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.