If you have never read the classic book Influence by Robert Cialdini, you really should. But you’re also in luck, because the Influence at Work team just released this summary of the six principles of persuasion that the book covers. Spend 11 minutes watching this video – it’s well worth your time.Trouble viewing the video? Go here.No time to watch? Here’s my summary of the principles and how they apply to us.1. Reciprocity – People tend to return a favor, thus all those annoying address labels charities send out as a fundraising ploy.2. Scarcity – Perceived scarcity fuels demand. “Only four memberships are left” prompts action!3. Authority – People will tend to obey authority figures. What expert can attest to the value of your organization?4. Consistency – If people commit to an idea or goal, they are more likely to follow through. It’s why pledging is a great option for people who aren’t ready to take action.5. Liking – People are easily persuaded by other people whom they like. That’s why you want your champions spreading the word about your cause among their friends and family.6. Consensus – People will do what other people are doing. That’s why it’s great to show who is taking action for your cause – others are likely to conform.
Month: October 2019
My friend and colleague Amanda alerted me to this article on the five traits of resilient people. Since that quality is needed by so many of us now, I thought I’d pass on the insights from Jessie Sholl. What occurred to me as I was reading this list is that you probably have every one of these qualities. Working for a good cause is a daily exercise in resilience. Please share that quality with those who need it now.1. Be Positive. “Resilient people are characterized by an ability to experience both negative and positive emotions even in difficult or painful situation. They mourn losses and endure frustrations, but they also find redeeming potential or value in most challenges.” If you work for a good cause, you have this quality. You find hope amid terrible tragedies in the course of advancing a mission.2. Live to Learn. When resilient people encounter pain, they look for solutions. That would be you.3. Open Your Heart. Counting your blessings and committing acts of kindness and service boost resilience. That’s your day job!4. Take Care of Yourself. Good physical and mental health boosts resilience. 5. Hang on to Humor. This is so true. A laugh goes a long way. Do you bring levity to the job?For more on these qualities as well as the amazing tale of Turkey Lady, read the whole article.
If you feel the need to strengthen your financial management savvy, check out StrongNonprofits.org, a new website featuring free tools, how-tos and guides.Developed in partnership between The Wallace Foundation and Fiscal Management Associates, the site contains more than 64 resources for anyone involved in nonprofit financial planning, monitoring, operations or oversight, and particularly nonprofit afterschool program providers. Features range from a nonprofit accounting guide, to an article on sensible growth strategies, to a podcast on how to understand the true costs of programming. The site also offers an array of helpful tools, including the “Go or No Go Decision Tool,” a questionnaire that helps an organization decide whether accepting a contract would help – or hurt – the group’s bottom line.The site includes:• A Five-Step Guide to Budget Development—a presentation that describes a team approach to budgeting essentials such as setting financial goals, forecasting results and monitoring progress.• Budgeting and Financial Planning Tools—Excel-based templates to provide organizations with a framework for building program-based budgets, projecting cash flow, and evaluating revenue scenarios.• Guide to Effective Board Leadership—an easy-to-follow description of how nonprofit boards can do the necessary financial oversight of their organizations.You can find the site here.
M+R had a fascinating post* last week about political fundraising. It highlighted insights from the digital team who sent out fundraising emails for the Obama campaign. While political fundraising is its own animal, I do think many of these insights apply to all forms of fundraising. So whether you’re a political activist or a nonprofit fundraiser, or of the red or blue or purple persuasion, you will find this interesting.(The whole post is here. These are some highlights along with my commentary.)1. It’s hard to predict what will work – so testing matters. There were 18 very smart people on the email team alone, and they often predicted the wrong winners among versions of emails. And just when they figured out what worked, it stopped working. So they tested again. Keep testing!2. The best segmentation was based on what donors did – not how they voted or their demographics. Segmenting their message according to the ways people responded worked far better in yielding strong fundraising results than any other variable. What have people donated in the past? In response to which appeals? Segment accordingly.3. Length didn’t seem to matter a lot, until the end of the campaign, when shorter did better (reminds me of my advice to write very short appeals on December 31!). What did matter was the content and relevance of the message.4. For fundraising, setting a big goal for number of donations worked, but little, very local goals (we need six more donors in Washington, DC) did not. Those only worked for advocacy. Interesting. Something to test?And my favorite finding? The best appeals also had the highest unsubscribe rates. Like Mark Rovner always says, evoking passion means you get strong opinions on all sides. Bland is safe – and gets NO reaction.For more findings, check out the full post, “Surprises from Obama’s New Media Staff.”*Hat tip to Jono Smith of Event360 for sharing the post.
I speak a lot about the connection between behavioral economics and our work, and after every speech I get asked for reference materials. People also often email me for a list of my writing on the topic. So I thought I’d pull together in one post all the resources I’ve created. Here’s a mini library on understanding how people really think – and adjusting our marketing, communications and fundraising strategies accordingly.Plus, as a bonus, I’m including this hour-long video from the Science of Communication speaker series run by the Communications Network and Spitfire Strategies. In this video, Harvard behavioral economist Sendhil Mullainathan provides a great overview of how his field applies to you. Speaker Series: The Science of Communication Featuring Sendhil Mullainathan from Communications Network on Vimeo.The Mini LibraryThe best place to start are the two ebooks I’ve written on the topic with Mark Rovner and Alia McKee of SeaChange Strategies:Homer Simpson for Nonprofits: The Truth about How People Think and What It Means to Your CauseLisa Simpson for Nonprofits: What Science Can Teach You About Fundraising, Marketing and Making Social ChangeI also wrote a series of blog posts reviewing the latest research on what compels generous behavior and giving. Here are the best of them:How giving makes you happyWhich makes people happier – giving or receiving?The relationship between giving and painHow pledging eases the pain of parting from our moneyThe power of social norms in givingHow do social norms, price & scrutiny affect what people give?The role of personal connections in fundraising successHow the power of one (the singularity effect) prompts givingThe effect of mood on giving – and who we choose to helpWhat happens when you try to making giving less emotionalSea monkeys and the case for tangibilityInterview with the Science of Giving authorsThe time-ask effectNeuromarketing tips for nonprofits from Roger DooleyBrain tricks to sell your causeYour gut is more generous than your brainEnjoy!
The Nonprofit Finance Fund (NFF) has released its annual State of the Sector survey, and it shows nonprofits like yours are struggling with a tough funding environment and increasing need for the services you provide. This is requiring tough choices – and changing the way you do business, according to the survey.Here’s a summary of the report from the NFF. Does it capture your situation? Are you better or worse off than your peers?According to NFF:Nonprofits need new funding sources and models:• 42% of survey respondents report that they do not have the right mix of financial resources to thrive and be effective in the next 3 years.• 1 in 4 nonprofits has 30 days or less cash-on-hand.• Over the next twelve months, 39% plan to change the main ways they raise and spend money.• 23% will seek funding other than grants or contracts, such as loans or investments.Nonprofits that receive government funding face particular challenges:• Only 14% of nonprofits receiving state and local funding are paid for the full cost of services; just 17% of federal fund recipients receive full reimbursement. Partial reimbursements require additional funding to cover the growing gap as nonprofits serve more people.• Government is late to pay: Among those with state or local funding, just over 60% reported overdue government payments; over 50% reported late payments from the federal government.Under these challenging conditions, many nonprofits are unable to meet growing need in their communities:• For the first time in the five years of the survey, more than half (52%) of respondents were unable to meet demand over the last year; 54% say they won’t be able to meet demand this year.• This represents a worrying trend; in 2009, 44% of nonprofits said they were unable to meet demand.• Jobs (59%) and housing (51%) continue to be top concerns for those in low-income communities.• 90% of respondents say financial conditions are as hard or harder than last year for their clients; this is actually a slight improvement from prior years’ outlook.Nonprofits are changing the way they do business to adapt to the new reality. In the past 12 months:• 49% have added or expanded programs or services; 17 percent reduced or eliminated programs or services.• 39% have collaborated with another organization to improve or increase services.• 39% have upgraded technology to improve organizational efficiency.• 36% engaged more closely with their board. For more on the survey and detailed data, go here.
I’m back from the Nonprofit Technology Conference. At one of my sessions, I talked about the importance of taking the vast problems we seek to address and the critical importance of translating them into a scale that is:1.) Relatable2.) Addressable and3) InspiringWhen we fail to do this, we overwhelm people and create the impression their support won’t make a dent in our social problem.Here are examples of making this translation. At the conference, See3, YouTube, NTEN and Cisco announced these videos were among the winners of the 2013 DoGooder Video Awards. They take big, faraway issues and make them immediate to the kinds of people who are likely to take action for that cause. They stake a point of view with a clear audience. And they inspire action in a funny way. Enjoy.
Creating an editorial calendar is an effective way to keep your organization’s newsletter, website, blog, and social media content fresh and current. Should you go with paper or something more high tech? Use whatever works best for you and your team: a wall calendar, Excel spreadsheet, Google Calendar, or even dedicated project management software. While it can contain loads of info, an editorial calendar at its most basic organizes the what, when, and who of your media outreach. Here’s a quick primer on how to create an editorial calendar that’ll keep your team on track and your online presence fresh. Next: Fill in the Blanks Now that you have the basic framework of your nonprofit’s content needs, you can start filling your calendar with detailed information about each item, such as the specific topic of a blog post or Facebook update. A typical week might look something like this: First: Answer What, When, and Who?Create a broad outline of your organization’s content needs. This process includes answering “what, when, and who?” WHAT types of media do you publish? Make a list of the different ways your nonprofit communicates with constituents. The options are endless, but here are a few ideas: Website: Message from the executive director, volunteer opportunities, upcoming events. Blog: Posts about recent events, fundraising campaigns, awards your nonprofit received, success stories, current issues affecting your cause. Email: Newsletters, campaign updates, event invitations. Facebook: Polls, success stories, links to blog posts or videos, contests, photos from the field, “volunteer of the week” profiles. Twitter: Links to blog posts, event announcements, requests for volunteers. YouTube: Videos from events, fieldwork, success stories. WHEN is the deadline? Look at your “what” list and decide how often to update each item. Maybe you’ll revamp your homepage content once a month, publish a new blog post every Monday, send an email newsletter on the 15th of each month, post to Facebook every weekday morning, and so on. WHO is the writer? Decide who on your team is responsible for creating and delivering each of the various pieces. Also, be sure to assign a team member or two to social media duties so someone is always available to interact with fans. Homepage:Joe T., 10am.Update events sidebar, volunteer opportunities Big-Picture Benefits Save your old calendars! Editorial calendars are great for more than just planning ahead. Over time, you’ll find them useful for reviewing what topics you’ve covered and when. This can help you avoid duplicating content or remind you to update your constituents on, say, a past event, contest, or campaign. You might also include data on published content like page views or click-through rates to see which pieces were most effective. When it comes right down to it, an editorial calendar is just a super-organized to-do list that encourages engagement as your supporters keep coming back to your online channels to find out what’s new and exciting at your nonprofit. Tuesday Thursday Friday Facebook:Gina K., 10am.Link to new YouTube video Facebook:Gina K., 10am.Friday Fan Giveaway: Mug Blog:Ann S., noon.Beagle Boogie gala recap (link on Twitter) YouTube:Joe T., EOD.Ribbon cutting and tour of new kennels and dog run. Fundraising Takeaways Your editorial calendar can be as simple or complex as you like, but it should at least answer the questions what, when, and who. Organizing all the elements of your media outreach into one editorial calendar helps you keep content fresh and up to date. Readers will respond by coming back more often to see what’s new at your nonprofit. Review your old editorial calendars to make sure you aren’t repeating content or that you’ve updated readers when necessary. They’re also useful for tracking which content was most successful. Facebook:Gina K., 10am.Pic from dog adoption fair Email NL (biweekly):Ann S., 10am.Dog adoption, Beagle Bingo event, request for supplies, link to donation page (post pdf on FB, link on Twitter) This is, of course, a very basic editorial calendar, but it’s an easy place to begin. Yours could include more or fewer items, more or less detail, checkboxes to indicate approvals or stages of production, and so on. Expect your calendar to evolve as your needs change. Wednesday Facebook: Gina K, 10am.Volunteer of the Week: Ellen Jones Facebook:Gina K., 10am.Meet the Staff: Joe T. Website:Mary M., EOD.Monthly message from executive director Monday
by Kate Olsen, VP of Strategic Projects at Network for Good @Kate4GoodFellow cause marketers, wouldn’t you like a dollar for every time someone told you to ‘make it go viral?’ The beauty and frustration of virality is that you never know what will catch on. Context, creativity and conversation all have to align to get tens, hundreds or thousands of people to talk about your idea at the same time. We may not be able to make things go viral by sheer force of will, but Jonah Berger has a few ideas about how to engineer messages and campaigns that are more likely to spread. Below are a few tips from his new book Contagious: Why Things Catch On. Jonah outlines six key STEPPS that will transform your cause marketing messages into content that will entertain, inspire and incite people to spread the word.1. Social Currency: How will talking about your campaign affect the sharer’s status in his/her community? Will it make the sharer look knowledgeable, in the know, generous?Example: Packaging your message in a slick piece of media, such as the documentary Girl Rising, makes it easy for people to recommend – they seem intellectual, generous and pop culture savvy.2. Triggers: Can you relate your message to a context or habit that is already part of the sharer’s daily life? Examples: Workplace giving and volunteering as a social norm, giving a $1 at checkout, or this NYC Department of Health anti-soda campaign 3. Emotion: Does sharing your message move people emotionally? Can you touch the heart?Examples: Charity: Water puts the supporter as the hero of the campaign, showcasing the personal connection to the cause to share with social networks. This RedSnappa video epitomizes making an emotional connection with your message.4. Public: Can you add a social proof element to your message so people can see that others support your cause?Examples: Movember mustaches, breast cancer pink ribbons, Livestrong yellow bracelets, ‘I Voted’ stickers5. Practical Value: Does spreading your message help people help others? What is the impact you are driving?Example: Causes that make the supporter experience tangible include Dress for Success and Adopt A Classroom. Consumer campaigns that make a tangible donation alongside a useful product include One Pack = One Vaccine and FEED Projects.6. Stories: Is your message or campaign related to a larger narrative people want to share? Examples: Ben & Jerry’s went to congress with a 900 Pound Baked Alaska to protest drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (Ben & Jerry’s made a social statement but used their product to illustrate their point, that makes the story sticky relevant and memorable.)Want to know how to craft a powerful story? Download this archived webinar presentation from Jonah Sachs on ‘Winning the Story Wars’.P.S. Thank you to PointWorthy for recommending this fabulous read.
If you’re still not sure what your organization should be doing with social media, it would be a good idea to figure it out soon. As social media use continues to grow, this channel is becoming even more important to online donors as a way to connect with causes and find news and information.Here are some social media fun facts: Free WebinarWant some help with your nonprofit’s social media strategy? Nonprofit communication expert Farra Trompeter of Big Duck will join us on Tuesday, October 22, 2013 at 1pm EDT for a free Network for Good webinar. Farra is a seasoned fundraising and nonprofit marketing professional who has helped hundreds of nonprofits create amazing campaigns and communicate more effectively via social channels. This is a perfect opportunity to learn from one of the best. Registration is free and I hope you can join us. (Note: If you can’t attend the live stream, we’ll send you the presentation so you can review it on demand.)Develop Your Social Media StrategyTuesday, October 22nd, 2013 1 pm EDT 27% of online time is now spent on social networking. Source: Experian Tweet this stat.47% of those 45 and younger in the U.S. say social media is more valuable than search for discovering news. Source: Reuters Tweet this stat.Thanks to recent algorithm changes, Google now uses many social factors as top criteria for ranking search results. Source: Searchmetrics Tweet this fact.Twitter’s fastest growing age demographic is 55 to 64 year olds. Source: Global Web Index Tweet this stat.