Posted by & filed under Congress, Marketing/Communications, Stewardship/Donor Relations.

Jackson Wightman
Minister of Propaganda
Proper Propaganda

Peer to peer marketing is very hard. The organization has to basically “create conditions” for its best friends to do its work. Organizations, filled with humans who want to keep their jobs, don’t relinquish control easily. Peer to peer requires exactly that.

Because letting go is hard and because so much gets lost in communication, organizations MUST keep the ask in a peer to peer campaign SUPER simple (there should only be one bottom-line related ask). This is the key. If an organization gets this part right and remembers it throughout the entire planning and execution of a peer to peer campaign, they’ll usually win.

I get that you need to add other bells and whistles. Indeed as part of a peer to peer campaign, your community should perhaps be asked to change their Facebook profile pics, share a piece of content, use a hashtag, etc.

HOWEVER, all of this stuff MUST be secondary to the one, simple business ask that forms the core of your peer to peer campaign.

Otherwise, “Whoopi! Everyone changed their Facebook profile but nothing, nada, zip changed in terms of the bottom line.”

Peer to peer marketing in the era of social media should have bells and whistles. BUT, it is still about that one simple thing you want your biggest evangelists to get their friends to do (whether that be make a donation, register for a course, or buy the new product you are releasing).

Don’t lose sight of this. Keep it super simple please.

Jackson Wightman is Minister of Propaganda at Proper Propaganda, a digital savvy Communications consultancy that helps organizations tell stories that get noticed and drive action. He is speaking about peer to peer marketing for non-profits at the 2012 Congress.

Posted by & filed under Congress, Marketing/Communications, Speakers, Stewardship/Donor Relations.

Jessie Sitnick, MMSt., MA
Senior Officer, Partnership & Development Communications, WWF

Today I finished a major case for support.

Okay, let me qualify that. Today I finished the last round of edits on the fourth version of the “final draft” of a major case for support. Wait, let me rephrase. Today I finished what I think is probably the last round of edits –at least for the next six months…oy.

Let’s face it. Cases for support are never really done. Maybe they shouldn’t be. They are, in a lot of ways, as organic as your organization. They mature, they morph, they spin off, they shift – in all the same ways that your programs and priorities do as they evolve to meet your mission. 

But, also like your organization, they have milestones. Moments (it can feel that brief) when your case has finally elucidated the kernel of truth that everyone agrees to—what you’re doing, why it matters, how it will change things, what success looks like, how you’ll get there, how you’ll know you’ve arrived. Actually, what I’ve just described are two accomplishments, which ideally happen together: (1) you’ve discovered and are able to articulate the answers to all of the questions written above and (2) everyone agrees with those answers. 

This pokes at the squishy heart of what I think cases are all about. More than anything else, they are a process. A process which is, perhaps, not all that different from group therapy. 

Yes, you need a good case to raise money. Because being able to answer all those hard, juicy questions is essential to inspiring donors to support your work and even more critical to telling them what their support has accomplished. But, if your case is a bridge between your organization and your donors–a metaphor I like to use—you have to remember, as my co-presenter Trevor Zimmer so aptly pointed out to me, you can’t build a bridge to nowhere. In other words, creating your case is as much about catalyzing internal alignment—having those “come to the mountain” conversations—as it is figuring out how to communicate externally. 

My “case breakthrough” moments over the past year did not happen in the isolation of my cubicle or in the quiet space of my mind.  They came as the result of long, impassioned, and loud conversations. They were formed through whiteboard sessions where people furiously drew arrows and boxes and underlined random words vehemently. They happened when I proudly presented my first fantastic draft of the case that I finally (sort of) finished today and was told—clearly, certainly—that I had gotten it wrong, wrong, wrong.  

What I witnessed, in these moments, wasn’t just my own enlightenment. It wasn’t just the “dense fundraiser” finally getting it. It was all of us –scientists, policy-wonks, communications specialists, senior leaders and, yes, donor managers—all “getting it” together at the same time. 

Look, I know everyone wants a nice, tidy, finished case. We need them for our one-pagers, our two-pagers, our proposals, our pitches, our impact reports. But—in the tradition of fortune cookie wisdom—sometimes the journey is as valuable, and potentially even more important than the destination. In the case of cases, I think the cookie speaks the truth. 

Jessie Sitnick is Senior Officer, Partnership & Development Communications at WWF. She will be presenting “They Blinded Me with Science: How to Turn Complicated Programs into Compelling Cases” at AFP Congress 2011.

Posted by & filed under Congress, Direct Mail, Marketing/Communications, Stewardship/Donor Relations.

Gord Muschett
Partner, The Donnée Group

Direct mail’s dead right? Better sign up for those 47 sessions on social marketing with your pet, your doctor, the environment and anyone else who may have a stake in your fundraising career, yes? Maybe. 

Or maybe you should attend a session that may help you do a better job of tapping into those revenues that are, you know, actually paying the bills. How much money did that last Facebook campaign raise for you? Lots of folks clicking on your QR codes? 

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a ‘living in the seventies’ direct mail dinosaur. In fact, I’ve been living the online world before a couple of you were even born. I guess that’s why I have a tough time shaking that healthy skepticism towards marketers pitching the latest gimmick that’ll lead you to fundraising nirvana. 

Let me ask – do you bank on your cellphone? Back in 2000, I was front and centre during the dot-com boom with Canada’s stock market darling, 724 Solutions. Here’s a clip from the news on the day of their IPO: 

There’s a new kid in town on Nasdaq– and the kid is from Canada. The company’s name is 724 Solutions and it’s going public at a time when investors are hungry for fresh high-tech stories, especially in the high-demand field of wireless communications.  The 6 million shares that made up the company’s first stock offering surged Friday, the first unofficial day of trading, to $71.81 US on Nasdaq and $103.50 in Toronto.  

And here’s a more recent clip: 

  • Nasdaq 5,000: 10 years later
  • Flashback: The tech bubble was about to burst
  • Remember these stocks?

 724 Solutions, a network and data service company, was regularly gaining $20 a share back then, pushing the stock price of the former dot-com darling close to $300. By 2006, the stock was delisted from the Nasdaq.

Why the financial history lesson on a fundraising conference blog? I think it’s a lesson you should remember when selecting sessions for this year’s outstanding AFP Conference. Fads come and go. Ten years ago, people were making millions on a bet that the world was going to bank through their wireless device. To this day that hasn’t happened and some people lost their shirts (and pants) because of it. 

So “The Winning Test” session at this year’s AFP is going to introduce you to some things you perhaps didn’t know about your bread and butter direct mail program. Myths may be debunked or confirmed. Testing best practices will be reviewed. And you’ll get to have your vote in a fun way on the tests you think are the winners.

But most of all, you may learn something that may help you in a way that chasing the latest fad may not. You’ll learn something that will help your organization raise more money.

Look forward to seeing you there…

Gord Muschett will be presenting “The Winning Test” at AFP Congress 2011