Communications: Uniquely You, and From the Heart

I recently came across this post by Andrew Simonet, the founder of Artist U, which offers simple but incredibly sound advice about how to communicate with your friends and supporters. I recommend it highly.

#INTERVIEW: Paul Jolly of Jump Start Growth Helps Us Plan for the 2013 ‘Ask’

Our interview with Paul Jolly

Paul Jolly, President of Jump Start Growth, Inc.

This past December, Paul Jolly, President of Jump Start Growth, Inc., talked about the spiritual side of fundraising, and how he works with nonprofits to help them appreciate the motives and desires of big donors. Paul’s company has many years of experience to bring to organizations that are trying to improve their success rates with big donors.

Today we are excited to bring you part two of our interview with Paul. We shift directions just a bit in this conversation to talk about the near future of fundraising. What seems to be the lay-of-the-land for 2013? What technological/communications developments should we keep our eye on? What is developing on the Jump Start Growth website for the new year?

[Read more...]

#FUNDRAISING: Paul Jolly of Jumpstart Growth Explores The Spiritual Side Of Donors

Paul Jolly's fundraising organization

The soul of fundraising

Raising money for a nonprofit or charity is tough work. With the focus of the organization on fundraising, it is not surprising that outreach tends to focus on the numbers (the thousands who benefit from the nonprofit’s work, the millions required to keep such work going, the hundreds of people asked to give…). In this first part of our video interview with Paul Jolly, Founder and President of Jump Start Growth Incorporated, we learn that the numbers really should be the last concern of a nonprofit or charity, not the first. For Paul and Jump Start Growth, the first concern is the personal, the spiritual, connection between the donor and the cause she or he wants to support. Where is your organization’s focus?

[Read more...]

#SOCIALNETWORKS: How To Promote Facebook Posts & Why You Might Not Want To

From a personal blog's experment with Promotions

CecilyK on ‘MomCrunch’ blog says ‘No’

This past summer Facebook launched the opportunity to purchase ‘Promoted Posts’ that − for at least a $5 fee − would be promoted across the Facebookiverse. The more you paid, the more broadly the algorithms (aka ‘magic’) circulated the post. It was hailed by many for- and non-profit organizations as an opportunity to push through the background noise endemic in most people’s timelines to get your words and images out to a larger but (broadly) targeted audience.

We want to show you how to promote a post if you are unfamiliar with the easy process, but we also want to call attention to the fact that many power users are not finding the return on investment that Facebook claims. Is it a case of false advertising, or is Facebook still working out the kinks?

[Read more...]

#COMMUNICATION: Is Your Nonprofit Staff Conversing With Both Audience & Each Other?

Silos of information can damage communicationAs social networks and social marketing have matured over the last two or three years, a debate continues as to how effective social media is to inspire action (be it making a purchase, donating to a cause, or risking one’s life in a revolution). But it seems to me that the argument is both older than modern social media (read any Marshall McLuhan lately?) and more complicated than trying to argue cause-and-effect. Social networks offer wonderfully inexpensive means to expand and magnify conversations, but they also create stunning amounts of ‘noise’ that readers have to learn to tune out without getting distracted (no easy task). But how can a nonprofit leverage the powers of social media to inspire action while also striving not to distort the outreach with too much talk?

[Read more...]

#SOCIALNETWORKS: Can Niche Online Networks Outperform Your Nonprofit’s Facebook Page?

Focus on niche social networks

Have you defined your organization’s niche?

Our participation in online social networks seems well beyond the status of a ‘fad.’ In some parts of the world, people risk censure − if not their lives − to post important information on such platforms as Facebook and Twitter. These social networks are the current heavy hitters, of course. But what about developing people’s interests in your nonprofit’s causes? Or engaging a peer group already predisposed to support your charity’s fund drive? The hard fact is, the best-known social platforms might just be too big for that kind of conversation. And we might just be witnessing the start of a tidal shift away from the bigger-is-better mantra of social outreach toward niche conversations among like minds. Could these more concentrated communities really be worth the effort of building a presence on yet another social network?

[Read more...]

#SOCIALNETWORKS: 4th-Annual Social Media Week Will Educate & Inspire Worldwide

Social Media Week, 24-28 September 2010

Attendance is just a few clicks away.

The first Social Media Week went live in 2008, as Twitter was just hitting the mainstream and Lehman Brothers announced it was going bankrupt and would take down the economy with it. For better and worse, much has change. And Social Media Week continues to expand. It started to stress connectivity across continents last year, and this year the list of host cities already includes Barcelona, Bogotá, Doha, Hong Kong, Jeddah, LA, Shanghai, and Turin (among others). Individuals can register at any point for this year’s program, and organizations can prepare submissions to offer sessions for next year.  What will the 2012 week bring?

[Read more...]

#SOCIALMEDIA: How Young Is Too Old To Have Communications Expertise?

Committee draws up social media strategy

Would you hire any of these people for your social-media outreach?

Why don’t you all fade away, and don’t try to dig what we all say
I’m not trying to cause a big sensation, I’m just talkin’ ’bout my generation

The Who, “My Generation,” My Generation (1965)

Well, I’ve already dated myself. But I’m going to press on with this post anyway. Catherine Sloan, a recent graduate from the University of Iowa who already has byline credit with USAToday, posted an opinion blog at NextGenJournal.com with the title “Why Every Social Media Manager Should Be Under 25“. It has caused something of a ruckus − a sensation, if you will − and commentators and flamers have been debating her post for the last 10 days. Now that some of the heat has dissipated, we wanted to see if she cast any light on the generational and communications experiences of Millennials.

[Read more...]

#COMMUNICATIONS: Break The Sound Barrier To Encourage A Conversation

Break the sound barrier to enjoy conversation with your donorsWe welcome back Paul Jolly, Director of Jump Start Growth, Inc., a nonprofit fundraising and consulting firm in Washington DC. Today, Paul tells about the importance of breaking the sound barrier.

Back in 1947, US Air Force pilot Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in the Bell X-1 rocket/plane. Fighter jets break the barrier with ease nowadays, but it’s not the only sound barrier that must be broken. The sound barrier that a fund raiser hopes to break through is the sound of his or her own voice. More times than I care to remember, I have sat in the living room or office of a donor, hauling newsletters and annual reports out of my briefcase, talking about programs, accomplishments, plans.  Blah, blah, blah. I am waiting for a signal from the person across the coffee table or desk, and he or she is waiting for me to stop talking.

[Read more...]

#COMMUNICATIONS: Is Your Organization Moving At The Speed Of Mobile?

Text messages are read within 15 minutes on smart phonesWith the rise of the smartphone and its ability to be the computer for millions of people around the world, mobile technology is becoming more powerful and less expensive every few months. And with those technological changes come changes of habit and expectation. One of the changes we and many others have commented on is the rise of text messaging as a medium not only to spread-the-word but also to raise funds for nonprofits and charities. The response to the American Red Cross’s texting campaign to deal with the horrors of the Haitian earthquake of 2010 is usually seen as the watershed event.

How has the nexus between cell-phone use and fundraising been strengthening over the last couple of years?

[Read more...]

#SOCIALNETWORKS: Twitter Continues To Expand Through Mobile Devices

Mobile phones and Twitter go great togetherThe Pew Internet and American Life Project has brought us valuable statistics and reported notable trends in internet use over the years, and a recent report focused on the growing use of Twitter as a means of social networking. Twitter could be described as a social networking platform that punches above its weight class. Twitter turned six this past March, and by its own accounts has some 140 million users sending some 340 million tweets a day. For the sake of comparison, Facebook has over 900 million.

Yet Twitter’s political and cultural impact is almost equivalent, even if it has only 15.5% as many users. Note the ‘Arab Spring’ as a ‘Twitter Revolution.’ How does Twitter have such an oversized geopolitical impact? The same reason local nonprofits should be developing a presence on the social network.

[Read more...]

#SOCIALNETWORKS: Facebook Stocks Being Sold Off & Facebook Accounts Not Expanding

Facebook's stocks continue to retreat

Should nonprofits worry?

The saga that is the Facebook IPO continues. Wall Street took a break from claiming to be the US Economy yesterday, but as of lunchtime this Tuesday, stock in the uber-social network fell below $30 for the first time. The brouhaha surrounding the IPO has largely concerned possible fraud or withholding of information from public investors, but some are wondering if the real issue is simply the product itself. If it is, what should nonprofits and charities be doing with their Facebook accounts as the company deals with this shakeout?

[Read more...]

#COMMUNICATIONS: The Number One Way To Gain Site Or Blog Readership Is…

Though a Supergenius, W.E. Coyote rarely simplified his plansIf your nonprofit or your charity has any online presence at all, you want readers to engage your content, click through the link(s), visit the site, and get involved with money and/or time. If you are a blog writer, you want pretty much the same, though gifts might also/instead mean advertising dollars because so many people come to your site. And, of course, no reason a nonprofit can’t have a blog that carries those ambitions for the blog and the site that hosts it.

The million-dollar question is: “How do I get people to move from scanning the headline to clicking on it and getting engaged?”

[Read more...]

#ADVOCACY: When A Clever Concept Just Misses, It Misses By A Lot

'Almost a homerun' usually means 'you're out!'

Sometimes being close really means missing by quite a bit

Sometimes a nonprofit’s campaign can include a fine idea that, alas, doesn’t quite get it right. Like a long fly ball to the 385-foot alley of a ball park that falls in to be caught at 382 feet, the charity can be excited at what seems to be about to happen, only to trudge back to the dugout (or in our cases today ‘back to the glitzy communications agencies’) lamenting about what could have been.

Let’s return this Monday to a theme we led off with last Monday on high-concept advocacy plans that did not quite live up to expectations. The good folks at the Showcase of Fundraising Innovation and Inspiration (SOFII) provide us all with food-for-thought when it comes to campaigns that might have looked good in the pristine world of the conference room, but came up just short in the real world. And ‘just short’ can mean real human tragedy where the fight against hunger is concerned.

[Read more...]

#INTERVIEW: Craig Lefebvre, Ph.D., Designer of Public Health & Social Change Programs, Discusses Social Marketing

Craig Lefebvre PhotoR. Craig Lefebvre, Ph.D., is an internationally known designer of public health and social change programs. He is chief maven of socialShift, a consulting practice, and is a Research Professor at the University of South Florida College of Public Health. His blog, On Social Marketing and Social Change,” has been ongoing since 2005. He is the author of On Social Marketing and Social Change: Selected Readings 2005-2009 and a forthcoming textbook on Social Marketing (Jossey-Bass, 2013). The interview was conducted by Don Akchin, a principal of Nonprofit Marketing 360 and a frequent contributor to the MKCREATIVE blog.

NPM360: You got into blogging back in 2005. You must have been one of the first ones.

CRAIG: I was in there pretty early.

NPM360: Does the blog get much response? Is there a conversation going on?

CRAIG: I would say there are periodic conversations going on. In the neighborhood of 4,000 people a day are coming on to it. It’s a long way from six years ago, when we were getting readers by the ones and twos!
[Read more...]