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?


Wednesday, July 16, 2008

What Do You Sell?

All marketing begins with a product or service because you can't talk about nothing. (Well, actually you can but that's another story.)
So, what do you sell? Are you sure?

As nonprofits we're in the business of changing the world. We believe that economic resources should be distributed more evenly, that all kids deserve a decent education, that it SUCKS that the air is polluted and so this is what we sell to donors - right?


I know it's crass but I don't care about youth development, or saving the environment, or fixing the public school systems for their own sake. If I did, I'd spend time and money figuring these things out. I'm not dumb.

What I do care about is making a difference (if it's easy and relatively painless to do) and being a decent human being.

So, let me ask you again. What do you sell?

Youth development, clean air, and less poverty? Or are you in the business of saving me time and making me feel good?

Monday, July 14, 2008

FREE Chat on Internet Fundraising and Communications TOMORROW

Are you thinking about starting a blog for your organization?

Are you wondering about the value of trying to reach new donors on Facebook?

Are you worried about how you're going to meet your fundraising goals this year?

Then be sure to join this chat, sponsored by the Chronicle of Philanthropy tomorrow (Tuesday, July 15 from 12 noon-1pm, ET).

Beth Kanter, Social Media Guru, Consultant, and Curator for this project, and Jonathon Colman, Associate Director & Web Evangelista, Digital Marketing (don't you LOVE that title?) for the Nature Conservancy will be "in-the-house."

Don't miss the opportunity to learn tips and tricks for using the Internet to reach folks, especially on a tight budget.


Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Revolution Will Not Be Televized

My hubbie brought home The Revolution Will Not Be Televised Democracy, the Internet, and the Overthrow of Everything, by Joe Trippi on Friday night and I can't put it down.

Trippi, author and Dean's campaign manager for much of 2003 - 2004, is a TERRIFIC writer. His humor, use of metaphor, and brutal honesty make him REAL and a REALLY likable guy in my book. He sounds like a smart, hard working, pain in the ass - a suitable job description for any revolutionary. More important I can't get over his prescience. The way he just knew, before many others, that the Internet would unlock the power of the Dean Campaign and INSPIRE thousands of everyday folks (like me and you) to get involved changing our government.

We all know that the Internet was the Dean Campaign tool of choice out of necessity and strategy. They turned to the Internet to raise a little money from a lot of folks because they didn't have a wealthy supporter base. (Sound familiar?) They also used the Internet because it IS the tool of choice for organizations interested in "creating a populist, insurgent movement." (Sound familiar too?) Finally, they used the Internet because Trippi knew that it was much more than a tool for reaching donors, clients, and customers - it's a tool for EMPOWERMENT. It's a tool for equalizing access to knowledge, ideas, and each other sans gatekeeper, sans bureaucracy, sans credentials and THAT IS WHY IT'S SO IMPORTANT THAT MORE NONPROFITS "get it!"

But so many of us still don't...

Read any job description for Public Relations.

"We're looking for someone with media contacts, the ability to write and place op eds and press releases and represent (insert name of nonprofit) to key media." Blah, blah, blah....

Who cares?

Why are we stuck in this passive mode - waiting (and hoping and praying) that someone will cover our stories, run our PSA's, and give us the time of day on the local news? Why are we pursuing such a subservient and ineffectual strategy ESPECIALLY when we and the people who love us most have the Internet (and the amazing tools it encompasses) at our/their disposal?


Stop hiring folks who do traditional PR. Stop relying on traditional media to "televise" your revolution. Stop wasting time trying to "get covered."

Cover your own stories by:

Use the Internet to develop DEEP relationships with the folks that you already know and who already know and love you and TOGETHER work to achieve your goals.

This is a much better way to work. It's more efficient and strategic and INSPIRED.


Wednesday, July 9, 2008

We ARE Media

It's just 4 minutes long. You've got to watch this.

If not us, then who? If not now, then when? Join the project.

By the by, TED: Ideas Worth Spreading is an AWESOME resource for experiencing some of the world's best and brightest, learning stuff, and getting inspired.


Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Marketing is a Process Not a Project

I picked up Mastering Online Marketing by Mitch Meyerson at the library hoping to get new ideas for marketing my blog. The book is a little salesy and is definitely intended for a for-profit audience. That said I've been pleasantly surprised with much of the content. In particular, I liked this advice in Chapter 2.

" is about building lasting relationships with loyal customers. It involves a commitment to serve, before, during, and after a sale. It's a process, not a project (my emphasis) - one that requires long-term perspective. It's not one transaction. It's not one order. It's not one anything. Rather, it's accepting the benefits of ongoing connections and doing whatever it takes to grow and nourish them."

A PROCESS is a "sustained phenomenon" that occurs over a long period of time, like a good marriage or parenting. On the other hand, a PROJECT is finite and has a beginning, middle and and end. Building a new website is an example of a project.

Many nonprofits approach marketing as a "one-shot" deal. They advertise in the Chronicle of Philanthropy or do an annual appeal or publish a research report and then complain about disappointing results. But, just as one date doesn't constitute a marriage, an annual report is not a marketing effort.

Don't approach marketing as an activity that ENDS in a new donor, board member, etc. Instead, think of it as a long-term commitment to BUILDING RELATIONSHIPS with your all of your clients, donors, members, volunteers, funders, etc. OVER TIME. Then you'll be marketing.



Monday, July 7, 2008

Tools Glorious Tools!

UGH! I'm contradicting myself again but I just can't help myself from EVANGELIZING about this one.

Saw it first on Amy Sample Ward's Blog. Posterous is blogging VIA your e-mail address(es). SUPER COOL! Check out my first post.

To get your own Posterous blog simply send an e-mail to Seriously, it's that simple.


Sunday, July 6, 2008

Freedom of Speech

I met Debbi Winsten two weeks ago at a lunch sponsored by this group. She is a passionate advocate for helping other folks - particularly folks in the developing world - SPEAK OUT.

She uses "simply technologies" like mime, gestures and drawings to engage groups and facilitate communication with non-literate populations.

Talking with Debbi, I was reminded of two things:

1. I regularly take for granted the TREMENDOUS opportunity I have to write and teach and be heard by others.

2. Good communication is not about tools it's about CONNECTION and EMPOWERMENT and the successful TRANSFER of KNOWLEDGE from listener to listenee.

It doesn't make a bit of difference how communication is achieved. What matters is that people are seen and heard and valued and that hopefully from this exchange all good things - like improved water systems, better health care, greater access to education, etc. - result.



Shameless Self-Promotion

Please excuse the shameless self-promotion but I'm SUPER excited to be back from vacation and part of a new writing opportunity and a FREE training call on marketing and fundraising for nonprofits.

I hope you'll check them out!


1. This fall, I'll be partnering with super smart cookie - Katya Andresen - on a monthly column on fundraising for nonprofits for Fundraising Success Magazine.

2. On July 22, 1 p.m. EDT, I'll be participating on The Experts Are In: Ask Them Anything! to answer all of your burning questions about online marketing, fundraising, and public relations, etc... FYI, this call is just one of many FREE resources for nonprofits brought to you by the great folks at Network for Good.