Friday, February 27, 2009

Distributed Marketing - The Key to Your Fundraising Success?

I received the email above from my boss this week and it got me thinking again about the power of distributed marketing. What is distributed marketing, you ask? Read on.

Distributed marketing is a strategy to "spread out, scatter about or divide up" content about your organization so that others can share it on your behalf. Unlike traditional marketing, where your goal is to PULL people to a destination website (your home page), in distributed marketing you SHARE your content in the hope that others will pass it along.

In the example above, Campaign for Tobacco Free Kids sent this email with a link to a video to highlight Big Tobacco's marketing abuses. Then they asked their readers to share this information with peers, colleagues, friends and neighbors where they "live" online. (Many email clients will now let you do this.)
Please click here or on the image above, watch the video and then click on "Share" to add the video to your Facebook, MySpace and other networking sites! Adding this video is quick and easy. Thank you for helping to spread the word!
The potential win with distributed marketing is huge because now you have an opportunity to reach 100s, maybe 1000s of new advocates - many more folks than you will ever be able to reach on your own. In addition, having your content in many more places online may increase your ranking, i.e. help you "get found," in Search.

Here's the rub. A distributed marketing strategy only works if you have GREAT content. Why? People don't tell their friends and neighbors about BORING stuff.

Spend time analyzing your current site and talking to your program officers about new and interesting stuff you're doing that you can share with your constituents. Hint: I'm not talking about press releases.
  • Got new research about your cause? Cut it up into 3 separate sound bites and forward on.
  • Got photos which highlight your success? Show them off and ask others to upload theirs as well.
  • Of course, video is great to share if you have it and the good news is that it's not expensive to create.

In short, package up some of your INTERESTING content in easy to digest morsels and ask people to share it where they "live" online and see what happens.

Good luck!


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

New Webinar on Email Marketing for You!

This photo is from Somefool.

I’m super pleased to announce that registration is now open for Step Up Your Email Marketing, our 4-part webinar series in March, with NTEN.

After this series you will know how to:

  • Create an online donor profile
  • Identify and acquire new online stakeholders
  • Engage in conversations (vs. blasting) via email
  • Analyze your email marketing results

It gets better...

The sessions will be led by some super smart cookies, including Thomas Gensemer and Dave Leichman from Blue State Digital who helped power the Obama for America Campaign and Alia McKee from SeaChange Strategies who works with innovative charities such as Environmental Defense Fund, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Greenpeace and Conservation International and moi.

Please check out the series online and register today!

This post is also archived on Triplex Interactive.


Monday, February 23, 2009

Is Marketing Evil?

This picture is by Yo.

Here is an excerpt from a great post from Seth Godin of Permission Marketing, Purple Cow and All Marketers are Liars fame. (I found it via Shayna Englin on Twitter.)

I agree with Seth that it's evil to use marketing
" persuade kids to start smoking, to cynically manipulate the electoral or political process, to lie to people in ways that cause disastrous side effects. (However - my addition), marketing is beautiful when it persuades people to get a polio vaccine or wash their hands before doing surgery.

Just like every powerful tool, the impact comes from the craftsman, not the tool.

Marketing has more reach, with more speed, than it has ever had before. With less money, you can have more impact than anyone could have imagined just ten years ago. The what are you going to do with that impact?"

Monday, February 16, 2009

Another Tool for Developing Your Social Media Strategy

The authors of Groundswell (who also have day jobs at Forrester Research) have put together this very helpful and straightforward methodology for planning your social media strategy; it's called POST. I strongly encourage you to read the entire post on their website but here is an overview.

Note that choosing the technology(ies) to power your social media program is THE LAST STEP in the process. Why? Technology is just a tool. Figuring out who you are trying to reach and what you want them to do always comes first.


Before you leap out into the social web...

1. Determine who you are trying to reach online. Who are the PEOPLE you want to connect with? What are they already doing online? Where do they hang out?

2. Determine your specific goal or OBJECTIVE, i.e. what do you want to do with social media, i.e. reach your major donors, involve members in the creation of a new service or program, connect your volunteers to each other, etc.

3. Decide what you want to change and how you will know if that change occurs? In other words, 1 year from now, how will you know if you your social media experiment has succeeded or failed? What will be different? This plan for change is your STRATEGY.

4. Choose the right TECHNOLOGY/tools to get you there. For example, you might create a invitation-only social network to bring your major donors together and connect with them regarding how their dollars are being put to use. On the other hand, a wiki might be the best tool for building a new program or curriculum in concert with your members.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Create Your Social Media Strategy Today!

Check out this great deck from Beth Kanter on how to create a social media strategy for your organization.

Don't know Beth Kanter? She was just recognized by Fast Company as one of the smartest women in Nonprofits and Technology!

Creating Your Organization's Social Media Strategy Map
View more presentations from kanter. (tags: nonprofits strategy)

Think Before You Drive: A Roadmap for Developing New Products and Services for Your Nonprofit

This photo is by AgendaAkit.
We're going through an excellent process at work to determine which new products/services we should add to our current mix. I thought I'd share our methodology with you. Hope it helps!

BEFORE developing any new products and services for your clients, ask the following questions. The answers below represent my short hand responses to these questions for Triplex Interactive.

1) Who do we serve?

Ans. The 3,7 percent (33,000) public charities with annual expenses in excess of $10,000,000. Why? Because they have the most money to spend on our products and services.

2) What do they need?

Ans. To raise more money online and to save more money on direct mail.

To save time on data management so that they can spend more time on direct service.

3) Who is already trying to help them?

Ans. Convio & Kintera, Tower Data & Fresh Address

4) How are we different?

Ans. Our data is clean, our prices are fair and we're easy to work with!

Ah, this last question, is the key. How are we different? The answer, of course, is the unique value we bring to the marketplace and it's not easy to discern.

Why? Because most services are commodities, i.e. they are easy to replicate and hard to distinguish from one another. Still you must answer this question.

Think about it. Why do you choose one direct mail vendor over another? Why do you donate to Sierra Club vs. The Nature Conservancy?

If you're lucky you have a product or service that truly is a Purple Cow - a term coined by Seth Godin. But if you're like most of us you lay awake a night trying to create products/services that are truly remarkable.

All organizations, even nonprofits, have to do understand where they fit in a competitive landscape and demonstrate a unique value to the marketplace in order to survive long-term. This means staying on top of what other organizations are doing in your space and continuing to improve your own programs and services.

I know this sounds crass. We don't like to think about competing to end genocide or feed hungry people. But the reality is that none of our organizations are islands, especially want it comes to competition for donors and shoppers.

Want to buy shoes from Japan? You can! Want to donate to a charity in Iowa? Have at it!

Do your best to engage in a disciplined process of discernment before launching any new products and services and be sure to include in your analysis a discussion of what your competitors are already doing. In this way, you'll be better positioned to add real value to your clients AND attract the support you deserve and need.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

My First Virtual Birthday : Why Calendars Should Power Your Marketing Efforts

This beautiful photo is by iheartlinen.

I'm showing my age here (40) but have to admit that this was my first real experience of a virtual birthday. Thanks to Facebook and their excellent data collection efforts and my own savvy PR efforts :) I received TONS of birthday wishes yesterday from friends all over the country.

This has me thinking:

1) Send happy birthday wishes to your top 100 stakeholders. (No brainer but hard to do.)

2) Brainstorm all of the important events in the life of your organization and use this info to prioritize and promote your fundraising campaigns. Significant events can include anniversaries, births, deaths and key world events.

All good fundraisers and marketers create real (or perceived) deadlines to encourage timely response. Special times in the life of your org or your key stakeholders are great opportunities to showcase what you do and why. Planning around significant events will 1) help you cut through the clutter by giving your cause more resonance on certain dates 2) it will also provide motivation for your staff, volunteers and board. Nothing drives performance like a real deadline!

For example, last year my church celebrated it's 50 anniversary. Quite a milestone in the live of our community. We did hold a luncheon for parishioners (sound familiar)? But we didn't do any additional fundraising. More important we didn't involve outsiders in the celebration of our anniversary. What a missed opportunity!

In our noisy world, it's hard to get noticed. But a little calendaring and planning can go along way. Pick 2-3 dates in 2009 and 2010 that will make your cause come alive and then promote the heck out of these dates.



Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Happy Birthday to Me

"Now I become myself.
It's taken time, many years and places.
I have been dissolved and shaken,
Worn other people's faces..."

May Sarton

Who Are You?

This beautiful photo is by Davic.

It's my birthday today and as you can imagine I've been doing a lot of self assessment. Going back in my mind over the past couple of years, looking at my work life, my home life, my spiritual life, my community, etc. and taking stock. At 40, there is a lot of ground to cover. A child, a marriage, a divorce, a new marriage, a career, moves, births and death. It's also empowering to notice where I am now and how far I've come.

This process of discernment is important for organizations too. Because organizations are just collections of individuals.

There are TONS of books out there on organizational assessment and change management - whatever you want to call it. But I think that this little monograph - The 5 Most Important Questions You Will Ever Ask About Your Organization by Peter Drucker, et. al. is one of the best. Here is an excerpt.
"Your commitment to self-assessment is a commitment to developing yourself and your organization as a leader. You will expand your vision by listening to your customers, by encouraging constructive dissent, by looking at the sweeping transformation taking place in society...Self assessment is the first requirement of leadership: the constant resharpening, constant refocusing, never really being satisfied."
It's hard to take a hard look at yourself as an individual and as a leader in your organization or community. It can be unsettling. Are we focused on the right things? Is there alignment between what we do and what our clients, donors, students, employees, board members, volunteers, etc. need? Have our programs outlived their usefulness? Are there other organizations that do what we do better? Is our work bearing fruit?

When I left NPower Greater DC Region a year ago, I didn't do it because I didn't like the mission or the people or the job. Quite the contrary, I loved our mission of "putting technology-know how in the hands of nonprofits" and I had high regard for our board and staff. I left because it became clear that my talents for writing, speaking, building relationships, etc. weren't going to get a lot of play in this small organization, i.e. I wasn't going to make the best use of my best gifts.

It's heartbreaking when you realize that your life is not aligned with your goals and it's also empowering. Because, as they say, admitting that you have a problem is the first step.

If you too have a nagging feeling that something is off in your organization. Take the first step and take stock of your situation. Drucker can help.

In the end of the day, our organizations - like us - are endowed with different strengths and weaknesses. Our task is to discern what these are and put them to best use. After all, we aren't out here selling Coke and computers, we are shaping a better world for tomorrow.


Monday, February 2, 2009

Find Thought Leaders for Your Cause

Just found out about this nifty new tool to find bloggers who care about your cause. It's called Google Blog Search. (Thanks, HubSpot.)

How it works:

1. Go to
2. Type in keywords which describe your cause.

That's it!

For example, I did a search for "feed the hungry" and Google returned links to the blogs below.

We talk a lot in social media circles about LISTENING to the conversations that are taking place online before launching a new blog. Google Blog Search is a great tool for getting started.


Quote of the Day: More Money Doesn't = Better Marketing

Thanks to Katya for reminding us that more money doesn't equal better marketing.

Sure you need cash to power your marketing shop. You need people and time to design, write copy, plan, do PR and network with the powers that be. You also need tools/technology - for example an Email Services Provider (ESP) if you want to market via the Web.

But good marketing is also about being in tune with your audience, understanding your mission and knowing how to make it resonate. Good marketing is about finding and taking advantage of the X factors which make your cause more relevant. Good marketing is about being creative and sometimes going with your gut.

Don't believe me? Check out these superbowl ads on Hulu. Remember, these are some of the THE MOST expensive ads created every year and many of them fall flat, i.e. in my humble opinion, they won't be generating any new leads.

What do you think?