Posted by & filed under Congress, Leadership/Management, Marketing/Communications.

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MARK HARRISON

President and CEO, TrojanOne Ltd.

Many of the organizations I work with have a beautiful bar of invaluable gold deep inside.

Most of them don’t know where it is. Some know, but they have hidden it away. Others don’t understand its value. Very few do a great job of displaying it.

What is this bar of gold? It’s the equity your organization has to offer to stakeholders. Not just to sponsors, but to volunteers, media, influencers, government officials, foundations, etc., etc.

Equity? Do I mean share price? Stock value? Yes, but not literally. Your equity is the value proposition that you have to offer. What does your organization stand for? How does it contribute to society? How are you making the world a better place? What value can you offer me as a donor, participant, sponsor, or staff person? Read more »

Posted by & filed under Congress, Leadership/Management, Marketing/Communications.

 

LAURA FREDRICKS, JD

President, Laura Fredricks, LLC

Collaboration… it sounds so simple but as we get so entrenched in our daily lives to focus on rising trends, raising money, managing our leadership, volunteers, committees and staff, we often want to “just do it ourselves.” But we all know the results if that happens, we dig deeper in our silos and when we surface we don’t feel much satisfaction and in fact if feels pretty empty.

This is why I created the Congress session How to Successfully Involve the Leadership and Volunteers with the ASK. It would be far easier to do the ASK by yourself or with your staff then take the time to work with people who may or may not want to ask for money. I have found a way to “streamline your time and efforts so that you will WANT to involve, no more importantly INSPIRE them to help you. I have tested my simple and fun ways to engage them and I hope you will join me as we share these new concepts together. Read more »

Posted by & filed under Marketing/Communications, Social Media, Speakers.

Leah Eustace, CFRE
Principal and Managing Partner, Good Works

Here are my top eight tips for getting the most out of your Congress experience…using twitter!

  1. You don’t have to be on Twitter to follow the conversation. Congress has its own hashtag (#afpcongress) and the conversation is already heating up. What’s a hashtag? It’s basically a way of labeling tweets so that they can be easily found. Starting now, add Monitter as a tab on your web browser. Type “afpcongress” in the search bar and, voila, you’re monitoring the conversation. For those twitter pros out there, you can also add #afpcongress as a separate column in Hootsuite and Tweetdeck.
  2. See an #afpcongress tweet that begs a question? Does someone have a point of view that you disagree with? Don’t be shy, just jump in and join the conversation. Read more »

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

Alice L. Ferris, MBA, ACFRE
Founding Partner, GoalBusters LLC

Many well intentioned fundraisers have made a cultural misstep: you schedule a major event on a religious holiday, pick a menu that features food that is culturally taboo, or you make an assumption about someone’s beliefs only to find out the hard way that you are very, very wrong. So how can you navigate cultural traditions, norms and unwritten rules when you are not a member of a certain group, yet you need to work with the group for fundraising?

  1. Think about things you have in common with individuals within the community.
    When we meet someone new, if you’re good at getting to know people, you immediately start to try to find things that you have in common. But isn’t it interesting, that when you consider groups of people, suddenly it becomes easier to find things you don’t share? Try to find common values and interests with that person. Not only will this help with building respect for a potential donor’s values, but also works to develop relationships that are critical to the fundraising process. Read more »

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

Bob Penner
President & CEO
Strategic Communications Inc. (Stratcom)

By now many of you have heard about or even participated in a Telephone Town Hall. Stratcom has been pleased to bring this to the Canadian marketplace, although, even for us, it took some persuading.

We do a fair bit of work in the United States and are a member of various American industry associations. For many years, some of my colleagues in the political arena have been telling me that we should use Telephone Town Halls. They are a great communications tool and clients love them, they said. 

But for whatever reason, I didn’t immediately pick up on this suggestion. It was a different sort of tool for us, we were already busy and I didn’t immediately see the value. But they persevered and when an opportunity with a new vendor with superior technology was presented to us, we decided to give it a try.   

But it wasn’t until our own first Telephone Town Hall that I fully got it, and became a believer. This event was for a candidate for mayor of a major Canadian city. There were more than 10 candidates in this mayoral race and our candidate, although an experienced politician, was not particularly well known and was in the middle of the pack. So, we conducted a Telephone Town Hall and invited most of the city to participate. We were amazed to have him speaking to an audience of more than 18,000 people, and at one point 4,000 were on the line. What else could I do cost-effectively or in fact in any way to find our relatively unknown client an audience of this size? Many of the people asking questions during the Telephone Town Hall were saying how they’d never heard him speak before and how impressive he was to hear and also that they liked to be asked to participate in this way. So clearly, the Telephone Town Hall was, as my American colleagues had said, a strong campaign communication tool. Our client didn’t win, but he ran a strong campaign. 

However, while we do have political clients, most of our business is in the non-profit sector. So, we starting to think, in the same way, about how many of our clients’ donors have never heard that organization’s leader speak. The non-profit market is also a crowded field and the same fundamental premise exists. If you call a public meeting, you might attract a few hundred local people or fewer. But, with Telephone Town Hall technology, you can reach thousands of people across the whole country to listen to your message from the comfort of their own home. It’s easy to set up and provides great communication, great interaction, great feedback and, in my experience, the audience is always enthusiastic about them.  

It’s not rocket science, it’s just basic communication that’s made easier because of advances in technology. And, it’s now affordable because of the significant way costs have been reduced in the telecom system, and how the Telephone Town Hall can make use of this opportunity. 

Although we’ve done a lot of Telephone Town Halls by now, we’ve only just begun to experiment with it and its endless possibilities. Watch this space to learn more. And, at our presentation at AFP Congress, I will discuss some of the more interesting Telephone Town Halls we’ve done so far. We’d also like to hear from you – if you had an experience with a Telephone Town Hall or if you have an idea for how it might be utilized to meet the objectives of your organization, let us know and we’ll discuss it in our blog and at our session. Looking forward to seeing you at AFP Congress. 

Bob will be presenting “Telephone Town Halls: A New Way to Engage Supporters and Donors” at AFP Congress 2011.

 

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