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.