Learning 5 Indicators of Social Change

Learning the Importance of Social Change Indicators

Learning 5 Indicators of Social Change

Social change is more than a buzz word! Social change alters the social order of a society through changes in the nature of its social institutions, social behaviors and social relations.

Proponents of social change focus on underlying causes of critical social problems such as homelessness, discrimination and poverty. Organizations develop processes to address the causes of these issues to foster justice and equality.

Social justice initiatives take place on a local community level or become social movements on a grander scale such as Women’s suffrage and the Civil Rights Movement. A specific social movement is usually composed of many social movement organizations – formal organizations that share movement’s goals.

Social change philanthropy focuses on the root causes of problems, working to improve conditions that lead to inequality. This approach is unlike traditional charity, which works to ameliorate the symptoms of societal problems.

Social indicators  provide evidence that helps us assess whether or not an organization is focused on social change. These indicators may be material, such as numbers related to economic growth and/or immaterial, such as values or goals. They are forms of evidence that help us assess a present position and future directions.

I am a trustee with the Jewish Women’s Fund of AtlantaWe expand opportunities in the lives of Jewish women and girls via effective grant-making, advocacy, and education through a gender lens. Our grants provide sustainable benefits to those we serve. We look to our grantees to focus on solutions to underlying critical social problems that effect Jewish women and girls.

We were introduced to the importance of five indicators for Social Change, developed by the Women’s Funding Network. They help us discern if our grants are going toward social change. In turn these five social change indicators help organizations substantiate their efforts to create awareness and transform community through social change.

Learning 5 Indicators of Social Change:

  1. Make New Meaning
  • Shift definitions – An issue or idea is given new meaning. A community or society sees the issue differently. For example, rape is understood as an act of violence with legal and civil consequences, not as an act of sexual transgression.
  1. Empower Different Behavior
  • Shift behavior – An individual and/or community does things differently and for the better. This creates empowerment. For example, women seek appropriate healthcare for themselves and their families.
  1. Life Up Collective Power
  • Shift engagement – More people are engaged in an idea of action. When enough people get involved they are noticed, their voices are heard and they create impact.
  1. Ensure Just Policy
  • Shift policy – Policies and practices change to better serve social change ideas.
  1. Hold the Line
  • Maintain gains – Work to not lose ground from previous endeavors. For example, funding for breast cancer research is saved from budget cuts.

Learning 5 indicators of social change guide donors as they work to create significant changes in social order. And, they provide guidelines for organizations to identify and explain their significant social change work.

I would love to hear your thoughts!

 

 

 

10 Ways to Increase Your Direct Mail Success

directmail.featured

“Direct mail is a long way from death. It’s still the most effective fundraising  medium (after the church offering basket) and it’s many times more effective than email,” Jeff Brooks, author of The Fundraiser’s Guide to Irresistible Communications: Real-World, Field-Tested Strategies for Raising More Money

Is direct mail dead? Not by a long shot!

According to Yory Wurmser, director of marketing and media insights at the Direct Marketing Association (DMA), direct mail boasts a 4.4% rate, compared to email’s average response rate of 0.12%. And, depending on how one crunches the numbers, direct mail has a response rate of up to 10 to 30 times that of email — and even higher when compared to online display.

So, I asked Keith Franco, a colleague who works in direct mail marketing at Sull Graphics, Inc., for some pointers to creating a successful direct mail campaign.

He prefaced his comments by saying that what you are about to read may seem fundamental in nature, even basic, but make no mistake.  The following points are absolutely, positively essential to a powerful and successful campaign.

  1. Choose your list carefully –A well-targeted list is key to any successful campaign.  For prospect mailings use a smaller list. All nonprofits should create a direct mail campaign with their house list.
  2. Offer something appealing – OK, now you’ve qualified them.  So, hook ‘em.  Get their attention.  Make them want to respond.
  3. Make it easy to respond –Provide multiple ways for your prospect to respond.  Not everyone wants to respond in the same way.  Provide a 1-800 #, email address or Business Reply Card or drive them to a web site where you can capture even more info about them for analytics and optimization in future campaigns.
  4. Use the right medium (fish where the fish are) –If you’re targeting an older crowd, you may want to go with a standard letter package via USPS.  If you’re targeting a younger crowd, you may want to go with a very colorful, eye-catching mail piece, email and invite them to respond digitally.
  5. Write copy that offers benefits –You’ve got their attention because you’ve qualified them and reached them using their preferred medium.  Now you have to captivate them with relevant copy that offers them a meaningful way to make a difference so they respond.
  6. Pick 2 or 3 Channels –If you’re not too sure about the medium in which to reach them so test it.  Divide you list in to sub-lists.  Send an email to some and a mail piece to others and judge the response.  Take a 3rd sub-list and send both mediums, then determine the preferred medium along with preferred method of response.
  7. Create an Emotional Selling Point – A proven method of evoking response is to trigger an emotion that causes them to act on your compelling copy.  This is critical, as this emotion will surface again as they refer back to or pick up your piece again, even if they don’t act on right away.
  8. Talk about your organization’s mission and how you make a difference for the community– Remember… everyone’s favorite radio station is WIIFM or What’s In It For Me.  If you can press their panic button and offer a solution, that’s half the battle.
  9. Stand out from your Competitors–Need I say more?
  10. Write a great Headline – Grab their attention right away.  Make them want to read on and explore more.  A great headline should entice the reader to request more information.

Now, it’s off to the races!  Good luck!!

If you have any questions for Keith email him –  kfranco@sullgraphics.com. Keith is one of the most responsive people I know!

Livestrong Foundation Shows Importance of Nonprofit Marketing

LIVESTRONG

Shame on Donors Who Want Their Money Back wrote Elaine Fogel on her blog Totally Uncorked on Marketing.

I couldn’t agree more!

With all the noise about Armstrong and his fall from grace in competitive cycling, one would expect Livestrong.org the cancer fighting Foundation he founded to suffer. As Elaine pointed out, there are some donors who want their money back.

Livestrong is succeeding and the donations are growing. Whether or not this continues in the long run is yet to be seen.

However, according to Charity Navigator, a prominent charity watchdog, it appears that the foundation has “successfully distinguished its mission from its founder’s woes.”

My suggestion to all nonprofits is to see your organization through a marketing lens.

What is Nonprofit Marketing?

“Marketing is so basic that it cannot be a separate function. It is the whole business seen from the point of view of its final results, that is, from the stakeholder’s point of view.” Marketing Guru Peter Drucker

I see marketing as – the strategies and tactics used to identify, create and maintain satisfying relationships with your donors, members, volunteers, clients and other stakeholders that result in value for both your organization and your stakeholders.

Creative Solutions & Innovations’ principles for guiding your nonprofit through a marketing lense:

1.    Always market your mission, not your current services. The ability to adjust its services to suit client need is key to ensuring the organization’s survival and its financial support.

2.    Carefully define whom your mission serves. You need to meet the needs of your  stakeholders.

3.    Measure your constituents’ needs. Research, research, research to ensure your programs & services resonate with your target audiences.

4.    Evaluate the success of programs & their relationship to your mission.

5.  Communicate regularly & consistently.

6.  Craft your messages to reflect how your mission effects your different audiences.

7. Develop an integrated marketing communications plan to ensure message integrity across all communication channels.

8.  Communicate in terms of your ROI even when it is not in monetary terms; quantify your economic impact.

9.  Celebrate your successes. Show how your ‘market diversification’ creates the funding to provide your services.

10. Know your organizational elevator speech so you can articulate your vision & Competitive Advantage Statement.

11. Keep a “face” on your marketing initiatives

12. Evaluate often & be prepared to refocus your efforts.

Any thoughts? Please let me hear from you.

 

 

Is there a difference between social marketing & social media marketing?

I made a commitment to write an article on incorporating social media into a strategic marketing communications plan.

So, as I always do when I get ready to write, I began to review the literature. After all, there is so much information.

I did a query on social marketing.

Oops, I meant to use the search term social media. After all, there is a significant difference between social marketing and social media marketing.

Imagine my surprise when I saw that the two terms were used interchangeably!

Social marketing a/k/a “Social Marketing”:

Social marketing is the systematic application of marketing to achieve specific behavioral goals for a social good. The primary aim of social marketing is “social good.

Increasingly, social marketing is being described as having “two parents”—a “social parent” = social sciences and social policy, and a “marketing parent” = commercial and public sector marketing approaches.

Philip Kotler and Gerald Selman coined the phrase Social Marketing in their seminal article, “Social Marketing:  An Approach to Planned Social Change,”  which appeared in the Journal of Marketing (Vol. 35, pp. 3-12) in July 1971.  In the article, Kotler and Zaltman discussed how “the logic of marketing [could be applied] to social goals.” 

Since 1971, social marketing has been used, literally, around the world to remediate a variety of health, environmental and societal concerns.   

I suggest that anyone interested in knowing more about Social Marketing read What is Social Marketing?,  by Nedra Kline Weinreich  

The “other” social marketing, a/k/a social media marketing:

Social media marketing  uses online social media tools and platforms – Facebook, Twitter, Google +, etc. to share information and create communities.

Social media marketing programs usually center on efforts to create content that attracts attention and encourages readers to share it with their social networks. An organization’s message spreads from user to user and resonates because it comes from a trusted, third-party source. Social media marketing is driven by word-of-mouth, resulting in earned media rather than paid media.

Social media is easily accessible to anyone with internet access. Increased communication for organizations fosters brand awareness. Also, social media serves as a relatively inexpensive platform for organizations to implement marketing campaigns.

Sample Creative-si blog posts that focus on the application of social media marketing:

Need help adding social media marketing to your integrated strategic marketing plan? Please let me hear from you – deborah@creative-si.com

Insights into Nonprofit Social Media

How can you squander even one more day not taking advantage of the greatest shifts of our generation? How dare you settle for less when the world has made it so easy for you to be remarkable?”” Seth Godin

I admit I didn’t understand the significance of social media until the 21st Annual Eizenstat Family Memorial Lecture featuring Al Gore in 2009. It was the first time that I incorporated a social media strategy into the marketing communications plan.

The goal was to increase awareness of the lecture series and the host organization. By all measures the lecture was a resounding success! Social media, especially Facebook and Twitter, played a significant role.

The yearly Nonprofit Social Network Benchmark Report, sponsored by Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN), Common Knowledge and Blackbaud, focuses on social media trends in the nonprofit sector. The 4th annual report provides interesting insights.  More than 3500 nonprofit professionals responded to an online survey about their use of social media.

Two social networks were part of the study:

  • Commercial Social networks, e.g., Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, Myspace, Flickr and Foursquare.
  • House Social networks –networks built & managed by the nonprofit in-house.

Here are a few of the 2012 social media insights:

  1. Only Facebook and Twitter increased from 2011 to 2012. Respondents accumulated an average of 8,317 Facebook members & 3,290 followers on Twitter, an increase of 30% and 81% respectively from 2011.
  2. A consolidated brand strategy, which focuses most or all branding & marketing  on one Facebook page and 1 Twitter account is the norm.
  3. The average value of a supporter acquired via Facebook Like is $214.81 over the 12 months following acquisition. This includes all revenue from individual donations, membership, events, etc.
  4. Facebook advertising is mainly used to raise awareness and build a support base, not for fundraising.
  5. 54% of respondents said they were not fundraising on Facebook. An Ask for an individual gift is the most common fundraising tactic on Facebook. Event fundraising was the 2nd highest category.

What I found to be the most telling were the top 3 factors for success on Social Networks. They speak to the same focus that is necessary for all successful initiatives:

  • #1 – Developed a strategy
  • #2 – Prioritization by executive management
  • #3 – Dedicated social media staff

In other words – Develop a plan, get buy-in and identify a knowledgeable key team member to lead the new initiative.

Is your nonprofit using social media? I would love to hear what is working best for you. Please contact deborah@creative-si.com.

 

Fundraising without special events? No Way!

Do special events really make sense throughout the classic giving hierarchy?

You bet!

That was the message of my recent teleseminar Fundraising without special events? No Way!

Actually I can’t imagine a development plan that does not integrate special events at every level.

I first learned about integrating special events into development in 2007 from Jeff Shuck, President & CEO Event360.

This is a different way to focus on events. Seen this way events are part of a holistic development effort that integrates into everything you do as an organization to raise money. And, it is strategic – the events are focused on the mission. At each level of your giving paradigm you will find distinct events for distinct goals.

Giving hierarchy integrated with special events

 

  • Annual campaigns have three key elements: direct mail, special events & personal solicitations. Be sure and use all three! These volume events can cultivate annual and major gift prospects. Sample volume events include charity walks, runs & bike-a-thons.
  • Major gifts come from individuals, corporations & foundations. Successful major gifts campaigns are all about stewardship and cultivating relationships with current donors and prospects. Targeted events should be part of your cultivation toolkit. Targeted events include a variety of specialty parties from black-tie galas & tribute dinners, to wine tastings, private museum events and themed parties. Guests who attend these events often engage in live and/or silent auctions, and enjoy entertainment and/or dancing. The common denominator is that most honor a member of the community who supports your cause.
  • Capital campaigns are generally considered to be fundraising efforts for major capital purposes. The goal is usually millions of dollars and at times more. 60 -80% of money is raised during the quiet phase. This phase ends with the launch, the public rollout of the campaign. Launch events are a great way to create enthusiasm about your campaign and to get media attention.
  • Until recently no one did events to recognize people who had made bequests to their organization. But, it is so meaningful to hold smaller more intimate events to thank and recognize these donors and to reaffirm the impact their testamentary donations will make. It brings these donors closer to the organization and helps ensure their commitments.

Remember, special events at every phase of your campaign provide that experiential experience in which an emotional connection can be made.

Please let me hear from you with questions about special events and fundraising. You can reach me at deborah@creative-si.com.

Don’t shoot yourself in the foot: Revisit your communications plan before you speak!

“If you don’t know where you’re going it doesn’t matter which way you go!”

How could one of the country’s most trusted nonprofits end up in a no-win situation with its supporters and corporate partners?

How could a well-liked and respected organization that does so much good for so many find itself on the defensive?

Below is a brief overview of how the Susan B. Koman Foundation landed in such a difficult spot.

On January 31st AP reported that Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the nation’s leading breast cancer charity, was halting its partnerships with Planned Parenthood affiliates that provided breast screening services through a Komen grant.

This caused a bitter rift between the two organizations. Planned Parenthood responded immediately and launched a fundraising initiative to replace the lost funds; at first the Komen Foundation was quiet. By the time they responded it was too late.

The ongoing effects were almost instantaneous. The once venerated Komen Foundation found itself on the defensive and it appears it will remain there for a long time to come.

It is hard to imagine, but as Kivi Leroux Miller describes in the Accidental Rebranding of Komen for the Curethe foundation waded into an area of highly charged public feelings without a communications plan. Or, I would suggest, without using their marketing communications plan to guide their actions.

This is not the first time that Komen has hurt itself. Nancy E. Schwartz, in Getting Attention, describes corporate relationship snafus Komen made, and how the brand suffered.

So, what can you do to prevent your nonprofit from shooting itself in the foot?

Here are some guidelines:

  1. Always keep your marketing communications plan  updated & use it!
  2. Always market your mission.
  3. Carefully define whom your mission serves. You need to meet the needs of your core stakeholders.
  4. Measure your constituents’ needs. Research, research, research to ensure your programs & services resonate with your target audiences.
  5. Evaluate the success of programs & their relationship to your mission.
  6. Communicate regularly & consistently.
  7. Craft your messages to reflect how our mission affects your different audiences.
  8. Communicate in terms of your ROI even when it is not in monetary terms; quantify your economic impact.
  9. Celebrate your successes. Show how your ‘market diversification’ creates the funding to provide your services.
  10. Know your organizational elevator speech so you can articulate your vision & Competitive Advantage Statement.
  11. Keep a “face” on your marketing initiatives.
  12. Evaluate often & be prepared to refocus your efforts.
  13. Do not go into the dark. Have a crisis communications plan and be prepared to use it.
  14. Keep your social media outreach up-to-date. If/when a crisis strikes be prepared to address issues head-on. Make sure your posts & tweets are relevant to the issue at hand.

Not certain your new initiative serves your better purpose?

Test it before you launch!

I would love to hear your thoughts on ways to ensure your communications integrity and success.

Interested in a CS&I Marketing Communications Template? Contact me at deborah@creative-si.com.

 

AJFF 2012 soars above the ‘social media noise’

Let’s face it – the more important  social media becomes to marketing special events, the more difficult it is to be heard above the ‘social media noise.’

The AJFF 2012 is scheduled to start for February 8th. Incredible that more than 21,000 tickets sold in the first two weeks of sales!

How is the film festival getting above the noise? A focused year-round marketing plan topped with strong social media is key.

AJFF communication strategies consist of a blend of online buzz with compelling content for social media websites and consistent outreach to secure coverage in the news.

To ensure that the AJFF team reached its communications objectives to cultivate diverse audiences, increase awareness and enhance coverage, the marketing committee held brainstorming sessions and developed a social media content calendar.

AJFF 2012 Facebook page is visually compelling. I’m one of the more than 1500 people who have liked the page. Each day I get engaging posts with tickler descriptions of different films including video-clip trailers and reminders to purchase tickets.

AJFF website is geared to provide information on films, location of theatres and ticket sales. The online media center contains press releases and press kits – everything bloggers, reporters and twitter influentials need. Contact information is visible. Email queries and phone calls are answered promptly.

In an earlier post Promoting a Film Festival in 3 weeks! I describe marketing tools to use to increase the buzz and ticket sales for a film festival.

If you would like a copy of my film festival PR template, please contact me at deborah@creative-si.com.

Special thanks to Brad Pilcher and Shayne Walsey, AJFF communication co-chairs and Kendel White from Weber Shandwick for their hard work to make AJFF 2012 a communications success.

Now, if you will excuse me I need to finish ordering my tickets for the festival before they’re sold out!

Looking back – moving forward

As 2012 begins, it is the perfect time to look back to move forward.

What worked? What didn’t? What could have been even better?

Be sure and invite board members as well as staff to look back to 2011 with you so you can productively move forward.

Make the session upbeat. Celebrate your successes and learn from your challenges.

I’ll help you start with a few opening questions. These are based on lessons I learned over the past year – and beyond.

Did you –

  1. Create/update your strategic marketing plan? Did you really use it?
  2. Base all your marketing communications messages on your mission? Or did you go off message?
  3. Cull/update your database? Identify from whom you had not heard?
  4. Reach out to donors and volunteers and thank them – and then thank them again?
  5. Stay the course and build on your successes, or were you swayed to deviate from your project plans? If so, did it work?
  6. Capitalize on your branded special events or try something new? Were you as successful?
  7. Build-in evaluations throughout the year? Create benchmarks to ensure quality?
  8. Ensure that you know your audiences and that your audiences know you?
  9. Invite new voices to participate in your brainstorming?
  10. Launch a social media campaign? How did it work, how can it grow?

Please stay in touch. Let me know what’s on your mind and how I can help you launch a very successful 2012!

You can always reach me at deborah@creative-si.com or visit our Facebook page .

Putting together the puzzle pieces for your end of the year fundraising

A very dear friend lost her husband unexpectedly. I wanted to make sure the nonprofit in which she had been very involved knew about the funeral. I also wanted to make a donation in his memory.

I hit the website knowing that I would easily find the needed contact information, since I had worked with the organization as a marketing communications consultant in 2008.

Imagine my surprise when I could not find any email addresses or phone numbers except to a central box.

What a wake-up call!

So, as you get ready for your end-of-the year push, I want to share my personal pet peeves that make me think twice before supporting a nonprofit:

  • No way to send an email and/or make a phone call to a specific staff member
  • Sending me a letter and/or an email addressed to ‘Dear Friend” – There’s just no excuse. You need to send personalized email and letters.
  • No one to answer the phone and/or respond to email the end of December – It boggles my mind when nonprofits completely close down during this most important fundraising period. I can’t tell you how often I’ve heard from ‘almost’ donors who moved on to support organizations where they could reach a human being.
  • Making me hunt for a way to make a donation – A donate now link is not enough. Visitors to your website need to see a donate button regardless of where they land when they enter your site. Complement each page with a donate pitch with an easy to find donate button
  • Donate now buttons that don’t link directly to the donation page – For each extra click you are losing potential donors.
  • Donation pages without contact information and an address for regular mail – Personally I like to charge my donations. But, there are still people who like to send a check. Be sure to invite visitors to do so.
  • No way to make a tribute donation – I’ve developed deep relationships with nonprofits who provide a phone number and/or email address for tribute donation details. On the flip side I’ve crossed off nonprofits that don’t have some mechanism for making these gifts.
  • No personal thank you notes for online donations – Most online systems have an automated response system. Be sure and follow up with a personalized thank you.
  • A registration that promises an online newsletter that never comes

Don’t let these stumbling blocks keep you from reaping the end of the year fundraising benefits.

Do you have any suggestions ? We’d love to hear from you.

Have questions? Need more information?

Please contact me at deborah@creative-si.com.