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Posts Tagged ‘Flickr’

Save the Endangered Corporate Sponsor!

Wednesday, December 19th, 2012

Imagine for a moment that your annual office holiday party was in the same restaurant each year.  In exchange for this promotion, patronage, signage & acknowledgment during the event, food was free and there was a cash bar.

Now, after many years of having this relationship, suppose that, as the restaurant owner, I have decided to change the terms of the agreement.  This year, I’ve decided I want instead:

•     All attendees at the party to wear my restaurant logo t-shirt
•     All attendees to make their own creative “Why I love the restaurant” slogan design on their t-shirt, prior to the party
•   A contest for the best designed t-shirt.  Participants need to post photos of their t-shirts on Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, Pinterest, etc, with my restaurant name during the three weeks prior to the party.
•     A three drink minimum for guests at the party
•     The chance to go through each guest’s wallet or purse as they enter
•   I’ll announce the t-shirt winners at the party and pay for their meals.  I’m no longer paying for everyone’s food – just the top five t-shirt designers.

If you were in charge of arranging the office holiday party, what would your reaction be?  Would you capitulate . . . or find another sponsor?  This seems like a lot of extra hoops to jump through – for a lot less in return, doesn’t it?

Yet, I speak to so many nonprofit development officers on a regular basis who have signed up for similar deals.  The chance to have a chance at something!  Does it have to do with the mission of the organization?  Nothing whatsoever.  Does it ask your constituents to engage in repetitive – and meaningless – activity?  Absolutely.  And who comes out ahead?  The so-called “sponsor.”

The reason I mention “going through the wallet or purse” in my analogy is to emphasize that you’re not just wasting your supporters’ time (and spending social capital on frivolity), but all of these social media campaigns obtain permission online to get followers’ personal and private data.  This doesn’t just include such things as DOB, gender, etc., but most often pulls all of their friends’ information, too.  It is essentially going through their wallet.  Many are unaware of how much data they’re handing over when they click [I agree], but not all.

What’s more damaging beyond using your supporters to further the agenda of some unrelated corporate mission, however, is that with every one of these campaigns that nonprofits engage in, we are essentially telling corporations – encouraging them – to continue doing business with us this way in the future.

The more we fight like dozens of dogs in a pit over the same, single piece of meat, the less likely corporations will be in the future to stick to the previous model of sponsoring a single event – either as the lead sponsor, or one of several, for a nonprofit.  Why should they bother?

Consider the future of sponsorship overall – both local, regional and national – when you contemplat engaging in one of these contests.  The more you validate them, the more likely they are to become the single representation of what corporate sponsorship means in the future . . . and wouldn’t that be sad indeed?

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Keep the base of the pyramid strong

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(How) Are You Using Video in Your Campaign?

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

The nonprofit without video in its campaign is leaving money on the table.  It’s a compelling part of storytelling, and has increased dramatically as a social media channel.  More smartphone market share will only bolster these figures.

Like other social media channels, video works best when it is incorporated with existing campaigns, in addition to occasionally – and eventually – standing alone.  Particularly if you are entering this arena for the first time, you’ll need vehicles to drive your audience to your new venue, so inserting links into your direct mail pieces and emails is a good place to start.  Don’t forget to use QR codes as well, since they can also represent a hyperlink.

Videos don’t always need to be professionally produced, either.  It really depends upon the purpose of the message.  Many nonprofits simply purchase a flip camera and begin shooting.  There may be times when a more polished image is necessary, however.  This is not different than printing many mail pieces in house and investing occasionally in a fine piece with a professional printer for a special mailing.

An important thing to remember is that it’s better to keep your message(s) short and to the point, however.  I advised a client in the past who had just begun to delve into the world of video, after presenting me with their first production that it needed to be chopped into several different pieces.  It was over ten minutes long, which I informed them that nobody would watch!

The great thing about it, though, was that it could easily be segmented into usable smaller portions.  What they had done was have an intro, where the director said “hello,” and spoke about the organization and its mission.  Next, they showed footage of a client they’d helped, with “before” and “after” footage, which took about three minutes.  After that, they showed another client’s “before” and “after,” and another client . . . and another . . .

Putting the right tags on each of these videos as separate items, I explained, would allow viewers who were interested to have the videos come up in the menu sidebar as “more videos like this,” and those viewers could continue watching, but it wouldn’t be a turn off as being too long and prevent nearly everyone from learning about their organization and its services.

There are a variety of messages that nonprofits can convey to their constituents through video, just as they can with direct mail and email:

•  Tell a heartfelt story about the people that the organization is trying to help

•  Have a spokesperson succinctly summarize the mission and add a call to action

•  Have a narrator summarize the mission and add a call to action

•  Provide a progress report (“Here’s what your donation is accomplishing!”)

•  Keep in touch with constituents, send a warm greeting

Additional ways to incorporate videos within existing channels would include adding a YouTube, Vimeo and/or Flickr tab to your Facebook page, and capturing still frames as photos to place in mailings or emailings as needed.

Finally, apply for a YouTube for Nonprofits account, which will allow you to insert clickable links within the videos you produce.  This important addition makes it easier for your viewers to take direct action straight from the video they are currently viewing.

How are you planning to make use of video in the coming year?

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Keep the base of the pyramid strong

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How Much (Did) You Depend on Facebook?

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Typically when Facebook proclaims, “Here’s how we’ve changed,” users scratch their heads a bit, there’s a collective moan, then adaptation.  This time, organizations see a greater difference and are complaining louder.

Beyond merely joining the “I hate ___ changes in Facebook” page, nonprofits have noticed a very drastic effect to how frequently their pages get viewed in the lineup on their fans’ feeds.  For some, their stats have dropped to 1/10 of what they were.

Facebook’s response, as usual, has been to remain unavailable and let complaints fall on deaf ears, all the while reframing the despised changes as a positive, much like an eternal voicemail greeting that insists one must listen to the entire newly-revised message prior to making a selection, which was done “to better serve you.”  In both cases, there is no chance of ever speaking to a live human being to get a question answered.  (Please hold.)

While it’s true that simply showing up on someone’s fan page doesn’t mean they are dedicated to your cause, if you cannot get seen in the first place, engagement is a moot point.  Forcing someone to scroll several times farther to be able to view your post ensures that most fans won’t bother to go to that trouble . . . and therefore, won’t see what your organization is posting.  Couple that with Facebook removing the ability for an organization to send direct messages to its page’s fans, and your communication is significantly impaired.

So what is a nonprofit to do shortly before the busiest giving time of year?

First of all, if all of your marketing and communication efforts were resting squarely on the shoulders of Facebook, this was not a good thing to begin with.  Facebook has frequent changes in its policy, and has made it abundantly clear each time that the policy is their policy.  Whenever a conflict between Facebook and user arises, the user loses and Facebook reminds everyone:  the page is not yours, the content is not yours, the fans and friends are not yours.  Break a rule, and you can be suspended and lose it all without warning, period!

This is not the platform you want to do the majority of your business on, where you do all of the work and answer to someone else.  Why give them the master keys and obey all of their rules?  Facebook should merely be one place of many where you maintain a presence . . . but always remind your supporters of where your home base is located, so that they will gravitate toward your turf.

Facebook’s Causes fundraising component is a good example of this principle.  While some organizations use the Facebook fundraising app – for birthdays or other events – in practice, it actually robs the nonprofit from accomplishing more than it otherwise would, and not just in terms of funds:

•     Because the form isn’t customizable, all nonprofits are stuck with the same basic form.  It can’t be modified to tell donors that “$100 will help pay for an hour’s worth of tutoring,” or anything mission-related to your organization.  Also, the ask amounts are too low for some organizations, but what-you-see-is-what-you-get, which is often a lower average gift than if the donor went to the nonprofit’s own online giving form.
•     Facebook gives the donor the option of not passing on their contact information to the receiving nonprofit, so further cultivation and/or even acknowledgment is often rendered impossible.
•     Because the actual donation is processed and receipted by a second party, even when a thank you is issued by the nonprofit, “receipt” language for tax deduction purposes has to be removed, which can be confusing for the donor, who may not understand that their gift wasn’t a direct donation to your organization.
•     Even with this much smaller gift, the processing organization takes 4.75% of each donation(s).
•     When the donation app is displayed next to the number of fans, it implies that a very, very small number of supporters actually give, and that among them, they give very little.  This will encourage others who see it to then assume the typical average gift is very low when they respond to a future appeal.

Of course, most people agree that a major motivating factor behind Facebook’s redesign is to push businesses into generating more advertising revenue for Facebook.  Before sinking a portion of your budget into but one sliver of your overall marketing package, consider the other options you have first.

Certainly no nonprofit has the resources to put its message on every social media channel out there, but reaching out to a few makes good sense, as does integrating them, such as cross referencing your photos, videos and blog posts among Flickr, YouTube, Twitter and your own website.  In addition, although you can’t be on all channels, it may be time to add one or two, such as StumbleUpon, Google+, or even some LinkedIn groups, depending on your population.

It is absolutely essential that nonprofit marketers not forget to stick to the tried-and-true basics that have helped them keep in touch with their constituents thus far and raise much needed funds, however.  Adding new techniques does not mean abandoning previous ones.

For most nonprofits, direct mail continues to raise the majority of annual giving funds, and a recent Pew survey showed that emailing is one of the most prominent online activities still conducted.  Although social media has made significant strides in recent years, it doesn’t come close to achieving the time spent online that email does.

Make certain that your online eforms, event registrations, reply cards, etc. ask for emails, and that you regularly communicate with your constituents via email, as this is your communication venue, under your control – and your list.  While doing so, however, add the cross-channel approach of including your various social media buttons, so that people can engage with your organization as they prefer.

As you incorporate your strategy to expand into other venues, check your google analytics and see if as large a portion of your traffic continues to come from Facebook – or any single source.  It’s always best to have a healthy variety of sources, so do your best to expand.

Facebook’s latest policy change can serve as a wake up call for nonprofits, reminding them that, although nobody controls the entire world of marketing, it’s best to take control in the areas you can, rather than completely hand over the keys to another company and hope for the best.

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Keep the base of the pyramid strong

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