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.