fundraising, Getting Started, social media strategy, storytelling

Donate Now. Or Later. Or Whenever. Live Blogging at NTEN

9 Comments 29 April 2009


image by CRLS

image by CRLS

I’m live blogging the “Donate Now. Or Later. Or Whenever” session at the NTEN 2009 Conference.

The presenter is Madeline Stanionis from Watershed Company. I placed this artsy image of sangria because Madeline offered FREE CUPS OF SANGRIA to every person sitting in the session. So, I’m actually live blogging with sangria. Who knows – maybe I’ll blog better this time? You be the judge!

Big mistakes:

-we don’t ask because “we’re so nice”

-we only associate with people similar to ourselves. We forget that most people don’t care about what we care about.

What’s working now?

IT IS NOT ABOUT THE TECHNOLOGY!

IT’S ABOUT THE PEOPLE! We need to reach PEOPLE on the other side of our email lists.

YOU are usually NOT THEM. Don’t make that mistake. We are almost never…them.

So, be yourself. Use “I” statements like “I feel, I think, I hope, I dream, I fear…” That makes us human. When you write an email you could add a note about how it makes you feel!

Let your PASSION show. Stop sending boring tweets all the time- people connect to passion.

So…. “Say The Thing That Must Be Said.”

Example: Planned Parenthood Action Center sent out a note about Sarah Palin when Sarah Palin was the VP nominee.
They created a campaign around The Thing That Must Be Said called, “You are NOT our Candidate.” The eletters talked about why she was not “our” candidate.

Example 2: Planned Parenthood created a “Let’s Talk About Sex” campaign. So they sent an open letter to the President to “Talk About Sex.”

Example 3: another group set up a special website just to thank Obama for passing a law.

Next: Go to the fish

Example: a friend on Facebook raised almost $2000 for her birthday through the Birthday Cause.

Example2: www.morebirthdays.com. You can make the American Cancer Society the sponsor for your birthday cause. Can do it through Facebook.

Creative Campaigns Examples

PETA renamed fish “sea kittens” and a Save the Sea Kitten campaigns.

AlterNet – Didn’t have money to publish books. Asked people to donate $10 and name will be listed as a publisher of their book.

People don’t stop giving, but just in smaller amounts, so make gifts meaningful.

The Nation- creative campaign to build a list. They gave away an all-expense paid “day at the Nation” magazine to the person who told the most friends about The Nation.

Raffle off meaningful memorabilia that would be meaningful to your stakeholders.

Humane Society of the US- vote for best pet but had to pay $5 to vote 5 times. People understood why.

Stop with the Silos.

We let ourselves get into these “silos” where departments don’t talk to each other: We need to diversity.

We can learn from each other and other departments’ work.

Or integrate marketing efforts by combining different types of mediums – text plus email, or email plus phone calls, etc.

Special Guest and Case Study: Ceciie Surasky from Jewish Voice for Peace. They energized and changed their organization through one campaign.

JVP is a national grassroots organization to end Israel’s “occupation” and promote a US foreign policy of coexistance. They exist purely at the pleasure of individual donations across the country. It’s a “donor-activist” model. Six months ago – had a 22,000 person supporter list. Couldn’t figure out how to grow it.  Needed to change the org. Only had 4 staff  people.

Created the Shmenista Campaign.
Shmenista means 12th-grader in Hebrew.  12th-graders were writing letters saying that they didn’t want to serve in the army because of Israel’s policies in the territories and be “conscientious objectors.” The young girls writing these letters were being put in jail. These girls wrote letters and put out an open call to help them. The JVP decided to take up this call: young people being brave.
Easy and cheap to create this campaign. Created an online petition campaign – www. December18th.org, using a WordPress template for the online petition and Israeli supporters created a video for the campaign free of charge. (December 18th was a planned peace/resister protest in Israel.) The online petition was sent to Israeli ministers in government.

(Play video during conference – black and white, very emotional. Anyone can view it on the December18th website.)

What were the other assets?  Ed Asner and Howard Zinn sit on their Advisory Board. Published guest blog post by Ed Asner. It was then picked up by the Huffington Post.   Then JVP was covered and placed in magazines around the world. Why?

The media is still covering this issue and crediting JVP. Now JVP has organized a speaking tour with Code Pink using the five young people featured in the video. All from the website, emails and the video. To date over 100,000 people have viewed the video. Most of it viral. Collected over 55,000 letters for the campaign.

What has changed?
It has made JVP rethink campaigns and how they are created, and the way the organization has cut down its “silos”. Have since created new campaigns, and the media now covers them without publishing press releases. Fundraising impact: over 3X what we have expected in prior years. Brought in a lot of new donors.

Lessons learned by Jewish Voice for Peace

  • Jewish Voice for Peace has moved away from a policy- and data-focused approach. They need their hard-core activists (and they need that data and policy language) so they can’t ignore that aspect. But, by moving away from that approach, they have actually inspired the hard-core activists. Speak the truth, passionately, from the heart, and that inspires. With these campaigns – no one asked for data.
  • Needed an external consultant to kick them into gear. (They hired Watershed Company to give them ideas and kick them into gear.) Don’t ask permission to move forward. Just move forward.
  • We had all the resources that we needed in-house. We had the stories, passion and know-how. It’s not about technology, but about the people.

My Takeaways:

Rethink the way that the organization is structured to include all staff in developing creative campaigns.

Speak honestly and passionately about your cause and campaign. Include media- very powerful medium.

A good media-worthy story is very viral.

Say The Thing That Must Be Said.




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  • Melanie Sobell Zaken

    fascinating stuff. thanks 4 sharing

    [Reply]

    Debra Askanase Reply:

    @melanie thanks for reading! When I went to the session, I had no idea that it would be about JVP. She was the “surprise guest.” As an Israeli citizen and American citizen, it was surreal to blog about Israel from America. I have been curious since whether or not the Shemenista campaign was covered in the Israeli media, and what Israelis thought about this campaign. It is a fascinating social media case, and I’m glad to have learned about this model.

    [Reply]

  • Melanie Sobell Zaken

    fascinating stuff. thanks 4 sharing

    [Reply]

    Debra Askanase Reply:

    @melanie thanks for reading! When I went to the session, I had no idea that it would be about JVP. She was the “surprise guest.” As an Israeli citizen and American citizen, it was surreal to blog about Israel from America. I have been curious since whether or not the Shemenista campaign was covered in the Israeli media, and what Israelis thought about this campaign. It is a fascinating social media case, and I’m glad to have learned about this model.

    [Reply]

  • Hi,

    I missed this session at the Conference so am reading back over the materials. This is a fantastic blog post, with some great points that I’ll share with the rest of my organisation.

    Well done!

    [Reply]

    Debra Askanase Reply:

    Hi Keith – I really appreciate you taking the time to visit and comment. It was definitely one of the most moving and interesting sessions (all in one) that I attended. Next year, I’m standing in line for this session – great information and sangria. Hope to see you next year at NTC!

    [Reply]

  • Hi,

    I missed this session at the Conference so am reading back over the materials. This is a fantastic blog post, with some great points that I’ll share with the rest of my organisation.

    Well done!

    [Reply]

    Debra Askanase Reply:

    Hi Keith – I really appreciate you taking the time to visit and comment. It was definitely one of the most moving and interesting sessions (all in one) that I attended. Next year, I’m standing in line for this session – great information and sangria. Hope to see you next year at NTC!

    [Reply]

About

Debra Askanase is an experienced digital engagement strategist, non-profit executive, and community organizer. She works with mission-driven organizations to develop digital strategies and campaigns that engage, create trust, and move stakeholders to action. Debra speaks at conferences worldwide on the intersection of technology, social media, and nonprofit organizations.

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