Weekly Clairity Click-it: Leadership, Staff Retention, Social Business, Funding, Inspiration, Pinterest, Email Welcomes

This week’s Clairity Click-it – your eclectic array of easy to-“click-it” links to posts I’ve found thought provoking. With, of course, a few comments of my own.

Leadership:

Click-it: To Move Ahead You Have to Know What to Leave Behind. I love this article from the Harvard Business Review. It points to the number one reason organizations have difficulty with change:

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How to Take Charge of Your Fundraising Events so they Don't Take Charge of You: Is Your's Worth the Effort?

Before you hold your next fundraising event, ask yourself one simple question: WHY?

Take a minute, right now, to jot down all the things you’d like to happen by virtue of you having held your event.

I’ll wait.

Seriously, do it. Jot.

I’m waiting.

Okay, there are a few of you who don’t yet have pencils and paper in front of you. Yes, I can see you.  Remember ‘Miss Nancy’ from Romper Room? [I know; I’m dating myself on this one].

Now, let me guess what you’re writing (and/or thinking).

Weekly Clairity Click-it: Productivity, Psychology of Virality, Major Gifts, Leadership and Organizational Growth, Getting Email Opened

Here’s my return-from-vacation Clairity Click-it – and I’ve got some stuff that’s a little outside the box of your basic fundraising and marketing advice. Why? It’s good to take a little trip away from the usual every now and then! So… here come some easy-to-“click-it” links to posts I’ve found thought provoking. With, of course, a few comments of my own.

Let’s begin:

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Declare Your Independence Day – Information Overload Be Gone!

It’s the new plague. And a highly contagious epidemic, from which no one is immune.

Are you showing any symptoms? I feel like:

  • I’m working all the time, but not getting that much accomplished.
  • I’m working on 10 projects at once, but none get finished.
  • My ‘to-do’ list never gets completed.
  • I’m in meetings all day and don’t have time to work.
  • I bring my laptop to meetings and pretend to take notes while surfing the web.
  • I’m answering email all day and don’t have time to work.
  • I answer email during conference calls and in meetings.
  • I have less and less time to plan, not to mention free time.
  • I have less and less time to learn, not to mention creative time.
  • I can never get to things quickly enough.
  • I sit down at my computer and end up doing something different than I planned.
  • I am eating lunch at my desk, mired in my virtual inbox.
  • I make calls while driving, and even send the occasional text, even though I know I shouldn’t.

Informationoverloaditis.

If you checked off three or more, you’ve got the disease. 8 or more and we need to rush you to an unplugged vacation. All of the above and you need a sabbatical!

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Less is not Enough:Why Your Nonprofit Needs to Spend More on Fundraising

Philanthropy, Not Fundraising

“Incremental Change is Not an Option.” 

Dream Big inscribed on wallWhat if this was your charity’s mantra? This is so different than “We keep overhead super low.”  The first means dreaming on a large scale, and reaching for true solutions to social problems.  The latter, not so much.

For years donors have been taught to look for low overhead as a sign of effectiveness. When you stop to think about it, it makes little common sense. Who cares if you spend only 5 cents on the dollar if you only net $71 from your bake sale?  Will this solve your problem? Whatever resources are needed to solve the problem, those are the resources that must be spent.  Nothing more.  Nothing less.

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Top 10 Checklist to Simplify Nonprofit Blogging

I really want you to blog. Did you know that Social Media Examiner’s 2013 State of Social Media Report puts blogging #1 at the list of the top 14 social media channels you should be exploring? I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Your blog is the hub of your content strategy (or it should be).  Build a blog and rock it. You’ll simultaneously put in place a content  strategy that will enable you to easily share relevant content across every communication channel you use.  Online and offline. There’s no better way to offer your constituents meaningful engagement.  So… what are you waiting for?

BTW: You can learn a lot more if you download my free webinar,The Keys to Nonprofit Blogging that Drives EngagementDid I mention it’s free?
Here are 10 tips to get you started, or to help you simplify the process so you can focus and deliver.

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For Whom the Bell Tolls: Major Gifts Officers Will Lose Their Jobs in 2 Years

Unless… they reinvent themselves.

I know this sounds harsh. But check out Seth Godin’s Tried and false where he bluntly tells the truth about the tried and true: “In times of change… most of the tried is in fact, false. False because what used to work, doesn’t, at least not any longer.”

You may have been the best major gift officer on the planet five years ago.  But that was then. This is now. The buying/giving market has fundamentally changed. And, yes, the culprit is the digital revolution. That’s how revolutions work. It’s truly the end of business as usual.

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Top 10 Tips for Successful Nonprofit E-Appeals

Planning any special e-mail campaigns before the end of the fiscal year? This summer?  If not, think about it. An e-campaign costs pennies on the dollar compared with print marketing. And the right message at the right time to the right market can empower your supporters to help you change the world.

Your success will be measured not by how many you send, but by how many get opened; then how many answer your call to action. Here are 10 basic tips to assure your email engages your audience. Oh, and I left an 11th tip out on purpose.  It’s something that’s super important. If you think you know what it is, contact me with your guess. I’ll pick randomly from among the correct answers – the winner gets a 50-minute top-level review of their next e-appeal (a $200 value), at no cost.

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Personal is the New Plastics: 4 Ways Nonprofits Can Build Donor Relationships.

This month’s SMIT (Single Most Important Thing I have to tell you):

Remember in ‘The Graduate’ the one word piece of advice given to Dustin Hoffman?  PLASTICS. That was seen to be the wave of the future (oh how long ago that seems, and how quickly something can turn from friend to foe…. but I digress).

Recently I gave another “P” word as my best piece of advice for nonprofit marketers and fundraisers. PERSONAL. I received a lot of feedback, so I’d like to revisit this word and flesh out its multiple meanings – and how getting personal can help you achieve your fundraising and marketing goals.

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Philanthropy, Not Fundraising: How to Win Over Donors in One Word

What’s the number one thing you strive for in your marketing and fundraising strategy? Challenge yourself to think about this for a moment. Really think. Trust me; you’ll remember it better if you think first. Don’t skip ahead.

Got a word?

There’s one word that should come to mind. This word should become your mantra. It should underscore everything you do. Your annual appeal writing. Your special events. Your newsletters. Your blog posts. Your proposals. Your reports. Your social media.

If you take this one word to heart, you’ll be leaps and bounds ahead of the competition. Moreover, this is the one word that can set you apart. That can help you build relationships like nothing else. Ready?

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5 Ways to Get your Nonprofit Blog Posts Shared on Social Media: S.S.T.S. Series Part II

Shareable text with ocean and cloudsS.S.T.S. Share. Shareable. Talk. Search.  Those are the elements required for promoting your blog.  In Part I we talked about how to create a super sonic transport system to make your blog work for you. We began with how you share.  Now we’re going to talk about how to get other folks to share on your behalf.  You want to make your posts Shareable. This is what gives ‘wings’ to your super-sonic promotion strategy.

Share and share alike. We all know this old adage.  But if you’re given an apple and no knife to cut it into pieces, it’s difficult to share.  Similarly, if you share a blog post but offer no sharing tools, it’s not likely to be shared. People who read your posts have networks.  You want to tap into them!

It’s your job to make it easy for folks to spread the good word.

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Where you’re Going Wrong with Donor Retention – Purely Practical SMIT for February

Here comes this month’s *SMIT (Single Most Important Thing I have to tell you): the odds are good that you’re searching for love in all the wrong places.

Do a little spring cleaning and get rid of your apathetic donors.  I don’t mean you should toss them out the window. I mean you should do something to overcome their apathy. It’s not their fault.  Chances are it’s yours. I know that may sound harsh.  But, gosh darn it, we betray our donors all the time. Instead, we should go to them and give them some love. It’s really not that hard to retain your donors; you simply must have a strategy.

Most of us don’t even see the mess we’re making.  Just like that pile of papers that’s sitting over in the corner waiting to be tended to, our eyes glaze over. We’re apt to virtually ignore the broad base of donors in the middle, as well as our donors who lapse.  We send them one or two perfunctory renewal appeals; then we’re done.  I’m not sure why.  Perhaps it’s because announcing a big upgrade and securing a new donor just seems a lot sexier than renewing folks.  But sustainable fundraising is not about sexy.

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4 Reasons Your Blog Promotion Strategy Sucks, and How to Fix It – S.S.T.S. Series, Part I

Photo of SST Concorde NoseWe’ve talked CONTENT (C.P.A. Series).   We’ve talked ENGAGEMENT (R.C.A. Series).  Now we’ve got to talk PROMOTION (S.S.T.S Series).

 S.S.T.S.  That’s the four things. You need a super sonic transport system that will enable all your brand messaging – across multiple channels – to emanate from your blog.  Yes. We’ve talked about this before.  Your blog is your content hub.  It’s the essence of you and what you do.  But it’s not something that has meaning separate from the rest of your marketing communications efforts. It won’t get you anywhere if you don’t put the wheels in motion.  And since things are fast, fast, fast these days — let’s get you in motion super sonically!

You must promote your blog. (Tweet this). I’ve just engaged in a lengthy discussion with folks in the “Marketing Professionals” group on Linkedin about what’s more important: content, engagement or promotion.  Content seems to be winning. But I just can’t agree.  Not that I don’t’ think it’s super important.  Who cares about promoting dreck?  But all three must work together.  They’re three legs of a three-legged stool; unstable if any one leg is missing. Without promotion your super-de-duper content just sits there. Dead. In. The. Water. That’s just sad.

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3 Ways to Build a Nonprofit Blog Worth Sharing – RCA Series Part I

 

R.C.A.  That’s the three things.  Yup.  When building a blog that’s not only worth reading but also worth sharing, you’ve got to think like an RCA Victrola and record.  A great recording captures our attention.  It transports us.  It carries us away.  It brings us into the music/story in an easy flow.  It gets us tapping our toes and up on our feet dancing. Woo-hoo… it’s a party!

And don’t you just want to share a party?  To get your readers to share your party you’ve got to make sure your blog posts are Relatable (they find common ground with your readers); Conversational (you speak directly to your readers), and Actionable(you achieve your blog post’s purpose).

Once you understand the three principles of R.C.A. you’ll be well on your way towards having a blog your readers will share with their networks. Today, let’s begin with the first principle:  how to put the ‘R’ in R.C.A.

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To Sell is Human; To Give, Divine – Why We’re All in Fundraising Now

Philanthropy; Not Fundraising

I recently attended an inspiring talk by Daniel Pink, author of To Sell Is Human, and found myself furiously taking notes.  Next thing you know I was impulsively buying the book (autographed, of course)! Do I have buyer’s remorse? Absolutely not. Zero. Zilch. Nada. Everything he has to say is so directly applicable to fundraising and the nonprofit sector that [IMHO] it’s a ‘must read’ for those of us in the philanthropy business. Here’s why:

We erroneously think “selling” is bad.   In fact, it’s probably even more of a taboo word in nonprofits than the word “fundraising.” People just don’t like it. Pink did an experiment where he asked people to give him the first word that came to their minds when they thought of “sales/selling.”  They answered with such words as:

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Get Wise to What Your Nonprofit Blog Readers Want – Coda to the C.P.A. Series

Listen, listenThey want you to show them that you know them. And we do this best by listening.

I’m compelled to add this coda to the C.P.A. series because there’s some breaking news that pertains to what was one of my favorite listening tools. In Part I we covered the fact that key to writing a post  folks will want to read is first finding out what folks want to hear! One of those tools, sadly, just kicked the proverbial bucket.  Yet I’ve also discovered a host of new tools that may be extremely useful to you in your research. Yup, the universe taketh away; the universe giveth.

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4 Reasons No One Will Read Your Nonprofit Blog: Part III of the C.P.A. series

Yawning hippoC.P.A.? Yup. In my last two posts I introduced you to the ‘accountant’ theory of an effective blog content strategy.  C for constituent-centered. P for plan. A for accessible. You can review the ‘C’ and ‘P’ posts here and here.   Today we’re going to talk about the ‘A.’

No one is going to read your blog unless you make it accessible. As in “easy to approach, reach, enter, speak with, or use.” So, let’s start at the beginning.  Getting found and getting opened.

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3 Little Understood Factors Affecting Your Nonprofit Blog Readership – and How to Quickly Fix Things – Part I

C.P.A.  That’s the three things.  Huh? Your accountant?  Well…. sort of.  What do you want from an accountant?  My guess is that you want someone who is:

  • Passionate about helping you.
  • An authority on their subject.
  •  Focused on you and your situation.
  • Working from a plan; knows how to help you.
  •  Accessible to you; easy to understand; there when you need them.

Gosh, golly… that’s exactly what your blog readers want from you! So if you’ve got passion and authority (and I certainly hope you have that about your mission and the work of your organization) then you’re already ahead of the game. Woo-hoo! Now you just need to package everything, and make sure you’re Constituent-centered (focused on your readers); Planful (you know what your blog’s goals and objectives are and how you can use your blog to be of value to your constituents), and Accessible (folks can easily connect with you and understand what you’re sharing with them).

Once you understand the principles of C.P.A. you’ll be well on your way towards having a blog with content that knocks the socks off your readers. Today, let’s begin with how to put the ‘C’ in C.P.A.

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How to Take Charge of Your Fundraising Events so they’re Worth the Effort: Converting Attendees into Ongoing Donors

Before you hold your next fundraising event, ask yourself one simple question: WHY?

Take a minute, right now, to jot down all the things you’d like to happen by virtue of you having held your event.

I’ll wait.

Seriously, do it. Jot.

I’m waiting.

Okay, there are a few of you who don’t yet have pencils and paper in front of you. Yes, I can see you.  Remember ‘Miss Nancy’ from Romper Room? [I know; I’m dating myself on this one].

Now, let me guess what you’re writing (and/or thinking).

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From Customer Engagement to Desire to Investment: Blogs Bond, Now What? Part III

Now what? Blogs – and social media of all stripes – are not the end goal.  They’re a lot of things. Fun… Annoying… Exciting… Time sucking… Sexy… Leveraging… Awareness creating… Teaching… Seducing… and let’s not forget –Bonding!  As discussed in  Part I and Part II , they can create relationships like nobody’s business if we…