#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?

#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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#GRANTS: Nominations Open For Awards of $5000 From WLR Automotive

$25000 to be given away in January
Click here to nominate a nonprofit

Have you made a nomination for the “Giveaway For Good”? The giveaway is an initiative of the WLR Automotive Group, who is celebrating twenty-five years of service in the central Maryland/York County PA region. As a part of that celebration, and to give thanks back to the community who have supported the company, its owners have opened up nominations for charitable organizations and nonprofits to win grants of $5000 next January. The nomination process was opened up in mid-November, and anyone can continue to nominate groups through 14 December. Once the nomination process closes (14 December at midnight), the public will vote on the five organizations that they would like to see get a $5000 award from WLR. As of this post, about 25 organizations are up, and your organization certainly can nominate itself.

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#GRANTS: WLR Automotive Group Looking To Give $25K Away In January

WLR Auto Group is giving away $25K
Click to nominate an organization

“Giveaway For Good” is an initiative of the WLR Automotive Group, who is celebrating twenty-five years of service in the central Maryland/York County PA region. As a part of that celebration, and to give thanks back to the community who have supported the company, its owners have opened up nominations for charitable organizations and nonprofits to win grants of $5000 next January. The nomination process was opened up in mid-November, and anyone can continue to nominate groups through 14 December (NB: The site balks when opened in Chrome browsers, but you can use it). [Read more…]

Occupy Sandy Uses Ingenuity To Bring Relief

Occupy Sandy at Firehouse
Occupy Sandy at Firehouse (Photo credit: SpecialKRB)

When Sandy struck the New York metro area, hundreds of volunteers (including my daughter), who honed their organizing skills last year in Occupy Wall Street, sprang into action as Occupy Sandy. Within a week or two, the Red Cross was coming to them for help. (Really.) The grassroots group solved one huge logistical problem – matching donated goods to households in need of them – by elevating Amazon’s Wedding Registry to a higher purpose.

Resources: Are You Job Hunting?

  • Social Media: For those whose most immediate marketing problem is marketing themselves to employers, have I got a book for you. It’s The Wild Woman’s Guide to Social Media, by Mazarine Treyz, who is the Wild Woman. I interviewed Mazarine last year about her fundraising consulting and found her full of wit, insight and charm. Her new book promises to explain how to market yourself (or your business) in 15 minutes a day.
  • Content Management: Idealware, a nonprofit that analyzes software for nonprofits,  has produced a free, downloadable report that reviews and compares 11 content management systems. It also includes a directory of qualified consultants who can help with implementation.
  • Video: a free report by the Jun Group on the impact of online video finds, surprisingly, that the group most likely to act after seeing a video is the 55-and-up cohort.
  • Advocacy: “The Advocacy Gap,” a free downloadable report, refers to the difference between how most advocates talk to Congress and how Congress would prefer to be talked to.

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.

#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?

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Storytelling at Its Very Best

English: child enjoying clean and safe drinkin...
Child enjoying clean and safe drinking water from a newly built well, funded by charity: water (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

To see just how powerful storytelling can be for your cause, take just a few moments to watch this new video from Charity: Water. The story of “Rachel’s Gift,” in brief: a young American girl pledges to raise $300 for Charity: Water, which helps bring clean water to Third World villages. But the girl is killed in a car accident before she can fulfill her pledge. Then something happens, and Charity: Water knows how to tell it. (WARNING: Two handkerchief rating, discretion advised.)

#COMMUNICATIONS: Keep Storytelling In Forefront, Whatever Platforms You Use

Retweeting can be huge but ephemeralOprah Winfrey likes a book. BOOM! It’s a best-seller and a big movie. Justin Bieber retweets something that catches his eye. POW! It’s trending huge for forty-eight hours! Who wouldn’t want that kind of attention? Well, often nonprofits and charities don’t want that kind of attention. The best/worst case of this kind of virality is the Kony 2012 campaign, which we followed closely earlier this year and don’t have the stomach to repeat.

What nonprofits and charities want is steady growth in awareness, volunteerism, and donations. They don’t need the huge splash (some small splashes don’t hurt!), but they use the same social networks that the Oprahs and the Biebers of the world use. How do they use the same tools to develop dissimilar results.

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#CIVICS: Nonprofits Should Watch Their Politics On Their Social Networks

Twitter is an independent service for both political parties As the now-famous comic writer Andy Borowitz has posted on Twitter: “Only a billion more lies until the election.” Not only is it easy to get swept up in the horse-trading, haranguing and name-calling during an election, it’s what you’re supposed to do. We live and thrive in a government “of the people, by the people, for the people” (with the Borowitz addendum: “…which are now called ‘corporations'”). We are supposed to be involved in politics because we are called to be engaged citizens. And some of the most engaged citizens work for charities and nonprofits.

But be careful: your nonprofit’s outreach should remain nonpartisan if you want to keep that nonprofit status.

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