Friday, January 25, 2008

The Last Interaction

Seth is at it again in his latest post "The Latest Interaction."

"The last interaction, in my experience, is responsible for virtually all of the word of mouth you're going to get, positive or negative."
Yea, totally! I did a big research project for a huge non-profit that I used to work for looking at the entire web experience for a particular event. Guess what we found out...

We found out that the last interaction that donors and participants had proved to be CRITICAL to their overall experience. It didn't matter whether it was an e-mail thank you or a real-world experience after a long run/walk/swim/skateboard etc... that moment in which you have to make the really feel that they are making the world a better place is crucial.

Just today, I re-wrote a thank you letter and e-mail after talking to my client about how important it is to make sure that their donors feel all warm and fuzzy after clicking the donate button.

Don't miss out on this, it's super important - the last interaction you have (each and every time you interact with someone) is going to leave a critical impression. Get it right and you have a chance to get another "date" and to continue the relationship.

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Friday, January 04, 2008

Marc's Favorite Posts from 2007

In no particular order, here are my favorite posts from 2007 - a year in which I again didn't blog enough (or by some accounts, blogged way way too much). It was a tough year and I learned a lot about marketing, myself and the world. I also played a lot of golf (but no where near enough by my count).

Ok, here goes...

Favorite Post #1 - Great Marketing in the Oddest of Places
A post about the good work that the MTA does with their newsletters and keeping their customers informed, and laughing.

Favorite Post #2 - How the New Web Transforms Your Organziation
"Marketers do not have the right to interrupt you."

Favorite Post #3 - Authenticity
It appears that it is working for Obama in a big way, eh?

Favorite Post #4 - Best Development Resources
I still get 7 or so hours of sleep, really.

Favorite Post #5 - Yikes, it's not working!
I love failing, because it means I'm making progress.

Favorite Post #6 - Causes vs. Organizations
I still think I'm right... yea, definately.

Favorite Post #7 - Leave the Ivory Tower, Now!
And wow, the Africa trip really proved my point on this one.

Favorite Post #8 - “Edge”tion – Another Look at Causes vs. Orgs
Lots of discussion, comments and goodness from this post... horrible title though.

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Friday, June 29, 2007

Causes Vs. Organizations

A new thought has been percolating for some time and I think maybe I can finally articulate what's in my head. Once again, we're seeing that technology is enabling and creating an entirely new set of problems (and opportunities) for non-profit fundraisers.

Once upon a time, donors (or suckers on a list) would get a piece of mail or see a telethon on the telly and be moved to give money. The donor would rarely TELL anyone that they gave money or even that they supported charities. It just wasn't done. To be honest, I'm too young to remember this - but my mom's giving habits suggest that I'm right.

Then, charity walks happened - and person to person fundraising en masse was born. Along with community style campaigns donors needed to also become marketers of the organization and the cause they were raising money for. Fundraisers needed to leverage their contact lists - write letters to their dentist, lawyer and mother-in-law. Eventually, they could e-mail their friends and set up personal fundraising pages that would take online donations from their friends. Socially, telling others what charity you support was built-in to the very mechanism of raising money (this was a big deal because it essentially changed our society's view and would pave the way for what's next).

What's next is what everyone in fundraising is struggling to understand. I belive what's next is a continuation of what we're seeing else where on the Internet - users maintain their control and get to define how they raise money, who they raise money for and who they'll tell.

Here's my hypothesis: While there many, many organizations, there are many, many more causes. And people more often than not raise money for a cause, not for an organization - even if they themselves don't know the difference!

As a marketer though - it's extremely important to know the difference and be able to craft messages, systems and technology to support this phenomenon.

If my theory is right, it would partially explain why Sixdegrees can raise almost $700,000 in less than a year - and why Facebook Causes and are getting so much attention. It's also why sites like have almost 7.4 million registered users.

What we are seeing is a migration in giving that appears to be cause driven as opposed to organization focused. I'm sure to some of you, this is not new news - and in fact for some organizations is actually very old news (Greenpeace comes to mind).

Why is it that seems that no single organization "owns" Global Warming? There certainly are good organizations out there. Am I missing something or are the issues trumping the organizations right now? I even think that this is flowing over into politics - if I care about healthcare (a cause), I'd vote one way. If I think we can win in Iraq (a cause), I'd vote another way - irregardless of the candidate to a large extent.

Am I wrongheaded here? What am I missing?

Another example: look at the screenshot below, taken from Notice that there isn't a single tag that is about a specific organization. Where's "I want to fund American Cancer Society?" It's all causes that are connected to organizations that can get stuff done. But those very organizations have to get very savvy about how they position themsleves in relation to the causes their donors want to support.


From a donor/fundraiser perspective, International Rescue Committee has at least a few dozen "causes" - but in the end, we're not a cause unto itself. The long tail theory would suggest to us if we were paying attention, that we'd better get good at exposing ourselves to different causes - how the work that we do affects that causes that people care about. Literacy, Aids, Poverty, Water sanitation, financial literacy are all examples of "causes" that are within our domain to influence.

I better get back to work.

Agree or disagree, leave a comment.


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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Friday, March 02, 2007

Seeing Red

A great post from Trent Stamp today regarding Project Red.

The fact that the RED campaign will never recoup anywhere near as much in charitable proceeds as they spend in marketing the campaign is a huge concern. In the end, all they're really doing is raising awareness and if that doesn't lead to their customers choosing to be more benevolent and philanthropic, it's simply an exercise in futility.
They've spent $100 million?

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