Friday, April 22, 2011

Happy Earth Day!

Check out this new video from Charity: Water - Water Changes Everything.

In three minutes they show the link between violence against women, lack of educational attainment for girls, child mortality, and poor economic outcomes to lack of access to water.  Can you create a similar, engaging narrative for the work you do?

Happy Earth Day!


Thursday, April 21, 2011

To Mobile or Not to Mobile? That is the Question.

Thinking about mobile fundraising for your nonprofit?  Think again.  It may not be as lucrative as you think unless you have a BIG base of fans, lots of brand awareness and access to high profile events.

Check out this awesome diagram by Idealware, which walks you through the steps to get started with mobile fundraising, highlights a mini case-study, and helps you determine whether mobile giving should be part of your fundraising mix. 

Download the diagram here.



Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Put the 'R' Back in PR

"I like her because she smiles at me and means it." - Anonymous

Calling all PR pros!  I think I can speak for many of my blogging brethren when I say, "PLEASE put RELATIONSHIPS back into Public Relations!"

I got a great email the other day from a PR pro at Convio, a software provider to nonprofits.  (Note the love I am showing them here!)  It totally impressed me, which is a shame because the email was so basic.  See below.  Monica simply reached out to me to ask what I was writing about and say "hello."

Stop the presses!  I think she is trying to build a RELATIONSHIP with me.  The thing is, in almost 4 years of blogging, I have NEVER received an email like this before!

Now, I'm not saying that all of the pitches I get are poor.  However, I am saying that most of the people who ask me to publicize their work DO NOT ask me about my needs and RARELY follow up with me just because.

I know you know this but bloggers are different from journalists.  For most of us, blogging is a labor of love not a full-time gig.  I.e., we don't have time to do tons of research.  This makes good pitches even more valuable.

I know it's hard to pitch people all day.  (I'm a sales person!) But if you want to get more press hits or donations, you've got to get people to know, like and trust you.  This can only happen through a dedicated commitment to relationship-building.

"But relationship-building takes so much time!" you say.  TRUE!  That is why it's so important to identify the bloggers, donors, members and advocacy supporters who love you most and and show them the love!

Put people ahead of your work objectives and see what happens.  I bet you'll be surprised.  I'm sure your donors, employees, clients, coalition partners, board members and bloggers will be too!



P.S.  For more great advice on how and why to build better relationships with all the constituents in your organization read, Trust-based Selling: Using Customer Focus and Collaboration to Build Long-Term Relationships.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Are You a Badass or a Buddha?

I've been doing a lot of reading on leadership - emotional intelligence, IQ, work experience, personality, etc.  What matters most?  How do you become a better leader?  How do you mentor others?  How do you soften your edges?

It strikes me that the best leaders I know (including me!) have (or strive to have) a good mix of "Badass" and "Buddha."

Let me explain.

Some of the hallmarks of great leadership include charisma, presence, charm and the ability to persuade others.  This takes a strong EGO.  To be a Badass, you have to be willing to stand up, say the hard things, be visible and take responsibility.  Unless you do this well, you'll never be able to bring other people along. 

On the other hand, being a Badass is not enough.  At times your "sparkle" becomes annoying.  At others, it turns into arrogance.  And, let's face it, arrogance is NOT charming, fabulous or fun.  It's a huge turnoff.

This means that your Badass has to be tempered by something else. Let's call it your Buddha nature.

Buddha leaders exhibit humility, warmth and a quiet strength.  Being a Buddha enables you to recognize your own foibles, be curious, compassionate and show genuine respect for others.  In other words, your Buddha nature helps you to SHARE the stage. 

I don't want to be a Buddha all the time.  I like being the conference keynote, "class clown" and popular.  But I don't want to be a bull in a china shop either.  I want to share the air, collaborate with my colleagues and clients and be willing to LEARN and GROW.

What about you?  Are you a Badass, Buddha or both?



Monday, April 11, 2011

Take Action Now

The problem with visiting many nonprofit websites is that there's nothing to DO when you get there. Sure, you can read staff bios, peruse the mission statement and look at a few pictures of clients — if you're lucky.

But to say that most nonprofit websites are interactive is a stretch.

One way to make your website more "sticky" and engage more prospective donors in your work is to offer opportunities for advocacy or to take action. Advocacy is defined by Wikipedia as an activity that "aims to influence public-policy and resource-allocation decisions within political, economic and social systems and institutions." But the term also can be defined more loosely as "active support of an idea or cause."

Advocacy is an important component of a nonprofit's work because it can lead to long-term structural change. But it's also a great fundraising tactic. Why?

First, advocacy campaigns require consumers to provide contact information, including e-mail addresses. This helps you to grow your list. Second, advocacy campaigns educate consumers about your issues and make them feel a part of your success. Finally, research shows that people who take action on an issue are seven times more likely to become donors over time. In short, for many consumers, advocacy leads to philanthropy.

Leads to follow

Here are two examples of online advocacy campaigns. First, Breast Cancer Fund, an organization that works to eliminate the environmental causes of cancer, provides new site visitors with an opportunity to sign a petition to ban BPA (the "endocrine-disrupting chemical bisphenol A") from all food and beverage containers. Second, Slow Food USA, a movement to "link the pleasure of food with a commitment to community and the environment," engages prospective members with Time for Lunch, a campaign to bring healthy and nutritious lunches to kids in school.

I know what you're thinking. This sounds great, but my nonprofit doesn't do advocacy.

Not to worry, this doesn't preclude you getting people to take action. Consider a different approach.
American Cancer Society's More Birthdays campaign engages visitors by asking them to honor those who have been affected by cancer. The ASPCA's "I Fought Cruelty" campaign invites visitors to share stories of how they prevented animal abuse. By hosting a pledge on your site or inviting people to send you an e-mail, you can make your site more interactive, build your e-mail list, educate people about your cause and get more folks in the "donor door."

If you don't have the capacity to build and host your pledges and petitions via your own site, you can work with a company like Care2 to do the hosting on your behalf. Then you can link to your petition or pledge from your website, Facebook Page, e-mail newsletter or blog.

Advocacy is a powerful strategy for making progress on your issues. It's also a powerful tactic for finding new donors. By giving people the opportunity to engage in your work and join with others to build a better world, you help them take the first step toward becoming long-term supporters of your organization.