Friday, April 27, 2007

Zach Braff Agrees...

Zach Braff (Scrubs, Garden State) agrees with me about American Idol:

That American Idol thing was unbelievable last night, huh? It was so profoundly upsetting. But it was so well done. I went right to my computer and made a phat donation. I don’t have Ellen money, yet, but I definitely gave. I hope those of you who could, donated something as well. It left me speechless.
Nicely put.

Read his blog here.


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Idol Gives Back

Ellen's suggestion a few minutes ago that kids donate a dollar and ask their parents to match with $9 more was a terrific moment.

Both my kids silently watched as Simon and Ryan talked about a woman with 14 kids, many of them with AIDS living in a room the size of a tent.

My older girl asked me what HIV was.

There are 2 ways to look at this the CMO of a major NGO Aid agency who is not directly benefiting from Idol Gives Back.

The first way isn't worth spending much time on and was totally out of our control. I've gotten at least 10 emails from board members, colleagues and others lamenting that Save the Children is one of the beneficiaries, but we're not. What can I say, they didn't pick us - there are probably a dozen reasons - we simply didn't make the cut.

The second way is my way. My way celebrates abundance and places a bet that this could be a tide that raises all boats. I don't have the stats at my fingertips, but I am sure I read recently that international aid giving is very low in comparison to other types of charities. I also know from my research that developing new donors to support international issues is an extremely difficult task.

Relatively speaking, getting someone to donate to a cancer charity when their dad got diagnosed is a walk in the park vs. trying to help someone understand the issues in Darfur, let alone getting them to open their wallets.

So here's to Save the Children, Boys and Girls Clubs and America's Second Harvest (and the rest of the bunch)!

P.S. Ryan just announced that they've raised more than $30 million.

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Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Do You Get It Yet?

My friend Lee has a new video out that attempts to explain RSS.

I have a question for some of you if you aren't already a heavy RSS user.

Does your VCR also still blink 12:00? Get with the program Spalding.

There are two types of Internet users, those that use RSS and those that don't. This video is for the people who could save time using RSS, but don't know where to start.

Lee, great job - now that's a screencast!

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Tuesday, April 10, 2007

David Weinberger, NTEN Keynote

If you ever have a chance to hear David Weinberger speak, jump at the chance. If you've not read or heard about "The Cluetrain Manifesto" you should stop reading this crappy blog and go read something that'll change the way you think.

Not since reading "Being Digital" way back when has any single book affected me so much. Needless to say, I was excited to hear him speak at NTEN.

Here's the one thing I'd like to repeat from his talk. It's simple. You are going to shake your head and think to yourself... so, yea, I already knew that. Oh yea? I'll give you a chance to prove it in a second.

Here's what he said:
Read it again.

One more time.

Let in sink in. Feel it? Get it? Are you with me?

Maybe I'm over-reacting here a bit, but that's profound!

Now, prove to me that you really get it. Do you encourage linking to and from your site or do you try to hoard inbound links but never link out? Do you link directly to great partners, vendors and bloggers who have something to say about your organization or provide value?

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The Merging of Technology and Marketing

I'm finally recovered from a solid NTEN experience, my first ever. I will leave most of the commentary, notes and reflections to the great round up on the NTEN blog and will instead talk about something that is happening to our industry (or may have already happened):

Marketing and Technology are forever merging into one beast.

What is evident from the lack of marketing people in attendance (or so it seemed to me!) is that the marketing folks either don't see how important this is, or have their heads in the sand.


One reason could certainly be how the conference positions itself (The Non Profit Technology Conference or NTC) certainly could throw a marketer off. What marketer would possibly want to sit around with geeks all day talking about code and open-source software?

A smart marketer would, that's who. The reason a smart marketer should attend these types of conferences is simple - but understated.

While technology should never drive strategy, it most certainly does enable strategy.

As a (hopefully) smart marketer, I am fully aware that I need to engage my constituents at a variety of levels in a variety of venues. And while the verdict is out on whether or not "web 2.0" tactics will ever raise significant funds, it's quite obvious that social networking and the entire gaggle of new technologies are acting as an enabling platform that will allow organizations build bridges to their constituents.

What is happening, not to put too fine a point on it is that the geeks are creating a set of tools that allow organizations to extend and empower their ability to build strong relationships.

If you are a traditional marketer, this is an important point.

Think of it this way... in the old days, you'd run a print ad or a tv spot. You'd do all the work up front (focus groups, testing, production etc) then run your ad. And then it was done.

But now, the ad lives on. The web site generates comments and people pass around the URL or the podcast. People blog about you, run badges on their myspace pages and re-create your brand in SecondLife. Not only do you have a customer service and brand maintenance issue, you have TECHNOLOGY to worry about as well.

How does this relate to NTEN? If you are a marketer, decide now to get to NTEN next year - and look me up while you are there!

Special thanks to Erin Anderson, Peter Deitz, Chris Phillips, Carolyn Pizzuto, Jeff Herron and Seth Mazow for being on the 2 panels that I moderated.

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