Professional Stock Photos-the wait a minute, i have one more really important something to tell you

3 Reasons Why Your Nonprofit Won’t Exist In Five Years & What To Do About It

Underwhelming leadership, a reactive approach to technology, and a communications strategy that hasn’t evolved since 1999. This is the sorry state most nonprofits find themselves in. Leadership’s difficult to change, technology changes too much to understand, and marketing teams with a bad case of the “but it’s what we’ve always done!’s” syndrome.

You’re worse off than you thought if you don’t admit to having a problem.

The good news is that there is hope for you. Change isn’t fatal, not adapting is. Below are three thoughts on why I think many nonprofits are becoming obsolete. Agree or disagree, let me know in the comments below.

and make it a better place. it is in your hands to make a difference.

1. It’s never been easier to create a nonprofit.

It’s easier to start a business today, for and not for profit, than it was 20 years ago. The fact that you can start a nonprofit without leaving your couch (over simplification) is bound to increase the amount of entities that are started. The ease of entry to the market has caused an influx of nonprofits starting and subsequently dying before they had the chance to see the light of day all because some other organization with a more pressing issue moved into town. They cannibalize the publics’ wallet share for donations, with more and more organizations asking people for charitable dollars, the more difficult it is for charities to acquire the donations they used to collect with little to no effort.

Solution: Create loyalty. I weird concept for a nonprofit? Not anymore. How do you create loyal contributors? How do you increase repeat donations? How do you set up a referral engine for giving? Every organization is a little different but if you can Answer these questions for your nonprofit and you’re half way there. Keep reading for the other half.

2. There’s a nonprofit overseas needs more help than yours does.

The worldwide need for nonprofits is much more apparent. We communicate worldwide in real time now, problems on the other side of the world are now our problems too. As we learned with “Kony 2012”, within a couple clicks (or Retweets) I can see what some of the most important issues are today. And yes, we’re not always right in our first impression and sometimes we support organizations which later we regret (insert Kony 2012 into this category).

In the future we’re going to be exposed to the horrors of our world overseas and in the furtherest places on Earth from where we currently reside. Geography doesn’t matter. When humans need help on the other side of the world wallets begin opening and all those charity dollars that went to the local chapter of the Lions club all of a sudden left the city, province and country. 

SolutionMake an emotion connection with the problem you’re solving and the intended audience. The only reason donor dollars are going out of country is that there is a major perceived(real or fake) need for aid in other parts of the world. Rarely do local nonprofits make a compelling case as to why you should donate to your local food bank versus feeding children in a third world country. Find peoples heart strings and gently tug on them. First and foremost we Canadians need to ensure the wellbeing of our people so that in the future we can help other areas of the world.

3. We’re all looking for something to believe in and your organization isn’t doing it for me anymore.

As countries develop and generations get older, people look for ways to feel fulfilled, a purpose per se. This is getting increasingly more difficult. But more and more people are looking for alternative ways to get that rush in the bottom of their stomachs. That moment when you realize you’ve actually changed someones’ life for the better. Volunteering for an organization is one way to achieve this feeling.

Our world isn’t about to get less confusing (quite the opposite actually) and “giving back” is still an easy way to get that feeling that you’re putting a dent in the universe. With the decline of traditional spiritual/religious paths, the Y Generation and Millennials need a new outlet to find their own spirituality, a feeling found through serving others. But we’re not loyal to a fault. If your mission is getting stale, if your strategy has never evolved, if you’re behind on technology, you’re giving people a great reason to check out your competition.

Nobody wants to board a ship that’s sailing nowhere.

SolutionDefine (or redefine) your why. The reason your nonprofit exists. Develop the model of how you’re going to scale the impact you’re creating. Remember, a nonprofits ‘brand’ isn’t the logo or the advertising, or the website, the ‘brand’ is what the organization has done. Events ran, program put on, people affected. If you want a forward thinking brand set a BHAG, empower your people, try new initiatives, acquire feedback, and constantly improve upon last quarters results. Simple as that.

It always seems impossible until it's done.

Sources:

Nonprofits Are Growing, What Is It That They Do?

Nonprofit Fundraising Study – Covering Charitable Receipts at U.S. Nonprofit Organizations in 2011

Why Don’t the Best Nonprofits Grow?

Growth in the Non-profit Sector and Competition for Funding

 

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The Business of Belief [14 Brilliant Quotes]

I recently finished an amazing read by Tom AsackerThe Business of BeliefHow the World’s Best Marketers, Designers, Salespeople, Coaches, Fundraisers, Educators, Entrepreneurs and Other Leaders Get Us to Believe.

It’s an easy read, not very long, and filled with wonderful little stories that teach memorable lessons in a simple manner. I loved the book and have since bought it for people. I really think you should pick up a copy, after all, don’t you want something to believe in?

I’ve heard this stat before but really puts into perspective the ‘maker’ culture we’re living in.

Every two days we create as much information... quotes-eric-schmidt-information

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Are You Too Busy? Read this.

Please do us all a favour and Stop Complaining About How Busy You AreWe all do this too much these days.

Everyone is too busy.

The majority of what we do is waste time on things that ultimately don’t matter. We all could work a little smarter and plan our lives a little better. It’s not impossible.

Do you really think Jeff Bezos has more time in a day than you? Do you think Larry Page and Sergey Brin sleep much, much less than regular people and work more hours? Do you think the smartest CEOs, Entrepreneurs, and Leaders just work more hours than most people? Or is it something else?

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you-can-fit-in-or-standout-but-you-cant-do-both

How Long Should A Website Take To Build? A Highschool Website Experiment

Campbell BusinessThe other day, Brandon and I went to a Campbell entrepreneurship class taught by Jordan McFarlen. Mr. McFarlen invited us to talk about how we started Strategy Lab and the entrepreneurial experience. The way Mr. McFarlen teaches the class is he divides them in two groups and they have to start companies which over the semester they will run like an actual company (last years company actually imported iPhone cases from China, pretty awesome). Mr. McFarlen is one in a million and the Campbell Business program is very lucky to have him. The passion and excitement for learning he has is such a bright light in our ever troubled education system.

Instead of talking about ourselves for an hour, we decided to do something different.

In the first 15 minutes we talked about as a company what we believe in, our 10 values, and the story of how Brandon and I met.

Then Brandon went to work.

This first thing Brandon did was made each company decide on a domain name and he bought for them. Then he set each website up on WordPress and give them the login. There’s a lot of technical work that Brandon didn’t do (like 18 hours worth of work he’d do on a regular website) but the students will figure that out, they can learn how to hack WordPress to get it to do what they want.

It was amazing to see the looks on their faces. Something that most people think takes days, weeks or even months, Brandon created in front of their very eyes. It was amazing to witness. A website doesn’t have to take months to create, you can have one in an hour, it won’t look great but you’ll have your very own online publishing platform.

Websites don’t take that long to build. Yes there is a lot of technical and design elements that you should trust a professional on but for the most part people spend an insanely long time on design. Why? Because they’re trying to appease everyone. But when need to build a bridge, you don’t ask a committee or a board, you hire the best dam bridge builder around. Something to think about the next time you want to “re-design” your website.

I’m really excited to see what the students at Campbell will end up doing with the websites. The last thing we said on our way out was, experiment, try new things, and try to break the website. Get Creative.

Hopefully they teach us an entirely different way that websites should look and feel.

a good brand vs a bad brand in action

5 Words That Changed Everything

WestjetI was on a Westjet flight the other day, as per usual, like most of you do, I was finishing off one last tweet before I “turned off my phone” during take off.
This is usually when the flight attendant, playing the authority card says, “sir, can you please turn off your phone” in the same tone of an elementary school teacher scolding a young child.

I’m used to it, it happens pretty much every time I fly. Until, just the other day. The lovely flight attendant says to me “sir can you turn off your phone, after you’re done that message? in such a lovely tone too!
I didn’t feel like a child, I didn’t feel reprimanded, I didn’t feel like she was trying to flex her authority muscle. She added five words which entirely changed the request. Brilliant.

The next time you have a request for a customer, what could you add that would make it that much more pleasant?

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Sometimes You Just Have To Be Like Harry Potter

In Harry Potter The Prisoner of Azkaban, there’s a scene at the lake where dementors are about to kill Harry, Hermoine and Sirious Black. There are too many dementors for Harry to defend against.

Just when you think all is lost, all of a sudden a Patronus appears from the other side of the lake and staves off the dementors.

Harry believes it’s his father who cast the Patronus charm and saved them.

Some time later in the movie, using Hermione’s time-turner to go back in time, they go back to the lake where supposedly Harry’s father saves them. But what they find is Harry’s father doesn’t show up. So who saved them?

It must have been Harry. But he wasn’t powerful enough, or so he thought.

He didn’t think he had the power to do it, but because he’d already seen himself do it, it wasn’t impossible anymore.

Visualizing, affirming, positive self talk, there are many ways to help yourself do this in your marketing, business and life. Sometimes you must believe in yourself to do the impossible, otherwise how else are you going to achieve your goals? Just like Harry did.

How many major moments in your life would have been much easier if you would have saw yourself doing it perfectly in advance?

The Best Problems Are Impossible

Impossible-Quotes-impossible-is-nothing

I love impossible problems. I love when you solve a once seemingly impossible problem and then have this realization of “wait a minute, if I was wrong about ________* what else could I be wrong about!?”.

People use the word never a lot. I could never do that. That would never work. You’ll never get there. It’s easy to say it won’t work. It’s easy to be a critic.

If only we all had the mind of a child. To children, there are no limits, no barriers, no hesitations, no red tape, no reason not to try the impossible.

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“The Performance Begins Long Before The Curtains Open”

Globe Theatre Regina Website

On September 16, 2013 the wonderful staff at the Globe Theatre in Regina and I shared a laugh or three. It was a lot of fun. It was on the five keys to customer service in 2013 and beyond.

I. Smile
II. Reciprocity
III. It’s always the little things
IV. No one loves a company
V. Create ‘wow’ moments 

 

***Important*** On the slides that show a website, click the website in the slide, it links to the actual website. 

everyone-has-a-superpower

Video Is The Future And These Regina Kids Are Beating You At It

An article by FastCompany, already a year old, claims that short-form video is the future of marketing. Well, the future is now and it’s plain to see that FC was dead on.
YouTube is the internet’s second most popular search engine (behind Google), Vine is this year’s fastest growing app, and Instagram followed suit with the addition of video mere weeks after Vine’s explosion.

The Fast Company article cites 5 main reasons for video becoming the dominant medium:
1. More and more users are consuming video entertainment online.
2. Marketers are using video to engage social media audiences.
3. Barriers to entry are low.
4. Quality is rapidly improving.
5. There are plenty of avenues for videos to spread.

Wondering what this means for you and how you should go about doing video? Start off by seeing how effective a simple and bare bones video can be by checking out Gary Vaynerchuk’s YouTube Channel.

Then, take a look at some local talent who have been absolutely crushing it with dynamic video content:

1. Chris Dimas – Drummer – 16 Years Old

2. Alex McIntosh and Matt Stefan – Students – 20 Years Old

What makes these videos so successful? Here’s what I think:

Both of the above videos reside at the intersection of the creators’ strengths and what is relevant. In Chris’s case, his strength is his high energy and skillful drumming and the relevance is that he uses popular music in his videos. For Matt and Alex, their strengths are sense of humour and comedic timing and the relevance of their video lies in the fact that levelling was partially a spoof on the planking craze and exemplified what most people are looking for on YouTube: a good laugh. This concept is illustrated below:

Regina Video Content Strategy

For your business, this “sweet spot” framework should really simplify things, as it did for Stella and Sway in this video we filmed for them:

Stella And Sway – Summer Weddings from Strategy Lab on Vimeo.

If you have any video questions please comment below! And if you’re looking for some help with your first/next video, email us at info@strategylab.ca

 

 

 

The Debate Continues: How Much Do Colours Affect Your Website’s Performance?

During the creation of a content-driven, engaging, educational, and well-measured website, people often spend a lot of time fretting over design details. While we’ll be the first to stress the website’s function and measurability as it meets your needs as being a much larger part of the website development and marketing strategy, the fact that the colours use have an effect on customers’ propensity to trust your business and make purchases from you can’t be overlooked. This is illustrated in great detail in this awesome infographic from the folks over at KISSmetrics. We’re sure you’ll learn something new. Let us know what you think.

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