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Melbourne Women’s Fund Anniversary Celebration

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

Melbourne Women’s Fund provides the opportunity for women to undertake collective giving, where funding is donated to organisations that support women and families.

This evening I attended the anniversary of the Melbourne Women’s Fund, celebrating its first year of operations. The Fund enables individuals who share a common passion for particular causes to have a greater collective impact through donations and support.

The Anniversary Celebrations provided the opportunity to reflect on this impact and to meet key supporters.  Philanthropy remains a significant contributor to the funding of charities and it is great to see the success of the Melbourne Women’s’ Fund.

Creating new opportunities through Social Enterprises

By | Advice, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities | One Comment

The formation of social enterprises is becoming increasingly important for not-for-profit organisations and charities, as they seek to diversify income and reduce dependence on government funding.

A social enterprise exists to generate not only a positive financial return, but also to achieve broader community outcomes.

There is no formalised definition, but in 2009 Social Traders partnered with the Australian Centre for Philanthropy and Nonprofit Studies (ACPNS) at the Queensland University of Technology and identified the following attributes:

  • Are led by an economic, social, cultural, or environmental mission consistent with a public or community benefit;
  • Trade to fulfil their mission;
  • Derive a substantial portion of their income from trade; and
  • Reinvest the majority of their profit/surplus in the fulfilment of their mission.

We have worked with several organisations in developing strategies and implementing concepts for social enterprises. As a result, we’ve seen several elements that we believe are crucial for success.

Provide a commercial focus, while retaining core values

A social enterprise, like any other business venture, needs to generate a positive return. A social enterprise that is continually dependent on grants or donations, is not diversifying the income of an organisation, or expanding its capacity.

As a result, there is a need for organisations to have a commercial mindset that can also recognise positive social outcomes.

We recently worked with six inner city community learning centres to develop a new social enterprise through the Inner North Cluster. The social enterprise will aggregate resources and reduce duplication, with the aim of providing services to other centres. There is a need for a business perspective to achieve the social outcomes that would enable the individual centres to focus on their core services of providing educational opportunities.

Connect the social enterprise with the core purpose of your organisations

The products or services of a social enterprise should have a correlation with the key strengths and purpose of an organisation. Maintaining this correlation will help during the formation of the social enterprise and facilitate the exchange of knowledge.

We’ve worked with Volunteering Western Victoria to develop Governance Mentors, a program that will provide mentors to community organisations and improve the governance of committees.

Governance Mentors correlates to Volunteering Western Victoria’s aim of expanding the capacity of community organisations through training and skills development. The social enterprise broadens the organisation’s reach, but still relates to its core values.

Social enterprises will often require substantial discussion and planning

Social enterprises will often require substantial discussion and planning

A social enterprise like any good idea needs a plan

Establishing a social enterprise will require initial financial resources and time. Developing a plan enables an organisation to identify how the social enterprise can achieve its aims, while delivering a positive financial return.

Social enterprises need to add value and not compound existing problems. Planning ensures that opportunities are identified and that risks are considered.

Social enterprises can be time consuming in their initial formation, but they can lead to not only additional income, but also an expanded capacity to deliver the core values of an organisation. We have enjoyed working with a range of organisation to develop their social enterprises.

Alex delivering marketing and social media essentials at Third Sector Expo 2013

Social Media Essentials at the 2013 Third Sector Expo

By | Advice, Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities, Presentations, Resources | 2 Comments

The Third Sector Expo is an annual conference and exhibition dedicated to the not-for-profit sector.

Syneka Marketing has received regular coverage in Third Sector Magazine, providing editorial content over the past year. We were invited to speak at the 2013 Third Sector Expo.

Alex speaking at the 2013 Third Sector Exhibition and Conference

Alex speaking at the 2013 Third Sector Exhibition and Conference

I discussed social media and marketing, outlining how an organisation needs to use the right tools to reach its target markets. Social media is a marketing activity, and should be linked to the actions identified in a marketing plan.

Every not-for-profit organisation needs a marketing plan to support its organisational or corporate strategies. A corporate plan will often identify what an organisation wants to achieve and a marketing plan looks at how to achieve these outcomes.

Marketing plans need to consider the tools that are available to achieve these goals, including communication methods such as social media. Following this approach means you will be able to communicate your key messages through an online community using social media tools.

Websites and social media are only effective if they are regularly updated. This ensures that visitors are aware of your organisation’s activities. In addition, the frequency of updates is one of the metrics Google uses for search engine rankings.

Fortunately social media can be integrated with a website, ensuring consistent messages that can be published once and replicated through tools like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Integration saves time by ensuring consistency, while also providing a base level of engagement. Using this approach provides the ability to foster online communities, by encouraging committee, staff, volunteers and members to interact with the discussion.

Social media should be treated like other forms of media and covered by a communications policy. The policy should outline acceptable use of social media and identify the spokespeople who provide official comments on your organisation’s social media accounts. Guidelines should be clearly published, including on the About page on Facebook, and visible within Twitter and other social media tools.

There are several social media tools, each of which are designed for different purposes. Facebook is good for building online communities and for promoting events. Twitter is great for quick announcements, and can be linked with Facebook to provide an integrated approach. Pinterest is effective through its use of photographs, and Youtube can host video content that can promote an organisation.

Social media is increasingly prevalent across all demographics. For example, over half of Australia’s population has a Facebook account. People aged 55 plus are now the fastest growing segment of new accounts. While social media has extensive reach, email still has almost universal coverage and should be included as an online form of communication. The ability to share email content should be incorporated within newsletters to encourage recipients to forward messages through social media.

The 2013 Third Sector Expo

The 2013 Third Sector Expo

Policies should distinguish between negativity and offensiveness. Offensive comments, that denigrate, or are inflammatory should be immediately removed. Negative comments, however should be managed by seeking to engage the person that wrote the content. Try and engage the person outside of social media to prevent other comments. In particular, it is best to try and resolve the complaint in person or via the phone to remove the anonymity that social media provides. Resolving a complaint outside of social media will often lead to better outcomes and enable you to demonstrate the steps you undertook to reach a resolution.

Social media can deliver positive outcomes for an organisation, if it is linked to marketing objectives.

For example, if your goal is to raise donations, ensure that messages target prospective donors and that you encourage the sharing of content to reach their extended networks. If you are aiming to raise awareness, then promote stories that creative a narrative, outlining how your organisation achieves positive social or environmental outcomes.

Audio equipment was kindly provided by ConnectingUp. A version of the presentation with audio and slides is available through Youtube:

Or view the slides delivered to the 2013 Third Sector Expo

Thank you to the many participants who attended our presentation and for the discussion on Twitter.  A transcript of the Twitter conversation is available via Storify.

Third Sector Magazine: Activate your community through social media

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

Third Sector Magazine has published our advice on engaging communities through social media. Alex will be discussing social media as a speaker at the Third Sector Expo on Monday the 15th of April, for details please visit www.thirdsectorevents.com.au.

The website Humanities 21 which is integrated with Facebook, Twitter and other social media tools

The website Humanities 21 which is integrated with Facebook, Twitter and other social media tools

Activate your community through social media

Is your organisation considering social media, but not sure where to start? Or has it recently created a Facebook page and Twitter feed only to be underwhelmed by the results? Syneka Marketing provides seven tips to help your organisation strengthen its social media presence and re-engage its communities online.

Know where to start

Social media is the collective name for a range of tools that enhance interactivity and discussion, such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+ and Pinterest. Each of these tools has a slightly different purpose and audience, but they are all designed to encourage participation.

Know what you want to achieve

Success begins with strategy and this is no different for social media. Decide the specific outcomes you want to achieve from your social media efforts, such as:

  • Raising awareness
  • Encouraging volunteers
  • Increasing donations.

Once you know what you want to achieve, you can consider the messages and tools that can be used to promote these objectives.

Develop a social media policy

Social media policies help to identify the people who will have access to social media accounts and will be authorised to provide official announcements. Other individuals can respond to comments and interact, as well as support the authorised spokespeople.

Policies should enable board members, staff and volunteers to support the organisation’s social media presence.

Each social media tool has its own audience and key strengths.

Each social media tool has its own audience and key strengths.

Engage and interact

When creating a new social media account, encourage your members or supporters to follow your organisation. In addition, promote your social media presence through your website, newsletter and other communication tools. Undertaking initial promotion will ensure that you can build a network of followers that will assist in promoting your organisation. Follow similar organisations and encourage them to follow you.

Handle negativity

Negative comments should hopefully be kept to a minimum, but it’s important to have clear guidelines to manage any adverse commentary.

Make a clear distinction between negative and offensive comments and respond accordingly. Aim to engage directly with someone that has written a negative comment and suggest that you would like to follow up further. Try and engage the person through offline forms of contact, such as the telephone, so that you can discuss their concerns directly. Attempting to resolve the issue outside of the public realm will enable a more in-depth discussion.

If a comment is deemed to be offensive, it should be removed immediately as per your media and communications policy.

Integrate online tools

One of the great aspects of the web and social media is that messages can be integrated. You can automatically post updates from your website through to Facebook, Twitter and other social media tools. Integration ensures a consistent message while saving time by replicating content across your networks.

Integrating social media means you’ll have more time to foster and develop your community by providing a base level of communications.

Share content

Re-tweeting or sharing posts on Facebook indicates that the person supports your organisation and messages. The sharing of content is the online equivalent of word of mouth advertising and is a great way to extend your organisation’s networks.

Social media, like a website, needs to be kept up-to-date. An inactive presence is worse than having no presence, as the first question someone will ask is whether the organisation still exists.

Promoting your Club or Organisation – Presentation to members of Eastern Recreation and Leisure Services

By | Advice for Not-for-profit Organisations and Charities, Presentations, Resources | One Comment

Eastern Recreation and Leisure Services (ERLS) is a not-for-profit organisation that operates within the Cities of Knox, Maroondah, Whitehorse, Monash, Manningham and Boroondara.  ERLS works with sport and recreational groups to deliver activities for people with a disability through support in providing inclusive sporting programs.

This evening I was invited as the keynote speaker for the ERLS Community Education Briefing where I discussed marketing for sporting and accessibility groups.

Like any not-for-profit organisation there is a need to develop an effective marketing plan to determine key objectives.  This approach enables an organisation to determine its goals and identify strategies to reach prospective members, volunteers and other stakeholders.

The presentation discussed how organisations need a consistent theme and to clearly identify who it is they want to reach and the actions they want someone to undertake.  For example, while the key messages of an organisation would remain consistent, the approach taken to encourage volunteers would be different to facilitating donations.

The second half of the presentation covered the Internet and social media, given that this is an area that is increasingly being explored by not-for-profit organisations.  It is imperative that websites and social media are seen as marketing tools and not simply as IT exercises.

A website and social media presence needs to be considered alongside the other marketing tools that are used by an organisation, such as newsletters, brochures and information sessions. An online presence needs to complement the offline marketing materials and share consistent messages, themes and branding.

An effective website and social media presence can enhance the ability of a not-for-profit organisation to achieve its marketing objectives, but only if it complements other marketing tools.

View Presentation – Promoting Your Organisation

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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