Archive for September, 2012

5 Fund Raising Myths

DATE: September 27th, 2012

So… what’s true and what’s just a myth? Tough for in-house fund raising teams to work it all out without good data from beyond their own organizations. So let’s start with 5 frequently perpetuated myths:

1. If you build it they will come…

Yeah — wouldn’t that be nice. This myth is the strongest in digital environments. Social media and web sites are part of an integrated strategy. As our digital world expands, the challenge to build a strong digital space for giving is much more difficult. You can build it… but then you need build strong relationships with donors who will visit it.

2. Cheaper is better…

No, frugality is not the base line. Our base line is effectiveness. Increased effectiveness comes when you have increased resources to accomplish your organizational mission. The 80/20 rule is a superficial measurement imposed by some ethereal body of accountants. Getting the job done is your final measure of success.

3. Forget marketing, go viral, it’s free…

Yes, viral is free. And if you are lucky, you will benefit big time from free viral publicity. Lung transplant patient, Helene Campbell, had an amazing viral experience. But let’s be realistic about the chances of that happening. Basically, 48 hours of video are uploaded on You Tube every minute. That means in one day more than 4 million minutes of video is uploaded.

138,888 tweets are generated every minute of every day — I don’t even want to do the math on that one.

Yes, viral is free (am I repeating myself?)…. but the chance of going viral is lower than winning the lottery. I suggest you stop at the corner store and buy a ticket on your way home.

4. Jump on digital, it’s the future…

Yes… and no. Without a question, digital is the future. But just how many gifts can you attribute to your social media strategies? How’s your e-commerce portal doing? Digital needs to be a part of every campaign. We have seen significant success in peer-to-peer, holiday giving and interactive game-like environments. We have seen stars in the interactive space — you already know them.

Our fund raising intelligence tells us that screens are  another channel — but not the only channel. Test, explore, test…. seriously, some of our fund raising friends are finding that face-to-face is pulling the highest results. Who would know that engaging in a conversation with a real person in a real place in real time would be effective?

5.  Develop several core products to meet the needs of multiple target audiences…

Sure. How much money do you have? The most successful fundraising organizations have one strong central product. They build it, talk about and promote it. Do they do other things?Yes. Do they have more products? Probably. But they focus on one main product to build a strong branded identity.

Let me stop there — the bottom line is: Fund Raising is Work.

A Little Fun with Social Media?

DATE: September 10th, 2012

So what happens when social media goes wrong?

Social media is a pretty large catch phrase for opportunities to engage in a dialogue. Well, dialogue may be a stretch. Most often they are used as shout outs. Tweets rarely inspire dialogue, but often promote short chuckles, incensed grumbles or nonchalant likes. Blogs may inspire statements from others. Facebook is filled with one-off comments.

But late August BIC inspired an incredible flurry of conversation.

It all started with the BIC marketing and product team’s inspiring concept of a pen made for a woman. Imagine, a slender, pastel-coloured writing stick engraved with diamond scripting!

In a matter of hours thousands of comments were posted on Amazon — most of them cleverly sarcastic:

Finally, a pen feminine enough to belong in the secret hidden pocket of my purse next to the tampons. It just feels un-lady like to have to dig around the bottom of a huge flowery purse for a traditional men’s pen.

When I write with my new Bic Cristal For Her pen, do you think that it makes me look fat?

Next thing you know, girls will be learning math and science! It’s anarchy, I tell you. ANARCHY!!!!

If you’re bored or need a chuckle, I suggest that you visit Amazon and read the comments. They show remarkable creativity and imagination.

I’ve waited a few weeks before I talked about is because I was very curious just how BIC would respond. The best I can find to date is a lovely statement that confirms BIC’s intention to solicit “honest” dialogue with their customers. They may not have read the comments, but “honest” wouldn’t be my analysis. Witty, clever, sarcastic, caustic all fit.

So here’s how I see it.

First of all, BIC what were you thinking?

Pens made for women in nice pastel shades called “For Her”? Like you I’ve read multiple reports on the benefit of gender biased marketing increasing the sales of a product — but give your head a shake. Launching pastel coloured, narrow pens and stocking them in stores as an alternative would have garnered increased sales. I even think that more girls would be attracted to the pretty pastel colours. But they went too far.

Secondly, BIC why are you so quiet?

Personally, consumer comments are, for the most part, fun, lighthearted and hilarious. Why not play along? Scrap the bad advertising, dump the name and send cute, funny coupons to all the people who commented.

The impact of social media can be tremendous — tremendous good and tremendous bad. Barefoot is currently developing a strategy report for social media because we think it’s important that you know how to respond when the world is talking about your product.

Take RIM’s fiasco about a year ago. When their famous enterprise server failed, social media went wild. I don’t know who their PR agency was at the time, but hiding for several days before assuring customers that the fix was in the works was a huge mistake.

The challenge for today’s marketers, PR agencies and organizations is three fold:

1. Reach. Social media has a deep and wide reach. It goes far beyond borders.

2. Speed. Once the topic trends, messaging is fast and furious.

3. Reliability. Social media is run by people who have no claim to expertise. Any one can do it.

Wise organizations:

1. Have their ears to the ground, listening for social media trends that may impact their organization.

2. Have a strategy in place in the event of a viral fiasco. Their team has the ability to respond quickly.

3. Have an expert in place that speaks honestly.

If the  proverbial cat has been let out of the bag, make sure your team has a plan in place to respond.