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Engage Me: Momentum through Innovative Engagement
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Engage Me: Momentum through Innovative Engagement

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  • Working in a non-profit setting or in social change work is tiring sometimes, frustrating. We have limited resources, yet we are expected, or at least, we try to offer limitless service for social change. This is not a surprise to many of you – nor is it a surprise to anyone working in the activism field, really.If we are going to continue to use our own hands to serve food to end the larger problem of hunger, we will never be able to achieve it even if we serve 24/7 until our elbows drop. The good news is, we are all now entering the connected age. We have moved past the Information Age, we are now combining information and communication to create a hyperconnection. And the challenge for us now is to harness the power of connectedness to power social change – how do we connect, engage and communicate to bring about connected activism.
  • This is not any ordinary headphones! Do you know what these white headphones belong to?An iPod, yes. There’s a reason I talk about this. Have anyone of you spoken to an Apple evangelist before?They used to be called MP3 player, but now everyone talks about iPod and no more MP3 players. Even if you don’t own an iPod, you’d know someone who owns one. It is the dream of a consumer item: 220 million units sold as of 9 September 2009. After 6 years, you might think that the iPod sensational performance must be about to level off. But when Apple announced its quarterly results for the last 3 months of 2007, iPod revenue was up 17% on the same quarter the previous year. Apple’s profit for the same quarter of 2005 were $565 million. In 2006, $1 billion. 2007, $1.58billion.  What drives awesome numbers like that? Momentum. Buzz.  Apple has a good understanding of its consumers. It understands what its consumers want and need so it creates things that consumers want and don’t bother about what their consumers don’t want like flashy green and purple lights. When consumers are happy, they are happy to talk about your products, sell your products. Apple does not pay or reward any of their activists / evangelists. If they do, all they did was to continuously produce quality product and service and never disappoint its consumers. 
  • There are many models of engagement levels out there but I like to use this one.On the left is the sympathisers – right, activists.A few on the right, tons in the middle, and quite a handful on the left. The more left, the higher turn over rate. Further right, less turnover, more proactive; but less of them. What we want is to connect them together, so that those on the right can bring on the middle up the ladder, and those in the middle bring the left up to the middle.But many organisations fail to do these. Why? Because our organisations fail our activists and advocates. We fail to connect them, engage them. We fail them, basically.When people come to you wanting to be involved in your organisation, what do you normally say? You tell them to give money. Treating them like ATM – yes, money is definitely what you need but there comes a point where your stakeholders will realised that you are treating them as an ATM machine. Or maybe if you engage with your volunteers by using them to provide market research for your service or organisation or asking for feedback for content, that is not engagement, that is market research. Engaging with your stakeholders in that way will let you gain lots of benefits in the short term, but sooner or later, there’ll come a time when your stakeholders cannot take it anymore and drop off – regardless of how sexy your mission is. Pressures to operate like businesses and trends to find short-term fixes for social problems have caused too many activist organisations and those that support and train them, to learn toward strategising, communicating and acting at, rather than with, their own constituents and supporters. Campaigns and programs are often conceived by a small handful of professional staff, and maybe a board member or two, and then pushed out into the world for members and volunteers to enthusiastically embrace after the fact. To make things worse, these volunteers and supporters, who have been held at arm’s length, are then often hit up for money to support the organisation’s efforts, into which they had no input. We are further lulled into placid resignation when activists efforts engage us primarily as ATM machines, not as partners and participants.
  • We need to think about how can we leverage our power, our brand, our organisation to create waves. What do we know about our stakeholders and our audience, where are they, what are they talking about us and how can we make the feel sexy to do crazy things for us? How can we use resources around us to build the perfect wave so that we can surf through it? How can we build momentum?To flourish in the Connected Age, you need to be open to change and be curious about the possibilities available in this new world. The change I am describing is not just about using social media, the interactive digital tools, effectively. Using social media without changing how we think about social change will create only more noise, and for this reason a mindset of connected activism is necessary.
  • So let’s start somewhere. Let’s start at beginning, because... well, that is a good place to start.  Insights, understanding our stakeholders. What do they want? Explore your stakeholders and potential stakeholders – where and what are people talking about you? They represent an unlimited potential for growth. Allow you to do less is more.ReachOut.comCompelling Mission holds your staff member, but it has to also hold your stakeholders – how can you extend your values to include your stakeholders? Your values should tap into your stakeholder’s dreams, fantasies and nightmares – reaching their emotions. Understanding their insight will help you achieve that.  Compelling Equity is creating a win-win situation. No matter how noble what your organisation is doing, if you do not have a compelling equity, you will fail to engage your stakeholders enough to build momentum. Participation is a two-way street; individuals need satisfaction from their volunteering, while the organisations they are serving need results. In order to have an explosive impact on social change we need to understand participation what makes it meaningful or not for both individuals and the organisations they are serving? Now this is the important part, power offer design. So after understanding your existing audience, your potential audience, holding them with your sexy values and coming up with a win-win situation, this is where you think about how you can leverage your organisation to your stakeholders to engage them. How can you engage them and share the power? This does not mean getting them to run the organisation, but giving them influence.  Note how the arrows show that this process is interactive and iterative. The speak that ignites momentum is power offer – this is where the twin engines of design and execution meet and exchange energy. Of course, developing a successful power offer is just a beginning – only half the story in fact. Many companies that bring breakthrough products to market typically experience an initial, rapid burst of growth only to find themselves losing momentum soon after. Real momentum is only achieved when the same focus and ambition is applied to every aspect of the stakeholder’s relationship including satisfaction, retention and engagement.
  • Momentum Execution Sense of community is that members have:Feelings of membership: feelings of belonging to, and identifying with the communityFeelings of influence: feeling of having influence on, and being influenced by, the communityIntegration and fulfilment of needs: feelings of being supported by others in the community while also supporting themShared emotional connection: feelings of relationships, shared history and a “spirit in community” We have the ability to make participation possible for a breathtakingly large number of people. Meaningfulness is not just personal; it is also contextual. It changes according to time – e.g. collecting toiletries during a disaster. This time, note how the arrow travel in just one direction, gathering pace and boosting momentum in a virtuous circle of cumulative, self-sustaining power? And at ach of these steps, tools are available to exploit this richness in depth. The process gives you the simple integrated perspective. The tools give you the means to harness the richness in each of the eight steps. The same principle applies to each step – less is more and emotions drive action. This requires different and more ambitious objectives than those unusually set in the routine of normal business operations. The key is to focus on what add values and stop doing things that don’t add value. Set ambitious goals to intensify the positive emotions. Cooking a good stew is more art than science. It involves finding the freshest ingredients and combining them in ways that are unique to the season and the cook’s mood. The main ingredient is self-determination – the willingness and ability to chart your own course. Other ingredients are broadened to information and strategies, continuous learning, the leveraging of existing social networks and perhaps more than anything else, a shift in control from a few leaders at the centre out toward the many people at the edges who want to contribute meaningfully but who are, for the most part, now locked out of the process. We need to understand all these ingredients separately before we can bring them all together. – Have conversation, go read about it, and attend conferences Technology does not create a sense of community by itself, but it can provide a virtual and inexpensive place to gather to make community happen.
  •  For participants, activities fall along a continuum from low intensity/low meaning to high intensity/high meaning. Intensity here is defined as the emotional impact that a particular activity has on a person, not the amount of time spent on an activity. For example, an hour chat with a survivor might have greater emotional impact on a person than a month of hammering a house. Self-determination is not an activity as much as a mindset, a state of being. It is a belief and desire to set our own course fuelled by clear plans and an innate sense of our own powerfulness. Becoming self-determining begins with clarity of thought about what we are doing and how we can make a positive difference for the clients and communities that we serve. From clarity of thought comes a plan, from clear plans come good actions. And all these good thoughts and behaviours need to be wrapped in a willingness to learn and improve over time.
  • This is not any ordinary headphones! Do you know what these white headphones belong to?An iPod, yes. There’s a reason I talk about this. Have anyone of you spoken to an Apple evangelist before?They used to be called MP3 player, but now everyone talks about iPod and no more MP3 players. Even if you don’t own an iPod, you’d know someone who owns one. It is the dream of a consumer item: 220 million units sold as of 9 September 2009. After 6 years, you might think that the iPod sensational performance must be about to level off. But when Apple announced its quarterly results for the last 3 months of 2007, iPod revenue was up 17% on the same quarter the previous year. Apple’s profit for the same quarter of 2005 were $565 million. In 2006, $1 billion. 2007, $1.58billion.  What drives awesome numbers like that? Momentum. Buzz.  Apple has a good understanding of its consumers. It understands what its consumers want and need so it creates things that consumers want and don’t bother about what their consumers don’t want like flashy green and purple lights. When consumers are happy, they are happy to talk about your products, sell your products. Apple does not pay or reward any of their activists / evangelists. If they do, all they did was to continuously produce quality product and service and never disappoint its consumers. 
  • Transcript

    • 1. Ehon Chan 1 October 2009 Engage Me
      MOMENTUMthrough Innovative Engagement
    • 2.
    • 3. This is not your ordinary headphone…
    • 4. Volunteers Engagement Levels
      Professional activists
      Advocates
      Active members
      Specific, tangible actions
      Easy actions
      Simple actions
      SYMPATHISER
      ACTIVIST
      Adapted from: Priscila Brice-Weller
    • 5. Activists
      Sympathisers
    • 6.
    • 7.
    • 8.
    • 9. Momentum Design
      Compelling
      Mission
      Power Offer Design
      Insights
      Win-Win
    • 10. Momentum Execution
      Satisfaction
      Retention
      Power Offer Execution
      Engagement
    • 11. The Momentum Effect
      Satisfaction
      Compelling
      Mission
      Power Offer Design
      Power Offer Execution
      Insights
      Retention
      Win - Win
      Engagement
    • 12. Keep thingssimple
      Less is MORE
    • 13. Learn to LET GO
    • 14. Most organisations are worried about losing control of their “brand”
      Yet, more and more people are investing in brand that reward their participation
    • 15. ehon.chan@inspire.org.au