Sunday, January 17, 2010

Brave Little Girl

I want to start by apologizing for the super, extra long break in the time line. The blog description doesn't sufficiently explain why, so I will elaborate. Class ended, and I thought the blog would, too. However, I kept thinking about it throughout the year but couldn't figure out how to make it more personal. Then it hit me. There are plenty of people and organizations in my area who need help and/or exposure. Still, I was a bit lost on how to re-start the blog.

Then a coworker started talking about her granddaughter,Emma Hartfield, with a rare blood type--A+. She is now two years old and has had six surgeries. The medical bills are, to say the least, very large. I thought that if maybe I could help in any way with their needs...Anyway, they recently had a blood drive in front of Kmart on Highway 49, MS and received around 50 units of usable blood--not all A+. However, any blood they receive in her name will be credited to Emma's account at The Blood Center which has several locations: Picayune, Pascagoula and Ocean Springs, MS. There are locations in Louisiana, but we are still unsure whether or not Emma will receive credit at those locations. Another blood drive is scheduled in May (more details to follow in later posts), but if you would like to donate before then you can visit any of The Blood Center's locations in Mississippi and mention her name.

I hope to see you all at the next blood drive and thanks for helping all those in need!

Monday, January 5, 2009


OK. It's finally happened. I mean I knew it was going to, but was really hoping it wouldn't--a fake Twitter. This is a phishing scam directly aimed at the users of the popular social media site.
Twitter Scam

There is a lesson learned here. Keeping up with what is going on with your site or organization is necessary. Imagine if something like this went unnoticed and your patrons and volunteers were fooled by it. Not only would that be bad for the individuals that got duped it would be bad for the cause. It's harder to fix something like that than to prevent it.

So the after school special lesson is:

I threw the last one in there for moral support. Hey...let's face it. If you're involved with a non-profit it's difficult enough getting donations and keeping afloat. You don't need anything making it harder.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Giving Reasons for Giving

Helping others should be a reward in itself, right? Somewhat. Incentives are a way to induce those who would normally not give to do so and to inspire those that already help out to help out even more.

Promo items, as they are sometimes called, can be given to the public for any number of reasons: amount of money raised/donated, hours worked (for "free" of course), gifts to potential givers. This is a smart way to build relationships with current patrons and raise awareness in the community because the organization's logo frequently appears on the promo item. If the website address is on it, then people have a way to gather information about the non-profit(from the source) at their leisure.

My favorite promo items are pens and shirts because:
a. You can never have too many pens.
b. That's an article of clothing I don't have to buy.
c. People often ask about the organization on the promos and then I can tell them about it.

Unfortunately, items like the above cost money. They may not be expensive, though, because businesses will sometimes charge only a minimal fee above what actual materials cost. If you're a team leader not afraid of a little "adventure" then offering your team of fund raisers another type of incentive might work. I've known places where male team leaders dressed in full drag if their team met the goal. I wasn't sure whether to laugh, cry, or cry because I was laughing so hard, but hey--it worked.

Seriously, incentives can be powerful motivators. They can be used for profit oriented businesses or for charitable, non-profit organizations. I'm pretty sure a Lexus isn't on most non-profits' freebie list, but simple and inexpensive (sometimes free) items and solutions work too. Regardless of the amount you shell out, you'll strengthen relationships with patrons by allowing them to showcase their pride publicly with either a physical item or by word of mouth. That is if they can stop laughing.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

New High Society

Traditionally, high society are those with the most money, seen with the right people and in the right places, and who do the "right things", and have all the latest stuff. All that has changed with the internet, of course. The original hierarchy is still there, but a new "social order" has emerged and it is worth cultivating their patronage as well as the others.

By now, most of us are aware of social sites and the power they have. If you're reading this then you've at least started to try to understand how they work. Bloggers, as mentioned in an earlier post, are very influential. The whole #motrinmoms thing is testament to the power of not only individuals, but of groups that take their voice to the net.

If you can gain "friends" or at least people who think it's worth it to listen to your opinion, then spreading the word about a cause is so much easier and cheaper than traditional media. Instead of forcing people to hear what you have to say (advertising) they will instead listen to your message. That message could range from a simple "Hey, check this out." to "We need your help. Can you share your blessings?". This self proclaimed twaddict has noticed an upswing in internet socialites using their influence to drive traffic and donations for worthy causes. I must say I am impressed. Unless I am much mistaken the twitterverse helped fill a food pantry truck in under 2 hours. Lately, they've launched the Trick or Tweet campaign and Tweetsgiving as a way to help the non-profit world.

The new "social" order is here to stay whether we like it or not. I'm not saying ignore the old one. That would be crazy. Instead, let's try to understand both and cultivate both. Each has its drawbacks as well as its charms, and it would be wise to pay attention to it all. After all, everyone--no matter who they are--can help.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

It's Not Who You Know. It's Who's Willing to Mention You.

The internet has been considered by many to be the second most important invention next to the printing press. Its world wide reach and instant multi-media publishing capabilities are no doubt two of the major reasons why the web is fast replacing “traditional” media as the news source of choice. A web log or blog is basically self publishing at its best. It's cheap—even free and instantly available at the click of a button. No wonder many make use of them.

If you're good at it, maintaining a blog can bring you fame and wealth. Chris Brogan, Robert Scoble, and (from the other end of the spectrum) Perez Hilton are just a few people who have "made" it in the blogosphere.
Chris Brogan Robert Scoble Perez Hilton
Getting mentioned by one of them is huge. You can go from nobody knowing your name to thousands of people knowing your life.

So imagine what that can do for your organization. Exposure. It's undeniably needed if you are to maintain the interest of your peers, volunteers, and donors. It's also crucial to developing new contacts. Sometimes new contacts come from unexpected places if the right person takes an interest. However, never leave it to someone else to make it happen. I agree with Beth Kanter. FYI: She's super smart and great at her job (social media for non-profits--twitter profile). I asked her about some advice for this entry and she replied with "you know--that's just one strategy. Building relationships with your community gives a better return."
Beth Kanter

So get your organization's name and message out there. Don't forget, though, the right person can help you get the word out, too. And possibly to more people.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Not My Typical Post, but It's Important

Please...forward this link to anyone you know. Found out about this situation on twitter and just had to put it anywhere it would be seen.

Amber Alert Missing 14 yr old girl

Friday, October 10, 2008

Wow! Websites Work.

OK...I know the title is a little lame. It has a purpose, though. WWW. I know--lame tie in. Anyway, I got to looking around the web at different non-profit websites and thought "Hmm. What is it about this one I like better than that one? What is making me linger on this one or making me want to make a donation?" The answer should have been clear to me from the beginning. It's not the cause (although it was the original reason I looked for the site) but the site itself.

An organization's website is key in today's internet based world. It is often the first place a potential donor will get any real information about your cause and get a "feel" for how your charity works and its "culture." Remember, you never get a second chance to make a first impression. (Where have I heard that before?)

I began narrowing the field down to a few essentials after sifting through a lot of information. Then, I thought, "Hey. These look cool and useful and added those to the list.

1. Home Page: Please...make it relevant to your cause. A Christian website should not have Marilyn Manson music playing or images that might be offensive to your audience. On the other hand, a boring page won't do you any favors.
2. About Us: Telling people what you are about is key to building a relationship with your public. Make sure you are telling people what you want them to know in a way that is consistent with the image you want to portray.
3. Donate: You want people to donate, right? Making it as easy as a mouse click helps.
4. Members: A place for people to sign up for website/organization membership gives you an automatic way to update your database for newsletters and the like.
5. Up to Date: Another big one. Nothing is more annoying than taking an interest in a cause and then finding out the organization isn't interested enough to keep the website current!
6. Gadgets: Admittedly my favorite part of the websites. Having the right gadgets greatly increases the involvement of people looking at your site.

On that note, I'm going to share my favorite gadget. It's Google Earth. I simply love how non-profits are using it to make a visual impact. It's one thing to tell people about what you want to do and quite another to show them what it entails.

Crisis in Darfur

Gombe Gorillas

It is essential that an organization make their online presence or "face" relevant, easy to navigate, interesting, and keep it up to date. First impressions, right? Still, let's keep them coming back for a second, third, fourth......