk of disgruntled folks "airing your dirty laundry" if they feel ignored.


Sunday, June 1, 2008

Begin With the End in Mind

I've been an ad hoc consultant for a while now and I'm intrigued by the fact that most people call NPower with requests for help with TACTICS instead of STRATEGY. (I know, I know, I'm just as tired of these words as you are, so let me break it down.)

A tactic is a TOOL for getting something done. Marketing tactics can include:

- a website redesign
- direct marketing
- advertising
- public relations
- blogging
- social networking
- podcasting
- door to door canvassing
- search engine optimization

A marketing STRATEGY, on the other hand, is driven by OBJECTIVES or a PRE-DEFINED RATIONALE for taking action. Marketing objectives are the core element of a successful marketing strategy and can include:

- listening to customers in order to incorporate their thoughts and ideas into product/service development
- asking clients to help you sell your products and services
- using online tools to convert more prospects into leads

Many people seek assistance from NPower, and other consulting groups, with an interest in employing a new technology tactic or tool. For example, an Executive Director called the other day to ask our help in updating her organization's website. While there's nothing wrong with refreshing your organization's online presence. You should begin with the end in mind, i.e. begin by clearly stating your objectives or goals. Without this clarity, your "redesign" may not "deliver" and you may end up sucking time, money, and energy from staff.

Here's my advice.

Ask these 5 questions - in this order - BEFORE engaging in any new marketing tactics. Once you have your objectives laid out, the tools will follow.



1. Who are we?
2. What do we do?
3. Why should anyone else care? In other words, why should people donate to, buy from, or partner with us? What's our unique value-add, our "special sauce?"
4. Who are we trying to reach? In other words, who makes are goals a reality?
5. What are the best tools reaching this audience?