Strategic advocacy communication is key to my journey!

Social Change Communication is key to Advocacy

Strategic advocacy communication is key to my journey!

 “Never be afraid to raise your voice for honesty and truth and compassion against injustice and lying and greed. If people all over the world…would do this, it would change the earth.” ― William Faulkner

I am not afraid to raise my voice for honesty, truth, and compassion. I am committed, passionate and motivated when I advocate for change. Strategic advocacy communication is key to my journey!

What is advocacy?

According to Joyce Johnson, writing for Learning to Give, advocacy means to speak up, to plead the case of another, or to fight for a cause. Advocacy, she writes, describes a wide range of expressions, actions, and activities that seek to influence outcomes directly affecting the lives of the people served by the organization. Johnson further states:

Reduced to its most basic level, effective nonprofit advocacy is about communication and relationships.

An effective advocate influences key decision makers. This happens by moving them from understanding and empathy to action. Relationships and strategic advocacy communication underlie this movement.

Strategic advocacy communication is key to my journey!

“If you don’t know where you’re going, it doesn’t matter which way you go!” The Cheshire cat in alice in Wonderland

A plan integrates all an organization’s programs, public education, and advocacy efforts. A long-term strategy positions an organization to be more proactive and strategic, rather than consistently reacting to the existing environment.

I am a firm believer in creating a strategic marketing communications plan. Your plan ensures your organization communicates effectively and meets your organizational goals and objectives.

Elements of an effective strategic marketing communications plan:

  • Goals and Objectives
  • Target Audience
  • Strategies
  • Tactics to Engage Target Audiences
  • Create targeted messages
  • Choose channels to deliver messages
  • Roles and Responsibilities
  • Work plan
  • Budget
  • Evaluation

Communications Matters created a model designed to help communication practitioners and their colleagues build a common language and a shared understanding of the role that social change communication plays in advancing lasting social changeThis communications model is built around four central pillars: brand, culture, strategy, and action.

  • Brand – Every social change organization, no matter its size or purpose, has three key assets that shape its identity: resources, reputation, and relationships.
  • Culture – Communicating organizations cultivate certain qualities that make their work compelling to others. You may not have all in equal measure, but you need a minimum supply of each to succeed.
  • Strategy – Successful organizations are consistently strategic (deliberate and intentional) about their communication choices, weighing several distinct, yet related, variables before they act.
  • Action – Communicating should never be a one-way activity. Success demands a continuous, virtuous, self-correcting cycle of sending and receiving, plus the ability to cede control.

Social Media for advocacy:

AAUW, empowering women since 1881, suggests these 6 steps to social media for advocacy:

  1. Set your goals. Is your goal narrow (publicizing an event) or broad (building and engaging with a community or coalition)?
  2. Identify your target audiences.
  3. Select the social media platforms you plan to use. Make your choice based on your goals and target audiences. The most well-known are Facebook and Twitter.
  4. Gather resources and materials to create content and share.
  5. Find volunteers to help manage social platforms.
  6. Be sure and integrate into your marketing communications plan.

Blending traditional and new media for advocacy:

The POST Method, developed by Forrester Research, provides a framework for blending traditional and new media. It is really simple, yet profound in that it provides a user-friendly system for using traditional and emerging communications channels. The acronym refers to the four-step approach:

P is People

Don’t start a social strategy until you know the capabilities of your audience. If you’re targeting college students, use social networks. If you’re reaching out to business travelers, consider ratings and reviews. Forrester has great data to help with this, but you can make some estimates on your own. Just don’t start without thinking about it.

O is Objectives

Pick one. Are you starting an application to listen to your customers, or to talk with them? To support them, or to energize your best customers to evangelize others? Or are you trying to collaborate with them? Decide on your objective   before  you decide on a technology. Then figure out how you will measure it.

S is Strategy

Strategy means figuring out what will be different after you’re done. Do you want a closer, two-way relationship with your best customers? Do you want to get people talking about your products? Do you want a permanent focus group for testing product ideas and generating new ones? Imagine you succeed. How will things be different afterward? Imagine the endpoint and you’ll know where to begin.

T is Technology

A community. A wiki. A blog or a hundred blogs. Once you know your people, objectives, and strategy, then you can decide with confidence.

Strategic advocacy communication is key to my journey with  The Jewish Women’s Fund of Atlanta. We expand opportunities in the lives of Jewish women and girls via effective grant-making, advocacy, and education through a gender lens. As co-chair of the education and advocacy committee, strategic advocacy communication is the framework I use to move decision makers from understanding and empathy to action.

Do you engage in advocacy? I’d love to know if you have any suggestions for best practices with strategic advocacy communications.

Please let us hear from you!

 

 

 

 

Social Change Communication Connects Us!

 

Not about technology

“Communications seeks to connect and move us, to make complex problems seem intuitive and solvable.” Alfred Ironside, Vice President for Global Communications Ford Foundation

Social change communication connects us!

I was introduced to the transformative effect of social change communication when I started working on social change initiatives.

Social change is a process focused on altering the social order of society. It takes place on a local community level or becomes social movements on a grander scale.

In an earlier post, I described the 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.

Transformative communication is a process whereby people are challenged and empowered to change belief systems and behaviors.

Social Change Communication Tools

  • Social Change Communication is critical at every stage. This begins from the moment someone shares her passion and connects with others, through the exchange of ideas. Communication provides the frame for advocacy and activism. It is central to sustaining the social movement itself, as well as in shaping how the movement influences social change. “We are one but we are many.” (Panos London)
  • Narrative communication recount stories, express opinions or give information about past events from the perspective of the storyteller. Narratives provide an experience people can understand and share.

“I know from experience that when two people sit down to tell stories from their lives and to listen, something happens. Together maybe they learn, they forgive, they cry, they remember. Something in them moves, even if it’s just a tiny bit. Storytelling and Social Change offers valuable guidance for people who want to use the practice of telling and listening to stories to make a positive difference in their communities.” —Dave Isay, founder and president of StoryCorps

 

  • The rise of social media holds promise for increased social change communication. Social network websites such as Facebook provide easy ways to find and connect with people who have similar feelings.
  • New media platforms are used to launch viral campaign and create digital waves.

Jennifer Aaka and Andy Smith, authors of The Dragonfly Effect, show how social media technology can support social missions. Nonprofit consultant Beth Kanter has shown how social media tools have been used to create social change, including helping children in Cambodian orphanages.

  • The POST Method, developed by Forrester Research, provides a framework for blending traditional and new media. It is really simple, yet profound in that it provides a user-friendly system for using traditional and emerging communications channels. The acronym refers to the four-step approach:

P is People

Don’t start a social strategy until you know the capabilities of your audience. If you’re targeting college students, use social networks. If you’re reaching out to business travelers, consider ratings and reviews. Forrester has great data to help with this, but you can make some estimates on your own. Just don’t start without thinking about it.

O is Objectives

Pick one. Are you starting an application to listen to your customers, or to talk with them? To support them, or to energize your best customers to evangelize others? Or are you trying to collaborate with them? Decide on your objective   before  you decide on a technology. Then figure out how you will measure it.

S is Strategy

Strategy here means figuring out what will be different after you’re done. Do you want a closer, two-way relationship with your best customers? Do you want to get people talking about your products? Do you want a permanent focus group for testing product ideas and generating new ones? Imagine you succeed. How will things be different afterward? Imagine the endpoint and you’ll know where to begin.

T is Technology

A community. A wiki. A blog or a hundred blogs. Once you know your people, objectives, and strategy, then you can decide with confidence.

  • Social marketing, not to be confused with social media marketing,  is the systematic application of marketing to achieve specific behavioral goals for a social good. Social marketing is said to have “two parents”—a “social parent,” created from social sciences and social policy, and a “marketing parent,”  developed from commercial and public sector marketing approaches.

Social change communication brings people together to work collectively for the betterment of their lives and communities. It provides opportunities for engagement and inclusion like never before!

How does social change communication influence your work? As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

The basis of this post is an article I wrote for CharityChannel Press entitled Importance of Communication to Social Movements and Social Change.

My next post focuses on the importance of communication to successful advocacy.

 

How Mobile Marketing is Changing the Way We Raise Funds

How Mobile Marketing is Changing the Way We Raise Funds

How Mobile Marketing is Changing the Way We Raise Funds

A guest post by Sophorn Chhay 

We now live in a world where social rules and smartphones have changed access across the globe. What a pleasure to host this guest post by Sophorn Chhay. Sophorn shows us how mobile marketing is changing the way we raise funds!

It’s hard to believe that some charitable organizations still depend on cans by grocery store cash registers and bell-ringing volunteers to reach their fundraising goals.

While it’s true that every penny counts, no one carries pennies anymore.

See the problem?!

These old-school strategies worked because they hinged on one central, rather smart, idea: go where the people are. The problem is that those people don’t keep their money with them anymore, and they don’t have time to search their pockets on street corners or sit in front of the television waiting for the 800 number to flash on the screen.

We’ve gone digital, and nonprofits need to keep pace or risk losing the funding they need to help the cause nearest and dearest to their hearts.

Enter mobile marketing, perfect for finding people where they already are (even if that’s always changing), and find their spare change – or thousands ear-marked for groups just like yours – at the same time.

How Mobile Marketing is Changing the Way We Raise Funds

  • The Mobile Web

Some 80 percent of internet users now own a smartphone, so it’s no surprise that almost as many (72 percent, to be exact) say that they want mobile-friendly websites. These websites are designed to be viewed on mobile devices and feature responsive design so that the website adapts to whatever device it’s viewed on.

You can create a mobile-dedicated site at a separate URL (such as m.yournonprofit.org in addition to www.yournonprofit.org) or update/create your primary site to suit both audiences.

As you develop your online presence, a slick and fast-loading mobile website becomes more and more important. When people are in the mood to give, you want them to be able to do so without stress or interruption.

  • Text-Based Donations

A lot of nonprofits have already launched email campaigns, but did you know that email only has a 20 percent open rate? Contrast that with text messages, which have an almost unbelievable open rate of 98 percent. Send a text to potential donors and it’s almost guaranteed that they’ll read it. What better what to get your message out? You can also use automated messaging to streamline the process. Enlist the considerable talents of a company like Textpedite and you can:

  • Launch a text-to-join campaign that allows potential donors to subscribe to your text-based newsletter simply by texting a keyword to a unique short code
  • Remind subscribers about an upcoming fundraising gala or promote the needs of other non-profits
  • Send bulk messages that let your entire network know when you’re ready to launch your app or when you need ASAP donations to combat a funding crisis
  • Set up an auto-responder to welcome new subscribers or thank donors for their contributions

And that’s just for starters!

  • Mobile Apps

Creating a mobile app is one of the best ways you can jumpstart your mobile strategy. Of the three hours the average smartphone user spends on their device each day, 89 percent of that time is spent on mobile apps. The key is to create an app that serves your purposes while also somehow captivating the interest of your audience.

The Red Cross’s Blood Donor app doesn’t just ask for blood donations, it helps the user find a blood, schedule an appointment, and even hooks them up with rewards from popular retailers. Charity Miles appeals to people who love to walk, run, and bike; every mile they log through the app turns into money that can be applied to the charity of their choice.

If you want your nonprofit to succeed, you have to incorporate marketing into your overall strategic planning, and mobile marketing needs to be at the forefront of your game plan. What’s your take on mobile marketing for nonprofits?

What’s Next?

How do you ensure that your donors are getting the best mobile experience possible when interacting with your organization? Make sure to share them with us in the comments below. I would love to read them.

Author Biography

Sophorn Chhay is the marketing guy at  Trumpia, a mobile content delivery service that allows users to customize their one-to-one marketing efforts by interconnecting and optimizing all digital platforms. As an innovator in two-way SMS/MMS marketing, Trumpia’s mission is to empower brands and public figures with interactive access to their audiences, reaching targeted affinity groups in a personal way. Trumpia delivers world-class content such as video, ticketing, polling, products sales, contests, and giveaways.

Follow Sophorn on Twitter(@Trumpia), LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+

 

Do you really – really know your audience?

AB_CMW_Post

 “Getting to know your supporters, volunteers, clients and other participants in your mission is easy, if you build that listening and learning into your everyday work.”  Kivi Leroux Miller

There’s no question that knowing your audience is the 1st rule of nonprofit marketing. The idea of building a beautiful marketing campaign that isn’t specific to your nonprofit’s audience just doesn’t cut it!

Just last week I joined a dynamic conversation on LinkedIn’s Nonprofit Marketing Group. It would have to be considering that two of the voices in the conversation were Dennis Fischman, chief communicator at Communicate! Consulting and Brian Brown, principal of Narrator, a social fundraising consultancy that helps nonprofits raise money with their online presence..

Brian started the conversation by posting “There are lots of tips about email technicalities, but I don’t see much literature that challenges nonprofits to think about the different psychological strategies involved in email vs. direct mail. Have you tried any of these strategies? Any best practices?”

And, that lead to his blog post 6 ways to improve your email numbers. I was intrigued, especially when I realized that although he was speaking about email vs. direct mail, he was really speaking about truly knowing your audiences (or at least I thought so!).

Brian identifies four stages to nonprofit and campaign communications:

  1. Stage 1 is about infrastructure (we have a Facebook page).
  2. Stage 2 is about developing content to send out via that infrastructure (posting regularly, sending emails).
  3. The third and fourth stages are about refining your content, refining your audience, getting more interactive, and building a two-way relationship that reinforces and empowers your audiences’ identity relative to you.

Unfortunately there appears to be consensus that most nonprofits do not get past the first two stages. As both Brian and Dennis noted, it takes commitment and work to really know your audience.

So here are my suggestions to gain that knowledge. If any of this sounds familiar to my readers, it’s because these are the foundation questions that I use when applying the POST MethodAs with all communications initiatives, people, your audiences come first.

  • Who must you reach to meet your communication objective?
  • Why this target group? Are they clients, volunteers, donors, sponsors and/or prospects?
  • What attracted people to your organization in the first place?
  •  Is this a target group identified in your organization’s communications plan?
  • What do they know or believe about your organization or issue?
  • What type of content is important to them?
  • What will resonate with them?
  • What key points do you want to make with your audience to develop conversations & actions?
  • What new & traditional media tools are they currently using?
  • What are they talking about in relation to your brand/goals/issues/competitors?
  • What additional research do you need to do to learn about your target audience’s behavior or understanding/perceptions about your organization or issues?

I like to think of gaining this knowledge as a journey. It won’t be completed in a day. You’ll discover new insights by looking, listening, and being sensitive to clues along your path.

I know it sounds overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to. It does, however, take commitment and work.

If you’re interested in getting a copy of my POST Template, just let me hear from you – deborah@creative-si.com.

Don’t forget the video when you plan special events!

clapperboard

“Video is probably the most important way to evoke emotions in the people you’re trying to reach – and that emotion is going to lead to not just initial attention, but then lasting memory of your cause, engagement in your cause, and willingness to take action.” Liz Banse, Resource Media

Video is a very powerful form of communications. A well done video reaches well beyond our physical senses and engages our emotions. Video is the perfect medium for helping you tell your nonprofit story.

Did you know?

But, there’s a lot of ‘noise’ on social networks! How do you cut through the noise to garner attention to your nonprofit’s mission and events?

Think visually! Photos are good and video even better.

YouTube is known as ‘the place’ to post your videos. And, YouTube has a nonprofit program. Benefits of joining include:

  • Adding a Donate button to your channel.
  • Placing call-to-action overlays on your videos so viewers can click to visit your website, register for an upcoming event and learn more about volunteer & sponsorship opportunities.
  • Using live streaming video on your YouTube channel, which is great to engage your virtual event guests who cannot attend in person.

You want to create a video that showcases your mission and is engaging. You can use the video to introduce people to your nonprofit, appeal to donors and show at your events.

When posted on a Facebook event page or your organization’s YouTube site, the same video will make a great promotional piece for your upcoming special event.

I was recently introduced to Reflection Films, a company that specializing in marketing, fundraising and training videos.

I asked co-owner Rachel Jallinek if I could share a web excerpt of a video Reflection Films created for The Food Project, a nonprofit that has built a national model of engaging young people in personal and social change through sustainable agriculture. The video was created for their 20th Anniversary and first gala.

The video clip really spoke to me. So I went to the website and watched the full video!

Don’t forget to take advantage of the new technology and social media sites to use your organization’s video to tell your nonprofit’s story at your events and to promote the event to draw greater audiences to attend.

Happy filming!

 

 

 

 

How Nonprofits Can Embrace Social Media to Attract and Engage the Next Generation

0424050957600_advEditor_output001-600_bgEditor_1330976279299

A Guest Post from Richard McMunn, Founder how2become.com

“Although fundraising is the ultimate concern for most nonprofits and charities, the first step to fundraising is awareness and effective communication.”

Social media has pervaded the realm of interaction and communication in such a way, that words like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook have become part of our everyday lives. We now live in a world where social media can enable revolutions, YouTube can turn people into global celebrities overnight, and everyone and their gran has a Facebook account.

Social media has changed the face of networking, communication and advertising and increasingly, non-profits and charities are beginning to use these tools to effectively engage people. Let’s look at some ways in which third sector organizations can use social media tools to appeal to a more media savvy generation that use social media as an intrinsic part of their social lives.  

Understanding the Nature of the Beast

Social media can help non-profits on a variety of levels. Firstly, social media tools are communications platforms, and very dynamic and interactive ones at that. The first way in which non-profits can leverage the power of social media is to communicate their cause and their work to a large audience. Although fundraising is the ultimate concern for most non-profits and charities, the first step to fundraising is awareness and effective communication.

Different social media sites have different strengths. To give you an example, YouTube is predominantly an audio visual platform, and could be used to promote such content, and engage people in that way. The content and presentation can be designed to suit a specific audience.

For instance, as a non-profit we can aim to engage with a younger audience by targeted communication through videos, and other media. Facebook can be used to build a campaign, connect to people and connect people with each other, and to spread a message quickly.

Investing in Existing Supporters

Many organizations simply look at social media as a platform for incessant advertising and marketing. But we live in the age of increasing information overload, and it is becoming more and more difficult to get people’s attention. The fact is that impersonal advertising messages are far less effective than endorsement from someone you know and trust.

The beauty of social media lies in the fact that it allows people the power of reach. People who already support a charity or a particular cause and believe in it, have the power to create more awareness and help gain more support. As such, existing supporters of non-profits can play a pivotal role in fundraising and networking in this environment dominated by social media. Social media allows them to share their convictions and views with their own networks and give the cause the kind of impetus that was near impossible before.

In order to leverage the real power of social media, nonprofits must recognize this potential and invest in their existing supporters by providing them with essential tools and material to communicate the right message.

 Keeping Up-to-date with Changing Trends

Younger people have grown up with the internet as an integral part of their lives. Statistical research on social media usage in 2012 shows that over 95% of 18 – 24’s in the UK have a Facebook account; over 89% of the same age group actively use YouTube, with other social media sites like Twitter and Foursquare in close tow. It is possible to find detailed statistics of different platforms, users and demographics. To use social media sites successfully, it is important to understand the audience, and to use the right platform for engagement.

 Statistics also show that non-profits have increasingly begun to use social media for communication and engagement. In fact, the last year saw many charities and nonprofit organizations, both large and small, use social media for communication and fundraising campaigns. As the volume of advertising and communication on social media sites increases, non-profits will need to stay up-to-date with evolving trends in communication in order to optimize the contemporary media tools at their disposal.

Editor’s note: Richard McMunn, is the founder and director of the UK’s leading career website how2become.com.

Positioning your nonprofit for 2013

“The future ain’t what it used to be.” – Yogi Berra

Whew, 2012 is over! Before you get bogged down in your everyday business, take a few moments to explore trends that will impact your success.

Over the last month I’ve been consumed reading and analyzing articles and blogs about trends that will impact the nonprofit sector this year. I’m still digesting the excellent information. However it is time to ‘put pen to paper’ and share with you what I see as the most important trends so I can help ensure a good start to 2013.

Leveraging Technology

Leveraging Technology is number one on my list. However, you will need to distinguish the trendy from the useful. You also need to make a commitment to really know your supporters, so you can effectively take advantage of new technologies to ensure your nonprofit’s impact.

The Stanford Social Innovation Review posted Ten Technology Trends to Watch, an excellent article by Mark Tobias president of Pantheon, which provides online technology solutions for nonprofits, associations, and government.

Mark suggests you should consider these trends as you develop your technology strategy for 2013. Read more details and explore links in the post by clicking SSIR.

  1. Measurement and transparency. What gets measured gets improved.
  2. Consumer-oriented online engagement. People who interact with your organization online don’t want to have to work to make sense of it.
  3. Deploying data to answer burning questions. Think beyond your web analytics dashboard. Instead, what are the core questions your organization wants to answer? Research shows nonprofits are collecting tons of data but aren’t using it.
  4. Knowledge hub rising. To survive and thrive, nonprofits and associations must add value beyond membership and advocacy.
  5. Mobile plus. More and more organizations are creating mobile-friendly websites, but the future of mobile is finding ways for people to accomplish even more when they’re away from their desktops.
  6. The unfettered conference. Recognizing that the world and its travel budgets are changing, nonprofits and associations would be wise to rethink and retool conferences.
  7. New types of products. Nonprofits and associations are using a series of technology-propelled products to make a big difference for both their members and markets (such as health or education).
  8. Whole Foods-ification. It’s organic! Nonprofits are slowly learning not to treat their website and technology as they do their annual reports—projects that are perfected and completed.
  9. Digital learning is soft. The explosive growth in online courses proves how much America likes to learn. So, it’s important to keep in mind that the way people engage, learn, and behave online is changing.
  10. Proof and standards for digital learning are hard. As learning transcends time and place, colleges and employers are challenged to develop meaningful proof that a degree or certificate reflects the knowledge and skills necessary for job success.

 Anticipated Changes in the Nonprofit Sector

Change is pretty much assured for nonprofits in 2013. Nell Edgington, president Social Velocity provides 5 Trends to Watch in 2013. These are hot off the press! You can learn more detail and explore Nell’s links by clicking her post on HuffingtonPost.

  1. More demand for outcomes – nonprofits will need to articulate what results they hope their work with achieve and track whether those results are actually happening.
  2. Decreasing emphasis on nonprofit overhead – More and more people are coming to realize that you can’t just invest in programs without the staff, infrastructure and fundraising to make those programs happen.
  3. More advocacy for the sector as a whole – we will start to see the sector organize, mobilize and build the confidence necessary to claim its rightful place.
  4. Savvier donors – Because nonprofits are getting more savvy, donors are as well. In addition to an increasing demand for proof of outcomes, donors are slowly starting to that there is a difference between revenue and capital in the sector.
  5. Increased efforts to rate and compare nonprofits – As nonprofit outcomes are increasingly in demand, donors become savvier, and the “nonprofit overhead” distinction diminishes, we will increasingly evaluate nonprofits based on the results they achieve, not on how they spend their money. But that requires that a whole infrastructure for evaluating and rating nonprofits emerges, just as it has for the financial markets.

Please share this posting with your community. Create robust discussions. Explore how these trends will impact your nonprofit. Use these issues to help position your organization to take advantage of opportunities in 2013.

Do you have any more trends that you see impacting nonprofits this year? I’d love to hear from you!

PS my next post focuses on some user-friendly fundraising tips and strategies.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Using The POST Method to Guide Nonprofit Marketing Communications

Every morning I spend time reading posts from some of my favorite social media gurus. In all the years that I’ve been working with nonprofits I’ve never experienced such willingness to share information. I’m like a little girl in a candy shop.

Then I stumbledupon a guest post on Windmill Networking by Claire Axelrad –  A New Era in Nonprofit Marketing: Why Winging It with Social Media No Longer Works.

Claire’s opening sentence – “On a wing and a prayer is not a strategy” caught my fancy. Unfortunately her contention that many nonprofits simply ‘wing it’ when it comes to social media is true.

The post is a must read! Throughout Claire provides links to many of the incredible voices in social media, including Kivi Leroux Miller, Beth Kanter, Brian Solis and many more.

As I followed the links I ran across a link to an Internal working plan for AIDS.gov communication strategy. AIDS.gov uses traditional and emerging communications channels to further their reach in HIV prevention, testing treatment and care.

The AIDS.gov communications approach is based on Forrester Research’s POST  Method.  Josh Bernoff, senior vice president, idea development, at Forrester Research, developed The POST Method in 2007. It is really simple, yet profound in that it provides a user-friendly system for using traditional and emerging communications channels. The acronym refers to the four-step approach:

P is People. Don’t start a social strategy until you know the capabilities of your audience. If you’re targeting college students, use social networks. If you’re reaching out to business travelers, consider ratings and reviews. Forrester has great  data to help with this, but you can make some estimates on your own. Just don’t start without thinking about it.

O is objectives. Pick one. Are you starting an application to listen to your customers, or to talk with them? To support them, or to energize your best customers to evangelize others? Or are you trying to collaborate with them? Decide on your objective before you decide on a technology. Then figure out how you will measure it.

S is Strategy. Strategy here means figuring out what will be different after you’re done. Do you want a closer, two-way relationship with your best customers? Do you want to get people talking about your products? Do you want a permanent focus group for testing product ideas and generating new ones? Imagine you succeed. How will things be different afterwards? Imagine the endpoint and you’ll know where to begin.

T is Technology. A community. A wiki. A blog or a hundred blogs. Once you know your people, objectives, and strategy, then you can decide with confidence.

How AIDS.gov uses The Post Method

Before AIDS.gov starts any new communications activity they discuss the following questions:

  • Who are we trying to reach?
  • What information does our audience need? If we do not know, how can we find out?
  • What is our audience’s use of and comfort level with various communication tools?
  • What do we want to accomplish with this particular audience?
  • Is someone else already doing this? What partnerships do we need to engage to learn more about this audience and plan a response?
  • What resources (e.g., funding, time, capacity, human resources, etc.) do we have to implement and maintain this strategy?
  • What tools are most appropriate for this target audience, objectives, and strategy?
  • What would success look like? How can it be measured?

The AIDS.gov Communicaton Strategy Internal Working Plan, January 2011 contains detailed presentations on how they use the POST Method, tools to listen, guidelines for engaging and connecting and monitoring and evaluation.

I strongly recommend anyone interested in using The POST Method for your nonprofit strategic communications review the report.

Interested in a sample Communications Grid based on POST? Please let me hear from you – deborah@creative-si.com.

 

 

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.