Changing course from yesterday’s post, today I’m going to talk trendy. Trendwatching is out with its 10 hot consumer trends to watch in 2013, and they are worth sharing. I’ve listed each trend along with what I think it means for nonprofits. But don’t forget the basics as you consider these shiny new developments!1. Presumers and Custowners: Consumers are interested in participating in the funding, launch and growth of (new) products and brands that they love. So try testing crowdfunding, friends to friends fundraising and a spirit of partnership with your supporters in the new year.2. Emerging Squared: We’re seeing a reversal of the old trends of developed markets catering to emerging ones, and emerging markets increasingly provide products and services to developed markets. How is this international trend affecting your work? Is there an opportunity to weave this economic force into your programs overseas to speed up the pace of change?3. Mobile Moments: Consumers will be doing everything on their mobile devices. 2013 is the year you must make it easy for your supporters (and those you serve) to engage with you on their smartphones.4. New Life Inside: Eco-products will go from being something you can recycle to something that you can plant. Apparently it’s the year to put seeds in everything from chopsticks to pencil stubs. And even Molson Canada beer coasters are made of seed paper. They grow into a tree when you plant them. I smell corporate cause marketing partnerships for green organizations! But move fast, I expect this is a trend that will come and go quickly.5. App-scriptions: Doctors and hospitals will certify and curate health apps as part of care. Why not you, too? If you help people with health conditions, maybe there should be an app for what you do – certified by professionals.6. Celebration Nation: Emerging market products will celebrate and spotlight national and cultural heritage. How can you partner with companies to highlight the international cultures you champion?7. Data My-ning: Says Trendwatching, “To date, the ‘big data’ discussion has focused on the value of customer data to businesses. In 2013 expect savvy shoppers to start reversing the flow, as consumers seek to own and make the most of their lifestyle data, and turn to brands that use this data to proactively offer customers help and advice on how to improve their behavior and/ or save money.” I think there is an opening for charities to use this to promote behavioral changes – and giving.8. Again Made Here: Trendwatching predicts more local manufacturing in established markets like the US, driven by niche marketers, the green movement and on-demand ordering. New local partners and cause marketing possibilities, perhaps?9. Full Frontal: Brands can’t just be transparent, they have to aggressive about it. As they are increasingly held accountable, there is a real opening for do-gooders to pressure companies to be responsible corporate citizens and ethical cause marketers.10. Demanding Brands: Brands will also turn the tables and encourage consumers to step up and do good. Another great opportunity for partnerships in 2013!
Explaining organic reach and the Edgerank algorithmOrganic reach is simply seeing content in your newsfeed directly from a page that you’ve liked. This is different from viral reach which is seeing content from a page because a friend has liked, commented on, or shared that piece of content.Edgerank is Facebook’s algorithm that determines what is published is each user’s newsfeed. The goal of this algorithm is to publish only the most interesting and relevant content for each specific user.To determine if any given Page post shows up in the news feed, Facebook looks at four main factors:1. If you interacted with a Page’s posts before: If you Like every post by a Page that Facebook shows you, it will show you more from that Page.2. Other people’s reactions: If everyone else on Facebook who is shown a post ignores it or complains, it’s less likely to show you that post.3. Your interaction with previous posts of the same type: If you always Like photos, there’s a better chance you’ll see a photo posted by a Page.4. If that specific post has received complaints by other users who have seen it, or the Page who posted it has received lots of complaints in the past, you’ll be less likely to see that post. (This article was adapted from a post that originally appeared on Nonprofit Marketing Blog.) Does this mean a drop in Facebook engagement?Facebook periodically adjusts their algorithm to account for various different phenomenon in the newsfeed. For example, Facebook has adjusted it to include complaints on posts.Some pages have seen a decrease in reach, while other pages have had no change at all in their reach. So it’s really case-by-case, and not a global phenomenon. The pages that have seen the most dramatic loss in reach were pages who weren’t publishing content that was interesting or relevant to begin with. Have Facebook changes harmed social media engagement efforts for nonprofits and companies? We wanted to get the scoop, so Network for Good’s Katya Andresen turned to Facebook expert, John Haydon. He provided these excellent, understandable and level-headed responses to the most common questions on why people see what they see on Facebook.Photo Source: Big Stock PhotoHow do Facebook updates work and what do supporters see?When someone publishes an update (photos, videos, text only updates, links) to their brand’s Facebook page, some of the people who have liked that page will see that update in their newsfeed. Whether a specific person sees that update or not is determined by an algorithm Facebook calls “Edgerank”.In other words, liking a page does not guarantee that a user will see updates from that Page in their newsfeed. This is actually a good thing, because if you and I saw every update from everyone we ever friended (including people who were jerks to us in high school), no one would ever use Facebook.
Here’s a quick, good read for a Monday morning: 3 ways to get people to open your emails, based on brain psychology.1. Use something personally relevant to grab attention2. Make your subject line oddly short, long or different3. Surprise people by switching it upWhy do these work – and how exactly do you make this happen? Read this ClickZ article for the details
As I noted yesterday, Allyson Kapin and Amy Sample Ward have written a new book, Social Change Anytime Everywhere: How to Implement Online Multichannel Strategies to Spark Advocacy, Raise Money, and Engage your Community. Since I get so many questions about how to best integrate online and mobile efforts into an overall strategy, I thought I’d ask them to share their thoughts with us.This is the second half of our conversation (I posted the first half yesterday). Katya: What can advocates of online and mobile do if their organizational leadership doesn’t see the potential? Allyson: Read Social Change Anytime Everywhere of course;) Seriously, my best advice is to educate senior leadership about the different online channels by showing them examples of how other organizations are using them successfully. Also give them concrete suggestions on how your organization can start using them. Make sure you are setting realistic expectations though. You can’t go from A to Z overnight. It takes time to develop a strategy, experiment and test to determine what is going to be successful for your organization. Katya: What’s one organization that we can look to for inspiration because they’ve really mastered social change tools on a shoestring?Allyson: I’m a huge fan of Epic Change. As a volunteer led organization by Stacey Monk and Sanjay Patel, they have been able to inspire and mobilize friends and total strangers online to raise money to build two classrooms and a library for Shepherds Junior School in Arusha, Tanzania. Epic Change has used every channel at their disposal to connect with people and build relationships with supporters. They even have a Facebook group to organize and plan campaigns with a core group of volunteers.I have also been impressed with how much they treat their donors like rock stars. Donors receive personal, hand written thank you notes from Stacey and Sanjay and other members of the organization. This past year, donors had the opportunity to meet Gideon and Leah, two of the students who traveled to the United States and hear all about what they are learning in school and aspirations. We learned that Gideon wants to explore becoming an astronaut. And Leah wants to become a doctor to find cures for different diseases. Supporters are also sent updates from the children and teachers about how the school is progressing and how the children are advancing academically. It’s really inspirational.Katya: If you could go back in time and tell your younger self the most valuable lessons you’ve learned about advancing causes, what would be at the top of the list?Amy: I think my beliefs and knowledge have expanded and gotten a bit more seasoned, but I still truly believe the same thing today as I did when I was in elementary school: we really can make change and it’s a lot more fun when we do it together.Allyson: The people working at our organizations are not necessarily our target audiences. They are already very committed to our movement. Our activists, donors, volunteers, and decision makers are our target audiences and they should always be the focus. I feel like we lose site of this all of the time to get multichannel campaigns approved and launched by senior leadership.Thanks to Amy and Allyson for this conversation.
It’s the time of year when you’re packaging up your annual reports for 2012. Before you move forward with the same approach as last year, it’s worth asking:-Who is the audience?-What do you need to accomplish with this report?-Should we question the old approach?Here’s a great example of what happens when you ask these questions:The Children’s Bureau report – which takes the form of an interactive report online and a poster in its direct mail form – combines accountability, storytelling and imagery in a wonderful way.For inspiration, go here. And learn how they did it here.What are you imagining for your annual report? Make sure it serves a purpose for someone in a way that matters.
I’m a big believer in the positive effects of peer pressure (here’s one article on it).Global Giving has proved this again – in an intriguing experiment focused on recurring giving. Last year, the organization experimented with a number of different calls to action to get donors to upgrade to recurring donations. They tested the messages on all donors who added a project to their giving cart Here’s how it worked: When donors added a project to their giving cart on GlobalGiving for $100 or less, they got one of three treatments.The first was a polite ask to make the gift a recurring donation.The second was a 1-to-1 match offer: “Upgrade to a recurring donation and we’ll match it.” Both messages slightly increased recurring gifts, but the second wasn’t that much more effective than the first.The third message was the winner. It combined a match concept with peer pressure and urgency: “If 75% of donors who see this message upgrade to a recurring donation today, we’ll match all of their donations.” The sense of collective responsibility and shared reward (and I imagine the deadline) made donors twice as likely to upgrade to a recurring donation than not being asked at all.Don’t forget: Invite people to join the generous crowd. They will want to join the club.
Photo via BigStockPhoto.Are you stuck on replay? Do you do the same things, the same way, over and over? It’s easy to have this happen, and it’s honestly what I fear most.“Replay” can be somewhat effective if you’re sticking to what works well. The problem is it can also create an autopilot state of mind that dulls your senses to changes around you — like shifts in the political landscape, your donor base or constituencies — that require a new approach. It’s one thing to identify best practices and build on what works – it’s quite another to get too comfortable and call it in. Whole industries have fallen into habit only to be rendered irrelevant. You have to keep fine-tuning (or sometimes revolutionizing) what you do and how you do it.The other problem with replay is it is reductionist. When you stick to the exact same approaches, you can’t imagine another way. You become increasingly narrow in your thinking. You fail to learn. You start assuming there are no other options or different paths. So much for originality.When I get stuck in replay, I’ve found four things that help. I thought I’d share them here.1. Get another view into your organization. Call a donor and see how they’re feeling about your organization. Go talk to someone in line at your shelter. Visit a front-lines staff member and ask them what’s new or different these days. I get so many good ideas from our customer service and success teams, for example.2. Sign up for blogs, e-newsletters or other media that track big trends. I read a lot on mobile technology, the payments industry, social media and start ups so I can think about how broader trends might disrupt my work in exciting or concerning ways.3. Go have lunch with a really smart person who doesn’t work at your organization. Ask them what they think of your company, organization or cause. Ask them how they faced challenges related to your own, in a different context. Brainstorm with them. I swear by this approach. Most of my ideas come from conversations with other people – rather than my own isolated mind.4. Take an online course with a brilliant thinker. Via Coursera, I’m taking a course in behavioral economics at Duke (I’m way behind but enjoy the lectures nonetheless). A friend is taking a class in poetry. The possibilities are endless (and free). I also enjoy watching a TED talk. There’s nothing like fresh ideas outside your frame of reference to stimulate your own thinking.This is how I avoid recycling the past or replaying the present. What do you do?
I was pleasantly surprised by a message I received from Arts of Life, a Chicago-based nonprofit I recently “Liked“ on Facebook:“Hi Caryn! Thank you for ‘Liking’ The Arts of Life! We do paintings and drawing and we clean up the studio every day of the week! Not only do we clean up the studio but we do yoga, dancing and gardening! The Arts of Life is the best because I like it here. The studio is like the second family we never had. The Arts of Life is a home to live, to work, and to play! I want to talk about The Arts of Life Band! I was on the front of the Chicago Reader in my soldier outfit! Check it out… http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/arts-of-life-teaches-developmentally-disabled-to-rock/Content?oid=4920488To receive an original birthday card from The Arts of Life, join our mailing list! https://www.facebook.com/artsoflife/app_100265896690345 Come tour either the Chicago or North Shore Studio to see what it’s like to be an artist …” The message went on to describe what I might see on a tour of their studios and offered a specific point of contact, with a name, phone number and email address. This welcome note was sent through Facebook from David Krueger, an artist and musician who benefits directly from Arts of Life’s programs. I’m already a big fan of Arts of Life and what they do, but this surprising touch only helped solidify my warm feelings for them. Here’s why this works: It was unexpected. It was personal and genuine.It made me want to find out more. It invited me to connect in other ways.It thanked me. In our social media outreach, it’s tempting to want to “set it and forget it”, but for long-term success, nonprofit fundraisers must create an ongoing positive experience for their audiences. Just as you’d welcome a new donor or email subscriber, take time to create a special welcome plan for new social media followers to set the stage for the wonderful experience they’ll have with your organization. Kudos to Arts of Life for showing us how to get it right!
Giving USA, an annual publication that reports the sources and uses of charitable gifts in the United States, released some good news this year: Overall, charitable giving in 2012 was up 3.5% over 2011. This is especially good news for nonprofits that have a well-rounded plan to raise funds through multiple channels. But keep in mind that donations from individuals make up the largest piece of the giving pie: 72%.Image credit: Whitney Bond/ Little Leopard BookHow is your organization’s “giving pie” sliced? Do you have a steady stream of individual gifts coming in the door every year?There are two keys to getting more individual gifts online: 1. You must make it easy for donors to give.Make giving a snap online: Giving online giving is growing faster than any other method of donating. But simply having the option to donate online isn’t enough: Donors expect online giving to be easy. A donor should be able to Google the name of your organization, click on your website, and find your donation button in 2 seconds or less. Is it easy for a newbie to give through your organization’s website? Try making it even easier.Make it easier to say yes: People are more likely to give when the request comes from someone they know, especially if it’s a trusted peer. The key here is quantity. Social fundraising works best when an enthusiastic team works together to rally their networks to raise a large sum of money. Introduce a few outgoing, social, creative volunteers to a peer-to-peer fundraising tool like Crowdrise and see how you can use the power of peer networks to introduce new donors to your cause.2. You have to meet donors where they are.On social media: People are talking about your cause on social media. Is your organization part of the discussion? Reach out to your advocates and encourage the conversation. Consider recruiting new donors on social media and make it easy for current donors to share your message with the world.Via mobile: Fifty-six percent of adults in the United States own a smartphone. Do you know what your organization’s website or emails look like on a smart phone? To keep up with your donors’ habits, you absolutely have to give them a good experience via mobile. For more on mobile giving, download Network for Good’s free eGuide.
Merriam-Webster.com defines a meme as an idea, behavior, or usage that spreads from person to person. “Who shot J.R.?” and typing “0.7734” to reveal “hello” on an upside-down calculator were popular memes in the preinternet era. Online, memes often take the form of a graphic with words, like lolcats that each feature a cat photo with text overlay personifying the feline’s thoughts. 3. Be yourself.Don’t compromise your values to produce a pop-culture hit. Be aware of your target audience: What will be appropriate for them and what references will resonate with them most? When brainstorming, think about if a meme or the specific pop-culture phenomena it contains is appropriate for your cause. Be sure to maintain the voice you’ve created to represent your organization so that if your meme does take off, you’ll be comfortable with the persona you’ve created and feel positively represented.4. Share it. For something to be a meme, it must be broadcast to a large audience. With a population greater than Europe, Facebook is a superb tool for making that happen. If your Facebook post contains a meme photo or video, it’s highly likely to appear in front of your fans due to Facebook’s EdgeRank algorithm. The more people who like and share something you post, the greater the chances are that those people will see your future posts and that you’ll gain new supporters.Use these tips to make a meme that represents your organization—with your goals, your voice, your strategy—and be sure to include a strong call to action. Whether your goal is to get people to vote or to raise more money for a food pantry, think about how pop culture and your message can align to create an effective meme. Memes are fun, catchy images that can humanize your organization and add a shot of personality to what you’re doing. Here are some tips for how you can get in the meme game:1. Exploit popular images or pop culture references. Piggybacking on a trending meme can be fun for your staff members and exciting for your supporters, but they also have a more useful purpose—to humanize your organization. By adopting a popular image or slogan, chances are higher that your fans will want to share it and that the popular media will see it, further increasing your visibility and encouraging new supporters. You may see results in the form of more volunteers or donations, as well as the answer to a specific call to action featured in your meme.2. Get creative.Now is the time to let your artistic skills shine. You don’t have to be a design wiz or a Photoshop pro to make a great meme. Use free online photo editors like PicMonkey or Pixlr to edit an image or memes for dummies site such as Meme Creator, Meme Generator, or Meme Maker. Memes can even take the form of videos, such as Sesame Street‘s “Share It Maybe,” a riff on Carly Rae Jepsen’s hit “Call Me Maybe.” (Credit: Anthony Rubio/Facebook, Source: Howard Koplowitz/International Business Times)Anthony Rubio’s meme based on Carly Rae Jepsen’s popular song “Call Me Maybe” went viral. It featured his two Chihuahuas and encouraged people to adopt from animals shelters.