#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.

 

#LiveClass: Successful Fundraising with Imperfect Boards

Don-finalPlaying to Their Strengths

Visit The Knowledge Fountain website to find out about our latest course offering online: “Successful Fundraising with Imperfect Boards”, presented LIVE by Paul Jolly, of Jump Start Growth. Here’s a brief overview:

Ask a development director to complete the sentence “My board is  –” and 9 out of 10 automatically respond, ” – not engaged enough in fundraising.” Every nonprofit wishes it had a board populated by socialites and corporate heavyweights, who write big checks and enlist their wealthy friends as donors. Sadly, no one has that board.  But you can leverage the talents and strengths of the board you do have to make them effective and successful partners in fundraising. [Read more...]

Don Akchin Leads Workshop for Members of Maryland Nonprofits

Maryland Nonprofits Logo

Don Akchin, a charter member of Nonprofit Marketing 360, led a workshop for members of Maryland Nonprofits on Tuesday, May 14 on “Tell Your Story So People Care (and Give!)”

Everyone ought to know about the great work your organization does, but how do you get their attention – or better yet, their support? You begin by telling your story well. This interactive session will show participants how to convert the mission, vision and accomplishments of their organizations into compelling stories that spark the interest of media and prospective donors.  In addition, this class will examine ways to frame stories effectively for different audiences.

For more information about Don, his work with nonprofits, and future workshops, please visit Don Akchin Strategic Communications.

Public Service Billboard Has A Hidden Message

Here is one brilliant example of audience targeting. To reach abused children, who may be accompanied by an adult who is also their abuser, a Spanish child advocacy nonprofit has created a billboard on the street with a secret message. Adults see a photograph of a cute boy. But children who are less than 4 feet 5 inches tall  see  a photograph of an abused child (above) and the telephone number of a help line.

#FUNDRAISING: Outreach Tactics & Technologies Need To Adjust To Demographics

Mail still best way to get donationsWith the texts and tweets and the touchscreens and with those crazy(-cool) Google goggles and whatnot, a nonprofit would be daft to send those old-fashioned appeals by mail. The cost of printing and stamps, the hassle of upkeep of a database of address, the imposition of making potential donors find their checkbooks buried ever-farther into their desk drawers… who would bother?

But an extensive whitepaper from the folks at Convio makes it quite clear that not only is the traditional through-the-snail-mail appeal still a great way to solicit support for your charity, it is the hands-down winner over all media outreach. As the chart to the left reveals, outreach by mail achieves incredibly high response rates. That said − and unsurprisingly − the impact of mailers fades as one moves down the age groups, as Generations X and (especially) Y choose to respond to other media as well. What media will carry the donation message into the future?

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#FUNDRAISING: Outreach Tactics & Technologies Need To Adjust To Demographics

Mail brings almost 1/2 of all donations - for now

Mail brings almost 1/2 of all donations – for now

With the texts and tweets and the touchscreens and with those crazy(-cool) Google goggles and whatnot, a nonprofit would be daft to send those old-fashioned appeals by mail. The cost of printing and stamps, the hassle of upkeep of a database of address, the imposition of making potential donors find their checkbooks buried ever-farther into their desk drawers… who would bother?

But an extensive whitepaper from the folks at Convio makes it quite clear that not only is the traditional through-the-snail-mail appeal still a great way to solicit support for your charity, it is the hands-down winner over all media outreach. As the chart to the left reveals, outreach by mail achieves incredibly high response rates. That said − and unsurprisingly − the impact of mailers fades as one moves down the age groups, as Generations X and (especially) Y choose to respond to other media as well. What media will carry the donation message into the future?

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Online Donations Up; Email Response Rates Down

The annual eNonprofit Benchmarks Study from M+R Strategic Services and NTEN had good news and bad news. On the plus side, the survey of 55 national nonprofits found a 15% increase in email list size, online fundraising revenues were up 21%, and social media is reaching more supporters than ever (with Twitter followers up 264%). On the other hand, email response rates dropped, especially on fundraising appeals (-21%).

Why? The authors note that the response rate decline is a long-term trend, in part a reaction to nonprofits that keep sending email to unresponsive addresses.  Then there’s Pale Shadow Syndrome, a theory I just concocted on the spot, which holds that successful innovators attract imitators who are but pale shadows of the originals, and audiences just get bored.

 

 

Do You Have a Whites-Only Prospect List?

Cartoon by Thomas Nast

Roger Craver, whose blog isn’t called “The Agitator” for nothing, has laid out a provocative question to fundraisers: Are you making the same demographic mistake as the Republican Party? If, in fact, minorities (and particularly Hispanics) are increasing faster than whites, have nonprofits made the right moves to tap these potential donor pools?

An Emotional Appeal That Feels Authentic

Neuroscience has proven that behavior – including giving behavior – is ruled by the emotions. Still, it’s hard to appeal directly to the emotions and come across as genuine. This video for  Marie Curie Cancer Care does it. Grab a tissue and have a look. (Thanks to Osocio for the tip.)

#PHILANTHROPY: #Sundance & A3 Foundation Extend Cooperation for Asian-American Artists

Asian American Artists Foundation

Shot from a film sponsored by the A3 Foundation

Though the Initial Public Offering of Facebook devolved into comic fodder last May, the fact remains that it made many people quite wealthy − especially those who had been working with Zuckerberg’s company from the early days. A number of those who cashed out their stocks and jobs at the social-network giant have since turned toward philanthropic efforts, and we would like to highlight one of those concerns that also is having a big impact on this week’s Sundance Film Festival in Utah.

The A3 Foundation was founded in 2012 by Philip Fung, Julia Lam, and Franklyn Chien, who were early Facebook employees, and who wanted to encourage both Asian-American artists (thus the ‘A3′) and those working on projects pertinent to the larger Asian-American community. According to their own site, “The A3 Fellows Program is the inaugural program for the foundation placing emerging artists with seasoned artists to learn and grow. The fellowship consists of $10,000-$20,000 in funding, as well as mentorship from more established artists, and the opportunity to build your skillset and network.” A large presence at the Sundance Festival is only the beginning of what they hope to accomplish.

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#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?

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Social Media Strategy: Add Value

books

Photo credit: brody4

Social media hasn’t worked so well for many nonprofits – but that may be because those nonprofits still don’t grasp the First Law of Social Media: It’s Not About YOU. It’s about Facebook users and what you can do for them.

Perfect Case in Point: The Seattle Public Library uses its Facebook page to offer a self-selected group of avid readers its recommendations on what to read next. In other words, it gives them value – a reason to check out the Facebook site, engage with others at the site, and come back again and again.

What can you offer on Facebook that potential supporters would find valuable?

Beware the Trends of January

English: Bust of the god Janus, Vatican museum, .

Janus, the god of media year-in-review stories. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

January takes its name from Janus, the two-headed Roman god that faced forward and backward. News media typically tip their hats to Janus with end-of-the-year wrapups that appear in December, because hot news like Best Insults of 2012 and Most Embarassing Televised Moments of the Year cannot wait until January.

 

I prefer to look forward, myself. So in tribute to the god’s more progressive posture, here are notable trends to watch for in 2013 according to a mixed bag of experts, prognosticians and mystics:

  • Consultant Nancy Schwartz distills 10 nonprofit marketing trends in a two-part series. Among them: knowing your supporters, relevancy, and speaking like a human.
  • The consumer – not the nonprofit – will be the source of innovation and growth, says Network for Good exec Katya Andresen.
  • As if you haven’t already weathered enough shocks to the system, here come five new technologies with the potential to disrupt life as you know it.

 

#HOWTO: Have A Film Screening As A Fundraising Opportunity

Tugg offers movies of your choiceWe at MKCREATIVEmedia wish you a joyous, healthy, and prosperous New Year!

As the year’s projects and fundraisers and festivals start rolling onto your computer’s calendar, you might be looking for an opportunity to host a one-off event that can bring much-wanted PR, good karma, and even some financial support. How about sponsoring a film screening? The chance for your nonprofit or charity to be a movie mogul, at least for a day, has been made possible by the social/cinema site Tugg. Though currently considered ‘beta,’ Tugg could make hosting a screening of a big-name movie, documentary, or short film so easy that you could host a few each season.

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