Today I want to pique your interest in taking some time to reflect and truly consider what you’re doing and how you do it.
It’s easy to get stuck, literally and figuratively.
Stuck at your desk. Stuck doing what you’ve always done. Stuck in patterns without considering whether they still makes sense. Stuck using ingrained habits and skills that once worked, but don’t work so well anymore. Stuck working in places that drain your energy. Stuck working for causes that don’t ignite your passions.
How do you break out?
Sometimes I look to thinkers from other disciplines to help me think outside the box. To pull me away from the routine. The ‘just going along to get along.’ The following, rather than leading. The ordinary, rather than extraordinary.
In today’s digitally revolutionized, information overloaded world, you have to stand out.
If you don’t, someone else will. You have to be relevant and resonant. Folks have to see how what you do helps them.
- Potential board members and volunteers will ask “What’s in it for me (WIFM) if I join your movement?
- Donors will ask “What’s in it for me (WIFM) if I invest with your nonprofit?”
- Employers will ask “What’s in it for me (WIFM) if I hire/promote you?”
- Prospective clients, students, patients, members and patrons will ask “What’s in it for me (WIFM) if I choose you over another option?”
It’s why I exhort people on Clairification to become a passionate philanthropy facilitator and not just a forgettable fundraiser. When we’re just dialing it in, we tend to be undistinguished. We fail to stand out and capture attention.
Today I’m going to share a few bon mots that struck me recently, with some thoughts as to how these insights might apply to you and your organization. I’ll be sharing from:
- Seth Godin, Seth’s Blog
- Tom Fishbourne, The Marketoonist
- Brian Solis, The End of Business as Usual
Ringing vs wringing by Seth Godin
Ringing is resonant. A small force causes sympathetic vibrations, and magic happens.
Wringing requires significant effort and can even destroy the object it is applied to.
When you ring a bell for your clients, you’ve delivered with care and empathy.
But when you seek to wring every dollar out of a transaction, you’ve probably engaged for the last time.
Wringing garners token, one-time gifts. Ringing reaps thoughtful, ongoing support.
How often do you approach donors from the hand-wringing, woe-is-us stance? It may work by making folks feel guilty and sad, but it won’t work as well as making them feel empowered and joyful.
- When you tell a powerful, connective story that rings a bell, and compels someone to enter with you into the narrative, it taps into empathy that’s hard-wired into the human brain.
- When you involve a donor in your story, such that you put them into someone else’s shoes, you exert a strong emotional pull.
- When you show you care about your donor, and insinuate they are also caring, good people, you reflect back to them the person they want to see in the mirror.
We are how we treat each other.
Ring someone’s bell, or wring them out.
Being Agile by Tom Fishbourne (be sure to check out his cartoons!)
“The word ‘agile’ as been subverted to the point where it is effectively meaningless,” wrote Dave Thomas, one of the 17 original signers of the Agile Manifesto.
First drafted as a manifesto for software development by software developers in 2001, Agile as a methodology has since spread business-wide.
An organization called AgileSherpas recently released the “2018 State of Agile Marketing” and reported that 37% of marketers report using some form of Agile to manage their work. 61% of traditional marketing teams report plans to start an Agile implementation within the next twelve months.
And yet, ask a dozen marketers what Agile means to them, and you may hear a dozen (or more) definitions, replete with descriptions of tactics (like stand-up meetings) or buzzwords (like “scrum” or “kanban”, or even “scrumban”). As with many buzzwords adopted in marketing, the hype can sometimes overshadow actual practice.
I like this recent observation from Mark Ritson:
“Whenever I hear a client cry out for greater agility I wince, because invariably they are intent on jettisoning even their vaguest strategic principles for a roll-with-the-punches approach to planning … Agility is useless without strategic thinking.”
Agile marketing does not mean winging it.
Too often when I hear folks in nonprofit work talk about this buzzword they’re using it as an excuse to throw out everything that’s always worked in favor of chasing after bright shiny objects. No doubt some of those shiny objects may be good tools to employ, but not if you chase them mindlessly. Effective ‘agile marketing’ must be managed. It’s a discipline. I love the quote from Ritson that “Agility is useless without strategic thinking.” Most things are.
I’m reminded of Peter Drucker’s writings in Managing the Nonprofit Organization on the importance of strategy: “There is an old saying that good intentions don’t move mountains, bulldozers do. In nonprofit management, the mission and the plan – if that’s all there is – are the good intentions. Strategies are the bulldozers. They convert what you want to do into accomplishment.”
Put a strategy in place, monitor it, review it and revise as needed based on performance.
Every company can, at any point, fall to the experiences that customers have and share.
I want you to think about that for a moment…”the experiences that people have and share.”
Customer service is the new marketing.
Happy employees equal happy customers.
A happy customer tells a friend; an unhappy customer tells the world.
86% of buyers will pay more for a better customer experience, but only 1% of customers feel that vendors consistently meet their expectations
You’ve heard these adages time and time again. Yet, brands continue to use marketing, creativity and products/services as the means by which they aim to brand. But now everything matters. And you can argue that it always has. The difference between now and then is that great experiences were once differentiators. Now, great experiences are becoming mandates.
You don’t just compete with other nonprofits, and you don’t just compete in one or two controlled spaces, when marketing in the current zeitgeist.
People who are online are bombarded with information and offers. Yes, from other nonprofits. But also social businesses and for-profit businesses. Plus, people tend to do what’s familiar. If you’re looking for new supporters, your job is to persuade them to take the road less traveled. That’s difficult.
You must persuade folks your road leads someplace they’d enjoy. You must describe an enticing journey. A fulfilling experience. Once they turn your way, you must become their journey guide. Show them all the sights. Hold their hand along the way. Delight them with unexpected rewards.
A “donate” button… that goes to a form… that includes nothing but text… that asks only for money is not going to compete with a home page video story… that goes to a branded donation page… that shows what’s needed via a compelling visual… that asks for help creating the described, values-packed impact. Of course, this is but one example. Customer experience isn’t limited to your website, or even to what folks find out about you online.
Your donor’s experience is the sum of every single interaction they have with anyone associated with your organization.
Hmmn… anything you think you might do differently moving forward? Please share in the comments below. Thanks!