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Five trends that will redefine nonprofit communications


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Economic challenges, new technology, and diverse audiences are creating new …

Economic challenges, new technology, and diverse audiences are creating new
opportunities for nonprofits, especially with their communications. This presentation explores five trends shaping how your nonprofit can tell its story, engage key audiences, and build support for its mission. Originally presented by Emily Stoddard Furrow and Gretchen DeVault, partners of DVQ Studio, at the 2010 Michigan Nonprofit Association SuperConference.

Published in: Technology, Business

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  • 1. Five trends that will redefine non-profit communications Michigan Nonprofit Association SuperConference May 18, 2010
  • 2.
    • Framing the trends
    • Trends
      • Signs you’re in denial
      • Ways to snap out of it
    • Discussion
  • 3. What has driven the trends that are changing everything? Framing the trends
  • 4.
    • Technology
    • Accessibility: internet access and mobile technology
    • Real-time transparency: social media
    Framing the trends
  • 5.
    • Transition
    • Economical: bad times create an openness to new approaches
    • Cultural: the notion of what community means is changing
    • Generational: more generations than ever share the same space, especially in the workplace
    Framing the trends
  • 6. These two factors have led to new thinking about relationship building, communications, and fundraising. Framing the trends
  • 7. And that new thinking is not going away. These are not short-term fads. They reflect a paradigm shift. Because of the social, cultural, and economic shifts, the technology could disappear ... but the attitudes, behaviors, and expectations those tools reflect would still exist. Framing the trends
  • 8. Audiences of all ages and backgrounds are increasingly savvy. Trends
  • 9.
    • Are you in denial?
    • “ We’ll use social media if we want to talk to young people.”
    • According to Nielsen, almost 42% of the traffic on Twitter is driven by 35 to 49 year olds. comScore reports that 45 to 54 year olds are 36% more likely than average to visit Twitter — and 18 to 24 year olds are 12% less likely than average to visit.
    • Baby boomers are the fastest growing users of social media. From December 2007 through December 2008, Nielsen reports that Facebook added almost twice as many 50-64 year old visitors (+13.6 million) than it has added under 18 year old visitors (+7.3 million)
  • 10.
    • Are you in denial?
    • “ We don’t need to be on the bleeding edge.”
    • By the end of 2008, social networking had become more popular than e-mail. According to a Nielsen study, 66.8% of Internet users across the globe accessed “member communities” in 2008, compared to 65.1% for email.
  • 11.
    • Are you in denial?
    • “ We’ll only get small donations if we invest in online communications.”
    • An annual study of “wired wealthy” (individuals who donate a minimum of $1,000 annually to a single cause) found that 51% of those surveyed said they prefer giving online and 46% said that five years from now they will be making a greater portion of their charitable gifts online.
  • 12.
    • Are you in denial?
    • “ I don’t want to pay any fees for online event registration.”
    • “ Online donations aren’t really a priority for us.”
  • 13.
    • Ways to snap out of it
    • Diversify your board and committees. The people you want to reach should be part of your planning and decision-making.
    • Take a look at the true cost of doing business as usual.
    • Get engaged and explore.
  • 14. Organizations are more than a talking logo Trends
  • 15.
    • Are you in denial?
    • “ We can have an intern manage our Facebook page.”
    • Would you trust an intern to give your elevator pitch to a major donor? Would you give them the mic at your signature event and have them deliver a speech off the cuff?
    • To build your brand voice and influence —not just your brand presence —you need more than a warm body. You need someone who knows your organization and its audiences and can meaningfully engage them.
  • 16.
    • Are you in denial?
    • “ We’re afraid people might say something negative about us.”
    • If you are sure they will say something negative, you may already have a problem. This is the important issue of accessibility and authenticity that emerging communications behaviors and tools have brought to light.
    • If people do say something negative, it is a chance to have an honest conversation. And you may be surprised—often, other supporters step forward to help clarify negative perceptions.
  • 17.
    • Are you in denial?
    • “ If my staff members belong to certain networks, I’m unaware of that.”
    • Your brand is the perception that everyone is creating. By knowing who is connected where, you can get a better sense of where conversations happen and learn how to equip your team with helpful messages and tools.
  • 18.
    • Ways to snap out of it
    • Ask each staff and board member to give you an elevator pitch.
    • Ask your staff and board about their networks.
    • Pick one random audience member weekly and assess their experience.
  • 19. Technology is an engine for organizations, not just a tool for their communications. “ I need a website” is becoming “I need a hub for my communications, fundraising, and volunteer management” Trends
  • 20.
    • Are you in denial?
    • “ Our online giving is kind of like a self-service checkout lane. In fact, I can’t be 100% confident that everyone who gave online last year received a personal thank you, besides the one generated by our online giving service.”
    • This is a common problem when internal systems are not talking to each other.
    • Relationships are not only a series of transactions —they are a series of touchpoints that affect how people view and relate to your organization.
  • 21.
    • Are you in denial?
    • “ When people give, register for an event, or sign up to volunteer online, we have to manually add that data into our database. We didn’t want to pay to have the systems talk to each other, and we’re already very familiar with Excel.”
    • Common problems
    • A common problem is having one staff member charged withknowing and implementing the manual processes of the organization. This can lead people with relationships (fundraisers, program managers) to be siloed from people with data (administrative pros).
    • Technology can create friction with comfort zones, but don’t let the desire to accommodate a couple people’s preferences hold your organization’s systems back.
  • 22. Ways to snap out of it • Engage and empower everyone as part of the process of assessing and investing in technology. • Create a technology inventory and identify opportunities for connection. • Invest wisely, but invest. Trends
  • 23. Traditional communications and fundraising approaches are not dying — they are getting smarter. Trends
  • 24.
    • Are you in denial?
    • “ We’ve always done _____________.”
    • • “ We have many older, long-term donors. This is what they expect.”
    • • “ I’d rather do a luncheon asking 75 people to give than take a risk by launching an online fundraising campaign to hundreds.”
  • 25. Ways to snap out of it • Ditch the template! Yes, this will require accepting risk. • Put your audience first, your approach second. Ask them what they want! • Give everything a value—and then measure it. Sometimes there is a great value beyond hard dollars raised. Trends
  • 26. As we approach information overload, the tools and culture of communications are shifting from gathering to synthesis. Trends
  • 27.
    • Are you in denial?
    • “ We have lots of content in lots of places. If donors want to know something, they can just search and find any of those resources.”
    • This kind of thinking makes the assumption that all content is created equal. Avoid being passive about your content. It’s your knowledge—own it, shape it, and use it to create a distinct story.
  • 28.
    • Are you in denial?
    • “ Our e-newsletter includes an article from every department, plus links and announcements. It’s a little long, but it’s comprehensive.”
    • Choose to be clear and compelling rather than simply comprehensive. Help your audience focus on the key message, and make it obvious how they can take action.
  • 29. Ways to snap out of it • Build stories instead of simply sharing facts, data, and content. • Aim to be an expert, not an exhaustive resource. Trends
  • 30. THANK YOU This presentation was created by DVQ Studio. Copyright 2010 Trends