This are my notes of the Non-Profit Digital Strategies Seminar put on by the AMA DC Chapter on 12/18/12


Brendan Hurley/Chief Marketing Officer – Goodwill of Greater DC

Kerry Morgan/SVP Marketing Communications – United Way, DC

Craig Oldham/VP Marketing,-American Red Cross

Amy DeMaria/SVP Communications – Cystic Fibrosis Foundation

Panel comments sorted by who said what to make it easier to follow up contact a panelist. I spoke afterwards with Amy (CF) and Craig (Red Cross). They are all nice folk and easily approachable.

Amy/Cystic Fibrosis Foundation (National) 

  • Facebook is their core vehicle, NOT WEB but future depends on Zuckerberg
    • 150,000 Facebook followers
      • 77% Women-mothers with CF children
      • Want information on helping their kid’s life: nutrition, etc
      • 10% foreign
    • Post new content every 2 to 3 weeks
      • Check to see how viral each post spreads
      • Has 3 member staff creating professional content for web, tweets and Facebook. Too important for junior staff or younger writer.
      • Know your audience. Why they come to your Facebook page, build content to THEIR interest not yours. No need to be on all the latest sits such as Instagram, Pinterest. Go where you audience spends most time and do that well.
      • Copy write to people, don’t be an organization writing to donors
    • Monetizing Facebook page big problem for Cystic Fibrosis
      • Corporate sponsors want to be on CF page to promote themselves
      • CF believes this is conflict of interest. Will not link to sponsors or even mention their drugs.
    • CF puts Facebook and twitter URLs on all materials they send out, not their website!
    • HOWEVER, not all Facebook centric marketing programs worked for CF. They did major fundraising campaign focusing on the facebook friends of CF facebook Friends. TOTAL FLOP, because the “friends of friends” did not have CF children! Not emotional invested in same cause. (Goodwill did same thing with the fashionista facebook Friends of Friends and was huge hit – both groups where fashion conscious!)
    • Peer to Peer fundraising is growing via Facebook
  • Mobile is on rise – Quick to use, focused. Simple and clean content.

Kerry/United Way (DC area chapter)   

(It is very important to realize the United Way model is very different than the other attendees. Her comments reflect this)

  • Need to combine on and off line to create complete community.
  • Suggests using LIGHTBOX to create simple 2 field pop up for email and donations
  • Sees movement to multiple charities on the same page, the consumer choices which

one to donate to (remember she is United Way)

  • Was not emailing two years ago, now has 40,000  list. Must decide upfront if you are going to segment this audience and devote the resources to create and maintain programs for each of the segments. Otherwise, don’t do it.
    • 1st wave had major unsubscribe rate
    • Must ENGAGE recipients
      • Surveys of 3 to 5 short questions: What r biggest issues? do u think?
      • Advocacy: Call your congressman, do this, etc
  • These 40,000 donors segmented into 23 sub-segments which get unique sub-segment message emails every 6 weeks
  • Authorized Facebook and Twitter posters must go through ONE hour of training
  • Must have alignment within the organization as to what you want to accomplish and how you are going to do it on-line
    • Most United Way donations done via on-site corporation fundraising of employees. Should we ask for individual’s emails? Or rely on company?
    • 750 non profits under the United Way umbrella. Facebook is not helpful to United Way. Yet Twitter very good.
      • Tweets are fast, easy to use by small non profits
      • Don’t start something unless you can keep at it 1 to 2 years to build. That is how long it took to go from 160 to 2,000 twitter followers
  • Giving Tuesday is going to take off (You would expect United Way to think this)
    • $2million raised in 24 hours from 18,000 unique donors for the participating organizations.
    • June 6th next event

Brendan/Goodwill (DC area)

(He was great, sophisticated in use of Facebook to reach his audience and engage them)

  • In last two years more donations moving on-line as their giving population ages and is more digital minded. Need to lay ground work NOW for millennial and Gen X/Yers to comfortably donate
  • Less than 2% donations from traditional cash donors, 80% from store revenue
  • People come to Goodwill for two very different reasons, Retail and Mission:
    • Gen Y & X big store shoppers. Goodwill stores considered “vintage”.
      • Have separate Facebook for Goodwill “fashionistas” shoppers
      • Content focused on fashion and the young/hipster
      • Includes fashion bloggers and tweets
  • Second group appreciates Goodwill’s Mission, gets separate Facebook
    • Workforce Development messages
    • Donations
  • Quickly realized “90%” of Goodwill’s staff did not understand what Goodwill was doing on line and why.
    • Need to explain to own organization on-line mission and programs before you go public with them on-line so EVERYONE in your organization is giving the public the right message.
    • Train own staff on using social media and understanding it. There is lots of hype and smoke on how to make money thru social media. Reality is social media is a way to ENGAGE and SELL your organization to your audience. They will donate money later.
    • Recommended watching/reading Steven Cook material on brand building for example

  • Moving marketing focus from web to Facebook
    • Facebook content dynamic, constant new material easy to post and easy to update by assigned staff vs having to go through a web master.
      • Has English and Spanish versions of fashion blogs.
      • Post 250 to 500 word blogs FIVE DAYS each week
    • Expect a 1 to 2 year process to build up to what you will want.

Craig/Red Cross

(Very approachable, most sophisticated in number crunching preparing the organization for change. From Chicago).

  • Must segment your givers. Red Cross clearly defines those that give TO the Red Cross vs those giving THROUGH the Red Cross
    Example: Hurricane Sandy created lots of donations by people who wanted to do something for the victims of Sandy, not interested in supporting Red Cross itself.

 Mobile phone donors give to EVENTS

    • Not organizational supporters
    • Bimodal amounts: lots of $10/$25 donations then jumped to $2,000 even
      a $50,000gift. BUT these people did not want any contact or follow up from
      Red Cross. Even the $50k donor pushed back.
    • $TEXT donors had poor ROI, mostly episodic, high mobile carrier costs
  • Personal mythbusting Craig offered to audience
    • Non-profits should use non-profit tools. NO! Techniques used in for-profit commerce and commercial agencies work well.
    • Non-profit tools cheaper. NO! Red Cross uses the Ann Taylor website tools for their fundraising. For-profit tools have economy of scale and better tested by people whose jobs depend on their effectiveness, ease of use and cost.
    • Donors want non-profit experience. NO! People coming to Red Cross website, Facebook and tweets expect same experience as when they visited Amazon, Apple, etc.
  • Corporate Mythbusting is very important. As you get into the data generated by on-line programs you start to rethink what works and what doesn’t’
    • Red Cross made mistake of not addressing this upfront. Have your organization agree from the beginning that you as a group will collect information to find out in an unemotional, fact driven way what works and what doesn’t. Set the hurdles and the number requirements upfront, then do the research to see if a program meets those hurdles.
    • They found many of their “legacy” programs (supported by emotionally invested staff and board members) did not have factually supported returns on the resources invested in them in spite of everyone’s expectations to the contrary.
  • Tweets great for single event crisis response as shown again by Sandy
  • Peer giving and sharing as big and growing.
  • Crowd rise big (I have no idea what this is – they do the wave?)
  • Know your numbers. Track daily traffic
  • Authorized Facebook and Twitter posters must go through FOUR hours of training

One Response to NON-PROFIT DIGITAL STRATEGIES – AMA DC Seminar Notes 12/18/12

  1. That is a very good tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere.

    Short but very precise information… Many thanks for sharing this one.

    A must read post!

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