Archive for April, 2010

Who owns your organization online?

Citizen Marketers is about how amateurs and professionals are working together—intentionally or unintentionally—to assume new forms of ownership in the companies, brands, products and people they closely follow—and how this widespread publishing and distribution of ideas is disrupting traditional models of corporate marketing.

As social media—which is defined as the sum total of people who create content online, as well as the people who interact with it or one another—remove barriers to widespread distribution, they create new challenges for companies and organizations that are used to closely stage-managing their reputations.

The authors divide these citizen marketers into four categories: Filters, Fanatics, Facilitators and Firecrackers.

Filters are human wire services. They collect traditional media stories, bloggers’ ramblings, podcasts or other creations about a specific company, organization or product and then package this information into a regular stream of links, story summaries and observations. Filters are usually objective, although they occasionally cross over into analysis. They are amateur brand journalists, and sometimes they turn pro.

Fanatics are true believers and evangelists. Their role as citizen marketers may include filtering work, but they mainly focus on analyzing a brand, product or person—even if the company or organization isn’t listening.

Facilitators are community creators whose primary tool is a Web-based bulletin board or community software. According to the authors, Facilitators are like the mayors of online towns—and some online communities exceed the population of small cities.

Firecrackers are the one-hit wonders of citizen marketers. Typically, they attract a great deal of attention because they have created a song, animation, video or novelty that initially generates a lot of interest but then dies out quickly. However, Firecrackers illustrate three principles of amateur content in the world of social media: Memes—cultural transmitters that distinguish one idea from the billions of others out there—can live indefinitely on the web; social media networks accelerate the spread of memes; and people love to mimic what entertains them.

The work of citizen marketers is defined by three commonalities:

Personal expression. Their opinions or journalism are their own, not unlike what a professional journalist, pundit or analyst would do.

Amateur status. They are usually volunteers and are transparent about their motives and associations.

Freely given. Their work is not meant to steal money, time or attention away from the company or organization of their affiliation; instead, it’s meant to enhance it.

Read the full summary of Citizen Marketers: When People Are the Message by subscribing to our Page to Practice™ library, visit the CausePlanet summary store for single summaries, or you can purchase the book online.

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Managing citizen marketers – when people are the message

Throughout the world, people with a broadband connection and several inexpensive or free tools are influencing people’s perceptions of billion-dollar corporations—and turning traditional marketing on its head. These “citizen marketers” are everyday people who are using the power of “social media”—blogs, podcasts and social networks—to create content about products, brands, services or people—whether companies like it or not.

Citizen Marketers: When People Are the Message examines the role of citizen marketers in today’s marketing world, as well as the significant changes caused by social media. The authors also provide a framework for working with—instead of against—these new consumer evangelists.

Citizen marketers don’t often represent the average person, member, customer or citizen. Instead, they are driven by passion, creativity and a sense of duty, oftentimes spending thousands of their own dollars—not to mention their time—to help a person or brand about which they feel passionate. The authors divide these people into four categories: Filters, Fanatics, Facilitators and Firecrackers.

Find out more about these self-made marketers by attending a new workshop series called “Fast Food for Thought” where WorldWays Social Media, Colorado Nonprofit Association and CausePlanet will host one action-packed hour, featuring the highlights within our Page to Practice book summary and expert views on social media: Tuesday, May 11, 2010 at 1 – 2 p.m.

Read the full summary of Citizen Marketers: When People Are the Message by subscribing to Page to Practice™ book summaries. Single P2P summaries are available at the CausePlanet summary store. Learn more about the authors and the book.

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Demystify planned giving: Bequests are best

Ken Burnett’s Relationship Fundraising is a broad overview of the fundraising profession and how practitioners can incorporate relationship building in everything they do. One area in particular that Burnett stresses is the value of promoting bequests. Too often nonprofit executives assume a hands-off approach to planned giving because it appears to involve technical knowledge beyond their comfort level. In reality, Burnett claims that we as fundraisers can easily incorporate the bequest language into all of our marketing strategies to get current and potential donors thinking about our organizations when they make their long-term plans. Burnett goes on to encourage nonprofits to borrow language they like from peer organizations who are successfully cultivating planned gifts.

Some facts about bequests from Relationship Fundraising:

Nonprofits depend on bequest income. It accounts for about one-third of all voluntary income and is bigger than both government grants and donations from grand-making foundations.

Only one in eight wills (12%) mention a nonprofit. That’s just six percent of the population who will support their favorite causes in this most substantial and least painful of ways.

The average age of someone who leaves a bequest to a nonprofit is eighty-one years.

The average age of a final will that includes a bequest to a nonprofit is less than five years (25% are less than one year old). Therefore, bequest marketing is not nearly as long term as fundraisers might suppose.

Bequest income can be influenced and even predicted.

Bequests account for by far the largest part of planned giving, they are the most important target of relationship fundraising. Some bequest marketing strategies include:

    Constantly reinforce your bequest message to existing supporters. Then characterize this segment and begin to look for similar targets outside of your existing supporters.

    Promote benefits to leaving a bequest and integrate bequest messages into fundraising and publicity.

    Research the bequest area and analyze your own records.

    Prepare an integrated set of materials that are relevant and help others prepare or change a will.

    Prepare a strategy, brief the staff and appoint one senior staff member to build relationships with bequest prospects.

    Communicate regularly with people who assist potential donors (lawyers, financial advisors, etc.).

    Stage a major media launch of a campaign using materials and video to promote the importance of bequests to the organization. Start a One Percent Club where donors can leave one percent of the residue of their estate.

    Reinvest a percentage of current bequest income in future promotions.

    Spotlight bequest donors in your materials, newsletters and annual reports. Consider a suitable “celebrity” or high-profile bequest donor to introduce your campaign.

    Keep great records and establish a bequest database.

    Read the full summary of Relationship Fundraising by subscribing to our Page to Practice™ library or visit the CausePlanet summary store for single titles.

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