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.