A lot of people ask me how I use twitter or what application I use so I decided to do a quick two minute tutorial to help you out. You can get tweetdeck right here and it’s free! check it out.
Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
When did everyone become so serious about fundraising? I mean I kind of get it – we are in a recession, people are worried about their jobs, family, lives… it’s the same for all of us. But when did we stop having fun? When did we stop enjoying what we do?
As always, I should make sure I begin by stating I’m not attempting to colour everyone with the same brush- that would be unfair. And God forbid…
I’m obviously a creative guy. I have fun designing logos, marketing materials, direct mail… I have fun working with colleagues and trying to come up with new ideas that would be cool to pitch to clients, or trying to remember something we did a few years ago that worked like gangbusters… I have fun getting out and meeting new people or chatting via twitter or on the phone… I have fun writing this blog… I try to have fun with what I do.
And then to be faced with clients who just sit there and grunt when I push a new design across the table, or who slurp on a milkshake when I am trying to figure out their needs on the phone… sigh.
I meet or talk to people who seem to have no real passion or fire for what they do or who they are helping… there seems to be so much negativity – ‘oh we can’t do that’ ‘oh our donors wont like this’ ‘oh the e.d. hates red’ ‘oh the board will never approve this budget’… again – big sigh.
Now I’m getting serious – who stole the FUN???
We wake up every day and get to change the world, little by little. That is profound! Someone will live, a child will eat, the crops will grow once more… because of us! Every little bit we play – we are doing good.
Are you hearing me?
Lets – have – FUN! Take joy in what you do.
Hell even I do stuff I hate doing, like admin work, or tiny edits to a coupon – but I pour my heart into the work I do for you and I love what I do and I love the difference I am making. And when we talk, or meet and I present work to you – let’s have some FUN!
Stop being so serious. That kind of attitude will kill you.
“…and these blogs, written by so called experts… why should I give a flying crap? Who cares what you think? Stop harassing me with your twitter address and latest blog post…” I listened in silence to a former colleague pontificate about her opinion on social media. I’m thinking, ‘Are you kidding?’
“I frankly don’t have time to read any blogs and don’t really see the point…” Another colleague who is a senior fundraiser. I’m thinking, ‘Are you kidding?’
“I can’t see that charity viral video on youtube because all of those types of sites are blocked…” A senior direct mail fundraiser at a hospital foundation. And I’m thinking, ‘Are you kidding?’
People, it’s 2009.
Blogs, twitter, linkedin, facebook, myspace, etc… these are not passing fads.
It’s usually the people who aren’t using these mediums that go on about how they don’t want to read about someone brushing their teeth or see pictures of them at a party.
It’s like a magazine or newspaper – honest. You read the ones you want to read because their content appeals to you, you like the style of writing and you always walk away having learned something new.
And as fundraisers, our colleagues are innovating almost every day and then some of them tell you what they did and how they did it on their blog or twitter. Or they post their work online using youtube and facebook groups.
And you want to stick you head in the ground or just throw your hands up – ‘oh the IT people won’t let us have access to those sites‘. How can you call yourself an informed, educated and up-to-date fundraiser and think you can ignore these new channels of amazing information?
I think it is a required responsibility to be informed and to stay up to date with current trends – I owe that to my clients. I owe that to their donors. Do I read every blog and twitter post all the time? Heck no.
And you shouldn’t feel like you have to as well. But get involved, be a voice, share your experiences, participate in discussions, be informed. Learn. Grow. Do better!
‘…and another thing – stop bugging me that you have this blog or cool website – I don’t care! It doesn’t matter to me! I don’t see the point and I don’t want to hear about it anymore…’
Are you kidding?
I was part of a discussion group the other week on LinkedIn where a member was asking people to take a short survey about blogs and bloggers, which I completed and then posted my thanks for running the survey, asked to hear the results and a, oh by the way if you want to check out my blog, surf over to… right here – “The Naked Idea“.
Of course, other followed suit by posting their names and blog addresses when suddenly a comment popped up telling all of us to stop spamming and why were people so intent on spamming everyone and everything and the whole world is crashing down, oh my…
His argument, as flawed in many ways as it was, circled around the idea that if I send you an email telling you that you must read my blog, and you never asked for it, then I am a spammer. (Actually his argument was that if a company sends promotional material to him that he didn’t ask for, then they are spamming him – which in my mind equals almost all advertising and marketing as a type of spam.)
I didn’t care for his approach but the point did strike a chord. It was the point of discussion a few nights later over a few beers alongside a few local creatives.
Every month, I send out an email to a number of colleagues. I have two lists I use. The first list is made up of current friends, colleagues and current clients. The second are people who maybe I’ve only done a project or two or who I think may be interested in my content. And it dawned on me – part way into my second pint – ‘I am a spammer…’
I send this email out and most of them have never asked for it. I do have a opt out option at the end, and in the six months I have been doing it have only had one person opt out but still… I was essentially spamming them wasn’t I? (I can hear your heads nodding from here…)
But let’s think about this.
What are we doing when we send out a prospect mailing? It’s not “spam” because it’s not electronic. But we are sending our content to someone who doesn’t necessarily want it although we HOPE they do… What about email? I’m sure some of the people you email have opt’d in somewhere down the line right? But unless they have opt’d in directly with you – you have to be concerned about how they might receive your message…
My friend Chris Lombardo sent me this definition of spam:
The word “Spam” as applied to Email means Unsolicited Bulk Email (”UBE”).
Unsolicited means that the Recipient has not granted verifiable permission for the message to be sent. Bulk means that the message is sent as part of a larger collection of messages, all having substantively identical content.
A message is Spam only if it is both Unsolicited and Bulk.
- Unsolicited Email is normal email (examples: first contact enquiries, job enquiries, sales enquiries)
- Bulk Email is normal email (examples: subscriber newsletters, customer communications, discussion lists)
It was the icing on the cake for me.
All I was trying to do was share the work I am doing, or the resources I come across with an audience who might care… but I shall spam no more!
After I hit the “publish” button I intend on spamming my email list once more begging for forgiveness and telling them to just hit the subscribe button and if they don’t I promise to not bug them again. And I ask the same of you – if you like some of my content, please just enter in your email and subscribe.
My name is John… and I am a spammer… and I am sorry.
This past week I attended Fundraising Day in Toronto. It was fantastic meeting people, some who I have worked with but have not met face to face, some completely new, some old friends…
I always enjoy these conferences because there always tend to be these nuggets of inspiration scattered throughout the day.
The first session of the day was by Kimberley MacKenzie called “One Stop Shopping For: Ideas, Learning, Benchmarking and Best Practices” and was centered around a fantastic site called SOFII. Some of you have heard about this ‘Showcase of Fundraising Innovation and Inspiration’ which has been built and managed by Ken Burnett.
Most of the people in the room had never heard of SOFII, which is a shame because most of those people were junior fundraisers who could really utilize some of the fantastic resources that exist, for FREE, to make the job they are doing better. And the bottom line is SOFII requires the contributions of all types of charities, big and small to be successful.
But here’s a downside to SOFII. It is incredibly hard to find stuff.
Earlier this year, I had my ear to the ground and had heard that Ken and Co. were thinking of a SOFII overhaul so I reached out and offered to help in the restructuring and redesign knowing how important it was to the industry and of course, to have my company name attached to such a high profile site was a bit of a no brainer.
So where am I going with all of this?
1) You should register at SOFII.org. It’s free and you’ll be one of the first to know when the new site has been relaunched.
2) SOFII does not exist so people can steal other people’s ideas. It exists to inspire and hopefully lead to new innovation.
3) You should tell every single fundraiser you know about SOFII because there is nothing else like it out there. Nothing.
At the end of Kimberley’s session, she asked for some possible features some of these fundraisers would like from SOFII now that they knew it existed. I personally like the idea of adding a forum where people can post questions, share horror stories and victories and we can help each other get better at what we do.
There is a lot of sharing in our industry but we all know there can be more.
I hope you take a second, right now and go over to SOFII, register and check it out. Once we get it relaunched we will be looking to all users to make it better.
Stop thinking fundraising is about you.
A couple years ago, I was helping the guys I play soccer with, plan a annual fundraiser they have. They wanted some of the proceeds to go to a charity – one that a colleague of mine worked at. So I contacted my friend and asked a few questions and was told that to use their logo on anything or if I was to use their name, I had to get it all approved by marketing and communications as well as a few other people.
I remember blogging quickly about this incident and asking the question – what if I wanted to raise money for your charity whether you liked it or not? I applaud people/donors who raise money for charities on their on accord, using their own ideas just because they believe in the cause. They weren’t asked by the charity – they saw the need and came up with something all by themselves.
A few weeks ago, my great friend Kim McMullen wrote to me about goats.
“I think this is an awesome charitable campaign that’s filtrated Vancouver thanks to the playoffs. Thought it might perk your interest. It’s everywhere. And I think it’s one of the smartest (and simplest) campaigns I’ve seen in a while.
Before you run off and check it out, Goat Canucks Goat was started by two Vancouver hockey fans.
From The Canadian Press:
“Because of our playoff goatees and playoff beards, somehow playoff goatee turned into playoff goat,” Nagtegaal said. “I don’t know how it happened. Maybe it was the post-game brewskis that we were having.”
Inebriation ignored, he and his friends decided to press on with the idea. Instead of growing facial hair, as legions of hockey fans do when the playoffs roll around, the guys vowed to donate goats worth $25 each to a village in Kenya.
They hoped to donate 16 goats in all, since 16 playoff wins would make the Canucks Stanley Cup champions.
“I set up a Facebook group for just us to keep each other accountable and said let’s make sure we get our goats after each win,” he said.
“But I guess they told their friends and they told their friends and the Facebook group got up to 800 people.”
Nagtegaal then received an e-mail from someone willing to create a website for the cause and goatcanucksgoat.com was born.
And now 875 goats are bound for Africa.
I don’t know how charities like yours find donors like these, but what I do know is that fundraising has very little to do with you. Your charity is just a link between the beneficiary and the donor. Your charity only exists to let donors help your beneficiaries. You are the pipeline to make good things happen. Stop thinking fundraising is about you, and all the great things you are doing. Stop thinking about you altogether. And when you do that, people like Joel will find you.