Tag Archives: Advice

Slimming Down

My friend Ginger offers some savvy budgeting tips for event planners. Here is a great suggestion, and you can read her others here, here, and here.

Did you forget to include signage in your budget? Print posters at Kinko’s and use snap frames instead of poster board. After two uses, the frames will pay for themselves and they look much nicer. Bonus tip: Spend the savings on magnetic name tags. Your attendees will thank you for keeping their clothes intact.

What goes in as just as important as what doesn't go in.

What goes in as just as important as what doesn't go in.

It occurred to me that cutting budgets is like loosing weight. Why? Because not one, but two things need to happen to reach long-term success.

Rather than only cutting the “fat,” we must ensure that what remains on our plate is made better too. We can’t just spend less, we have to make sure the dollars (and time and employees and physical assets) that we do expend are more wisely allocated than ever before.

And here is how to look on the bright side as resources shrink: each and every one of these choices, just like those annoying audience members, can be viewed a great opportunities for improvement. (As they say, necessity is the mother…)

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Filed under Hints, Tips, and Tricks, Just HAD to Share (Random)

Selfish Sharing is Still Sharing

One of the most interesting and timeless types of sharing is charitable giving. I’ve been fortunate to correspond with Joe Waters, director of cause and event marketing at Boston Medical Center (BMC), about how he thinks new technologies have impacted fundraising and development. Before reading on, I suggest you check out his blog, Selfish Giving.

Header for Joe's Blog, "Wings," courtesy of Gapingvoid (http://www.gapingvoid.com/)

Header for Joe's Blog, "Wings," courtesy of Gapingvoid (www.gapingvoid.com)

At what point did you become an adopter? When did you realize that communications channels were undergoing an irrevocable “e-shift”?

For me it’s really not about a shift, but what’s effective. And there is clear movement out there to new forms of media, whether it is blogs, Facebook, Twitter, etc. I’m interested in staying effective and that’s where I need to be.

Of all the technologies you employ, which has yield the most response?

I think my blog has been a great tool to educate potential sponsors about cause marketing and to position myself as an expert in the field. It’s almost an online resume/notebook that I’m constantly updating with new ideas, accomplishments, and projects.

Asking donors to share their time, talents, and money is as old as the Catholic church, and probably older. But fundraising has typically been based on the idea of relationship building, and many would argue that online relationships tend to be inherently less personal than face to face cultivations. Has the internet helped or hurt (or both)?

Fundraising exclusively online is not a development strategy; it’s a tactic. To be successful raising money you need a comprehensive strategy that involves many different types of communication, including online. Online can be very efficient and effective, but it’s not a standalone. Just like cause marketing shouldn’t be a standalone. It needs to be done within the full suite of development activities (events, major gifts, foundations, etc.). The Internet can help nonprofits so long as they recognize they can’t stop doing all the other things they’re doing. Unfortunately, it won’t replace many of the things they are already doing. But it will enhance the success of those efforts.

Building on this question, you said: “Some people have asked why I gave my blog the rather irreverent name of Selfish Giving. I meant it as no offense to the practice of cause marketing or philanthropy, both of which I hold in high regard. But cause marketing is giving with an agenda, so why not call it what it is?” I agree that frankness is the way of the online and blog worlds. But probably not everyone in your industry does. Any backlash stemming from this conflict by people who don’t get it?

No one has ever said anything negative about my blog’s name. Of course, now that I say that I’ll probably have ten negative comments tonight! But really, people usually laugh when they hear the name. I think it also fits with my no-nonsense approach and witty tone on the blog. People know when you’re being sincere and anyone who reads my blog knows that I admire companies that give. I should add that there is plenty of unselfish corporate behavior that the press just doesn’t want to see right now.

So, BMC gala invites are distributed online this year. Interesting…

Necessity is the mother of invention, right? It was the tight economy this year that prompted us to rethink how we spent our money, especially for a big event like the Gala that involves 1,300 guests. One of the great things about a recession is that it makes you really question everything you’re doing, and when we looked at how most people heard about the Gala it wasn’t from the invite. We also cut the save-the-date card and the gala program (which I always thought was a big waste anyway). And we’ll save $15k by not having flower centerpieces at the event. Flowers are beautiful and great, but we think it sends the right message to our donors that our patients come before petunias.

The Rabbi Chaim story, to me, is one of depth vs. width. One of the comments on you blog makes valid point: “My guess is that the Rabbi’s SM is an active community with much participation in conversations. You need to build a similar community, now that you see how effective one can be. It is not about the cause, it is about the community around the cause.” Do you have advice for cause marketers in making their online sharing efforts authentic and community-based?

I think you have to try to make the online experience just as real as you can for donors. For example, we have a Boston Marathon team and while these folks raise tens of thousands of dollars for BMC, many just don’t have the time to visit the hospital to see firsthand the work we do. So instead we bring the hospital to them. Using a Flip video camera that cost us a couple hundred dollars, we’ve taped a series of interviews on our food pantry, cancer care, etc and then shared them with our runners via a weekly email newsletter. While we would still love to have them visit, we’ve tapped technology for a second option that is easy, cheap but effective in delivering our message of hope, health, and inclusiveness.

**Special thanks to Joe Waters and to Jessica for helping me coordiante this interview.**

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Filed under Charitable Giving, Interviews

If a tree falls in a forest…

Someone once told me that advice is only advice if it does not matter if the person on the receiving end follows it or not. That was good advice. But does the same go for sharing?

In my opinion, and for the purposes of this blog, I think not. To me, it’s more about the receiver(s) receiving (and hopefully processing and appreciating) than the sender sending. It’s market focused. In other words, sharing is not so much deontological as it is teleological/utilitarian (to harken back to intro class terminology…sort of).

Here are some instances of each. Let’s make this an on-going list:

Sharing:
Facebook in general
Really good blogs
Google docs
Flickr
This American Life
Permission marketing

Blogspot letting me use my WordPress identity to post comments

Not sharing:
Spam
Lazy emailing
Bad websites
Many Facebook status updates (i.e. “little junior has green vomit today”)
4th Generation iPod Nanos not supporting Firewall changing
25 random things
Endless reply-alls

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Filed under Defining Sharing