We are just 40 days away from bbcon 2012, can you believe it? Since advocacy as a topic and a career are both near and dear to my heart, I wanted to give you a preview of some awesome advocacy content that you can expect to see.
First, my colleague Emily Goodstein will be presenting Out of the Box - Advocacy Superheroes. Here's the description of the session:
Use the power of Luminate Advocacy, right out of the box! During this panel discussion, we’ll feature three super heroes changing the world using Luminate Advocacy. We’ll talk about creating a smart strategy which makes the most of the Advocacy module, and allows your message to really shine. Join us for case study goodness, best practice gems, and strategy ideas too. Beltway insiders (and beyond) are welcome and encouraged to attend.
I took a page out of Emily's book and did a short interview with her so I could bring you all the details!
SH for CC: Tell me about this session at bbcon, "Advocacy Out of the Box." It sounds so interesting!
EPG: Advocacy Out of the Box is intended for organizations of all shapes and sizes who want to do more with the Luminate Online advocacy tool. We’ll discuss how to make the most of the product, you guessed it, right out of the box! No customizations necessary.
SH for CC: Who will be with you on the panel?
EPG: The panel will feature three speakers (in addition to yours truly).
SH for CC: What have clients been able to achieve with Luminate Online Advocacy?
EPG: Clients are changing the world, one click at a time! We’ll showcase a campaign that Rails-to-Trails Conservancy ran to retain funding for trails in addition to other modes of transportation. We will also discuss some of the great list building work that NARAL: Pro-Choice America has done through our advocacy tool, in addition to some advocacy work through the Luminate Survey tool from the online organizers at the Unitarian Universalist Service Committee.
SH for CC: Why did you think this session was important?
EPG: I think this session is important since there is such good work that organizations large and small are doing with our advocacy tool. The tool is really powerful and it is most effective when coupled with some hard work and a great strategy. That's what we'll be discussing.
SH for CC: What is your favorite thing about bbcon?
EPG: Proximity to cupcakes at CakeLove. Oh, you mean the conference itself! It is a GREAT chance to network and learn from so many non-profits. I love walking the halls and chatting with people about their latest campaigns, celebrating their successes, and live tweeting the sessions.
SH for CC: Sounds great! So when is your session?
EPG: Monday, October 1 at 2:15pm. See you there!
See you there, indeed, Emily! I can't wait!
Another advocacy session not to be missed is the entertainingly-titled Screaming Monkeys, Roaring Lions: Making Noise vs. Making a Difference on Capitol Hill, presented by Bradford Fitch, President and CEO of the Congressional Management Foundation. This one is Monday, October 1 at 10:00am. Here's what it's all about:
Despite the amazing growth of the advocacy in the last decade – in scope, tactics, and resources – little research actually exists on Capitol Hill’s perspective on what is effective, and what is counterproductive, in interactions with Congress. Add to the mix the rise of Social Media, and advocacy experts face a myriad of choices and challenges. Is your group seen on Capitol Hill like ROARING LION, motivating legislators to move quickly in a desired direction? Or, are you a SCREAMING MONKEY, just annoying your targeted lawmakers (and leaving a mess behind)? This program is based on research from the Congressional Management Foundation, which has a unique 35-year relationship with Congress. The CMF research is drawn from surveys of congressional staff; focus groups with congressional staff; and interactions and consultations with Members of Congress and staff.
Last year I co-presented a webinar with Brad, and I can assure you that he's a really knowledgeable and informative speaker. If you're trying to use online advocacy to make a real difference in Congress, then you should definitely attend this session.
Are you excited yet? Well, there's more! There will be well over 100 sessions at bbcon that span the range of advocacy, fundraising, analytics, professional development, CRM, financial management, and much, much more. You can read all about the other sessions at bbcon here. And if you haven't yet registered, there's still time! Just visit www.bbconference.com.
Ok, I'll admit it. I really love the show The Newsroom on HBO. I recognize that it's got its flaws, but frankly, I like it. Time will tell how it all plays out (am I the only one who thinks it's rapidly getting closer to real time?), but I was particularly struck by an event that happened in the second episode. Without hopefully giving out any spoilers, a character accidentally sends an email out to the whole company that was only supposed to go to one person. Cringe-worthy, indeed, this is the stuff of nightmares of anyone with email access. But, from time to time, it's bound to happen - and sometimes a lot more publicly.
As it turns out, no one is immune. Particularly now, in the 24-hour-news-cycle-oh-yeah-and-twitter times we live in, a public gaffe can potentially lead to some pretty nasty backlash. I'm sure most of you can think of several cases in the last couple of weeks alone where an easily made mistake has led to some pretty loud public outcry, with some pretty widely varying results.
So, how does a person or organization recover from an error like this? Well, there are a few articles offering advice, and all of them say pretty much the same thing: own it, communicate it, fix it, and learn from it. Easier said than done, I know, but it turns out, they're right. Hiding from a problem, victimizing your organization, blaming others, and committing common mistakes more than once are really the worst ways to reassure the public that you know the landscape - even if you truly are being wrongfully presented.
Now, I'm not suggesting that you go rolling over every time the public doesn't like what you're organization is doing. Nor do I think you necessarily need to send out a retraction when your email blast has something that's poorly formatted. Only you and your organization can and should decide when to execute on a correction if and when you feel its necessary. But, given the evolution of communication, it's just good business sense for your organization to have some sort of contingency plan, just in case things go awry. Then, you can just cross your fingers and hope you never have to use it.
I'd love to hear more from our readers about who has either dealt with this sort of thing, is dealing with it now, or has started working on their plans. It's a new era of communication, and the learning curve is steep, so any information you can share would be great!
...Well actually they do. But lately, I've noticed an interesting trend: I post something on Facebook that I think is fascinating, hilarious, or some deep revelation into the mysterious world of Miriam Kagan, and my social sphere reacts in...dead silence. Failed in my effort to get instantaneous gratification at my own personal awesomeness through likes and comments, I am subsequently delighted and confused by friends who say things like "your Facebook status the other day made me laugh out loud" or "you know, it seems from your Facebook posts like your coworkers are really funny" a few days later, when we are say having coffee.
While my inner social addict silently pouts—"if you liked my status so much, why didn't you actually 'like' it and show the rest of my social universe how awesome you think I am?”— the fundraiser and strategist in me can't help but think how this kind of behavior and interaction applies to ways nonprofits are trying to engage with their constituents.
Advice abounds about tricks and tips for engaging the social sphere. You should use certain key words. Post your comments in the form of a question. Post photos—people like pretty things. Ask for photos – people think they are good at taking them. Respond to comments. Retweet. Pin things. Pin things in a very specific way. Make videos. Annotate them. Animate them. And all of these are certainly appropriate tactics to be found in the social marketing toolkit for constituent engagement.
The part that's still very tricky for most is measuring the impact of these activities. So we start with the industry-wide best practices: How many people like you on Facebook? How many should? Is 10K enough, too little, too many? Not sure?
Try calculating a ratio of how many people comment and/or like and/or share your posts divided by how many like your page. So maybe that gets you an “engagement” ratio. Similarly, how many retweets? Hashtag mentions? Video views? Clicks on embedded links? Conversions? If your embedded donation form isn't getting traffic, does that mean your FB page has no ROI?
A little trickier, but doable, is calculating your most engaged supporters' social media reach: if they repost your post, how big is their network? If they share your video? Retweet you? What is your followers' average Klout score? Metrics, metrics, metrics.
But there is a different kind of reach that is much harder to calculate: the word of mouth/human network reach. How do you measure the impact of motivating and activating your network offline or via word of mouth and the direct or indirect influence social media efforts are having? How do you value the actual impact of your “inactive” social media connections?
Marketers are certainly working hard to figure this out. Media mix attribution models attempt to measure the relative influence of “supporting” channels to ones where an action or purchase is actually made (maybe I saw the promotion on FB but didn't click on anything, then bought an item from the catalog). Social CRM and social media appends attempt to connect social media with constituent and consumer profiles to track integrated interactions (note: this is mostly only possible for consumers with relatively lax profile settings. As in, if you can't find me on Facebook, you can't connect me to the Miriam you have in your CRM).
While measuring the ways humans chose to spread information and WHY on any given day they chose a specific method to do so may never be a 100% data driven, there are some additional approaches to consider in trying evaluating the indirect influence of your social media efforts:
And PS: not that you asked, but my most popular Facebook post ever (generating over 30 comments and a subsequent 5 hour debate over dinner with some friends), was from a question I remembered a professor asked us during an ethics and values class in college: “If someone handed you an envelope that had your entire future written down in it, would you open it and read it?” Would you?
When the American Diabetes Association made the decision to focus on promoting self donations in their 2011 Tour de Cure fundraising campaign, they increased the number of participants contributing to thier own fundraising efforts from 2% in 2010 to more than 37% in 2011. There is no doubt this strategy contributed to the event’s 19% growth in online donations that year.
How can your organization see this kind of success? Here are four ways to promote self donations in your next Peer to Peer Fundraising campaign on TeamRaiser.
In addition to all of the above mentioned it is important that you include information about self donation opportunities in all communications about fundraising. All fundraising activities should include the importance of kicking off your fundraising with a self donation.
Today's post was prepared by Nancy Palo, a Senior Consultant in Blackbaud's Strategic Services team with an specialty in TeamRaiser and peer-to-peer fundraising. She brings more than 10 years experience in the event fundraising experience, including 8 years with National MS Society where she raised more than $30 million.
“When does someone become a philanthropist?”
An interesting question I heard at the MCON conference a couple of weeks ago. And one that makes me asks, are nonprofits overlooking their millennial donors and prospects? (Those are the folks born after 1980.)
Communicating and engaging millennial donors and volunteers is different than other generations. The 2012 Millennial Impact Report shows...
When you’re crafting your strategy for reaching out and engaging this generation here are a few things to consider:
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