Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Tell the Truth & Keep it Real

This great article and research which I found through Rebecca Leaman on Twitter shows that "transparency and authenticity are the new marketing imperatives." In other words, if you want to succeed on- and offline "TELL THE TRUTH & KEEP IT REAL!"

Frankly, it's sad that it taken an economic melt down to force us to reclaim these core values. Alas.

Here is some help to get you started. I'd love to hear your ideas as well.

1. Read "Beyond Buzz: The Next Generation of Word of Mouth Marketing." I love Lois Kelly's advice to strike all the unnecessary adjectives from your copy.

For example, instead of saying "we are a world-class, values-based, leading nonprofit working in our community to reduce poverty every day." (Yuck!)

Try, "we feed hot food to hungry families."

Better yet, get a Flip video and interview your clients and ask them to tell you why they use your services. Post your new video to YouTube and publish it everywhere - your website, blog, Facebook, Linkedin, etc. Then ask your supporters to share it with their friends.

2. Focus on one thing and one thing only. According to his website, Andy Sernovitz gave up a successful email marketing practice to become the go-to-guy for Word of Mouth Marketing. Why? He knew he couldn't be best at both. You must do this too if you want to succeed or people will do it for you; it's called positioning.

3. Practice being vulnerable. This may sound like an unusual suggestion but (in my humble opinion) part of the reason that many organizations - for profit and nonprofit - fail online is that they are not used to telling the truth.

Get in the habit of clear and honest speak by flexing your muscles offline first. For example, speak up in a meeting where you usually sit silent. Make an unusual suggestion or ask a pointed question. Better yet, admit that you don't really understand the new plan. (If you don't get it, it's likely that there are other folks who don't understand it either.) In short, practice telling the truth and being clear in you every day life. This way you'll be better poised to have clearer and franker conversations online.

Good luck!


Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Your First 100 Days

Kivi Leroux Miller, keeper of the Nonprofit Communcations Blog, has just released this FREE guide to the first 100 days of your new Marketing job.

(And you thought Obama had it bad...)

Check it out!


Sunday, January 18, 2009

Pictures Worth a 1,000 Words

Here are just a few...



Eat Your Own Dogfood

I was talking to a former client the other day, let's call him Jack (to protect the innocent). He called to ask my advice on how to use social media like Facebook to "take his nonprofit to the next level."

The interesting thing about Jack is that his nonprofit actually trades in the "currency" of connection, i.e. their programming is all about bringing people together so that they can get to know one another and bridge the differences between race, religion, gender and class. So, in his case, it might be smart to employ social technologies to enhance their services. The problem is neither Jack nor anyone else in the org actually uses these media.

Here's how the conversation went...

Jack: "We've got to be doing more with social media and we know it. We just need a strategy so we can get started."

Me: Are you currently using Facebook or any other social networking sites, like Linkedin?

Jack: "No."

Me: "Well then the best way to get started is to "eat your own dog food - first."

"Eating your own dog food" is a pejorative metaphor because, well - dog food isn't tasty to most mortals. But if you can look past the politics of the phrase, it offers important advice.

1) using your own products and services (and liking them) primes you to sell/share them with others
2) using your own products and services (and liking them) makes you a better evangelist
3) using your own products and services (you get the point) makes you CREDIBLE to prospective "buyers."

Please, please, please don't dish up new services for clients until you know (and like) what you're serving.


One more thing: I'm not talking about doing an annual program audit. This is about spending the night in your shelter, attending your own webinars, answering phone calls, signing your petitions, reading your e-newsletters, making donations to your cause, etc. How else will you know how good or bad you really are? How else will you improve?

Monday, January 12, 2009

What YOU Can Learn from Obama Fundraising

Here is my first column in Fundraising Success magazine. Check it out!


Saturday, January 10, 2009

Find the Hidden Gold | Using Social Capital in Tough Times

Allison Fine, my frolleague (friend and colleague) has completed another podcast in her Social Good series with the Chronicle of Philanthropy. This time, she talks to super smart cookies Katya Andresen and Lucy Bernholz about leveraging the social vs. financial capital of our donors in tough economic times. Check it out!

I have to admit, I didn't know the definition of social capital. Here is what I learned via a Google search.

"Social capital is an economic idea that refers to the connections between individuals and entities that can be economically valuable. Social networks that include people who trust and assist each other can be a powerful asset. These relationships between individuals and firms can lead to a state in which each will think of the other when something needs to be done. Along with economic capital, social capital is a valuable mechanism in economic growth."

  • When your current patron gives you a "lead" on a new donor, that is social capital in action.
  • When your friend introduces you to your (soon to be) boss, that is social capital in action.
  • When a volunteer suggests a new operating procedure that saves you money, that is social capital in action.
It makes A LOT of sense to nurture and use your network in bad and good times in order to achieve greater personal and organizational success. In other words, find the hidden gold.

What projects do you need to accomplish next year? How can you use social vs. financial capital to help?

Every organization, even the smallest and poorest has social capital. It's your job to find the connections that ALREADY exist within your network and work them!

Good luck!


By the by, Allison, Katya, Lucy and I (Marketing for Nonprofits was just picked up!) write top nonprofit blogs according to Alltop - an online magazine rack that aggregates feeds for the best websites and blogs by topic. Peruse today!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Check out These Great Webinars for Do-It-Yourself Marketers in 2009!

The Nonprofit Marketing Guide by Alltop blogger, Kivi Leroux Miller has a great lineup of webinars for 2009 to help “Do-It-Yourself Marketers” ramp up their online fundraising efforts.

  • Looking for an overview of email marketing?
  • Need help telling your organizational story?
  • Ready to start your blog?
  • Need help finding and motivating your “online evangelists?”

  • Check it out! The 12 week webinar pass is a modest $97!

    *This post is also archived on Triplex Interactive - Email for Impact.

    Tuesday, January 6, 2009

    What do you do online?

    Source: Pew Internet and American Life Project

    I'm giving a intra-organizational presentation tomorrow on social media and one of the questions I'm going to ask is this.

    "What do you do online?"

    People are still incredulous when I suggest that they start using the Internet to do more than post a static website because they have a hard time identifying with THOSE PEOPLE who "live online." Funny thing is when asked to take a personal inventory of how they use the Internet to navigate life, it's often easier to see how vital the Internet has become. For example, most of us bank, shop, research products, share photos and (date?) online, etc. :)

    Don't believe me? Check out the Pew Internet & American Life Project. (See above for a sample of their great reports.) And take your own personal inventory. What do you do online?