It’s that time of year;
- The ringing of the Salvation Army bells
- The opportunity to donate food as you buy your groceries
- Events that require toys for tots as an entry fee
Whereas all of these activities are successful because they make it easy to give, they seem to lack the personal touch of knowing who you are supporting, where your gifts are going, or how you are changing lives. They also require enormous effort to attract partners and volunteers to be everywhere shoppers and party-goers are.
Even though the end of the year is a time of giving both for altruistic reasons and for tax reasons, it is also a time of great competition for dollars among nonprofits. The smaller nonprofits need to be extra creative within very tight budget constraints.
My client, Georgia Lions Lighthouse Foundation, has created a campaign that is creative, compelling, entertaining with a personal touch.
It starts with a video, Santa Claus Needs New Eyewear.
The video is funny, showcases the work that the Lighthouse does, and has a call to action. The Lighthouse produced this video by showcasing the talents that existed in their own building. The lyrics were written by a staff member and the vocals were provided by another staff member.
The call to action is for you to visit their holiday website Check It Twice. At the website, instead of just asking for a donation, the Lighthouse has developed a holiday gift catalog where you can choose the amount you would like to give by choosing the gift you would like to give. Not only does this make your gift more personal, in one snapshot it also tells the story of all the work that the Lighthouse is involved with.
Not only has the Lighthouse developed an entertaining campaign that is seeking end-of-the-year gifts, but they are also effectively enhancing the community’s awareness of the work that they do all year long; work that not only makes a difference to the lives of individual clients but also makes a difference for the whole community.
About a year ago I was offered the gift to work with Liz Hayes, the Marketing Director for the Center for the Visually Impaired, to build out their social media strategy. Liz is one of those amazing clients who are not only a sponge for information and ideas but also someone who will effectively implement those ideas.
The past couple of months Liz and I have had the opportunity to co-present at the Georgia Center for Nonprofits. At a presentation yesterday Liz was able to showcase how all her hard work in social media is paying off.
Each time I speak to a group of nonprofits I start by asking a few questions.
1. What is your mission?
Practically everyone can answer this question….by rote memory.
Because the mission statement is usually memorized, it is too common that people have to think for a moment about why their mission is what it is.
3. Who have you specifically helped?
90% of the time this question is answered with a statement that sound like it is right out of a marketing brochure. “We have helped 25,000 people who have found themselves without the means to….blah blah blah.” There is nothing to pull at my emotional strings in such statements.
The statement that more the 7,500 soldiers have died in Afghanistan does not have the same impact as hearing about the soldier who had only 2 more weeks left in Afghanistan before he could come home to see his newborn daughter but was killed while on the side of the road changing a tire for a stranded citizen.
4. How does what you do impact my life?
This question almost always stumps my audience. The typical answer is that they are there if I or anyone I know ever need them. That is great, but how are you going to raise money when the only people who know about you are the people who need you? The goal of this question is to help my audience see how what they do has a larger positive impact on society as a whole and that we all benefit from their work and therefore we all have a responsibility to support them.
This is the consultation that Liz has run with at CVI. The CVI Facebook page is full of personal stories, valuable resource information, inspirational stories, and stories of how CVI impacts society as a whole. And it is paying off tremendously.
In a year her community has grown to over 400 members – which is a strong following for a locally focused nonprofit organization. However what is so impressive is the 25% of that following is talking about CVI to their friends.
And what are people talking about? Personal stories of the impact that CVI is making on people’s lives and on society.
Jack and Luke are four years old, visually impaired, and on the path to a lifetime of learning and adventure as braille readers. You can help Jack, Luke and CVI clients of all ages with the vision to see beyond their disability.
What is the secret to CVI’s success? Liz would tell you that before she posts anything on Facebook she thinks about who it is for, why they would care, and what action they would take. She always puts herself in the shoes of her community first.
originally posted on Concept Hub
This past Thursday the Atlanta Social Media Club focused the discussion on how Retail can embrace social media.
Retail or Brands, in general, do seem to be struggling with how to approach and be involved in online communities. The recent Motrin controversy showed how one wrong move from a brand can cause an outrage to spread far and fast.
Motrin responded with a rapid apology and removal of the ad. But could have they handled this differently? Could they have found the silver lining around the dark cloud?
The ad was about moms who carry their babies in one of the various baby carrier things that wrap around the body. Therefore the ad was very targeted to a particular group, new moms. Now a friend of mine suggested that had they listened more to this audience they would not have made the mistake of producing such an ad. Maybe. Maybe not. People do not always tell you how they feel in focus groups and even by being involved in the various online communities you might not get the answers you wanted. But Motrin, which is a very reputable brand, did get some attention with this ad. Could they have leveraged this attention as an opportunity to ask more questions, to probe into the lives and pains of new moms? Maybe.
The thing about social media is it is supposed to be about being social; About having conversations, listening and developing relationships. It is not about throwing an ad up or pushing information onto others.
At the Social Media Club event, my friend James Harris asked a wonderful question. He asked “what does an ideal social media presence for a brand look like? What should Nike do?” My response was that brands should remember that they solve problems. Look for people or create communities where you can offer solutions as opposed to push information on them. That is where I do give an ad like Motrin’s credit. They were trying to say “we feel your pain.” But could they have gone a step further?
Could they have defended their ad by suggesting that there was research that showed some women felt pressured to wearing their babies as a means to create a bond with them, and then asked for the moms to begin a discussion of what this really meant, why wearing their babies was or was not important to them? I mean it seems to me that the problem was bigger than the pain. What a great opportunity for Motrin to sponsor a community for parents to discuss the advantages and disadvantages of a baby carrier. They could even discuss different brands of carriers and different ways to carry babies. The result would be a captive audience of women who may have started out upset with you but are now engaged with you in finding solutions.
Ultimately brands are trying to sell something right. Well, would you prefer to buy from a brand that just pops an advertisement in all the places you gather or would you rather buy from a brand who engages with you to discuss what is going on in your world and how their brand fits in as a way to enhance your lifestyle?
Ultimately it is in everyone’s best interest to start with the question “what value can we add to this conversation?” when developing your online strategy or responding to an online community that has decided to give your brand some attention.