Year-end charitable giving

December 14, 2016

year-end charitable giving

Is that your hand in my pocket?  Every holiday season my mailbox is stuffed and my phone is ringing off the hook. Alas, the increase in activity is not just holiday greetings – it’s mostly people asking me for money. It’s time for the year-end charitable giving appeals.

Call me Scrooge if you will – but it’s annoying and ineffective. In most cases, I’m receiving communications from charities that I haven’t heard from since last holiday season. They’ve made no attempt to engage me throughout the year. They haven’t shared their successes with me along the way or even bothered to see if I was interested in the work they’re doing. In other words – they are shooting blind.

They have a huge list of people that includes anyone they can think of that should give, might give, attended an event 5 years ago or sold them something and BOOM – out goes the generic, “hey stranger give us money” mailing.

I sit on enough boards to understand why nonprofits feel compelled to send out a request for money between Thanksgiving and Christmas but the truth is – while they may enjoy a small surge in donations, they’re doing some damage too.

If you know that part of your organization’s business plan is to send out a year-end charitable giving appeal – let’s do some things throughout the year so your efforts drive more results and cause less of a disconnect.

Identify your target list in January: Don’t freak out – you can always add appropriate people to it – but let’s identify a list of people that you can spend an entire year preparing for your appeal letter.

I know this is counter-intuitive, but your job in selecting these people is to reduce the list, not add to it. Your goal is not to reach out to every breathing human being but to really narrow the list down to likely donors. Why? Because rather than the one gun and done method, we’re going to communicate to them throughout the year – increasing the likelihood that they will give.

Share throughout the year: You don’t want to be the nonprofit I only hear from when you want to put your hand in my pocket. So this year, you are going to work this donor list all year long. Yes, it’s going to cost you a little more but remember, we’ve reduced the list so hopefully there will be less waste and a better yield.

At least once a quarter you need to reach out to this list. Share success stories. Show them how you are spending your 2015 year-end appeal dollars (actually say it, don’t assume they infer it) and talk about your impact on the community. In short – do all of the things you try to cram into the year-end fundraising letter throughout the year. If you skip this step – you can count on mediocre results at year’s end.

Yes, I know it costs money. But you can’t expect them to invest in you if you don’t invest in the relationship. Think of how many charities are out there – and every single one sent out a letter asking for money between Thanksgiving and Christmas. Most people are going to choose one or two at the most. They all do good things to make this community and the world a better place. Sadly – those are the table stakes. If you want to make the most of your year-end charitable giving appeal, you have to do even more.

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How are your multicultural marketing strategies?

September 23, 2015

multicultural marketing strategiesCMOs acknowledge that they need to have strong multicultural marketing strategies but despite rapid population growth and strong support for initiatives within marketing circles, CEO and board support falls far short, failing to assist marketer’s ability to prioritize and fully fund their efforts.

According to Geoscape, the leader in business intelligence across the multicultural market, groups including Asian-Americans, African-Americans and Hispanics will grow to nearly 130 million by the year 2020. Furthermore, the non-Hispanic white population will become the minority, dropping below 50% of the population by 2042.

A new poll from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council and Geoscape—entitled “Activating the New American Mainstream”—reveals that half of the 150 North America-based senior marketing executives surveyed feel there is some level of support for multicultural engagement strategies from the senior levels of the organization.

Here’s what I thought was one of the most telling factoids in the report — While 67% admit that the CMO has a high level of buy-in and support for multicultural efforts, 55% admit that the CEO does not share that opinion, failing to fully support initiatives.

This lack of top-level support translates into a de-prioritization of multicultural engagement programs as more than half (51%) of marketers admit that there are simply too many competing priorities. In fact, when asked to rate commitment levels, only 20% of marketers felt that multicultural strategies were mandatory and unanimously embraced across the organization, and just over one in four believed that the multicultural market was mission critical for the organization.

Specific to investments into multicultural programs, marketers indicate that:

  • 20% invest in excess of 15% of overall marketing budgets to engaging with multicultural markets; 28 percent spend less than 5%.
  • 53% of marketers believe their investment into the multicultural market will increase going forward; 15% believe this increase will be significant; only 2% anticipate a decrease in investment.

For those marketers who have deployed multicultural marketing strategies, the operational approach is one that fails to separate initiatives into significant segments. Only 16% of marketers are separating marketing initiatives for specific ethnic groups, a practice which would allow for a deeper level of engagement thanks to relevant communications based on cultural behavioral patterns and insights.

Multicultural marketing strategies must move away from the niche campaign mindset and become an engrained part of any personalized customer experience strategy,” noted Liz Miller, Senior Vice President of Marketing with the CMO Council. “This is no longer a scenario of replacing images or localizing content into a different language. This is about truly understanding the nuances of the customer, including any culturally distinct behaviors and buying patterns that can and must alter the way our brands reach and engage.”

Without doubt, the multicultural market in the United States is an increasingly powerful consumer. According to Geoscape research, Hispanics currently represent 18 percent of American households but were responsible for nearly half of the growth in consumer spending from 2013 to 2014. Between Asian-American and Hispanic markets, the groups accounted for two-thirds of the total economic spending growth.

“By understanding cultural nuances and marketing in a proactive and data-driven manner, marketers are positioned to grow ROI…however, none of this happens overnight,” added César M. Melgoza, Founder and CEO of Geoscape. “Targeting consumers without understanding their unique cultural behaviors and preferences risks growth optimization among the consumer groups that quarterly and annual budgets and success can hinge.”

Key findings from the 10-question online poll of 150 senior marketing executives are included in a 12-page complimentary white paper, now available for download from the CMO Council. Some 36% of respondents hail from B2B organizations, 29% are from strictly B2C organization, and 36% are from hybrid organizations. 43% hail from organizations with revenues in excess of $1 billion USD.

 

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How do we connect with our audience?

September 17, 2015

connect-with-our-audienceWe talk about wanting to engage and connect with our audience but what does that actually mean?

Global marketers see the value of making their digital interactions with customers and stakeholders richer, more personal and predictive.

But most are still struggling to make their mobile, social and web channels work together to provide a more enriching and engaging experience.

A new study from the Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Council—entitled “Brand Attraction from Enriched Interaction”—reveals marketers still lag in creating multi-channel, digital marketing campaigns that reach and resonate with diverse, micro-audiences worldwide. Only 19% said they are extremely good or very good in this area. In contrast, 45% gave themselves a lackluster grade , saying “in terms of connecting with our audience with fully integrated mobile, web and social channels — we aren’t hitting the mark.” This compares to just 21% who said they were very proficient.

The latest study, sponsored by IBM Digital Experience, was designed to assess the degree to which marketers are embracing new digital channels and content management technologies to realize the full value of rich media engagement, crowd-sourced content, and mass-customized commerce through higher levels of personalization and tailored interaction.

“Digital marketers are challenged to create an end-to-end, multi-channel experience that engages and enlivens customer, partner and employee audiences with more compelling and relevant content-driven commerce and conversation,” noted Donovan Neale-May, Executive Director of the CMO Council, which has nearly 10,000 members in 110 countries. The council’s research was based on input from 287 marketing leaders across all regions of the world. A free strategic brief summarizing research findings and highlights is available for download from the CMO Council website.

“A critical area of insight from survey respondents centered on what technology transformations are most likely to impact how companies market, operate and connect with our customers.” Topping the list was the advent of the smarter digital enterprise, with its automation of marketing execution and customized interactions at scale. Next was the new API-driven economy, where partners and ecosystems share mobile/web links, information and insights to add value and further monetize transactions and interactions. Not far behind this is the disruptive potential of the “Internet of things” and the ability to gather real-time data and intelligence through pervasive, sensor-based tracking of behavior, intention and satisfaction.

The CMO Council believes content has become pivotal to the way companies and brands attract attention, entice engagement, acquire and grow relationships, encourage purchase and further word-of-mouth. In addition to its thought leadership studies, the council operates the Content ROI Center, which shares best practice innovations in content marketing.

Areas of exploration covered by the study included:

  • How brands rate their ability to captivate and connect with their audiences, partners and employees through evolving mobile, web and social channels of interaction and digital experience
  • How effective brands have become at creating, executing and tailoring new multi-channel digital marketing campaigns to better reach and resonate with diverse micro-audiences worldwide
  • Which mobile apps, analytics, tools, solutions or cloud platforms have been embraced (or are being considered) to create richer, more meaningful, relevant and persuasive interaction with key stakeholders
  • How companies believe they are achieving competitive advantage and business impact with more enriched, personalized content and digital interaction
  • Where and how digital experiences are shaping and influencing the attraction, acquisition, conversion, monetization and retention of customers
  • To what degree brands are becoming more proficient at integrating content and commerce to increase the value of customer touchpoints, experiences and relationships
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Fundraising is marketing

August 4, 2015

fundraising-is-marketingLet’s face it — fundraising is marketing. I love the stories of the good old days in my community.  You’ve probably already heard the same sorts of stories in your community too.  How the “founding fathers” would gather over coffee and when the community had a need, they’d each pull out their checkbook and invest in the solution.

Many of those men and women have streets or foundations (or both) named after them and their mark will forever be a part of most of the cities in our country.

There are quite a few charities that owe their start or a portion of their success to those visionary leaders.  As great as they were – those days are long gone.  I’ve received a few solicitations lately that make me wonder if there are still some area non-profits that are living back in the old glory days and haven’t fast forwarded to today.

Whether the target is a business or an individual, the game has changed and if nonprofits want to keep serving their mission, they’re going to need to make some shifts in their efforts.  They need to recognize that fundraising is marketing.  There’s no separation today and the organizations who embrace this idea will win the day and the dollars.

Here’s what non profits need to remember:

Why you? It’s a rare charity that doesn’t have a competitor who also serves the same people/cause or at least a portion of them.   If you want a donor’s dollars or even their attention, you’ll need to be able to demonstrate how you do it differently or better and you need to do that on a consistent, steady stream of communication basis.

I don’t know you so get your hand out of my pocket: The “send everyone we can think of” a solicitation letter (especially at the end of the year) is just a waste of money.   If we don’t have a relationship and your work isn’t meaningful to me, I’m not going to send you a dollar.  Don’t waste your stamps.

Slow going: The days of walking out of your first meeting with a check are gone.  Sure, it might happen once in a blue moon but in general, you’re going to have to work hard for your money.  Think marathon, not sprint.

Fewer but deeper: One of the amazing truths about Des Moines is that we’re blessed with a huge number of committed charities.  But the flip side of that truth is that no business can possibly support them all. Which means, choices have to be made.  Businesses don’t want to be one of ten logos on the back of yet another t-shirt.

Donors are opting to spend their money on fewer nonprofits but to give more to those few.  And once they’re locked in with a specific charity, it’s going to be much tougher to pry them loose.

Going, going, so gone! Our community is golf tournament and auctioned to death.  If you don’t already hold one of these, don’t start one.  And if you already have one – be ready for declining attendance or revenue unless you can make it unique.  Bravo to Des Moines based charities like YESS (Duck Derby), Childserve (Bubble Ball) and others who have taken the risk and created something one of a kind.

The Obama election fund reality:  One of the ways Obama defeated McCain back in ’08 was to race more money from more people.  The dollar amounts were smaller but the impact was bigger.  The same 20 companies (every charity has the same list) in Des Moines cannot be the title sponsor for everything.  Find ways to make it valuable for smaller companies who don’t get into the limelight every day to be your benefactors.

No one is arguing with the amazing work you do.  In fact, we want to make sure you keep doing it.  But, like the for-profit businesses have… you have to adapt to today’s economy and reality.  And soon.

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Make the most of any conference you attend

March 12, 2013

Male global business conference delegateIt seem intuitive to us that if we’re heading to a trade show as an exhibitor we should be thoughtful about how to maximize that time and dollar investment. Yet somehow, when we’re attending a show or conference as an attendee, we don’t seem to give it the same consideration.

I suppose many people make the assumption that if you go to a conference and learn something – it’s time and money well spent. That’s certainly a good start, but if you’re smart about it, you can get so much more out of your trip.

Location, location, location: Assuming the conference is not in your home town – take advantage of the change of venue. Is there a prospect you’ve been romancing from a distance that happens to be located within a reasonable distance from the event location? If so, fly in a day early or fly out late and schedule a face to face.

Create a hit list: Usually the conference will publish a list of attendees ahead of time, to entice others to join in. If they don’t publish a list – do a Twitter search to see who is talking about the event. Once you’ve seen the list or at least a partial list – identify three to five people you absolutely want to meet and connect with.

Seek them out (not in a creepy stalker way) and be ready to engage them in a conversation. Your goal – to get to know them well enough that you can reach out to them after the show and stay connected.

Be a connector: Make it your goal to help one new person a day. That help might be introducing them to someone you know, it could be sharing a resource or as simple as inviting them to join you for lunch.

For many people, being at a conference (especially if you’re alone) feels very isolated and even the most gregarious person can get a little shy. But if you’re the one being helpful, that’s takes a lot of the discomfort away.

High five the presenters: No matter how often someone speaks at a conference, it’s still a bit of a nerve-wracking experience. Even if they’re a superstar in their field, they still will appreciate a “way to go” or “I learned a lot from you.” Want it to be even more sticky? Tweet the “atta boy” to them and then follow up with a question. Odds are, you just added someone cool to your network!

Pace yourself: Most conferences over-pack their events with speakers, socials, minglings and exhibit hall time. They want you to know that you’re getting your money’s worth. But no human being can go at that pace for several days in a row. Identify the two events each day that are “must see” and a couple more that are “would like to do’s.” Don’t let the schedule over schedule you.

Schedule an extra day at the end: I know it sounds ridiculous. You’ve already been out of the office for several days. Why add an extra one? If you don’t do your conference follow up (write blog posts, shoot off some emails, enter the business cards into your database with your notes, make some follow up calls and appointments) before you get caught up in the hustle and bustle of your regular work life – odds are, it will never get done.

If you aren’t going to set yourself up for success and all you want is to learn something new – save your money and watch a webinar or two. But if you really want to make the most of your investment – grab a couple of these tips and hit the ground running.

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Age of Conversation 4 — want to be one of our authors?

June 28, 2012

We know… it’s crazy. But Gavin and I are ready to do it again. This time, we’d like Age of Conversation to take on a much more personal tone… how is social media impacting you, your work, your family and your view on life? Your chapter might be as elaborate as a real case study or it might be as simple as your best time saving trick. But it’s about you and how you “do” social.

This time, we’re doing both one and two page chapters. (see below)

Here are the sections for the book:

ONE PAGE CHAPTERS

One page chapters are grouped into “sections” to provide a sense of cohesion to the topics covered. (One page = 400 words or so) This year’s sections are:

Secrets – what is a secret, what is your secret and what are the limits of privacy in the Age of Conversation?
Transparency – what does it mean for a business to be transparent? How do you go about making your brand or business transparent? And what happens if transparency fails?
Authenticity – what does it mean to humanize a brand? What happens when business gets personal and how does so-called “authenticity” impact you on a personal and professional level?
Unexpected Consequences – anything from a painful lesson learned to an unexpected cross the globe friendship. Share your journey in this Age of Conversation
How Do I … – share your tips and tricks on social media. What do you do well and how do you achieve the outcomes you want?

CASE STUDIES – TWO PAGE CHAPTERS

We’d love to have your case studies. (Two pages = 750 words or so) They need to be projects that you have worked on or have been responsible for. You must include measurable results of some sort. We’re not going to get into the whole ROI discussion…but you need to show how it played out. Please don’t propose case studies based on other people’s work.

Want to join in on the adventure with us? We’d love to have you with us!

To sign up —  https://docs.google.com/spreadsheet/viewform?fromEmail=true&formkey=dGhydDdoTmVtZXFLT3V0YzY2ampDUlE6MQ

We’ll be closing the sign ups pretty quickly so if you’re serious about writing a chapter — sign up soon!

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Help bring clean water to the world’s children!

October 15, 2010

Today is Blog Action Day….and this year's focus is water.  Which fits perfectly with our efforts to drive Age of Conversation sales — all which benefit charity: water. Remember, 100% of the proceeds from the book sales goes directly to the non-profit's efforts.

The Age of Conversation Official Charity – charity: water

The first piece of news is to confirm that the charity that benefits from each and every sale of each and every book, is charity: water. charity: water is a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. 100% of public donations directly fund water projects.

Amazingly, just $20 can give one person clean water for 20 years. An average water project costs $5,000 and can serve 250 people with clean, safe water – so purchasing a copy of the Age of Conversation 3 really can make a difference to someone’s life!

An AoC3 Bum Rush for Blog Action Day, October 15

Here's how you can 

The step-by-step is as follows:

  1. Buy the Book and ask others buy the book. If you work in an agency or another business that gives books as gifts, get your company to purchase multiple copies and give them out as year end gifts. This is the #1 call to action, because this is where we want to see the most impact. NOTE: Please buy 1 copy at a time because Amazon counts bulk orders once, and please use these affiliate links, which will help us in tracking sales. Remember, all the proceeds from the book sales and referrals will go to charity water:
  2. Twitter Commentary – Join the AOC authors as we give a Bum Rush play-by-play on Twitter. We also ask that everyone saying anything about the Bum Rush to use the code #aoc3 so that it can be picked up by What The Hashtag.
  3. Trackback or Comment on the post that Gavin will leave here today, so that everyone can follow the conversation and help promote exposure on social sites (Digg, StumbleUpon, Del.icio.us, etc.)
  4. Digg the posts listed here and send emails and shouts to friends requesting Diggs.
  5. Stumble the posts listed and tell friends to do the same.
  6. Bookmark your posts on Del.icio.us
  7. Don’t forget Facebook – Make sure to become a Fan of AoC3 and to contribute to our wall
  8. Send an Old Fashioned email to your friends about the Bum Rush for AoC.

 

In advance — thanks for supporting Age of Conversation III and for allowing your dollars to provide clean water to some of the world's poorest communities.

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Did you miss these? (week of 9/20)

September 27, 2010

Drew_McLellan_servingtray I get so much smarter just by reading what others have to share.  But I always worry that I missed something big. You too? Just in case you missed any of these…I wanted to serve up some of my favorites:

 

Content Marketing: Marketing Profs and Junta42 partnered up to research some content marketing trends, benchmarks and budgets.  Enjoy the double whammy of smart from these two organizations by downloading their research report.

Mobile Marketing: Over at the MENG Blend blog, I ask the question — should your business be considering a mobile app.  Check out the real world small business examples before you dismiss this question with a "only the big boys play in that arena" thought. 

Blogging 101: Mike Sansone, the man who taught me just about everything I know about blogging, has begun a series he calls 0-60.  It will guide you day by day to building a blog that is full of relevance, heart and potential.  Grab day one and start following along.

Creative Leadership: Robyn McMaster points out that there aren't too many people who celebrate TGIM (Thank God it's Monday) each week.  Her brain-based insights offer some suggestions on how to make your work environment TGIM worthy.

A Better Question: One of the things that makes Liz Strauss so incredible is her ability to ask questions that cut the the heart of things.  In her recent post, she tells a story and asks "who will find you irresistible?"  Read it…and discover your answer.

 

I hope you find some a-ha moments in these nuggets — I know I sure did.

 

~ Drew

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Anonymous comments aren’t about the conversation at all

June 3, 2010

Screen shot 2010-06-03 at 9.43.12 AM

We need to take a stand on the idea of anonymous comments.  And the stand is — they need to go away.

I think this problem has its roots in the newspaper industry.  When they starting creating digital versions — they wanted to take advantage of the interactivity of the web.  And in the newspaper industry — it's all about the numbers (subscribers, pass along rate, etc) so it's no surprise that they wanted a huge volume of comments as well.

No doubt, someone told them that people will comment with more frequency if you don't ask for their name or contact information so voila — the anonymous or the "use a nickname, not a real name" comment was born.

Sadly, this has seeped into blogs as well.  And as more companies wade into the social media waters — many marketing types, looking to justify the time and efforts spent on the tools — point to the comment count with pride.  

But what really are we counting?

I don't care if you're talking about a traditional newspaper's website or a blog — when you allow anonymous commenting, you disrespect the topic, the conversation and the readers.

These are not conversations — they are verbal vomit.

It's perfectly logical that the anonymity invites people to behave in ways they wouldn't if they had to identify themselves.  And it swings to both ends of the spectrum.  On the one hand — they're vicious in their personal attacks, cruel comments and judgments.  On the flip side, they can completely bypass the topic all together in an attempt to get some link love/attention for their product or service.

So what do we do about it?  We say no.

We write to our newspapers and ask them to actually be responsible for creating real conversations on their sites.  By demanding, just like they do in their traditional letters to the editor section, that commenters be identified (and verified) by name and city.

In terms of social media — if you own a blog, fight back.  Here are some of the things I've done to combat the problem:

  • Have a stated comment policy (see the visual above) that says you will delete anonymous comments
  • Actually delete them — even if they are relevant (you can e-mail the person and ask them to re-submit, using their name)
  • Close comments after 30 days (many of the back link seekers go into your archives to tuck key word rich comments where they think you'll ignore them)
  • Actually respond to the comments — you'll get lots more of them if people think they're not talking into a black hole

Whether it's someone calling themselves "MoonDog127" and ripping into someone based on a story in a digital newspaper or it's "Korean Wedding Dress" leaving 27 random comments on your blog — we need to recognize the conversation deserves better.

What do you think?  Is there ever a place for anonymous commenting?

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How to get more Facebook fans

April 13, 2010

I saw this promotion late last night as I logged onto Facebook and I thought it was worthy of sharing it with you. 

Everyone seems to want more Facebook fans…but really you actually want Facebook fans who know a little bit about you or are willing to try what you've got to offer.

That's what makes this Kraft Macaroni and Cheese promotion so smart.

Screen shot 2010-04-12 at 11.39.31 PM 

On my NewsFeed page, I noticed this ad to the right.  It offered me a free box of Mac and Cheese (hello…cheesy explosion to boot!) if I'd become their fan. 

Now I will confess two things.  1) I really love Kraft's Mac and Cheese.  2)  I would have never even thought to fan their page without this free offer.  If the ad had simply said..please be our fan, I would have ignored it.

Lesson:  If there's not a very apparent "something in it for me" we don't go around fanning pages.

Screen shot 2010-04-12 at 11.40.55 PM So, I clicked on the become a fan button and was taken to their fan page. 

I almost left because I could not see how to get my free coupon.

Lesson:  Be blatantly obvious and then some.  We are only going to look for about 5 seconds.

Fortunately, others had either been smarter or more persistent, so as I scanned the messages, someone had said – go to the third tab (wall, info and voila..free cheesy)

So I stuck with it long enough to click on the Get The Coupon button.

Screen shot 2010-04-12 at 11.41.43 PM From there, I was taken to this capture screen where Kraft got the goods on me… my name, address (so they could mail me the coupon) and the holy grail — my e-mail address.

They also snagged a bit of demographics in the check boxes below.

Lesson:  If you're offering something of value, don't be afraid to ask for something of value in return.

I'm betting they scored a huge number of new fans.  And now for about the cost of a click, they are actually putting product in the new fan's hands.  Think of what most businesses pay to get a consumer to give their product a try.

Compare and contrast this effort — where Kraft not only gets you to sample their product but also gets your contact information and some demographics to the lady standing in the grocery store, handing you a little cup of the mac and cheese.

How would you rate the relative value?

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