#OurWork: NYU Faculty Against the Sexton Plan Marketing Campaign

Social Marketing and Media Relations Campaign

Working under the aegis of the Nonprofit Marketing 360 collaborative, MKCREATIVE and LCG Communications embarked on an ambitious campaign to promote an online silent auction for a client. We used a combination of PR (LCG Communications) and social marketing (MKC). Our client, NYU Faculty Against the Sexton Plan, sought to raise funds to continue its fight in preventing New York University from embarking on a multi-billion dollar plan to redevelop parts of Greenwich Village in New York City.

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A New Year – and a New Era in NYC?

Happy New Year to all.  As ever, we hope it will be a good one.

We started out the year here by getting the court’s answer to the question, “if it looks like a park, acts like a park and is used like a park, is it really a park?”  The answer was a resounding yes, and with that, on January 7th, the court struck down as illegal the giveaway of parcels of parkland in Greenwich Village to NYU as part of the university’s plan to implement the ludicrous, overblown, unneeded and unwanted 2031 expansion plan.

The struggle against NYU’s plan has been ongoing, and the lawsuit, filed last year by our client, NYU Faculty Against the Sexton Plan and other individuals and groups, hoped to stop it from squashing what’s left of the Village.

NYU’s attempt to push through their own super-sized expansion plan during the Bloomberg years, was indicative of a larger problem, one that has effected neighborhoods in all boroughs.  During Bloomberg’s time in office, developers had, more or less, free reign in NYC, and there was not one development plan that the administration didn’t wholeheartedly back. And there appeared nothing that the administration wouldn’t do to make sure big developments happened, no matter what the community or anyone else had to say.

This latest attempt to take away parkland from the people of NYC – a violation of the Public Trust Doctrine – isn’t the first.  In 2011, the City, along with the State and Federal government, tried to take away park space in Brooklyn – the Tobacco Warehouse in Brooklyn Bridge Park – and give it to an arts organization for private development.  In that case, the court ruled in a similar way; the Warehouse had actually been included on the park’s map, but the government entities declared that it was a mistake.  Fortunately, that paper thin excuse didn’t get by the court.  In the end, the Tobacco Warehouse was given over to private development, but, as required by the law, the park had to go through what’s called an “alienation” process.  A new, equivalent parcel of land had to be found and given to the park to make up for giving the Tobacco Warehouse to a private arts organization and, at the end of the day, approval to remove the Warehouse has to be approved by the state legislature. Although many people are still unhappy that the Tobacco Warehouse will no longer be part of the public park, at least, because of the lawsuit, the park will now be given an equivalent amount of land nearby.

These are just two cases that we know of (because we had/have clients in both suits), and there may be even more.

It’s a sad day when the dwindling resources of the public at large are no longer protected and can be snatched away at any time.  The corporatization of everything continues, and, in these cases and so many others, is aided and abetted by those in public office.

However, the firm decision of the court in both instances has been extremely hopeful.  While we still don’t know what will happen with the NYU expansion plan, at least three strips of parkland there have been saved from the bulldozers.

We hope the court’s decisions will set a new standard for the protection of public space in our City.

 

#FUNDRAISING: Crowdfunding Response To Boston Bombing Raises Hope & Caution

Crowdfunders HandsOne of the wonderful qualities of Americans is the way we respond with our time and our money when a terrible shock or natural disaster hits our fellow countrypeople. The bombings in Boston on the 15th were certainly ‘terrible shocks’ and as homemade and smartphone videos make clear, volunteers and fellow marathon watchers ran in to help before the smoke cleared. And since then Americans all over the country have been raising money online and via a sprouting group of crowdfunding sites. But along with over $2 million being raised to help survivors recover, warnings are also being raised about cases of fraud. How do legitimate crowdfunding organizations separate themselves from the occasional fraudsters?

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#HOWTO: Let Your iPhone Connect You To Volunteers & Deserving Projects

Volunteer Match brings individuals & nonprofits togetherApple has not always been a forthcoming corporation when it comes to providing outreach for nonprofits and charities. Many lamented the early iterations of the iPhone for not allowing fundraising applications due to iTunes Store’s stingy policies. Indeed, nonprofits were not even allowed to develop apps if any money were expected to change hands. Though policy has not changed (and Apple still demands a $99 fee to have access to the storefront), many nonprofits are finding ways to leverage the iOS platform of the phone without running afoul with Apple’s lawyers. MacLife‘s A.J. Dellinger offers a compendium of eight such apps that use the iPhone’s OS, and we wanted to highlight a few of those apps to give you a sense of the directions developers are marking as they write software for the nonprofit sector.

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#DEVELOPMENT: How Much Cash Is Required To Land A Donation?

Woman charts customer relationships
What does it cost?

How often do nonprofits reach out to donors potential and actual online, yet have no real sense of how successful the outreach was? Did the time and money spent developing a program or launching a campaign prove to be worth the support? Dan Norris, founder of the online-analytics service Informly offers a tool to help you make that call. He also recently posted his somewhat-scientific results on using his ‘Cost Per Acquisition‘ (CPA) calculator to see what kinds of costs he was incurring to get people engaged with his for-profit business. Let’s see how the costs to acquire customers or donors can prove strikingly steep.

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Big Bird Soars to Social Media Victory

Big Bird
Big Bird (Photo credit: LR_PTY)

While we wait for the final vote count, a clear early winner of the 2012 campaign season is Big Bird. When Republican candidate Mitt Romney promised to “fire” the friendly Muppet by cutting off funding to PBS, Twitter exploded with messages of support for the bird. It was a communications crisis – and opportunity – for Sesame Workshop, who played it perfectly and in character with an initial response the following day.

Big Bird: My bed time is usually 7:45, but I was really tired yesterday and fell asleep at 7! Did I miss anything last night?

Sesame Workshops subsequent responses make n excellent case study for successful  “newsjacking.” Blogger Christina Sirabian extracts three lessons for social media marketers.

#INTERVIEW: Rob Wu of Causevox Tells Us About Developments In Online Fundraising

CauseVox online donor acquisition
Causevox moves to version 2

Rob Wu is co-founder of Causevox, an online social-media and donor-acquisition platform, and he and his team have been working hard over the last number of months moving the online system to 2.0. We had the pleasure of talking with Rob a year or so ago, when Causevox first went live. The focus then was to create a ‘turn key’ website/social-media hub for nonprofits, which allowed them to customize the look and feel of the site to fit their ‘brand’ while also enjoying some advanced features like bulk emailing and email subscription captures.

The success of the platform has been phenomenal, as charities working from Africa and to the southwestern US have gotten connected with Causevox and have raised many tens of thousands of dollars over the last year. But the New-York based staff has not been sitting on its laurels. Let’s hear what Rob has to say in this first interview.

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#DESIGN: How To Follow The Branding Guidelines Of Twitter

Most Twitter logos break the style guidelines of Twitter
No. No. And no.

Birds of a feather? Not for that poor Twitter bird: perhaps no other icon in modern business is both better known and abused well beyond the company’s style guide. Even more than the Facebook logo that we discussed a couple of weeks ago, the icon for the social-media site Twitter comes in all shapes, sizes, and numbers − almost none of which are official or legal. If you want to have a good relationship between your organization and the folks at Twitter who have done so much to get news of your organization out to their millions of users, you best check out their corporate style guide.

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#NONPROFIT: Some Models Of How Charities Use Tumblr

First Book's call to actionWe’ve sung the praises of Tumblr a number of times on this blog, and today we want to present a few examples and ideas of just how nonprofits are using this free platform as a means to spread the word of their great work. One of the many great things about Tumblr is its simplicity of setup. That said, you don’t want to treat your organization’s efforts simplistically.

First off, you might want to consider Tumblr as your calling card to a larger audience, rather than as a venue for in-depth reports to your committed constituents. Tumblr loves images, quotes, and videos, but few go to their accounts to read long analyses. Your nonprofit definitely should have a place for such detail, but Tumblr might not be that place. How have nonprofits used it?

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#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.

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#SOCIALMEDIA: IOC Struggles To Corral First “Social Olympics” In London

Infomous envisions social media activity around London Olympics
Click on image to visit Infomous.com

The Opening Ceremonies went off without a hitch. Security concerns have been allayed thus far. The weather hasn’t been too bad. For Americans, we’ve had a few sub-par performances in the pool and on the gymnastics apparatuses, but so far, so good.

Unless the issue is how this so-called “First Social Games” is going. The social media events have not gone quite like fans, competitors, or International Olympic Committee members had thought it would − all for different reasons. Indeed, the biggest security dust-up has to do not with fears of terrorists, but fears of unwanted mention of sponsors by athletes and/or their supporters. Is the IOC fairly trying to protect the Olympic ‘brand’ or are its members greedily limiting expression through social media? And does anybody else really care?

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#TECH: Look What We Did To Apple! Welcome Back To EPEAT.

Apple computers are back on EPEAT list
Apple bruised by PR cuts over EPEAT

No, MKCREATIVEmedia doesn’t wield that kind of influence over 1 Infinity Loop. Or any influence, really. But about two hours ago we posted a summation of Apple’s withdrawal from the very EPEAT environmental standards the corporation helped establish over a decade ago. Our little contribution to the issue was not technological or particularly environmental, but political: Apple (and any other corporation, bank, investment firm, media conglomerate…) wants to set the rules, follow the rules, and be umpire of those rules (for itself) all at the same time.

Well, difficult to say that Apple called a foul on itself. But retiring Senior Vice President of Hardware Engineering, Bob Mansfield, has released a press release at Apple’s website explaining why Apple has decided to return to the EPEAT community!

Here are excerpts of his letter:

We’ve recently heard from many loyal Apple customers who were disappointed to learn that we had removed our products from the EPEAT rating system. I recognize that this was a mistake. Starting today, all eligible Apple products are back on EPEAT.

It’s important to know that our commitment to protecting the environment has never changed, and today it is as strong as ever….

For example, Apple led the industry in removing harmful toxins such as brominated flame retardants (BFRs) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC). We are the only company to comprehensively report greenhouse gas emissions for every product we make, taking into account the entire product lifecycle. And we’ve removed plastics wherever possible, in favor of materials that are more highly recyclable, more durable, more efficient and longer lasting.

Our relationship with EPEAT has become stronger as a result of this experience, and we look forward to working with EPEAT as their rating system and the underlying IEEE 1680.1 standard evolve. Our team at Apple is dedicated to designing products that everyone can be proud to own and use.

Sure, Apple wants those government contracts back. But what might also be striking about this volte face is Apple is tacitly admitting it didn’t expect much of a public reaction to their leaving the coalition. “I mean, really! Our stuff is greener than most anybody’s anyway. Why all this fuss?” We can see Apple’s decision on its decision as one little victory for the common person and her/his social networking tools.

Of course, we’re complaining about our latest iPads, whereas people are risking their lives on social networks in Syria and Egypt. But let’s take our wins where we can. And no, MKCREATIVEmedia won’t be taking credit for this change of policy.

 

#TECH: Microsoft Surface To Shake Up Tablet Market & Challenge iPad…Someday.

The Surface comes with a magnetic cover/keyboard
We really like the keyboard idea

Full disclosure: We at MKCREATIVEmedia are pretty Apple-centric, even though we are aware that many of our readers are using Microsoft products to access the blog. So when we heard that Microsoft want to enter the tablet market, we thought, “well, that’s about two years too late.” But we also wanted to see how Microsoft handled the announcement/release and what they wanted to bring to the market − and we wanted to keep an open mind.

The Microsoft Surface was announced this week, and − unlike ‘iPad’ − we really liked the name. In fact, on the surface, the new Surface has lots going for it, not the least of which are the millions of schools, nonprofits, corporations, and individuals who already have a Windows computer and who might be more comfortable waiting for a Windows-built tablet before jumping into the market.

Unfortunately, even the early reviewers at the Microsoft Event are not so sure that’s what will happen.

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#SOCIALNETWORKS: StumbleUpon An Early & Still Independent Social Network Web Searcher

StumbleUpon's new logo
Creating social networks before anyone knew what they were

In 2001, long before ‘social network’ was a concept bandied about by anyone trying to explain what brings together more than a half-dozen people, four young Canadians wanted to start a company and then build a product from it. They chose their embryonic search-engine project called “StumbleUpon.” Within a year the search engine had over a million users and StumbleUpon now claims over 25 million of them. Recently, StumbleUpon (SU) released an add-on called ‘Paid Discovery’ that behaves rather like Google Ads, except “your entire web page is your ad. StumbleUpon doesn’t serve typical display ad formats, such as pop-ups/interstitials, banners, or other invasive forms of advertising.”

But what is this popular yet lesser-known service, and how could it be a useful service for a nonprofit?

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#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.

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#ADVOCACY: Make Sure Pitch Has Call To Action, Not Just High Concept

Money can thwart nonprofit outreachWhat happens when you get corporate assistance to launch a new campaign, or pro bono development from a commercial ad agency? You can get some fabulous ideas and some valuable insights on establishing your brand. You can get your materials into some of the best publication and on some of the most visited sites on the web.

But as some of our colleagues at Sofii.org have discovered, you can also get a good deal of expensive nothing. The commercial backer or ad agency might not be sensitive to the constituents who want to be involved with various types of nonprofits. They might encourage outreach through channels that are quite unlikely to reach the people your charity traditionally reaches. They might give you a fabulous product on the design board (Indeed, I think it’s safe to say that they certainly will give you a fabulous design.) that falls flat in the real world. Let’s look at a couple of examples from Sofii.

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#INTERVIEW: Chris Forbes, Co-Author of Guerrilla Marketing for Nonprofits, Offers Great Advice to Groups

Chris Forbes Guerilla Marketing PhotoChris Forbes is the co-author of Guerrilla Marketing for Nonprofits and a certified guerrilla-marketing coach. His varied background in marketing includes experience in the faith sector and work on five continents, and he has pioneered several media initiatives in public relations, television, radio and the Internet. The interview was conducted by Don Akchin, a principal of Nonprofit Marketing 360 and a frequent contributor to the MKCREATIVE blog.

NPM360: What drew you to the marketing field?

CHRIS: I grew up in a marketing family. My mom had a product-administration service and worked with grocery stores and established networks with, say, free samples of food. When I was 14, she wanted me to dress up as Twinkie the Kid in a big foam-rubber costume to pass out Twinkies. When I was 15, she wanted me to dress up as Freddy the Fresh Guy from Wonder Bread. Then at 16, she asked me to be the Planter’s Peanut guy, but you have to wear leotards for that costume. I drew the line there.

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#SM4NP: Kony 2012 Will Get A Sequel & More Context Today

Invisible Children announce a sequel of Kony 2012
Today is the day. Probably.

As any Hollywood mogul will confirm, when your movie is watched by 100 million people, you need to make a sequel. That market is just too big to pass up. And the renown viral video Kony 2012 has been viewed well over 100 million times. Nevertheless, the reasons the San Diego based firm ‘Invisible Children’ will be releasing a sequel to their 30-minute wunderkind seem not really about tapping a market so much as explaining the phenomenon. It has not been released as of this posting, but one can’t help but wonder if we need the prequel/context-setter any more than we needed Star Wars: The Phantom Menace.

What do we know about a movie that has not yet appeared?

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#SocialMedia: Kony 2012 Still Stirs Engagement, Controversy, And Embarrassment

Many doubt the finances and political connections of the Kony 2012 campaign
Director's breakdown raises further questions

The controversy surrounding the viral video ‘Kony 2012′ continues even as its views on YouTube surpass 85.4 million as I write. The director, Jason Russell, had something of a mental breakdown a week ago, when he was arrested for indecent exposure while ranting almost incoherently about support and friendships. As reported by ABC.com late last week, “According to the National Institutes of Health, brief reactive psychosis is triggered by extreme stress, such as a traumatic event or the loss of a loved one. The symptoms, which include delusions, hallucinations and strange speech, can last up to a month, and the person may be completely unaware of them. … Alan Hilfer, chief psychologist at Maimonides Medical Center in New York City, said the backlash over Russell’s “Kony 2012″ campaign could have been traumatic enough to trigger the meltdown.”

How might disconcerting behavior of the video’s producer shift the discussion of the video and the appeal by ‘Invisible Children’ to raise awareness of Joseph Kony’s ‘Lord’s Resistance Army‘?

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#HOWTO: Tumbler Can Be Social Media Hub, But Other Tools Are Available

Tumblr offers ease and accessibility - WP offers control and SEOWe have sung the praises of Tumblr for the past few Thursdays, and we will continue to do so. Tumblr offers nonprofits and charities a free platform (with some themes and extensions costing a few bucks) and host to establish a web presence that is just a couple of clicks away from integrating with your Twitter account and an RSS feed. Tumbr offers elegant simplicity to est up a look and post as quick or as richly developed media-laden posts as your organization cares to produce via its Dashboard.

But most use Tumblr to pursue ‘Tumblogging’. The word morphed from ‘tumblelog’, first used in 2005 but briefly eclipsed by the rather dry ‘microblog’ for a while. It refers to a blog that consists of an ongoing series of focused, but brief, posts that include various visual, aural, and textual media. These tend to be short entries that simply state the immediate context of the subject/object of the post with no effort to tie it to a larger story.

Well, why would a nonprofit want to do that?

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#SM4NP: ROI From Social Media May Be Elusive, But It’s Not Impossible

Twitter is not expensive, so returns can be highIf you search for information about how to measure returns on investment in social media, you will be quickly reminded about just how new social media is in the business and nonprofit economies. Mathematicians are still searching out formulae and quality-control gurus want to talk about the developments of relationships that will bring customers and donors a bit later down the road. One of the underlying themes, though, is that no one doubts the value of social media writ large, even as we try to quantify that value and/or make it predictive of our outreach.

Perhaps success can be measured in hard, but not precise, numbers. Moreover, we should also consider social media as a ‘value added’ component to the core vocation of our nonprofit or charity, rather than as a fundamental element. How might we do both?

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#Advocacy: ‘This American Life’ Retracts Story Of Abuses At Foxconn

Mike Daisey's one-man show is over, but is the story?It has been a rough week for social-consciousness movements whose leaders have produced stories a bit too slick to be true. We wrote last week about the doubts surrounding the viral video ‘Kony 2012′ meant to inspire a public campaign against Joseph Kony’s child army in Uganda − if that army still exists and Kony is indeed in Uganda. Over the weekend, the producer Jason Russell was arrested for public drunkenness and self-satisfaction, casting still further doubt on the veracity of the campaign and on the nonprofit ‘Invisible Children’.

To add to the unnerving series of good stories gone bad, Mike Daisey’s story/one-man-show “The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs” has been discredited for his taking numerous liberties with what he claimed were personal encounters at Apple’s suppliers Foxconn in China. His story – somewhat truncated – was broadcast on the popular ‘This American Life‘ public-radio program this past January, causing quite a stir. And it now has been retracted by producer Ira Glass and Daisey has been reconfiguring his story in light of probing questions into its authenticity.

What might be behind the rise and fall of these stories?

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#FUNDRAISING: Impact Of Mobile Donations To Haiti Two Years On?

Text messaging to the Red Cross to help Haiti

Two years ago this month, Haitians endured a 7.1 magnitude earthquake that destroyed much of the infrastructure in the capital, Port-au-Prince, and killed over 300,000 people. The outpouring of support from numerous nations inspired faith that rebuilding after the tragedy would bring notable improvements to the poorest nation in the western hemisphere.

Unfortunately, two years on, much of the news concerns not the rebuilding of the island nation but the challenge of simply finding where the promised money and resources went. Much of it simply has not shown up as countries have given less (some news sources state as much as half) than first promised. But of what has arrived has often been diverted to non-Haitian companies or to corrupt local officials who overcharge for minimal services.

And yet we also have the data to show how much non-governmental was raised ($43 million) and how.

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