Archive for the ‘Non-profit Marketing’ Tag

Non-profit Marketing and Building Your Database

Christopher Penn’s latest blog entry on the value to non-profit marketers of building your database got me thinking. I won’t regurgitate what Penn said, but I would like your feedback on it. To read his entry click here.

My initial reaction is to agree that it is very important to gain actionable information from your campaigns…email addresses, phone numbers, etc. And, I also agree that awareness raising campaigns that are only awareness raising campaigns may not be the most effective use of marketing dollars. However, where I disagree is that I don’t believe direct marketing through email is the most effective use of marketing resources either.

In my opinion, the most effective way an organization such as a non-profit can do marketing is to build real relationships. Instead of relying on one-way communication such as email or banner ads on MySpace, organizations should creatively try to engage people on a level that gets them to invest in the cause past providing an email address. How will they do this? It really depends on the cause or the organization. One-size-fits-all marketing tactics are tired. New social media technologies like Twitter allow people and organizations to make real connections that widgets don’t. Widgets may not be en vogue next year, but conversation and connection has always been around.

To do this, non-profit marketers will need to forget that their title is “marketer” and start thinking like an organizer. To think like an organizer means that marketers will need to forget the traditional marketing tools and start looking for what will get people to take ownership in the cause. This may bed slower and less sexy, but I believe the long-term results of such marketing will make the sweat investment worth it.

Let me know what you think.

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Non-Profit Marketing and Social Technologies: Who’s doing it well?

I am a firm believer in the power of social technologies like blogs, podcasts, Twitter, etc., to help organizations like non-profits tell their stories to the world.  Businesses have lead the way into the world of social technologies and marketing.  Where are the non-profits?  Who is out there using these new technologies to connect with their stakeholders?  A couple of examples I know of are Epic Change and their use of Twitter, YouTube, and blogs and The Nature Conservancy‘s use of podcasting. What organizations do you know of that are using social technologies well? What seems to be working and what isn’t?

I have a question about Non-Profit Marketing

My question is this, “How does Non-profit marketing differ from for-profit marketing?” Are there specific challenges, goals, or restrictions that non-profits face? Are there any ways in which non-profits have an advantage over for-profits when it comes to marketing? I want to know what you think. I will be talking about this topic in the next episode of the Marketing 4 Change podcast and would like to include your responses. Whether you have an idea, a theory, or a 1500 word rant, I want to hear it. Thanks!

The real value of social media in Non-Profit Marketing.

When it comes to the value of social media to non-profits, you can talk about the power of user generated content, viral expansion loops, etc. While those topics, and others, are definitely worth talking about, I think the most value comes from social media’s ability to deeply engage people.

In his book Join the Conversation, Joseph Jaffe says, “A central hypothesis of mine is that the more time consumers voluntarily elect to spend with a ‘brand,’ the more likely they are to be favorably predisposed toward that brand, and hence the more likely they are to purchase that brand, recommend that brand, or both.” While Jaffe uses “brand,” I think non-profits could very easily insert more non-profity (I enjoy making up words) terms into the above quote. For example, “…the more time people voluntarily elect to spend with a cause/organization, the more likely they are to be favorably predisposed toward that cause/organization, and hence the more likely they are to give time or money to that cause/organization, advocate for that cause/organization, or both.”

I think this should lead organizations to review their efforts at marketing and development in light of the question, “What are we doing through our marketing and development to encourage and enable people to spend more “time” with our organization/cause?” This may seem overly simple. To that I would reply everything else is overly complicated.

Simple is honest. Simple is authentic. Simple works.

Social Media and Non-Profits: How can organizations find their human voice?

I had the opportunity to meet with an outstanding organization yesterday to talk about social media.  This organization is a faith-based group that is focused on social justice and eliminating poverty.  They already have a rather large presence in the world of traditional print media and are looking to expand into the world of social media.  The group has a lot of great ideas to use social media to affect social change while simultaneously accomplishing their marketing goals.

While the ideas shared in the meeting for user-generated content and social media organizing were great, I did walk away from the meeting with a concern for how organizations such as theirs can learn to, well, forget they are organizations.  I agree whole heartedly with the authors of the Cluetrain Manifesto that, if you want your communications to succeed, they must be spoken in a human voice. And, according to the book, “They will only sound human when they empower real human beings to speak on their behalf.” This is definitely a hard thing for organizations to do when they have so much concern about brand management and message control. Unfortunately, the time is here when message control and brand management can no longer be done through top-down mechanisms—that is as long as the organization wishes to remain relevant. Organizations must let their people be people and be heard.

So, how does an organization empower its people to speak to the world? First, it must give more than permission to speak…it must encourage it. An organization with members that are fully engaged in the mission is a much more attractive organization than one that appears to be no more than an institution with employees. If you want active constituents, you had better start in your own office.

Second, the organization must forget about controlling what is said and concentrate on authentically living out its mission. Authenticity should take care of the messiness of open communication. If this seems unreasonable, the problem is with authenticity and transparency, not with communication or message.

Finally, the organization has to forget about how this communication will fit into its business plan or how it will be measured. It has to trust that authentic communication will benefit the organization in ways that can not be measured. Organizations that continue conducting their marketing and PR in the new networked world as if the old rules of marketing still apply are going to be in for a healthy dose of irrelevancy really soon.

I am hopeful that the organization that I met with will do great things with their social media ventures. I am sure they will experience a lot of successes along with the obligatory educational failures that come with such experimentation. My hope is that some of those successes will come in the form of open, human communication from the organization.

Marketing 4 Change Podcast – Episode 2: Stacey Monk of Epic Change and Social Media Marketing

Epic Change

Episode 2 features Stacey Monk of Epic Change.

Stacey Monk

Stacey and Epic Change have recently enjoyed a great deal of success in the social media sphere–particularly with the microblogging tool Twitter.

To learn more about Stacey and Epic Change, go to www.epicchange.org.

Other links:
Epic Change Blog
“Your Stories Matter” YouTube Group
Follow Stacey on Twitter
Follow Sanjay Patel on Twitter
Stacey’s Guest Post on Go Big Always Blog

To download this episode, right click the button below and “Save as”
Epic Change

Follow me on Twitter

Non-Profit Marketing placing a bet on social media?

A couple of days ago, Wailin Wong of The Chicago Tribune wrote an article describing how non-profits are beginning to enter the world of social media. While the article and the marketers quoted in the article make a lot of good points, the biggest benefit of social media to non-profits was missed.

Today, we find ourselves in a world of increasingly decentralized media that makes mass communication a bit of a challenge. (There are more podcasts today than radio stations in the world) Marketing in the social media space is now more about “pull” than “push.” Individuals can consume whatever they want whenever they want. With this challenge of how to reach mass audiences in mind, it will be difficult for non-profits to maintain the traditional posture of using marketing to gain new donors.

While gaining new donors will always be important, the role of marketing and PR in a highly niched world will be more about strengthening the ties you have with your stakeholders and transforming them into organizational evangelists and zealots. While the article touched on the engagement and relationship building aspects of social media marketing, when Wailin Wong describes non-profits as “betting that the Internet’s viral nature,” it is a bit like the guy showing up to the party in a Members Only jacket. “Viral” is so 2005. Social media, today, is about building smaller, niched communities that are passionate and committed to the cause. In terms of “viral”, any strange guy with a goofy song can be “viral,” however, it is the real, lasting connections that will pay off for non-profits in the long run.

Time to change? When will the marketing world embrace a new model??

I am currently reading Paul Hawken’s The Ecology of Commerce. The first few pages of the book paint a stark picture of the future of society if we allow free-market capitalism and the idea that growth will fix everything to continue dominating our lives. While, so far, Hawken is speaking of sustainability in the context of the environmental crisis, I feel that those same forces and ideas have application in the world of marketing and PR.

Does traditional advertising and media have an impact on people like carbon emissions have on the environment? Is there a more sustainable way to conduct marketing and PR? I believe there is and that the future lies in new media and social media marketing. The challenge, however, will be to get organizations to abandon the old definitions of success. On page 6 of the book, Hawken poses the question, “When will the business world look honestly at itself and ask whether it isn’t time to change?” I believe that marketers have to ask themselves the same question.

In a post yesterday on his blog Marketing In The Public Sector, Jim Mintz quoted some statistics about the rise of new media. The post was entitled Social Media Marketing …the Next Wave for Public Sector and Nonprofit Marketers. While the post posed a lot of interesting points, what struck me when I read it was the way media is “fanning out” and what this ultimately means to marketers. If everyone has the ability to be a media producer, marketing and PR will most definitely become a two-way street.

It seems to me that the days of being able to “throw money” at marketing and buy a successful campaign are nearing an end. What seems to be emerging is the need for organizations to tell authentic stories in ways that add value to peoples lives. Furthermore, organizations will have to be open to honest conversation with consumers. I think it will be hard, but necessary, for organizations to let go of the idea that they must control the message. Instead, they will need to be open, honest, and responsive.

So where does new media and social media fit in? While I am excited about the ways that new media like blogging and podcasting can be used by organizations to tell their stories in ways that are conversational and add value to people’s lives, I do realize that they can be manipulated as tools to become just as impact-heavy as television and print ad campaigns. It is my hope that marketers, particularly in the realm of value-driven organizations, will embrace the idea that it is not how many people they reach, but who they reach and how they reach them that truly matters.

New Media, Social Marketing, and Value-driven Organizations — My Senior Study at Goddard College.

There is a great deal of conversation and experimentation these days in the world of new media marketing and social marketing.  From blogging to podcasts to Second Life, companies and organizations are increasingly using new, conversational tools to tell their stories.  For my senior study at Goddard College, I will be looking at the ways that these tools can be used by value-driven organizations, such as non-profits, to perform their marketing and public relations in a more socially responsible way.

Over the course of this year, I will use this blog to document my studies and explore the questions I will be writing about for my senior study.  Also, I will produce a podcast every three weeks on the subject of new media and social marketing for value-driven organizations.  The podcast will include interviews with thought leaders in the fields of new media and marketing, as well as people in the world of value-driven organizations.  You can subscribe to the podcast by clicking here.