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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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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

 

 

 

Why Instagram Will Crush Vine

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Everyone’s buzzing about Instagram video. Social mastermind and well-respected wine connoisseur Gary Vaynerchuk even released one of his short and sweet video blogs about it today.

Vaynerchuk also happens to be working on a brand new agency concerned with representing Vine celebrities and despite his excitement about Instagram video, is arguing that they can both exist and be successful.

Despite my utmost respect for Gary, I’m going to plant my flag firmly in the camp of disagreement.

Gary, I think you’re wrong and here’s why:

 

Current Users

Instagram is currently home to 130 million users. Vine had 13 million a month ago, just prior to its Android release. Perhaps if Vine had reached Instagram’s usership, I’d be open to considering Vine to be a long-term threat.  We saw what happened to Pheed last season. It didn’t have the usership to weather the Vine “storm”. Instagram has remained firmly anchored over the past, potentially tumultuous last few months and remains in a position to re-motivate their users with video.

 

User-friendly Experience

On top of Vine’s inferior usership, of those 13 million Vine users, how many had actually abandoned Instagram? I, for one, still wasn’t impressed with the slow load time and the finicky navigation of Vine. To me, Instagram was far and away the more sleek of the two and still continues to do pretty well with the addition of video.

 

Individual Features

Many Vine advocates are arguing that the 6 second time limit will work in its favour and people (with increasingly short attention spans) will be annoyed by a full 15 second video. Luckily, people get better at posting (perhaps shorter) videos as they learn what their friends like and don’t like by seeing a presence or absence of likes. If you’re annoyed with a 13 second video, you can always hit the unfollow button. The other feature that Vine enthusiasts advocate is the looping nature of Vine videos. If this, in fact, is enough of a reason to stick with Vine then I’m sure Instagram will be aware of this and adjust accordingly. Talk about a flimsy and easily duplicated competitive advantage.

 

Conclusion

This one comes down to Instagram’s far superior user base and user-friendly nature. Those professing loyalty to Vine and vocalizing a displeasure in Instagram’s copycat ways must realize that a large majority of “art” is stolen. And, as I mentioned in the post immediately preceding this one, harbouring your product’s strengths and relying on them for a competitive advantage won’t get you anywhere. The only way to win is to learn faster than everyone else.

My money’s on Instagram. But hey, let the games begin.

 

 

 

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5 Ideas On The Future of Business Strategy

5 Steps to the Ultimate Business Strategyi.  Everyone’s connected.

Business strategy traditionally came from the smartest people in the room, the executive team, the bosses and when they needed help they turned to incredibly expensive consultants to build a brilliant foolproof plan. Everyone at the top laughed all the way to the bank. If the plan failed it was the consultants fault, if the plan succeeded it was the executives’ idea all along. Rarely does centralized, autocratic, command and control leadership work anymore. Read more

Three Simple Ways to Listen Online

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As I hope you’ve read in my recent post, An Urgent Message for All Businesses on Twitter, it’s (still) time to stop shouting about yourself and start listening to others on social media platforms and in life in general. Marketing is now way more about what others are saying about you than it is about what you are saying about yourself. If there’s a disconnect between these two things, people will find out. That’s now easier than ever to do so. Think of marketing as being completely reversed. Advertising and bleeding incessant brand info is the old way. Now, you can be the most effective by zipping your lip for awhile and listening to what others are saying and, whether its positive or negative, using the information constructively to make improvements to your product or service’s core and rectify customer dissatisfaction.

I’ve tweeted my thanks to multiple businesses on this week upon receiving slightly above average customer service and quality repairs. I’ve received a response or acknowledgment roughly one third of the time. Yes, ONE THIRD. ONLY ONE THIRD. I’m basically tossing Jose Bautista an underhanded lob in the middle of the strike zone and watching him refuse to swing. As far as I’m concerned, these businesses who aren’t listening might as well delete their accounts immediately. Their tweets about themselves have very little value and EVEN LESS VALUE if they aren’t going to respond to their satisfied customers.

I’m going to cease this rant to illustrate three easy ways to listen to your customers online:

1: Twitter Search
This is so simple. Search your business name, your product name, or some industry keywords to get a perception of what people are saying. Just be sure you’ve got all your basic bases covered before you do this (replying to those who have mentioned you, thanking people for sharing your information, and acknowledging new followers). Twitter culture allows you to jump in on conversations that pertain to you without being deemed a troll. Try this out and don’t fear negative feedback. It presents a world of opportunity.

2: Net Promoter Score
Net Promoter Score is a feedback system easily added to websites and bricks and mortar businesses that asks customers to answer one simple question: How likely are you to recommend our product or service to a friend or family member? We love it and think no business should move a muscle until NPS becomes their starting point. View a quick slide show.

3. Asking Simple Questions
Sometimes listening and getting feedback is as simple as asking. Don’t be so afraid of the answers you’re going to get that you avoid asking your customers questions. Avoid asking just for the sake of asking or asking questions with the sole intention of sounding like you care. Embrace any information you receive. This is a tactic that will result in valuable information if executed correctly AND create the kind of engagement that will be constructive for your business.

Professional Stock Photo jeph headshot

Walks With Jeph Episode 3: Westjet (Video)

Today on walks with Jeph we talk about Westjet and the social object they’ve developed; being the “fun” airline. They tell jokes on flights, are extremely friendly, and just seem to care more than the other airlines.

Do you remember the first time you flew Westjet?  I sure do. It completely blew my mind that this airline actually wanted to make my flight more enjoyable. I went home immediately and told my parents about it and have been a loyal Westjet supporter ever since. You see, just the fact that I had to tell someone about my first experience with Westjet makes what they offer a social object.  They’ve baked the marketing right into the product and I don’t think anyone can argue the success they’ve had.

So here’s your excuse to have a crazy, wild, loud, awesome idea for your company. The next marketing meeting you host tell everyone to think about the Westjet story and how it all started.  Someone had the idea of telling jokes on flights. Even more importantly, someone high up in that company liked the idea and gave them permission to try it.

A smart culture breeds smart ideas.

People don't pay attention to boring things.

Video: The Future of Marketing – Social Objects

If you think it’s social media is the future of marketing you are way off kilter.  Social media is merely a means to and ends, a tool, a medium for communication. Social media is not a strategy.

What happens when communication goes from being expensive (press releases, billboards, 30 second spot) to relatively free (website, blog, Twitter account)? We get a fire-hose of information, which makes it much more difficult to standout amongst the crowd.  (more noise than signal)

Enter Social Objects, they are the videos we share with friends, the pictures that get retweeted, the reason we tell stories about companies, the reason we remain extremely loyal to some brands.  It’s all because of social objects.  If something is worth sharing then it is a social object.  Billboards can be social objects, commercials can be social objects, products can definitely be social objects.  Anything that’s worth telling somebody about, is by definition, a social object.

As a marketer it is now your job to create social objects.

Here’s a video on Social Objects:

Sidenote:

Social objects aren’t created over night.  What usually seems like a major breakthrough, is the result of a long process of improving upon the first iteration.  The iPod for example may appear to have been a remarkable social object that happened overnight for Apple, when actually it was the product of many different versions improving upon the prior version.

Because creating a social object is difficult, many companies purposely try not to, if it was easy everyone would do it.