Viewing entries in
Social Media Marketing

Cause Marketing 101: Getting Started

Comment

Cause Marketing 101: Getting Started

by Kate Vandeveld

Did you know that 90% of U.S. consumers say they would switch to a brand associated with a cause, given comparable price and quality? In other words, even beyond the positive implications on our communities and our world, it’s also good for the bottom line.

This is one of many reasons that an increasing number of businesses are finding ways, big and small, to incorporate social and environmental causes into their business models. 

One effective and relatively uncomplicated way for businesses to do so is through cause marketing, or a marketing campaign geared toward a social or environmental cause. Such campaigns or initiatives can be run as a collaborative effort between a for-profit business and a nonprofit organization, or by a business on its own. And they can have a variety of goals, from fundraising, to raising awareness, to advocacy. 

If your business is interested in developing a cause marketing campaign, here are our tips for getting started:

Find a Cause That’s Aligned With Your Values 

As you might expect, the most important aspect of a cause marketing campaign is determining which cause you’ll be supporting. As with all CSR-related initiatives, it’s crucial that you align with your brand’s identity and core values. If you don’t approach your campaign from this angle, it’s likely to come across as insincere or irrelevant, which makes it difficult for consumers to connect and engage. When the connection between your values and your campaign makes sense and feels genuine, it will be easier to market, resonate with your audience, and achieve your intended impact.

A great example of alignment in cause marketing is Reebok’s partnership with the Avon 39 Walk to End Breast Cancer. This annual walk is meant to increase awareness about the signs and symptoms of breast cancer, educate people about the importance of early detection, and raise money for cancer research, and an athletic event with a cause is a natural opportunity for an athletic shoe company to get involved. With Reebok’s support, the campaign has been able to raise over $500 million for breast cancer prevention and research.

Find the Right Partner(s)

Once you’ve decided on the cause you want to support, the next step is choosing a potential partner(s). Here’s what you should look for:

  • Their mission(s) align(s) with your cause marketing goals
  • They are able to clearly measure and demonstrate the positive outcome of their programs
  • They have the internal capacity to work with you on a campaign (i.e. they have at least one staff member with bandwidth and strong interest)
  • They have a built-in audience you can activate in addition to your own

Remember, the best partnerships create mutual benefit for everyone involved, thereby incentivizing strong participation on both sides.

Get Creative with Your Plans

These days, there are a number of social responsibility initiatives and cause marketing campaigns out there. While this is a great thing, you’ll need to get creative to get your message out in a way that is attention grabbing, genuine, and impactful. Simply aligning yourself with a nonprofit partner and talking about it online won’t be enough – you need to think outside of the box and be smart with your timing, designs, and messaging.

For example, in 2011, Patagonia launched a cause marketing campaign around Black Friday and Cyber Monday called the Common Threads Initiative, which called on consumers to buy less – including less of Patagonia’s apparel. The campaign encouraged conscious consumption by calling out the environmental cost of producing every item we purchase, while simultaneously selling sewing kits for clothing repair. It was risky and innovative enough to garner a great deal of attention while still achieving its purpose of touting the durability of Patagonia clothing.

Use Your Available Assets

To run an effective campaign, you’ll also want to be sure you’re leveraging all available assets – both your own as well as those of your partners.

One great example is Dunkin’ Donuts’ annual Cop on a Rooftop campaign. Each year in Chicago, Dunkin’ Donuts partners with Illinois Law Enforcement to raise money for Special Olympics Illinois. To promote the campaign, Dunkin’ Donuts utilizes  its brick-and-mortar Chicago stores as well as the manpower of Illinois Law Enforcement. Law enforcement officers stand on the rooftops of participating locations and encourage patrons to make a donation to the Special Olympics, offering prizes to those who donate certain amounts. Since its inception 13 years ago, the campaign has raised over $2.3 million.

Have you seen or participated in a particularly unique or effective cause marketing campaign? Tell us about it – here’s how:

Comment

Work Hard & Be Nice: How Askinosie Chocolate is Changing the World

Comment

Work Hard & Be Nice: How Askinosie Chocolate is Changing the World

by Kate Vandeveld

As you may have noticed, we’re really into the idea of changing the world for the better. And, similar to almost everyone else in the world, we also LOVE chocolate. So you can imagine how thrilled we were to learn about Askinosie Chocolate – a social enterprise that creates sustainable change through the production and distribution of chocolate.

  © Askinosie Chocolate 

© Askinosie Chocolate 

There are many things that make Askinosie Chocolate stand out. To start, their commitment to social responsibility, unique story, friendly and approachable messaging, and beautiful packaging. We had the chance to chat with Lawren Askinosie, the company’s Director of Sales and Marketing (as well as the founder’s daughter), who gave us the inside scoop on the magic behind the brand, as well as their impact.


Tell us a bit about Askinosie Chocolate and what you do.

My dad started the factory in 2006, after over 20 years as a criminal defense attorney, because he was ready for a change. I was still in high school at the time, but immediately became intimately involved with our new lives as chocolate makers, especially on the marketing side of things.

Lawren-Askinosie-WhyWhisper

For a while, at 15, I was the one handling our social media, writing our press releases, writing website copy, and packaging copy. In fact, those things are still part of my job, except at the time I had no idea what I was doing. I learned so much as I went along though, and it was fun. Even now, we're still such a small team that we're often learning on the fly. With each new opportunity or project, we learn a plethora of new skills because, well, there's often no one else around to do it and somebody has to!

I started college a bit early and graduated a bit early, because I was honestly so passionate about what we were creating that I couldn't wait to jump in full-time at the factory (which I did immediately). I have been in my role as Director of Sales & Marketing for a little over 4 years, and every day is completely different.

Askinosie-Chocolate-WhyWhisper-Collective.jpg

We have a little saying around the factory: "It's not about the chocolate, it's about the chocolate," which sums up our philosophy of this zen-like balance we strive for between an excellent product and doing as much good as we can. Whether it's our Direct Trade practices and profit sharing with our farmer partners, our Sustainable Lunch ProgramsChocolate University, or our commitment to traveling the globe in search of the best beans and developing relationships with the amazing farmers who harvest them, it all makes our chocolate better.


As you’ve noted, Askinosie Chocolates has developed a number of incredible programs that provide food, education, and agency to members of the communities you work with. Why did you choose to incorporate social responsibility into your business model in such a major way?

We incorporate social responsibility into our business because, well, our business is founded on it. The very foundation of what we do is based on Direct Trade; without it, we wouldn't be able to make great chocolate, plain and simple. The direct relationships with farmers ensures that we have the highest quality beans possible, and the profit sharing encourages the farmers to continue to produce great beans, because it produces better chocolate, which people love and want to purchase!

Askinosie-Chocolate-WhyWhisper

As for the other work we do, it just makes sense. It made sense for us to start Chocolate University, which is funded mainly by our weekly tours, because we wanted to serve our community, particularly our neighborhood. And it also made sense for us to get involved in our origin communities. We've worked so hard to develop meaningful relationships with our farmer partners; it seemed like a direct extension to then work with their local schools and their children and help them meet this need for nutrition, which is why we began the Sustainable Lunch Programs.

Perhaps the most exciting development of the Sustainable Lunch Programs is that within 5 years, our aim is for us to be out of the picture. Right now, Parent-Teacher Associations (PTAs) at local schools in the communities we work with make and harvest various local products, such as rice and cocoa rounds. We then ship these products back to the United States with our cocoa beans and sell them across the country. 100% of the profits from these products are returned to the PTA to fund lunches for each student every day. Through this process, we're basically providing them access to the market. We're also teaching them to do it themselves, so within 5 years (or less), they won't need us anymore. We see that as true sustainability. In fact, both communities in which we have the Sustainable Lunch Programs (Tanzania the Philippines) are already working toward this, and are well on their way to taking their products to the next level on their own. Of course, we’ll still be involved in their communities in other ways, because being deeply involved in the communities we work with is at the core of what we do.

Askinosie WhyWhisper.jpg

In a nutshell, we believe the social purpose of Askinosie Chocolate is to not only compensate our farmers fairly and treat them like the business partners they are, but to connect those farmers with our customers – to build relationships based on mutual understanding and appreciation, which makes both our chocolate and our business better. We believe transparency, social responsibility, and sustainability aren't just a part of great chocolate, they create great chocolate. It all goes hand-in-hand. 



How has your role at the company evolved over the years, and what is your favorite part of what you do now?

My role has evolved as the company evolved. I work alongside my Dad and our COO to run the company, and even though we manage different small teams with various responsibilities, we all work extremely closely with one another (there are only 15 of us full-time!). It's very hands-on.

Many of my responsibilities are the same as they were in high school; and in some ways they're just more challenging. Ari Weinzweig, co-founder of Zingerman's and a mentor to our factory says, "Success means you get better problems--but there will always be problems." I'd say we're lucky enough now that we encounter some pretty major problems! When I'm feeling optimistic (ha!), I like to think of them as opportunities; opportunities for me to learn something, to do better. And in many ways that's how my role has evolved the most: I've become a pretty solid problem solver and I get a chance to improve that skill on a weekly, if not daily basis.

My responsibilities are so varied that I really don't have a favorite aspect, although I must say that traveling to origin countries to meet with farmers, inspect cocoa beans, and work on community development projects is not only one of my favorite and most rewarding parts of my job – those trips have also been some of my most treasured life experiences as well. 

Askinosie-Chocolate-WhyWhisper

What advice would you give to someone who is thinking about starting their own social enterprise?

I don't know that I have anything that revelatory to share here that many other experts haven't already shared, but a piece of advice I happen to believe in wholeheartedly is this:

Work hard and be nice to people. In my (albeit limited) experience I've found that pursuing tirelessly what it is that you think is right or good, while also being kind and compassionate tends to yield pretty positive results. 

 

We couldn’t agree more: With passion, kindness, and tenacity, anything is possible. Lawren’s upbeat personality and infectious enthusiasm for change and chocolate are apparent in Askinosie Chocolate’s social media presence – check them out on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.  And we highly recommend that you buy some of their chocolate – but that almost goes without saying.

Do you know an individual or organization who is changing the world in a unique way? Tell us about them in the comments below, or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. We would love to help share their stories. 

 



Comment

5 Tips for Marketing to a Global Audience

4 Comments

5 Tips for Marketing to a Global Audience

by Kate Vandeveld

These days, it’s not uncommon for organizations and businesses to market their products and services globally, rather than focusing on a specific region. Email and social media allow us to bridge cultural and geographic divides, engaging with people all over the world who might be interested in our products, services, and ideas.

As you expand your global reach, it’s crucial to develop your marketing strategy with local market audiences in mind. Here’s how to best engage your target audience when working on a global scale:

 

1. Conduct Cultural Research

When you’re looking to expand into new geographical regions, it’s important that you get to know your audience. Having a basic understanding of a culture and its norms can make a huge difference in your audience’s perception of you and your brand, while helping you to avoid coming off as being ethnocentric or detached. For example, Procter & Gamble once released a TV commercial in Japan that had been popular in Europe. In the commercial, a man walked into the bathroom when a woman was in the bathtub, and touched her on the shoulder. In Japan, this action was perceived as being extremely chauvinistic and ill-mannered, and the commercial was off-putting to most.  With a little research, P&G could have easily avoided this cultural blunder.

The better you understand cultural norms, the more effective you can be in localizing your brand’s message. You can gather this information by reading about it, or, even better, by conducting market research of your target audience. And of course, the best possible way to ensure that you understand the cultural norms of a geographic region is to recruit a team member from the target region, or place someone from your team on the ground. Working directly with someone who has a deeper understanding of cultural norms is the best way to avoid making generalizations and truly appeal to a particular group of people.

 

2. Build Relationships with Local Influencers

When marketing to a new region, do not underestimate the importance of connecting with local influencers. These individuals can help you foster a sense of trust between you and the local audience, help you engage with those who will be excited about your products and services, and provide you with helpful information for tailoring your message.

Look for people and organizations that are talking about your industry, and that have a relatively large following on various platforms – a blog, Facebook, or Twitter, for example. If you’re able to engage these influencers and get them interested in what you’re doing, they can act as invaluable brand ambassadors to your target audience.

 

3. Tailor Your Content & Pay Attention to Language

When expanding globally, take the time to tailor your messaging to your new target markets. Detached messaging from an irrelevant third party will do nothing to build your credibility in new communities, so it’s essential that your content sounds like it is actually coming from the market you’re targeting. This means finding out what features are most relevant to your new audience, being aware of local and regional events and holidays, and using the knowledge you’ve gained from your cultural research to localize your message.

Once you’ve determined the type of content that you want to include in your marketing strategy, you’ll need to consider the language you use to convey it. If you’re targeting a market that largely speaks a different language, you will of course need to consider translation. If you’re able, opt for professional translation in order to avoid mistakes that will decrease your credibility. If you’re targeting a market that speaks the same language, be careful about idioms and colloquialisms – certain words and phrases are only used in certain areas, and you need to be aware of them when crafting your messaging.  For example, the phrase “pulling someone’s leg” is an American idiom that would likely confuse a British audience.

 

4. Develop a Global-Friendly Website & Consider SEO

Your website can be accessed by almost anyone with an Internet connection almost anywhere in the world, and may act as the first point of contact between you and new members of your audience. To make sure that your website best represents your brand, there are a few key ways that you can optimize your website for the global market. To make your website global-friendly, you’ll want to reduce the use of text in images, as it cannot be translated, and make sure that the rest of your text can be machine-translated. If you’re selling a product, double check that your shopping cart is internationally-friendly. And if you’re designing your website from scratch, you may even want to consider the connotations of different colors. For example, in the United States, green often represents eco-friendliness, whereas elsewhere it signals greed. In China, green can even indicate infidelity!

As you’re adapting your website, don’t forget to consider search engine optimization. Once you’ve figured out which aspects of your product or service appeal to a particular market, you’ll need to optimize your website for specific keywords and phrases. You should also consider preferred search engines, as they may vary according to region. Google isn’t the dominant search engine everywhere; in Russia, for example, it’s Yandex

 

5. Stay Up-to-Date on Global Trends & Events

Once you’ve launched your marketing strategy, don’t forget to stay current when it comes to global trends. Even the most perfectly crafted content can quickly become irrelevant in light of new global developments. Think of your strategy as a work in progress, and be ready to make adjustments as events occur and new trends develop.

There are many aspects of your marketing strategy that you’ll need to consider to most effectively engage global audiences, but taking these steps will be well worth it when you’re able to bridge cultural barriers and connect with people across geographic divides.

Do you have any more tips for global marketing? Tell us in the comments below, or reach out via Facebook or Twitter

4 Comments

No Selfies With Cute Babies: On Finding the Way to Responsible Voluntourism

1 Comment

No Selfies With Cute Babies: On Finding the Way to Responsible Voluntourism

by Shanley Knox, featuring interview with Kate Otto

Have you ever seen those beautiful photos of volunteers with small, African children wrapped in their arms? At first glance, these photos represent selfless individuals making a difference. But, could there be a deeper issue at stake?

Hashtags like #InstagrammingAfrica #MedicalBrigades, #GlobalHealth, and the nostalgic #TakeMeBack are growing in popularity as students and young professionals experience life changing trips to Africa and beyond. But, research is showing that these trips are not always beneficial to local populations.

In her recent piece, “#InstagrammingAfrica: The Narcissism of Global Voluntourism,” Lauren Kascak writes that, “Volunteerism is ultimately about the fulfillment of the volunteers themselves, not necessarily what they bring to the communities they visit. In fact, medical volunteerism often breaks down existing local health systems.”

As organizations work to improve the impact of “Voluntourism,” we, at WhyWhisper, took a look into the digital side of sharing these experiences. 

We asked Kate Otto, a World Bank consultant and the founder of Everyday Ambassador, to weigh in with her tips on impactful digital documentation surrounding your volunteer experience. 

Below, her tips for helping, instead of hurting, through your social sharing:

WWCo: How can we do better in digitally sharing our overseas experience?

Kate: The golden rule of sharing your experience overseas on public, digital media: imagine that everything you're posting to your Facebook, Twitter, and blog will be read and observed by everyone who you talk about in those posts (even if you know they don't have accounts on these platforms, or access to Internet). Would they be hurt, insulted, belittled, or disempowered by your comments or photographs? Would they probably think you're misunderstanding them? Then don't post it.

Have the consent of anyone who you're posting a picture of to post it to the world. Basically, even though the people you're working with are different from you on many levels, treat them the way you would like to be treated.

 WWCo: Can posting a certain projection of Africa and other destinations in the Global South be harmful?

 Kate:

1. There’s nothing wrong with taking and posting photos of yourself and the people who you're working and living with abroad; this can be an act that solidifies friendships and documents moments of joy and gratitude in the same way we would do in our 'home' environments. The problem isn't with your action, it's with your approach. There's everything wrong with taking and posting photos of yourself and the people who you're living and working with abroad, if in doing so you present yourself as "saving" or "helping" others, or in any way being "above", "smarter than", "more advanced' than "them".

2. Avoid us/them narratives at all costs. We are we. We are all people. We give and take in our relationships (and if you think you're the only one giving, you're probably not in a relationship), and we are gracious and kind and respectful in our relationships. By doing anything other than treating each other as equals, we are perpetuating systems of oppression. So be cool.

WWCo: What is the way forward toward documenting and sharing our experiences in a more positive way?

 Kate:

1. Honestly, document less and live more. Enjoy your experience without having to document every moment of it. 

2. Question yourself always: are you documenting for yourself, or for others? If it's for others, why? Be honest with yourself about whether you're taking and posting that photo to craft your "image" for others, or because you genuinely want to share a specific, meaningful moment with friends/family who are happy to share in your joys, whether they're your new friends abroad or your 'home' friends.

3. The absolute key part of travel and volunteering/voluntourism is about building meaningful relationships, and it's your responsibility to decide how (over)documenting your experiences will diminish or enhance your capacity for deep, lasting human connection.

To dig a bit deeper on this topic:

For effective ways of writing about your service/voluntourism experiences, check out EA's #WednesdayWisdom blog series 

For a weekly roundup of hot media on the topic of being authentic in a technology-saturated world, check out EA's #WeeklyPassport blog series

Looking for concrete tips about managing your voluntourism experience? Check out EA's recent webinar "No Selfies w/ Cute Babies! And Other Tips for Your Summer Abroad"

Pre-order Kate's book "Everyday Ambassador" to get a deeper analysis of these topics, pub date Jan 2015

1 Comment

5 Steps to Selling your Cause on Social Media

Comment

5 Steps to Selling your Cause on Social Media

by Shanley Knox

If there is a single key to mastering the art of social media, it lies in building relationships. Whether you are looking to drive donations, draw volunteers, or promote awareness of a social issue, it's critical that your followers and fans feel personally involved in your organizational success.

The secret to beginning this process? Effective, personal engagement with people in your online network.  Here are five steps to guide you in your efforts:

1. Start By Getting Personal

In sales, it is often said that if someone feels that they can relate to you, they are much more likely to purchase. The same is true of causes. Does a follower share a similar love of your favorite book? Are they tweeting about a movie you just saw? Reach out to let them know how you felt about it. Take it a step further... if they tweet about their passion for a cause that relatees to your organization, reach out with a comment about why you care. It may seem like a small gesture to you, but facilitating this personal connection lets your followers (and potential followers) know you’re listening, and will ultimately help to create buy-in.

2. Cultivate a Relationship

Now that you've initiated contact, refrain from immediately selling your cause. Instead, let them know you value their perspective. If they are posting relevant content, retweet it. Answer their questions. Like their photos. Ask about their day. There’s no need to rush. They’ll be more likely to buy or donate once they feel that they can trust you.

Meanwhile, take some time to learn about who you're engaging with. If done properly, this process will produce valuable research for your organization...
     - What type of people follow you and/or respond to your outreach? 
     - What events or hobbies are they interested in?
     - Where do they live? 
     - How old are they?
     - What drives them to speak up? 

3. Address Their Pain Points

When it comes time to directly pitch your organization, think back to your research. Is there some way they personally relate to your cause? Use it to spark the conversation. Are they looking for ways to get involved, but have limited time to give? Present them with volunteer opportunities that require minimal commitment. Do they wonder where donations dollars go? Show them with pictures and stories. Knowing these pain points helps you to send them relevant information (in 140 characters, no less). It will make all the difference.

4. Close the Deal

When it comes time to close the deal, don’t be shy. Many donors or potential volunteers are interested in causes, but forget to follow through, or procrastinate until later (don’t we all?). Don't be afraid to ask for what you want. Sending a friendly reminder such as, “Did you get the link I sent?” or “I’d love to have an offline conversation about our organization, if you’re interested!” will help to put pressure on them to respond, without pushing them to an uncomfortable point.

5. Follow Up

Didn’t get them the first time? Don’t be frustrated. Studies have shown that making a sale can take seven to eleven points of contact. By following up, you can help prospective donors to recognize their value to your organization. By asking for something specific, e.g. “Five minutes of your time?” or, “Think you can join us in volunteering on Saturday?”, you provide them with the opportunity to deliver. 

Beyond all else, be sure to continue using your social channels to engage with your prospects. Show them you care beyond their potential as a donor. It's all about building trust through authentic means of engagement. 

Have tips to add? Tell us in the comments below, or contact us via Facebook, Twitter or Email

Comment

How to Run an Online Campaign with User Generated Content

Comment

How to Run an Online Campaign with User Generated Content

by Shanley Knox

When it comes to running a successful online campaign, the key is no longer just in offering great content to your users. Instead, it's important to create a campaign that convinces your followers to generate the content themselves.

So, just how do you do that?

Set Measurable Goals

Before beginning your campaign, it's important to explore your purpose. Do you want to increase your reach? Educate others? Generate sales leads? Your goal should be clearly defined, so as to inform your strategy and content.  

Make it Worthwhile

Once you’ve laid out your campaign goals, it's important to ensure that you're offering fans value in exchange for providing you with content. In order to identify what makes them tick, you need to do some research. Do your fans want visibility across your platforms? Recognition for a donation? An opportunity or a prize? Once you pinpoint exactly what it is that they’re looking for, you can craft your campaign content around it.

Develop Toolkits to Support Your Fans

What do you want your campaign partners, stakeholders, and fans to do? Do you want them to share your logo, tweet a certain link, or post photos that incorporate your product? Make sure you create a comprehensive list, as this will help to ensure your campaign goals are met by the content your fans are generating. To set yourself up for success, make downloadable toolkits readily accessible, including sample tweets, shareable logos, photos, testimonials, and more.

Create Campaign Ambassadors

Campaign ambassadors are online users who spread the word on your behalf through their social accounts and personal networks. Often, your existing fans and supporters make the best campaign ambassadors. Request participation via email, and routinely follow up with specific tasks that maintain campaign momentum.

Another way to generate campaign ambassadors is to put up a registration page on your website.


Invite Fans to Collaborate

Host a Twitter chat, feature guest bloggers, invite guest pinners to your Pinterest boards. By inviting fans to collaborate with you, you're helping to create buy-in between you and your fans, while also incorporating new thoughts and/or aesthetics, and driving visibility amongst fan networks.


Engage

Don’t forget to monitor your campaign daily, and engage with your fans throughout. Like their posts, comment on their entries, share their content.... let them know you appreciate their involvement. 

Have you hosted a successful campaign focused on user generated content? Tell us in the comments below, or contact us via Facebook, Twitter or Email

Comment

8 Steps to a Powerful Nonprofit Case Study

Comment

8 Steps to a Powerful Nonprofit Case Study

by Shanley Knox & Alexandra Ostrow

Time and time again, it's been said that individual stories are the single most powerful tool for increasing nonprofit donations. These stories, when coupled with key facts and statistics, make for a very powerful case study. 

It is therefore important to take note of one of the key difficulties encountered when including an individual's life in a case study: publishing personal stories can have ramifications on safety, reputation, confidence levels, and so much more. While you want to demonstrate your impact, you also want to handle a life with the utmost caution and respect. 

Below, we outline a step-by-step process for building a powerful, results-driven case study, while maintaining respect, and also being mindful of safety:

  1. The End Result
    It might sound counter-intuitive, but you need to begin at the end. What does “success” look like for your organization? What are you able to prove? What are donors looking for? Make sure you're being specific about what you’re measuring. 
     
  2. The Person Behind the Story
    Based on the impact you plan to illustrate, identify the person or people whose story would be best to tell. Make sure to think through the personal elements that donors will relate to most, as these will need to be incorporated. 
     
  3. The Written Elements of His or Her Story
    Create a list of questions you would like this person to answer that will help illustrate "The Before", as well as "The After."  
     
  4. The Process
    Where were funds spent? Who was brought in to help? Why were these specific measures taken? Provide clear, concise descriptions of the factors that led to success. 
     
  5. Rich Media Assets
    Think through what assets will best illustrate the story. Get creative... Photos? A video interview? An infographic? You should be prepared to illustrate "The Before", "The Process", and "The After".
     
  6. Consent
    Create a signed release/express permission form that explains exactly what information and assets will be shared. Find creative ways to shield personal details and/or identities for those who could be hurt or embarrassed were their identities or personal details to be revealed. If it's necessary, change their name, and use a small disclaimer such as, “I'll call her Joanne…,” or “John, a pseudonym...” Make sure you've secured explicit written permission before publishing stories or photographs, and when in doubt, don't hesitate to consult a lawyer.
     
  7. Assemble the Pieces
    Because your case study involves a personal story, it can be difficult to isolate the most important information to include. If you’re not careful, you might find yourself incorporating emotional, yet irrelevant, information, which subsequently detracts from key points. When pulling together your case study, make sure that you're still focusing on a single area, for which you're able to measure the results. 
     
  8. Distribute
    Once you’re finished (and you've circulated your case study for feedback), be sure to:
    • Incorporate into fundraising presentations
    • Include in grant proposals
    • Post to your website
    • Send out via e-newsletter
    • Share through your social channels

Don't forget to integrate Calls-to-Action. Readers/viewers have many pieces of content competing for their attention. If they've taken an interest in your case study, you want to convert their interest by telling them what to do next... Donate? Sign up? Contact us? Don't miss your opportunity.  

Is there something we missed? Or, do you have a particularly compelling case study to share? As always, our team would love to hear from you! Post in the comments below, or contact us via Facebook, Twitter or Email

———

For further reading: 

  • Click here to hear from other organizations on protecting confidentiality
  • Click here to read Lizbeth Paulat's, "How Not to Be a Jerk While Visiting Africa," a piece about photographing children
  • Click here to hear from FamCare on how to best use case studies for fundraising

Comment

Sell Your Product First and Your Story Second

Comment

Sell Your Product First and Your Story Second

by Shanley Knox

 Nowhere has business become more purposeful than in the world of social enterprise. New businesses are constantly cropping up with world-changing missions, messages of empowerment, and products to address even the worst of society's issues.

In a world where nearly half of global consumers are willing to pay extra for socially responsible products and services, it's becoming a growing challenge for social enterprises to stand out against other cause-oriented products and services. 

In his recent piece, “Social Enterprises Must Move Beyond Purpose,” Heath Shackelford writes that, “your customers only allow your purpose to be a factor if you meet other criteria, including price, quality and value.”

To differentiate your social enterprise, begin by providing the best possible product or service. Then, market it like a successful business would - through effective research, market differentiation, and smart brand messaging. Afterward, tell a social story that illustrates the power of what a successful social business can do.

Here are some steps to get you started:  

Learn Your Market
Before you plan for marketing to your market, you’re going to need to know who they are. Begin by determining factors such as what kind of customer is going to pay for your product or service, and where you can find them.

Some key questions:

  • Approximately how many people out there are willing to pay for your product?
  • What amount are they willing to pay for your product or service?
  • Where are these people located?
  • What are these people interested in?
  • Who is already marketing a similar product to them, and how do you measure up against them?

Find Your Unique Selling Point 
Many social enterprises focus on the social benefits of their product, rather than focusing on the value and quality of their product itself. Now that you know who your customer is, and who else is selling to them, it’s time to identify your unique selling point... in other words, what makes your product or service more attractive than anyone else’s? 

  • Research your customer’s satisfaction with their current products or services: What do they love? What would they want to change? Why?
  • Are there certain messages that are a “no-go”? For instance, your customers may associate terms such as “nonprofit,” “fair trade” or “green” with a product that is subpar. By identifying and removing these “trigger” phrases, you remove potential purchasing barriers.

Craft Your Voice
Once you've decided how to effectively market your product, its time to integrate your social mission back into your branding, and create a voice that will consistently tell your story to current and potential customers:

  • What is the type of message that resonates most with your customers - is it people or numbers? emotional stories or statistics? formal or casual?
  • What are the facets of your social story that appeal most to the customer sector you have identified? 
  • Who are the influencers (voices that effectively influence others' purchasing decisions) in your customer groups? Wow can you reach them and convince them to share your product?
  • Which social platforms are your customers currently using, and how must you adjust your voice to meet the parameters of that particular platform? 

Looking for more support in building an effective marketing strategy for your social enterprise? Check out these helpful resources:

Comment

Developing a Nonprofit Strategy to Drive Donations

Comment

Developing a Nonprofit Strategy to Drive Donations

by Shanley Knox

At WhyWhisper, we see a common thread among the nonprofit organizations we work with. While driving awareness and consideration is a critical need for nonprofits, the main concern is whether this awareness will drive back to donations. 

That’s always the crux of the social media issue, isn’t it? Organizations want to see direct return on investment in order to feel that their time, energy, and budget is directly growing their capacity for positive impact.

While there is no magic formula for increasing donations, there are elements of social strategy that have been directly tied to increasing donor consideration. Below, we detail out some of our team's favorites:

Get Personal:
It’s been said that your best customer is the customer you already have. The same is true for donors. Every time a donor contributes, you have a direct opportunity to convince them to do it again — not to mention convincing their social followers to do the same. One powerful way to amplify this opportunity is by tweeting links to your donation landing page and letting individual donors know how their contribution has made a difference.

charity:water, a New York-based nonprofit committed to providing clean drinking water across the globe, takes this strategy to the next level by sending donors letters about how their donations have been used, with a link to encourage them to share the difference they’ve made via social media.

Tell a Story:

While Twitter is a powerful platform for sending short bits of information to donors, Facebook is the most effective way to tell a social story.

The more specific a story can be, the more emotionally moving it is for donors to see and relate to. This is evidenced by the success of Make A Wish Foundation's Facebook page , which features pictures, names, ages, and stories of the children whose wishes have been granted through donors' contributions. On these posts, fans regularly share their own stories, illustrating the lasting bond built by the organization. 

Make A Wish.png

Make a Game of it:

Blood donation shortages have been an issue for years. Red Cross Singapores response? Make a game out of it. 

In a recent effort to encourage blood donation, the organization created an iOS and Android application that uses social recognition, sharing, and donation push alerts to encourage donors to be actively involved in solving the organizations long-term donation shortage. 

Still not sure you want to get in on the fun? Here are 10 more examples of gamification playing a critical role in generating engagement and donations for social causes around the world.

Red Cross Connection.png

Include Digital Advertising: 

Digital advertising - and video advertisement in particular - is extremely successful when it comes to driving donations. According to a July 2013 Google study, 76% of donors research online less than one week after viewing an ad. Additionally, 57% of people make a donation after viewing a video online.

Digital Advertising.png

Go Mobile:

Last, but certainly not least, it’s vital for nonprofits to include mobile optimization in their social strategy, as over 1/3 of people contact nonprofits via mobile devices and 25% complete their donations via their phones.  Additionally, 1 in 4 people find nonprofits of which they were not previously aware, via mobile searches and 40% compare reviews of causes they are interested in on their mobile devices.

Thinking of taking it a step further, and launching a mobile campaign? Here’s a great how-to guide to get you started.

Do you have a favorite social strategy element that you use to increase donations? Be sure to share with us below, or via Facebook and Twitter.

Comment

How to Use Social Media for Nonprofit Fundraising and Engagement

Comment

How to Use Social Media for Nonprofit Fundraising and Engagement

In 2012, the nonprofit charity: water raised $8 million through their online fundraising platform. They are, perhaps, one of the more telling examples of the power of digital platforms to grow nonprofit fundraising and engagement. By creating a strong digital story, targeted social content, and participating in regular engagement with fans and potential funders, nonprofit teams have more opportunity than ever before to promote their cause online. 

Here are several ways for your nonprofit to get started: 

Use a virtual help desk

Platforms such as Help Scout provide access to multiple team members, thereby allowing for prompt responses to donor emails. Features include: email integration that allows you to respond from your own inbox; the ability to leave private notes for your team; actionable reporting providing insight on response times and team performance; and real time monitoring that lets you know when someone has accessed or already responded to an email.  

Create advocates out of your donors

Your online platform should give members of your network the ability to engage with your cause and share it with their friends, family and networks. This type of relationship creates efficient opportunities for fan advocacy, and often occurs by giving fans the ability to create their own visual and written content to share with their networks. Here’s a helpful blog explaining several specific ways to encourage brand advocacy. 

Leverage social proof 

Many donors express that their chief concern is that their money is going to nonprofit overhead, rather than projects and individuals being served. One way to increase trust and comfortability is to leverage social proof. Social proof can be described as “informational social influence,” or the positive influence created when one person finds out that someone else they know or relate to is taking part in a campaign. As you provide ways for your donors to publicly share that they have donated to your cause, you will subsequently gain the trust of your donors networks. 

Identify brand evangelists

Is there a leader within your company that has a strong presence on social networks? Their wide reach can be used to elevate and tell the story of your cause. By posting their own unique story of passion for your nonprofit’s mission, perhaps with the history of how they arrived at their commitment, this individual (or several individuals!) can create a corresponding story that communicates the power of your mission and vision, while expanding your reach amongst their networks.

Use powerful storytelling 

Storytelling is perhaps the most effective way to utilize social media. Your organization should seek to tell one overarching story of your mission and cause. Within it, you can present the facets of several different ongoing stories, such as the individual success stories, the fans who donate and volunteer, and the connection between the two. The more personal you can make the story, the more powerful it will become. 

Are there other ways you have used digital media to grow your nonprofit reach? We’d love to hear your feedback in the comments below! 

Comment

Are You Effectively Supporting Your Nonprofit Event via Social Media?

Comment

Are You Effectively Supporting Your Nonprofit Event via Social Media?

Social media has the power to sell tickets, reach new audiences, and generate conversation. That being said, it involves more than just sharing an update. Here are a few ways to effectively use your channels before, during, and after an event: 

Create a Twitter Hashtag
Creating a unique Twitter hashtag is a great way to get fans to recognize and take part in conversation that pertains specifically to your event. It also provides an efficient way to access an organized feed of all relevant visual and written content, alongside the users who posted it.

Provide Branded Activation
Many event planners are now using tech-savvy ID wristbands for general admission and/or VIP access to their events. These wristbands can be customized for admission, ticketing, social sharing, and more -- all through RFID technology that uses radio waves to automatically identify people and/or objects. If you’re not feeling that tech-savvy just yet, you can create your own version of a branded photo booth. By placing signs or logos in photo backdrops and decorations, you establish a way for attendees to inadvertently promote your brand throughout the night. 

Use an Amplifier
An amplifier is a tool that allows fans to tweet all together at the start of an event. Some examples include Thunderclap, JustCoz and Gaggleamp. Thunderclap, for example, creates an impact through "the power of people speaking together”. If enough people in your network sign up, it blasts out a Facebook Post or Tweet from all your supporters at the exact same time, thereby creating a wave of social media attention. 

Create a TwitterWall
A Twitter wall serves as an ongoing visual reminder for attendees to live tweet throughout your event. Twitterfall and Visible Tweets are excellent for this purpose. People feel validation when seeing their tweets projected live. Meanwhile, your nonprofit gains visibility amongst attendees' online audiences. We've even seen people take online conversations offline after recognizing another's avatar! 

After Story
Once your event is over, follow up with digital participants to ensure that you effectively convert them into fans and donors. One way to continue the conversation is to collect photos with the event hashtag and post them to Facebook and flickr. Additionally, you can use an app like storify to curate tweets, photos, videos, and resources to share with attendees and fans.

Have other ways you like to promote your events? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

Comment

Crowdfunding & Crowd Investing: Which Platform is for You?

Comment

Crowdfunding & Crowd Investing: Which Platform is for You?

It seems that a new crowdfunding or crowd investing platform crops up every few days. With seemingly endless opportunities, it's important to choose a platform that fits your cause, reaches your target audience, and helps you tell the brand story that matters most to you. 

Below are six of the best platforms for finding the funds needed for your particular model: 

1. Looking to raise donations for your nonprofit?

Try Razoo

Who? Anyone can fundraise on Razoo – for a personal cause or for one of the 1 million+ registered US nonprofit organizations.
What? Razoo accepts donations that are received and receipted by Razoo Foundation, a registered 501(c)3 charity that operates a donor-advised fund to fulfill donor advisements. 
What’s the Fee? Razoo Foundation retains a low, flat 4.9% on all donations, one of the lowest transaction rates in the online fundraising industry.
How Will I Process Payments? Razoo partners with U.S. Bank to securely process your donations.
Campaign ideas? Here’s a list of Razoo’s best campaigns.

2. Want to support a charity (your own or someone else’s?)

Try Crowdrise

Who? Anyone raising donations for a charity. 
What? Donations to US-Based 501(c)3 charitable organizations through Crowdrise are 100% tax-deductible. You'll automatically receive an email receipt that meets the IRS requirements for a record of your donation.
What’s the Fee? Crowdrise charges a flat 3 - 5% (depending on your membership level), plus credit card fees.
How will I process payments? Network for Good or Amazon Payments.
Campaign Ideas? Run/WalkDo something Ridiculous or Donate your Birthday, among other things

{cke_protected_1}

3. Need investors for your social enterprise?

Try Return On Change 

Who? Startups in Tech, CleanTech, EdTech, Life Sciences, & Social Enterprises.
What?  This online funding portal seeks to meet all of startup's capital raising needs, as well as providing a place where investors can find socially innovative businesses to invest in. 
What’s the Fee? Return on Change does not charge posting fees. Broker dealers on the Return on Change site charge a 6% fee.
How will I Process Payments? You will need a business bank account to ‘close’ and receive the capital that you raise.
Campaign Ideas? Here’s a list of startups that have been approved.

4.  Looking to run a fundraising campaign?

Try Indiegogo

Who? Anyone looking to fund a creative or cause based project. There is no application process, so anyone can be involved!
What? Indiegogo provides a platform for your family, friends and anyone else you find through digital platforms to donate to your campaign. 
What’s the Fee? When your campaign raises funds, Indiegogo charges a 9.0% fee on the funds you raise. If you reach your goal, you get 5.0% back, for an overall fee of 4.0%.
How will I Process Payments? Visa, MasterCard, and American Express credit or debit cards, or PayPal.
Campaign Ideas? Check out Indiegogo’s recent success story,&nbsp;</span>Occupy Love.

5. Looking to fund a project?

Try Kickstarter 

Who? Creatives looking to fund projects in film, music, art, theater, games, comics, design, photography, and more.
What? Project creators set a funding goal and deadline. If people like a project, they can pledge money to make it happen. Funding on Kickstarter is all-or-nothing — projects must reach their funding goals to receive any money.
What’s the Fee? Kickstarter collects a 5% fee from a project’s funding total if a project is successfully funded. There are no fees if a project is not successfully funded.
How will I Process Payments? Kick Starter uses Amazon Payments.
Campaign Ideas? Check out Kickster’s staff picks.

6. Trying to launch a new product?

Try Crowdfunder

Who? US based businesses with a product or service. 
What? Crowdfunder connects your business to their local networks of 20,000 interested investors.<br>What’s the Fee? 5% if you meet your goals plus payment processing fees.
How will I Process Payments? Crowdfunder uses Amazon Payments.
Campaign Ideas? The most funded project to date is It's For Life, a company producing consumable and convenient health products.

Helpful points to remember: 

1. Posting a project is not a set-it-and-forget-it project. You must use social media to get the word out, and make funds come in.
2. Once you launch your campaign, it can be almost a full-time job to reach your goal. 
3. Individuals and companies with customers, an audience, or a social/professional network that can be converted to “backers” tend to be most successful. 

Have a favorite platform you want to share with us? Leave it in the comments below.

Comment

The Best Social Good Campaigns of the 2013 Holiday Season

Comment

The Best Social Good Campaigns of the 2013 Holiday Season

Each year, countless bloggers and publishers post a roundup of their favorite holiday campaigns. Since these lists always serve as inspirational marketing thought-starters, we decided to create our own. 

The below slideshow features campaigns put on by nonprofits, social enterprises, impact-focused brands -- and even large corporations. The one theme that runs through all of them? In some way, they were focused on social good. 

The Best Social Good Campaigns of the 2013 Holiday Season

Have more to add?

Note them in the comments below -- we would love to help spread their message!

Comment

3 Timesavers for Social Media Management

Comment

3 Timesavers for Social Media Management

When discussing social media strategies with members of the impact community, we often hear how difficult it can be to find the time to regularly post to social channels. Many people are simultaneously managing fundraising campaigns or exploring brand partnerships and e-commerce strategies-- and while they can remember to post the initial traffic drivers, they forget to maintain their momentum.

Here are three tools we highly recommend, both for content curation, as well as overall community management. Hope you find them helpful!

Buffer
Best for: Scheduling Content 
What you should know:

  • By granting Buffer access to all of your social profiles, you can easily schedule the times your posts should go live each day or have Buffer analyze past engagement patterns to choose the right times for you
  • Add team members to share responsibility and allow for collaboration
  • Access analytics about clicks, retweets, mentions, shares, likes and more
  • Use the to Chrome extension to add content to your queue without leaving the article you're reading
  • Check out their extras to ensure you can easily share from your phone, news reader, and more
  • Remember to pause your Buffer during crises or world disasters, so as to avoid insensitive content going out at such times

Hootsuite
Best for: Community Management
What you should know:

  • Schedule posts across multiple social networks
  • View newsfeeds and interactions via your Hootsuite dashboard
  • Keep track of mentions of your brand
  • Create streams to track industry keywords, new followers, and more
  • Filter search results by language
  • Collaborate and assign messages to your team members
  • Access data on post engagements and traffic 

Zite
Best for: Content Discovery
What you should know:

  • App available on iPhone, Android, and tablets
  • After indicating the topics you're interested in, Zite provides a personal newsfeed that's curated just for you
  • Use your Quicklist to take a deeper look at articles falling into one particular category
  • As you like and share posts, Zite's algorithm hones in on your preferences 
  • Block publishers whose content you would prefer not to see

Have other tools you would recommend? We would love for you to note them in the comments below!

Comment

5 Ways Twitter Will Grow Your Social Enterprise

Comment

5 Ways Twitter Will Grow Your Social Enterprise

As a social entrepreneur, you're likely accustomed to wearing many hatsfounder, sales executive, HR director, public speaker, and marketerjust to name a few.

In each of these roles, Twitter can be an incredibly useful toolbut in the midst of doing a million things at once, its easy to lose sight of its value. How can you utilize the platform to further your career, your cause, and your story?

Here are five ideas to get you started: 

  1. Identify and Engage Your Target
    Are you looking for buyers? Users? Early adopters? Whatever your target, you can find them on Twitter. Follow the accounts interacting with your competitors. Search related industry hashtags (e.g. #socent) and join the conversation. Share compelling stories that are relevant to your audience. Once you've established a relationship, ask for email addresses and be sure to reference your Twitter conversations when sending out your pitches. 
     
  2. Differentiate From Your Competitors
    We know how time-consuming  (and important) it is to put together a comprehensive business and marketing plan on a budget. Well, researching the competitive landscape is an essential component of such a plan. Use your social channels to find the companies, organizations, and individuals who are active in your field. Identify what they're doing to support their endeavors, as well as what they could do better. This will give you great insight into how to structure your own marketing initiatives, and how to differentiate your product. 
     
  3. Become a Trusted Resource
    While you and I may know the amazing value of your product or service, others have yet to find out. This means that the majority of the population is not going to come to you out of instant admiration. They will, however, come for the purpose of learning something valuable. Curate content from others, share resources, provide insight, and engage in conversation. When you demonstrate your expertise in a useful and humble manner, the demand for your product will follow.
     
  4. Meet your network
    Looking for experts to advise you? New friends to support you?  Use Twitter bios to identify your prospects. Respond to a relevant article they wrote, congratulate them on a recent accomplishment, or ask them a burning question. Also, don't be afraid to RSVP to events they’re attending via Meetup and Eventbrite or ask them to meet in person. 
     
  5. Strut Your Stuff
    Social networks are one of the best ways to share your current and prior work. Did you write a blog post? Participate on a panel? Receive an award? Post it. All of it. You never know the opportunities that may surface because you were displaying a valuable skill set. 

Have other ideas for Twitter that could be useful to social entrepreneurs? Note them in the comments below! We're working to provide valuable resources to social entrepreneursthe more material, the better!

Comment