Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Social Media.... the new Philanthropist

As a non- profit event manager, getting donations from the younger demographic is quite a challenge.  As a graduate student in the Northwestern medill IMC program, I have followed how non-for profits and have learned successful stargeies for engaging donors through social media.  

Photo credit to miles4kids.org
  Social media is already part of the daily lives of millions of people throughout the world. If done well, it can be a great platform to get your charity on their radar and get them dedicated to the cause. When first diving into social media it is important to keep in mind that you will get out of it what you put into it.  As this article from VerticalStudios.com reminds us that fundraising should be fun and creative, and this can all be achieved through social media.   You need to be fully engaged in your social media not only posting but listening and responding. In order to get the social media to turn into funds raised you need to give each person that personal connection to the cause to really personalize the message and make them feel like they can make a difference.  Gail Perry points out that engagement is important and fundraisers can't be boring to their donors.

Gameification is a great way to engage your audience and keep them coming back since they will be actively involved.  This group in Washington was able to raise over $2 million in one day using gameification fundraising.  Your social media strategy might include people getting a discount to your fundraising event if they like your Facebook page or maybe they could check in on FourSquare to advertise your event.  You can update your Twitter account with the latest statistics and personal stories to really drive your point home.   Be specific to really build that connection.  Social media is all about connecting people with other people so be sure to use it to tell how your cause impacts individual people.  This will create that bonds make people be advocates for your organization to spread your message and reach new donors.
Experts in the non-profit social marketing cite three things you should start doing immediatly.
1.)    Set up Accounts: To begin you need to set up accounts for your organization.  Make sure this has relevant and up to date information about your organization, as well as links to make a donation.  You need to make this as easy as possible for the donor to get involved.
2.)    Recruit followers.  The organizations that have the most success fundraising online have over 100,000 followers.   Don’t be discouraged, they all had to start out small and worked their way through their social network.   Connect with board members, employees, people who benefit from your cause, donors, donor prospects, people in your target market.   Start small and keep thinking of new target markets that you can reach with your message.
3.)    Post! You need to stay active and keep posting to keep people engaged.   Tell them about the progress of your fundraising or the latest story of someone who was helped by a donation.   You might want to highlight an underfunded area and show them how their small donation can make a big impact. 
Getting involved in social media is the important first step to help your organization expand its reach and raise funds through these new donors.   This can be an impactful tool but takes both time and effort to get the groundwork laid so you can be successful with this new social media campaign.  Remember to stay involved and keep engaging your audience to keep your cause front and center in their minds.

Beth Rottman has been a fundraiser for over five years at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.  She specializes in fundraising events, leading her team to raise over $3.5 million in events alone each year. She is a part time student at Northwestern Medill’s Integrated Marketing Communications Program.  Follow her on Twitter (@RottmanIMC)

Marketing in B2B: Keep the Best of Both Worlds

The burst of social media is creating many new avenues for B2B customer engagement and analytics. Being in a class where I work with state-of-the-art monitoring and analysis tools and as an experienced marketing professional, I see how social media can enhance customer feedback collection and analysis.  I will argue, however, that while embarking on new avenues of social in B2B can prove to be worthwhile, marketers should not ignore the significance of customer feedback collected by sales force. It’s time to organize our old closets of under-collected and under-processed customer data and finally meet our customer.

Image linked from the Real Time Report 
B2B companies are social, but 75% of them do not measure it 
One of the takeaways from the 2012 International BMA Conference as seen by B2B online, is “that B2B has always been social, is social and will always be social,” according to Ralph Oliva, Executive Director of the Institute for the Study of Business Markets. “The implication is more about this new way for community to happen and how you can penetrate that community and mine for value,Ralph continues. Yet, 75% of B2B companies do not measure or quantify social media. Could these ¾ of B2B marketers be relying on their sales teams for feedback gathering? In my experience, this is where marketers can lose visibility and control, if no formalized process exists for collecting and analyzing information.

A massive lost opportunity
B2B world sits on myriads of own data which doesn’t get processed or shared internally. Good, transparent, and easy processes of sharing customer data are not widespread in the B2B world. And now we have more data that comes from social.  “This is both a huge threat and a massive lost opportunity”, concludes Richard Owen, CEO of Satmetrix. “B2B firms have the advantage here because the "crowd” is easier to manage and engage.  And that presents a great opportunity for this "after the salevalue mining”, concludes Ralph.  

Still, marketers and sales seem to have slightly different goals.These are two functions with an identical mission, so how can they be like ships passing in the night?” sales guru Neil Rackham asked during his keynote.

So what can marketers do?
Ralph Oliva believes there are three distinct areas where change is influencing B2B marketing:
  1. Use new social frontiers – ask yourselves “how do we create new value by utilizing this new space?”
  2. Use integrated marketing efficiently – Align the entire company and its assets to customers and markets, and ask a question, “Can the whole firm be focused on achieving your objectives in the market place?”
  3. Bring state of the art tools that will make the whole firm better. The question that should drive the corporate marketer is "How can I mobilize the innovative capability of the firm?”

While social media should definitely be a focus and given more attention going forward, collecting customer feedback from sales remains to be a valuable underutilized tool. As a Northwestern University IMC graduate student and an experienced marketing professional, I see sentiments collected from social media and feedback brought by sales teams complimenting each other in an effort to meet our customer.  

Tanya Tretyak is a seasoned marketing professional and a part-time graduate student in Northwestern Medill Integrated Marketing Communications program.

View Tanya Tretyak's profile on LinkedIn

Effective Social Strategy = Foundation Success

As a graduate student at Northwestern focusing on foundation marketing, most managers know their corporate and consumer donors are using social media to discuss their passions, interests and needs.  They also know their foundation does not have an effective strategy to turn these discussions into donations and new volunteers.  This blog will begin to address this social media challenge

To create a successful social media strategy, a foundation must understand what outcomes will serve as indicators that they are using social media effectively?

·      Are you tracking new donors?
·      Repeat donors?
·      Fundraising?
·      Communicating your message effectively using the right platforms 

Groundswell  lays out  a  model  that can be used to segment and understand the consumers of the social media. As a foundation, you need to understand the existing and evolving social technographic profiles of your donors, supporters and volunteers to choose appropriate social media and engagement strategies (listening, talking, energizing, helping, embracing). The model also proposes a four-step process for developing a social media marketing strategy - People, Objectives, Strategy, and Technology (called POST) 

Below is an explanation of  the process and framework:

P: People
Assess your customers’ social activity. That is current and potential donors, volunteers and beneficiaries.

O: Objectives
Decide what you want to accomplish. Is it increasing your brand awareness or donations? Recruiting volunteers? Reaching out to your beneficiaries?

S: Strategy
Strategy is a plan for how relationships with donors, volunteers and beneficiaries will change depending on what you are trying to accomplish (objectives). The strategy must be a long-term relationship that will keep growing over time.

T: Technology
Once you decide on the people, objective and strategy, then you can figure out if building a blog or starting your own community on Facebook or Twitter is the right thing for your organization. In essence, fit the technology choices to your particular people, objectives and strategy.

Consider the action points below to create the winning social media strategy for your foundation.

1) Listen to the groundswell - gain insights from what is being written and said

2) Talk to the groundswell - create  blogs and communities to engage conversation

3) Energize the groundswell - charge up your best online stakeholders

4) Embrace the groundswell - include stakeholders as collaborators 

You can also monitor the social chatter  using a free online tool Social Mention.

For more information on how social media can define success for your foundation click here

By: Farah Chaudhry
Northwestern University MSJ - Media Strategy and Leadership 

About Me: 

I am currently perusing my Masters at Northwestern University in Media Strategy and Leadership. My goal is to work with leading organizations to enhance media strategies and tactics. I am a Socialite, Change Maker, Artist, and Optimist  
Having worked on the marketing team at Camerapix, one of Africa’s oldest independent media production companies for 4 years, I joined the management in 2008 to help found Africa 24 Media, Africa’s first online video agency, in Nairobi, here i managed editorial  teams and global sales for the fast-growing agency, executive-produced award-winning documentaries and project-managed the show Africa Journal for Thomson Reuters.

You can also follow me on LinkedIn | Twitter

Monday, July 30, 2012

Angels: Don't Fall From Grace!

Though the recent economy crash did not diminish new ideas, it did create a change in how angel investors should view their roles within a start-up.  As a graduate student in Northwestern's Medill IMC program, I study how start-ups create profitable, successful companies. I have learned that it is hard enough to break even, let alone make a profit for angel investors; however, part of that reason is because they do not know when or how to walk away from a deal.

The standard practice for angel investors is to choose companies that will give you ten times your investment within five years. In an article by Paul Graham, he tells you to aim even higher! However, I agree with Dave Balter, CEO of BzzAgent and think that instead of searching around to make what is, in most cases, an unrealistic return on your investment, get smart and start planning ahead with a strategy that gives you a quick return in a short amount of time. With this strategy, you can continue to invest in other small companies to make your money back...and then some.  

Angels will face many challenges throughout their investing careers, but an understanding of potential barriers will allow for more successful investments. First, understand that a positive return is not based on how much money you initially invest, but rather on the success of the company. For this reason, be selective and only pick original ideas that show potential within the marketplace. Even new angels need to understand the fundamentals of being a smart investor which include learning about the start-up teams, their business models, plans for the future, marketing tactics, and other investors. Second, recognize that dilution happens! As companies become more profitable and get more valuation, it is likely that more angel investors or large venture partners will come on board and either phase you out or lessen your amount of shares within the company. The best approach an angel investor can take is to be prepared for dilution and have an exit strategy in mind to stay ahead of the game. Angel investors have a unique opportunity because they have the potential to find ideas first as larger venture capitalists tend to wait and invest once a buzz has already been established.  Angels have the power, but need to know what to do in order to use it properly. Mashable's spotlight of successful angel investors may be of particular interest to those considering becoming an angel investor or wanting to be a better one.

From my examination of angel investments, here are several things you can do to improve your results:

  • Give the Venture Capitalists What They Want: Sell the venture capitalists your shares in the company so they will gain more ownership, you will make more money, and the entrepreneur will not get diluted and can still feel comfortable working with you.  
  • Take Less Risk in Your Investments: Understand that companies will fail.  Know when to stop funding so you can see more of a return and start investing in new opportunities.
  • Stay in the Know: Avoid being phased out! Know and understand where your money is going at all times.
  • Discuss in Advance the Role You are Expected to Have: Do this prior to making a deal so that you understand your expectations on whether you have a role of a silent partner, an employee, etc.
  • Be Active in the Community to Find the Next Successful Start-up:  Attend events, talk to friends (and more importantly, other angel investors), and keep your name out there so start-ups know who you are.

Angel investors face many challenges as they are competing for ownership with other angels as well as large venture capitalist firms.  However, if angels can concentrate on their roles and know when to get out of a deal in order to invest in new opportunities, they will have a greater return on their investments.  Understanding and following these key strategies will allow angels to make wiser decisions and, therefore, better investments.

Heather Steinberg has worked at several start-ups in her career and is currently the Research Manager at Lab42, owned and operated by Sandbox Industries. Here, she has the opportunity to help other start-ups learn their niche in the marketplace and create product offerings.  Her background includes gathering consumer insights, data analysis, strategic marketing, and survey writing.  Born and raised in Atlanta, she received her BAJ in Public Relations and BSED in Sports Studies at the University of Georgia.  Currently, she is pursuing her graduate degree in Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern University.  When Heather isn’t working or studying, she likes reading, running, enjoying Chicago, and watching Atlanta sports. She can be reached at @HeatherIMC.

3 Ways to Get Young Donors to Open Up Their Wallets

Gone are the days when marketing and fundraising managers of nonprofit organizations could rely on big corporate funders. In this type of economic climate, nonprofits need to get creative and innovative. This means looking at other funding sources and learning how to make the most effective "ask" method in such a way that this new source of funding would be as eager to open their wallets as you are to fulfill your nonprofit's mission. As an Integrated Marketing Communications graduate with a passion in philanthropy, my research shows a rapidly changing world of nonprofit fundraising brought about by the economic recession, technological advances, and social media.

A report by the Chronicle of Philanthropy found that the decline in large charitable gifts between 2007-10 mirrors a similarly precipitous drop seen during the Great Depression. But there’s hope: some nonprofits have succeeded in raising much-needed funds by engaging young donors. This is amazing because this target group gets exposed to as many as 5,000 brand messages a day. How can nonprofits get them to pay attention and open up their hearts (and wallets) for their cause?

There are three things to understand about this group and three ways to get what you want:

#1 Out of sight, out of mind - People nowadays have very short attention span. Whether you're launching a campaign online or offline, if your message or image doesn’t get their attention within the first 3 seconds, game over. A survey conducted by The Millennial Impact found that 65% of young donors learn about nonprofits through their websites. With 70% of young donors giving online last year, it pays (literally) to create a website that gives potential donors/volunteers a great information-gathering experience.
Solution: Make sure your websites are easy to read on mobile devices and not overly cluttered. Avoid being wordy and use powerful images like this nonprofit campaign launched by Ente Nazionale Protezione Animali, an Italian animal welfare organization against animal testing for cosmetics.

#2 The Bystander Effect - This human trait allows us to assume that someone else will do what needs to be done. Researchers in one experiment found that 70% of participants who are alone and heard sounds of distress from another person in an adjoining room responded and helped. When two participants were together, the response rate to the sounds of distress fell significantly, in one case to a mere 7%.
Solution: Use compelling stories to show the interconnection between ourselves and people thousands of miles away, and how we are all similar.

#3 Not used to giving - Plain and simple as that. Nonprofits need to help donors understand that their gift is not just a "drop in the bucket." Each person’s contribution, whether in the form of time or money, makes a difference. 
Solution: Cultivate the culture of giving by engaging school children and showing them the virtue of charitable giving early in life. As adults, they will more likely donate their time and money than those who never volunteered or donated as a child.

Inggrid Yonata is an assertive yet bubbly and people-oriented individual whose passion lies in the application of Integrated Marketing Communications strategies in nonprofit fundraising. She believes that wealth is not a prerequisite to be a philanthropist--ingenuity, passion, and determination are. Find out what's on her mind via Twitter @iyonata, leave a comment on her blog http://yonatafu.blogspot.com, or you can connect with her through LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/iyonata She is always looking for opportunities to exchange ideas and make great things happen.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Creating competitive & contagious church communities

According to the Pew Forum on Religious and Public Life’s 2012 Religious Landscape Survey, over 29 church denominations are represented in the U.S. Underneath this umbrella, hundreds of thousands of individual churches host services on Sunday mornings in all 50 states. So, how does an individual church plant go about setting themselves apart from the so-called competition?

Pastor Richard Brand of First Presbyterian Church in Henderson, North Carolina, recently wrote a Huffington Post blog about the importance of every church's “central mission” – whether it be community involvement, worship, or architecture. In his post, Brand emphasizes the need for every church to identify their strengths and proclaim them to the masses – so much so, that it should be readily apparent to newcomers what the church's main mission is after attending only one service.
For Mile High Vineyard Church in Denver, Colorado, Pastor Dave Runyon’s vision is to get members involved in their communities outside the walls of the church (details in this Christianity Today interview). Runyon recommends working with city officials to get involved with community needs and encouraging congregants to love their neighbors via community initiatives - Mile High's "claim to fame" is a neighborhood initiative called "Building Blocks."

Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Ill., founded by senior pastor Bill Hybels in 1975, averages over 20,000 attendees at Sunday services, and is known for its community outreach and worship ministries.
Photo courtesy McShane Fleming Studios
Action steps for churches worldwide

As a Christian journalist in the greater Chicago area, I have a wealth of experience reporting on churches around the world. I'm a keen observer of religious media and culture, both inside and out, and believe the following steps are a recipe for success for church congregations everywhere:

1) Define your church / organization’s mission statement: what is the main theme you want to get across to “church shoppers” and members alike on Sunday mornings? (contemporary or traditional worship, community outreach, Bible-based teaching, etc.)
2) Discuss this mission statement with the leadership at your church: create a thought-map summarizing what the pastors and elders see as strengths to your worship and liturgy as presented on Sunday mornings.
3) Discuss this mission statement with the congregants at your church: produce a short survey, included with the bulletin, that asks congregants what they believe the strengths and/or weaknesses are of your congregation or the Sunday service at large.
4) Collect the surveys, and discuss with church leadership. What do congregants perceive the church’s strengths are, and are you capitalizing on those areas? Also, how can you take the weaknesses and turn them into strengths?
5) Analyze the church’s curriculum and outreach ministries. How much money is being allocated to each area, how many volunteers exist in each sector (childcare, small groups, community outreach efforts/partnerships), and does this spread of finances and personnel reflect the congregants’ and leadership team’s priorities?

Based on these action steps, what are you waiting for? If you're a church leader, call a meeting. If you're an elder or layperson, call a meeting! Talk amongst yourselves, and remember - actions speak louder than words, and talk is cheap. Begin community discussions, both inside and outside the walls of your church - but make sure your vision carries through to execution.

-Allison J. Althoff is a masters of journalism student at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism and Integrated Marketing Communication, focusing on religious media marketing, consumption and production. She also currently serves as an editorial intern at Christianity Today Media Group, writes "A Daily Miracle" blog at ChicagoNow, and is an active member of Willow Creek Community Church in South Barrington, Ill. Follow her on Twitter @ajalthoff.