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Marketing Your Strengths – Presenting at Connecting Up 2012

By | Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities, News, Presentations, Resources | 4 Comments

I was one of the presenters on the second day of Connecting Up 2012, where I led a session covering marketing and how not-for-profit organisations can develop a marketing plan around their key strengths.

While understanding one’s strengths is important in most contexts, it is particularly important in not-for-profit organisations where there are competing demands and limited resources.

A strength is something an organisation does well and typically does better than others, providing a unique attribute that differentiates the organisation in terms of receiving clients, volunteers, supporters, donations or grants from funding bodies.

Marketing Your Strengths outlined the process required to develop a marketing plan looked at how a not-for-profit organisation can frame its key messages and reach its target market.

It is important to remember that not-for-profit organisations have multiple target markets. The concept of a target market, is broader than clients, but extends to other stakeholders, including volunteers, donors, business partners and Government.

Understanding an organisations’ strengths, enables the ability the form key messages that can be used to reach each of these target markets. While aspects of the message may alter slightly, it is important that there is consistency between the messages and the aims that an organisation wishes to achieve.

Our presentation explored Eastern Volunteers as a case study. Eastern Volunteers is a volunteer resource centre based in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. Eastern Volunteers embarked on a building fund to enable the purchase and fit-out of a new building to end a transient history of being relocated from one building to another.

Core strengths of Eastern Volunteers included its strong governance and networks, namely the ability to reach community organisations, volunteers and its clients. Understanding these strengths enabled the formation of partnerships with businesses who could see value in aligning themselves with Eastern Volunteers.

Key messages were identfied, including the benefits of ongoing service delivery and accessibility improvements. Eastern Volunteers was formally located on the first floor of a building, creating accessibility implications. A ground floor location enabled the organisation to become more inclusive and accessible.

Once key messages were identified it is important to consider how to reach the identified target markets.

Every time someone contacts an organisation, the impression they receive is a form of marketing. It is important that all aspects of organisation, from brochures and newsletters, through to telephone and email responses, are consistent and that they reinforce the key messages of an organisation.

It is also important that the right marketing tools are used to reach the identified target markets. For example, the quarterly newsletter was the best method to reach the transport clients of Eastern Volunteers, while social media was effective in reinforcing relationships with businesses.

The broader community was also important and was reached through local and social media. In particular, a media campaign was formed around donating $500 to purchase a piece of Eastern Volunteers future. The jigsaw campaign ensured a significant number of donations that were worth at least $500 and helped generate ongoing media interest.

Measuring progress is an important aspect of marketing and metrics are needed to evaluate performance. The success of the Building Fund was measured through donations and in-kind support, as well as media coverage.

It is critical that success is celebrated, particularly in the not-for-profit sector where policy change or advocacy is a goal. A marketing campaign should have a defined conclusion with an opportunity to celebrate success and to reflect on how the campaign progressed.

I would like to thank the many people who attended our presentation and also the people I met during the conference. I hope you enjoyed your time at Connecting Up 2012.

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#CU12 – the Connecting Up 2012 Conference

By | Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities, News | 3 Comments

Connecting Up is a not-for-profit organisation that exists to enhance the level of IT and technology within other not-for-profit organisations. Connecting Up holds an annual conference and this year I was a guest presenter holding the session ‘Marketing Your Strengths’.

The Connecting Up Conference began with a breakfast featuring two speakers from the Australian Charities and Not-for-profits Commission (ACNC). The Commission is as a statutory authority responsible for regulating the not-for-profit sector.

The Commission’s short-term focus will be charities, particularly in considering taxation concessions (such as DGR and PBI status) and reporting requirements. It is anticipated however that other not-for-profit organisations will be part of the Commission’s responsibilities over the longer term.

While harmonisation of laws between Commonwealth and State/Territory is required, it is envisaged at the Commission will become a ‘one-stop-shop’ for charities and not-for-profit organisations. This should assist in providing timely and accurate information to the sector, particularly in regard to the potential for taxation concessions.

The Australian Charities and Not-for-profit Commission should be a positive initiative for the sector, particularly if it is accompanied by the harmonisation of various laws that regulate charities and not-for-profit organisations.

I was able to attend several other sessions at Connecting Up, with topics covering cloud computing, social media and the use of technology.

Given that many not-for-profit organisations are busy undertaking day-to-day activities, there is a tendency to overlook technology and marketing due to a focus on operational tasks.

The Connecting Up Conference aimed to showcase the options and solutions that exist for not-for-profit organisations. As a result there was strong focus on innovation and how not-for-profit organisations can gain additional value through social networking, marketing and technology.

One of the highlights was an organised networking session, which provided a great way to meet other attendees. While many conferences discuss how they provide networking, Connecting Up made this a feature by facilitating networking between conference delegates.

Congratulations to the team at Connecting Up for organising such a great conference, we look forward to being involved in future years.

Connecting Up Guest Post – Foundations of a Marketing Campaign

By | Advice, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities | 5 Comments

I will be speaking at the #CU12 Conference where I will be presenting the session Marketing Your Strengths from 1:30pm at North Wharf 1 on Wednesday.

Connecting Up is a not-for-profit organisation that encourages the use and adoption of IT within community organisations, with the conference covering marketing, social media and information technology.

ConnectingUp encouraged presenters to provide a guest blog post and the following article provides an introduction to our Power Session – Marketing Your Strengths:

Need a good example of a successful marketing campaign? Alex Makin from Syneka Marketing shares a case study from Eastern Volunteers

Marketing, like most other activities, works best when you identify your goals. Know what it is you want to achieve and why. This will influence who you will target with your marketing messages, as well as the best methods to reach them.

Know Your Goals

A marketing campaign will not deliver positive results if you have not clearly defined these goals. Once you have identified your goals, you can then determine your target audience. Some campaigns, such as fundraising targets, may have multiple audiences and while there may be differences in the message, there should be a consistent theme.

As a case study, let’s consider a marketing campaign we initiated for Eastern Volunteers, a regional not-for-profit organisation, based in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. Eastern Volunteers has established a fundraising target to assist in relocating to the ground floor of a building they have purchased.

Currently, the organisation is located on the first floor, creating accessibility issues for its members and clients. As an organisation that provides community assisted transport and volunteer recruitment, there is a need for an accessible and inclusive environment.

The key marketing message was framed around creating an accessible and inclusive community service, reinforced by the permanency that will be created by moving into this building.

Know Your Audience

Now that we have identified a key message, we need to consider who we will be targeting. Know the best method to reach this target audience and the tools you can use to reinforce this message.

A fundraising campaign like Eastern Volunteers requires a multi-faceted approach. There are several target audiences, such as clients, members of other community organisations, business partners, government and the wider community.

Executing the Campaign

For Eastern Volunteers, clients and members can be reached through the quarterly Eastern Volunteers newsletter. While the newsletter has traditionally included a donation slip, the response rate has been low since there hadn’t been a key message framed around seeking donations. The building fund edition of the newsletter prominently featured the campaign and the call for donations. This resulted in an extremely positive response to the campaign and a significant number of donations.

Other organisations and business partners have been targeted through an official launch of the campaign. Official launches can also assist in reaching local Councillors and Members of Parliament, however sufficient lead-time must be provided for these invitations.

Launches can also assist in encouraging media coverage. It is imperative that media releases are considered as part of your campaign. Media coverage helps raise the profile of your campaign and extend its reach. When planning a marketing campaign, consider how it could be supported through a series media releases. Media outlets will not repeat the same content on an ongoing basis so different hooks are required to encourage ongoing interest.

<h2?Be Consistent

Consistency is the key to undertaking successful marketing campaigns. Your message needs to be consistent across all forms of marketing communication with a clear call to action. The call to action is the desired result you are seeking from someone that sees your marketing message.

In the example of Eastern Volunteers, the call to action is clearly the request for a donation and this is clearly stated across all communication tools.

Generally someone needs to see a marketing message several times before they are prompted to respond to the call to action. It is worthwhile considering a variety of appropriate communication tools that can reach this target audience.

Visit www.connectingup.org/blog/foundations-marketing-campaign to view this guest post at ConnectingUp.

Meet Syneka Marketing at #CU12 in Sydney

Natalia Perera, our Creative Director will be leading our team in Melbourne during my time in Sydney. I will be in Sydney until Thursday and have some remaining time available for meetings and in-depth discussions.

View Digital storytelling for nonprofits

#npau TweetChat – Digital storytelling for nonprofits

By | Advice, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities | 3 Comments
Retelling experiences and word-of-mouth recommendations are particularly important in reaching prospective volunteers.

Retelling experiences and word-of-mouth recommendations are particularly important in reaching prospective volunteers.

The #npau TweetChats are fortnightly conversation’s organised by ConnectingUp, a not-for-profit organisation that encourages the use of technology within the community sector.

Each fortnight the TweetChat covers topics relevant to the not-for-profit and community sector with people able to participate through the sending tweets with the #npau hashtag.

While we were unable to participate in today’s tweetchat due to workshop commitments, the topic of digital storytelling for nonprofits covered a similar theme to one of the items addressed during our workshop to the Hume-Moreland Volunteer Coordinators’ Network.

Digital storytelling is particularly effective in recruiting volunteers through social media. Research undertaken by the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicates that 35% of people become volunteers because they were asked, while 29% knew someone involved in a voluntary experience. These statistics highlight the importance of word-of-mouth recommendations in promoting voluntary experiences.

Sharing content through social media is the online equivalent of word-of-mouth advertising. Social media through blogging and the sharing of content, enables volunteers to discuss their experiences in volunteering for an organisation and ways other people can become involved.

The use of videos and blogs can personalise a volunteer experience and encourage others to consider volunteering. This content can be shared via Facebook, Twitter and other social media tools to reach prospective volunteers.

Digital storytelling through the retelling of experiences is how not-for-profit organisations can use social media in recruiting prospective volunteers.

We’ve included a selection of slides to highlight how digital storytelling and social media can be effective tools in recruiting volunteers.

View Digital storytelling for nonprofits – Recruiting volunteers through social media

For the full presentation please view “Using Social Media for Recruiting Volunteers – Hume-Moreland Volunteer Coordinators Network

#npau TweetChat – Balancing work and personal use on social media

By | Advice, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities, News | No Comments

Connecting Up Australia is a not-for-profit organisation that aims to enhance the information technology capabilities of other community based not-for-profit organisations.

Connecting Up hosts regular tweetchats to share knowledge between not-for-profit organisations on topics relevant to their use of social media, the Internet and Information Technology. A tweetchat is a conversation conducted via Tweeter, enabling people to participate in the chat through the #npau hashtag.

This afternoon we participated in the first #npau tweetchat for 2012, with the topic balancing work and personal use on social media. This is an area particularly relevant to not-for-profit organisations, given that many staff work on a part-time basis, while others may be interacting with the organisation in a variety of ways, such as being a client, volunteer or board member.

The conversation began with the question: Does your org have guidelines/polices (maybe unwritten) which impacts your personal use of social media?

The importance of policies cannot be underestimated, as this will provide guidance in using social media. Typically a social media policy will share some similarities with your communications policy, such as identifying a principal spokesperson who speaks on behalf of the organisation.

@ConnectingUp staff & volunteers encouraged to use social media respectfully. Difficult situations are handled by spokespeople #npau

More than one person in your organisation can utilise social media and this should be encouraged to maintain ongoing engagement with your stakeholders. It is advisable however to also establish a designated spokesperson that speaks in an official capacity via social media. Your spokesperson should be used for official announcements or to manage difficult social media situations.

This approach ensures that you are able to engage your online community while also providing support through an official spokesperson.

The second question asked how have you found staff react to a social media policy?

Staff should be encouraged to participate in policy development, with the board of management adopting policies that have incorporated feedback across an organisation. This approach ensures collective ownership, which is particularly important in communications, given that non-compliance could diminish the reputation of the organisation.

We find most staff appreciate guidelines, very similar to standard media policies – provides clarity and assurance #npau

Most staff members appreciate policies, difficulties may arise if social media usage is restricted and this approach should only be considered as a last resort.

Social media works effectively through active engagement, restricting its usage diminishes the ability to engage and create an online community. Staff members should be encouraged to consider how they could positively assist in fostering this community, while also ensuring that they undertake their job requirements.

The last question asked: Does anyone else feel “always on” when it comes to social? Where do you draw the line between work/personal?

Separate Facebook / Twitter profiles can help in creating a distinction between personal & professional #npa

Separate profiles ensures that the organisation maintains a distinct identity to that of individuals. This also assists with succession planning by enabling someone else to manage the organisation’s official social media accounts.

Ultimately the individual will need to establish their own boundaries regarding the amount of time they spend on social media. An organisation should encourage social media usage while ensuring it does not detract from other work commitments.

Connecting Up holds regular #npau tweetchats throughout the year. For the full archive of this chat please visit storify.com/connectingup/balancing-work-and-personal-use-of-social-media