Successfully reported this slideshow.
We use your LinkedIn profile and activity data to personalize ads and to show you more relevant ads. You can change your ad preferences anytime.

CTPP Online Engagement


Published on

A board presentation on online engagement for CT Parent Power

  • Be the first to comment

  • Be the first to like this

CTPP Online Engagement

  1. 1. From brochureware to actionware:Creating Change & Raising Money ByGrowing Connecticut Parent Power’sOnline Presence
  2. 2. 6.14.10 Paul Wessel, Director CT Parent Power 203-654-7958 for CT Parent Power Steering Committee Nancy Leonard, Graustein Memorial Fund memo available for viewing & download at 1
  3. 3. The next twelve months offer CT Parent Power (“CTPP”) a unique opportunityto reach out to Connecticut parents about schools, early care & education andhealth care. Our web-based activity can be a key tool in taking advantage ofthis opportunity.Through early November, Connecticut will be engaged in a spirited debate overour state’s leadership as candidates vie for an open Governor’s seat.Beyond the election and through mid-2011, the Connecticut General Assemblylegislative session will the focus of public policy debate on our core issues.A strong parent voice on school reform, state-based health care reform andearly care issues over the next year can shape state policy for years to come.CT Parent Power’s online presence can be a key tool for building andamplifying Connecticut’s parent voice. 2
  4. 4. We are proposing to deepen our online engagement work to strengthenour existing parent relationships, build new relationships, and begin asmall donor campaign to build our sustainability. This memo offers an overview of the possibilities for such a project, proposes a menu of approaches, and, subject to Steering Committee and funder approval, will be the basis for pursuing technical assistance from strategic online marketing consultants with 2009 carryover funds from the Graustein Memorial Fund. It is drawn from work developed as part of an Online Engagement course in the spring of 2010 at Milano - The New School for Management and Urban Policy. 3
  5. 5. Rebuilding our website is an opportunity to:  better define our policy and advocacy role  sharpen a tool well served for that purpose  more clearly project our public face or “branding”  determine how best to put to work grant resources designated for resource development 4
  6. 6. This memo is broken down into six sections covering: 1. Project Goals and the CTPP Strategic Plan 2. Developing our “Parent” personality on the Web 3. Sharpening our online “personality” 4. Building Online relationships = Building Fundraising xxxcapacity 5. The Importance of Email 6. Email: Growing Our Online Community & Growing xxxGrassroots Fundraising Measuring Our Performance 7. Next Steps 5
  7. 7. 1. Project Goals & the CTPP Strategic PlanThe goal of our online engagement work is to o Deepen our relationship with our existing members o Grow our list by building online relationships with new supporters o Expand the use of our online program for education and advocacy work o Deepen our relationships to include small dollar contributions and/or dues 6
  8. 8. This project’s goals support the 4 strategic goals CTPP established in itsplanning process: 1. Strengthen and support member communities and the Delegate base 2. Influence policy change on children’s issues at state and federal levels 3. Become Connecticut’s premier parent-led advocacy organization 4. Build & maintain an effective infrastructure to sustain growth and vitalityIn addition, 15 of the 16 strategies adopted by CTPP as necessary forachieving its strategic planning goals will be supported by our onlinework.** The remaining strategy of completing our governance policies will need to be fulfilled offline. 7
  9. 9. CONNECTICUT PARENT POWER STRATEGIC PLAN 2009 - 2011Our vision: All parents will influence public decisions that impact children and families.Our mission: Educate, engage, empower and mobilize a statewide network of parent advocates to act on childrens issues andparticipate in solutions.Strategic Goals: Strategies: P 1. Build and sustain strategic partnerships at local and state levels to influence public policy solutions. 1. Strengthen and support member P 2. Support the 16 existing communities in CT Parent Power. communities and the Delegate base P 3. Implement reorganization to support existing communities, and build volunteer capacity for growth. P 4. Assist each Delegate Community with staff support to sponsor events and action in their community. P 1. Conduct a campaign to implement universal health care for every child in Connecticut. 2. Influence policy change on children’s P 2. Promote and protect quality early care and education policies and programs for children. issues at state and federal levels P 3. Advocate for comprehensive education finance, and school reform. P 4. Select and advocate one new statewide and one federal policy issue for action by CT Parent Power. P 1. Assure CT Parent Power establishes and maintains presence in all eight Connecticut counties. 3. Become Connecticut’s premier P 2. Expand and broaden the Delegate Community base of CT Parent Power implementing a system of recruitment and xxxxxxretention. parent-led advocacy organization P 3. Institute a Leadership Development program to build a cadre of skilled CT Parent Power volunteer leaders. P 4. Implement a communications campaign to promote CT Parent Power, increasing visibility and recognition among parents xxxxxxand policy leaders. P 1. Develop and implement a comprehensive resource development plan to diversify funding and grow CT Parent Power. 4. Build & maintain an effective infrastructure P 2. Reorganize, strengthen, and expand the Delegate Community and membership structure. to sustain growth and 3. Refine and complete the governance policies of CT Parent Power. vitality P 4. Expand staff capacity to support the organization. = supported by our online program 8
  10. 10. While we face serious challenges in achieving our goals…  Our resources are limited and our aspirations large: we are seeking to shape public policy on multiple large issues.  Being right on the issues is not enough. We have to become effective.  Parents are, by and large, a disorganized interest group. We are not yet the AARP for parents.  The complexity of the issues which we address can be daunting for our supporters.  Our supporters – parents – tend to be very busy juggling at least two full time jobs - working to pay the rent and parenting.…a robust, online presence can help overcome these challengesby giving parents an accessible way to learn about and speak up ontheir issues. 9
  11. 11. 2. Proudly CT Parent Power: Developing Our PersonalityOn The WebCTPP fills an important niche in Connecticut’s landscape of groupsfighting on behalf of families and children. Our online presence willreflect this:  We are proudly “parent-led.” Our message is that you are us, and we are you. We’re not about parents; we are parents. We are authentically “parent.”  Our voice is not that of experts (though we don’t mind hanging out with wonks and learning from them) but of parents. Our messengers are parents and our website will reflect this: our “About Us” page will have pictures / videos of our parent leaders talking about why we do what we do. 10
  12. 12.  Our number one priority is parents participating in public policy discussion. We believe that when parents are present, the world is a better place for our kids, and by extension, our future and everyone else. We value participation over having “the” right answer. Experts are about being right; we’re about helping parents be heard. We offer accessible, timely information. We have strong partners in Graustein Memorial Fund, Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut, Voices for Children, and the Connecticut Early Childhood Alliance who produce lots of good information. Our job is to turn that information into parent-friendly bite-sized nuggets, promote it, and help people act upon that language. Our top-line take on the issues will be short and tight – and offer opportunities to act. Behind those opportunities will be more detailed information or links to that information from our partners. 11
  13. 13. In rebuilding our website, we have sought reflect this by creating aspace that is open, friendly, and where it is easy to act on our issues.  We seek to feature pictures of parents on the home page, and provide easy access to “social media” tools like Facebook, Flickr, and YouTube as well.  We seek to project our participatory, parent-focused nature.  We strive to be a friendly, front-door to the world of activism and policy.  We want to prioritize easy ways to act, and to be a bridge between our policy-producing partners and parents who just want to know what to do for their kids.This plays to our strength – inclusion, participation, parents – and usesour partners in areas where we don’t have the internal capacity. 12
  14. 14. We will feature actions people can take on a revolving slide show on thehomepage. We will be able to easily update the actions and added pages asour work evolves, so we will always be fresh and current. 13
  15. 15. Detailed information about our issues will be available through two clicks of the mouse:the first click will take you to a page with two or three paragraph description of our takeon school reform, for instance, with another click to get access to backgrounddocumentation.We have the pieces in placeto be where some parentsalready are - includingFacebook, Youtube, andFlickr:. 14
  16. 16. CTPP leader Marilyn Dunkley reports thatshe’s using Facebook as one of herprimary means for getting the word outto people. This is her PLTI Middletownpage. 15
  17. 17. CTPP is authentically parents – ourstrength is our steering committee anddelegates.Videos of our steering committeemembers will tell who we are and whywe do what we do. 16
  18. 18. In the advocacy and policy worlds, we dwell a lot on being right; in ourCTPP work and on the Web, we want to focus on being effective. Otherpartners will focus on the details, on being “correct,” and engaging inthe policy debates. Our job as CTPP, and our presence on the web, isabout talking, listening, and giving people an opportunity to act.That’s the plan for the website. We know what we would like it to do,and we’re working hard to put it together. We know too that we’ll fallshort, that our reach will exceed our grasp, and that we’ll need tomodify the site over time, and will need the assistance of some“strategic communications consultants” to help us more strategicallycommunicate. 17
  19. 19. 3. Sharpening Our Online “Parent” PersonalityHow we use our online presence to achieve both our project and ourstrategic goals requires us to think deeply about a seemingly simplequestion: Who are we? 18
  20. 20. How we present our self to the world through our online presence – ourbranding – can make or break our program. The personality we chooseto project online reflects our sense of who we are.Yet the answer to the question “Who is CT Parent Power?” is verydifferent for o each of the 9 members of our Steering Committee, o for the Steering Committee as a group, o for our 106 delegates, o to the 300 or so members who regularly open their emails, and o for the 2600 people who signed up for CT Parent Power (“CTPP”) over the years. 19
  21. 21. Our recent – and as yet unresolved – email exchange over updating our taglinewas a good demonstration of how hard this can be. We all seem to know that“Engaging, educating and mobilizing parents to act on children’s issues” couldbe a little tighter and snappier, but getting there can be painstaking.Similarly, updating our logo under severe time constraints entailed a much-truncated process of thinking about the image we wanted to present to theworld. Our old logo was developed quickly without much thought. Our newlogo was adopted quickly with some thought.As we pondered the final few options, we embraced anidea gleaned from years of person-to-person organizingand affirmed by the online world of “social networking:”Let’s let our members decide. We had the technology andthe courage to do it. We sent a message to our membersabout who CT Parent Power is in doing it. The result: wegot the highest participation rate of any email offeringwe’ve ever sent (more on this later) and picked anawesome logo.1 20
  22. 22. As hard as it is to think about what “we” - the steering committee andstaff – think CT PP is about, it gets even more complicated when we addour supporters in the mix. But it also gets more productive since,ultimately, as Todd Whitney, VP for eMarketing at The Leukemia &Lymphoma Society recently said about their online program: “It’s not about us – it’s about what our community wants.” The beauty of the web allows is that it allows us to get real and regular feedback from our community – and to strengthen our community in the process. 21
  23. 23. In “Integrating Online and Offline Activities to Build StrongRelationships,”2 a principal at a leading nonprofit direct marketingagency suggests an experiment to help us become more “donor-centric” and better understand our supporters and their view of CTParent Power.As we think about our work ahead, and about how we position ourselvesin the online world, it’s an approach that will strengthen us and lead usin a good direction: 22
  24. 24. Becoming “Donor-Centric”: Understanding Your Supporters and Their View of Your Organization (adapted for CTPP) Step 1: Select ten to fifteen people involved with CTPP. Be sure to mix it up a bit. Step 2: Ask each to: “Tell me how you would describe to a friend or family member your reason for getting involved with CT Parent Power and the top two things that you feel we do or should be doing.” Write down, or have them write down, their responses. It is likely that you now have a list of several – and perhaps may – different answers. There is a good chance some of them do not reflect what your leadership feels is the mission of the organization. Don’t fret; you are not alone. Many of the organizations that perform this experiment find that people, both within and outside their organization, have very different views of the same organization. And while this may concern the folks who crafted your organization’s very succinct and crystal clear mission statement, it really should be seen as an opportunity. If all the answers on your list are similar, take a look at the narrative of what they people are telling their friends and family. Are there any major differences in the way they are describing your organization? Again, there may be some more subtle differences in what people think is most important about your organization, and perhaps there is an opportunity to widen your focus or alter your message to attract more people to your cause.3(We may even want to do a modified version of this in our annual parent survey this year.) 23
  25. 25. 4. Building Online Advocacy Relationships = BuildingFundraising CapacityBuilding online relationships is key to both our advocacy work AND ourfuture fundraising work. As the author of the piece cited earlier on“donor-centric” fundraising noted in 2007: “…advances in online technology are enhancing existing interactions and creating new opportunities for people to form and build relationships, both with like-minded people and with the organizations they support. And the exciting part of this for nonprofit organizations is that although online giving has increased dramatically over the last few years, even the most aggressive estimates for the amount of money being raised online indicate that it is still only one to three percent of the total amount of money being given by individuals.”4 24
  26. 26. Online community building is central to building future donors. In “TheChanging Nature of Community: Leveraging the Internet to BuildRelationships and Expand the Reach of Your Organization,” a leadingnon-profit fundraising software provider explains: A fundamental reality of fundraising is that people give to people with causes, not to organizations… People need to feel a personal connection to the causes and initiatives they choose to donate to. The power of personal content, communication and collaboration all combine to create a sense of community…In that sense, community building is fundraising – you cannot separate the two.5 25
  27. 27. Successful fund raising – as well as successful advocacy - will build on the idea that CTParent Power offers CT parents something that they can’t get anywhere else: Fundraising is not about what you need. Really. It is about what the donor – through you – can achieve. It’s about giving donors the gift of knowing they changed the world for the better. It’s not about your goals – it’s about your donors’ aims. Everyone knows you need money. So do the other 1.8 million nonprofits in the United States – and the millions more around the world. If that’s all you’ve got to say, you are just another organization with yet another appeal. What is special about you? The answer can’t simply be that your programs need support. It must be that with your donor, together you can achieve a difference that no one else can.6What is special about Connecticut Parent Power – our “value proposition” as they say inthe marketing world – is that we offer a parent-centric take on the issues – and aparent-centric opportunity to act on them. Embracing this quality is key to our growth. 26
  28. 28. GROWING OUR ONLINE COMMUNITY“Communities are not created; they evolve,” explain two online strategists andentrepreneurs in “Building Successful Online Communities:” The growth of an online community takes time and effort. Relationships must be initiated based on trust, and then carefully cultivated. Develop a plan that articulates specific steps you will take over time to engage your general audience and convert a significant segment into active supporters. Organizations must identify a sequence of steps to increase a constituent’s level of involvement and offer a variety of participation options that work to engage different components of their audience. To build a vibrant online community, organizations need more than an individual’s donation or membership application – they need ongoing interaction opportunities that will keep a constituent engaged and developing into a lifelong supporter.7 27
  29. 29. Voting on our logo and our annual parent surveys are the kind of opportunitiesenvisioned here. When authentic, they build CT Parent Power: Experience demonstrates that it is possible to build a strong sense of community quickly if audiences are made aware their opinions matters and that their participation counts. Which specific feedback tools are used is less important than an organization’s willingness to listen to constituent feedback.8Once valued and inspired, our key supporters can become evangelists for CTParent Power: The challenge is to mobilize supporters to use their social networks for the benefit of your organization…if you provide supporters with an easy way to help spread the word about your organization’s activities, many will reach out to their social network and encourage participation.9 28
  30. 30. Tools like Facebook, YouTube, Flickr and Ning allow for online opportunities forCT Parent Power supporters to become “content creators.”Just as face-to-face meetings with participatory sections are far moreproductive than “talking heads” meetings, the same is true on the web: The value of user-contributed content is better content. From the viewpoint of constituent-based organizations, user-contributed content presents an opportunity to break down the barriers that currently separate an organization from its Web site visitors and encourage a passive observer to become an engaged participant…Once users participate in the content creation process, they have a vested interest in that content and in the community, and will be more inclined to promote it to friends and encourage others to comment on their content.10 29
  31. 31. As CTPP supporters mature to active CTPP members – in both theiroffline as well as their online activity – opportunities for personal onlinefundraising emerge. Where today we might ask someone interested in reforming their school to buy tickets to the Waterbury Duck Race, next year they might be part of an online “person- to-person” fundraising campaign where they tell their friends their own story about how working with CT Parent Power has helped improve their child’s life.These personal stories can become powerful tools for CT Parent Power. 30
  32. 32. Personal stories are powerful. They cut through the chatter. TheObama campaign was built on the power of supporters’ stories as wellas those of Barack Obama himself. We saw this past year howimportant Heather and Tawana’s stories were in moving legislators.Personal stories are central to fundraising as well: Story is at the heart of personal fundraising and its effectiveness. When people hear a story, they are transported with the storyteller outside the present moment, to another time and place, creating a shared experience… People do not remember how many houses were destroyed by Hurricane Katrina. We remember stories of people stuck in the Superdome, women screaming from their roofs, or an elderly man leaving his pets behind. Those stories were what made us give, and together, those stories are the filter through which we experienced and remember the disaster. And if you have a good story, you have everything. That is why as nonprofits, we should listen to the stories our supporters tell, and we should give them the freedom and tools to share those stories broadly. Our work can be broad and complex, and that can make it hard to communicate compellingly. Donors tend to talk about work through their own stories, making it specific and simple. That is a great gift to us.11 31
  33. 33. When those stories come to us from someone we already know - sayfrom Marilyn Dunkley in the email’s “from” address rather than PaulWessel – they build from an existing connection, more likely get openedrather than discarded or ignored, and stand a better chance of elicitingthe response we want. As one online marketing expert summed it up:“People give to people, even online!”12Personal fundraising pages relying on personal stories -for walkathons,community campaigns, to help a family member, to celebrate a birthdayand the like - all are effective, participatory ways to raise money. Theydecentralize fundraising, provide an easy framework to build fromsupporters relationships, increase the number of “asks” (since it’s mucheasier to email someone than ask them directly for money), and growthe list.13 32
  34. 34. 5. “Stop waiting for people to discover your web site, andstart discovering their mailboxes.”The web is seductive – and the ability to update an organization’s presence onthe web – daily, hourly , even minute by minute – can be incredibly seductive.The explosion of social networking sites – like the ones we showed above weare already using – can make you feel like a ball slamming around in a pinballmachine, bouncing from this site to that to keep up.Ultimately, however, with extremely limited resources, it is CT Parent Power’suse of email that will be the key to the growth of our effectiveness.The reasons for this are laid out in a classic document of the online advocacy,the “Gilbert Email Manifesto,”14 which opens with this command: Repeat after me: "Email is more important than my web site!" 33
  35. 35. Gilbert proceeds to lay out three rules for focusing one’sonline work: 1. Resources spent on email strategies are more valuable than the same resources spent on web strategies. 2. A web site built around an email strategy is more valuable than a web site that is built around itself. 3. Email oriented thinking will yield better strategic thinking overall. 34
  36. 36. Gilbert argues that email is “the killer application of theInternet” because: o Everybody on the net has email and most of them read most of their messages. o People visit far fewer websites than they get email messages. o Email messages are treated as To Do items, while bookmarks are often forgotten. Email is always a call to action. o Email is handled within a familiar user interface, whereas each website has to teach a new interface. o Email is a very personal medium. 35
  37. 37. (Here’s recent proof from our own experience: An email we sent underCT PP Chairperson George Hensinger’s name urging members tocontact their Senators was forwarded to someone who has worked withGeorge for years, but wasn’t on our email list. She replied with this: 36
  38. 38. Even today, nine years after Gilbert’s articulation and despite thedramatic explosion of web-based social networking communities,leading strategic communications consultants15 still argue today for thecentrality of email in an organization’s online presence: 37
  39. 39. Just last year, the leading online activism and fundraising benchmarkstudy harkened back to Gilbert’s original 2001 language while affirminghis message: Despite the astronomic growth of social media – more than 35 percent of American adults now have a profile on at least one social networking site – the most efficient way to reach supporters is the still the same “killer app” nonprofits have relied on for a decade: email.16 38
  40. 40. 6. Email: Growing Our Online Community & GrowingGrassroots FundraisingRemember those “donor-centric” relationships we talkedabout earlier? Email is a great tool to use in creating anddeepening those relationships.In Raising Thousands (if Not Tens of Thousands) of Dollarswith Email, online fundraising, advocacy and marketingexpert Madeline Stanionis suggests three reasons why weshould use email to fundraise: it’s cheap, it’s easy, and it’severywhere.17 She then spends about 100 revealing pagesdetailing how to do it successfully: 39
  41. 41. In stressing that “It’s all about the list,” Stanionis grounds uswith some useful “email fundraiser’s arithmetic:” To generate 10 donations at least 1000 people have to receive your message, at least 250 need to read – that is “open” – your email, and at least 50 people need to click on the donation link in that email18 40
  42. 42. CT Parent Power currently has a list of 2700 with 1700 emailaddresses.Given there are 450,000 households in Connecticut withchildren under the age of 18, we have barely scratched thesurface.Growing our list is key.Stanionis lays out five basic approaches19 to emailfundraising that can help us grow our list. 41
  43. 43. Advocacy campaigns – In the course of our ongoing advocacy work, we alreadytake advantage of this approach by creating opportunities for people todemonstrate support for our campaigns by signing onlinepetitions and the like.We did this earlier inthe year with a petitionto President Obama onearly care issues: 42
  44. 44. Fun stuff – Contests, giveaways, ecards, quizzes can excite our supporters andencourage them to pass on to their friends. Putting a short survey up on ourwebsite about a hot issue – “Is teacher tenure good or bad for education?” -attracts participation and helps grow the list. We could do a drawing for high-quality children’s picture books or a (hopefully donated) PSAT prep course. Fune-cards or videos that people want to send on to their friends is a great way toshare lists.A recent technique insertsthe name of the recipientas a “winner” in a video.For instance, here PaulWessel is celebrated asMother of the Year (!!) –and if I forward it tofriends, their name wouldbe inserted instead. 43
  45. 45. “Chaperone” emails – Here an organization sends an email on behalf ofanother organization.For instance, Elaine Zimmerman could send an email to Parent LeadershipTraining Institute alumni encouraging them to take part in our annual parentsurvey. Or the Connecticut State Employee Association,which represents state employees who workin the Zero to Three Program, could emailits members to join and promote acampaign we are doing to fight statebudget cuts.The national organization MomsRisingrecently sent out such an email in supportof CT Working Families Paid Sick Days campaign: 44
  46. 46. Tell-a-friend - Tell-a-friend campaigns encourage supporters to take action –and to get the message in front of their friends. For instance, there was a greatvideo from Ben (of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream) showing with Oreo cookie bar-graphs how little we spend on children’s health care and the Head Startcompared to Pentagon spending. As well as being enjoyable to watch, the sitefeatured a hard-to-miss big red “Tell A Friend” button: 45
  47. 47. Once our website is fully functional and we have engagingcampaigns underway, one easy Tell-A-Friend approach is tofor members of the CTPP Steering Committee, and some ofour closest allies, to go through our own personal addressbooks and engage in our own “Friends and Family”campaign.Our email provider allows us to track sign-ups from our Tell AFriend campaigns, providing an added element of friendlycompetition for our sign-ups. 46
  48. 48. Offer something parents want – and get their email address as part ofthe deal – We can offer a free report on, say, ways for parents to raisekids who are readers, or offer “I Care About Kids – And I Vote!” buttons.To get the giveaway the person has to provide their name, email andsnail mail address before downloading.A recent example is acombined gift offer /tell a friend email fromMomsRising promotinga free MOM bumpersticker and anopportunity help our“favorite mom” do thesame: 47
  49. 49. In addition to these specific approaches offered by Stanionis,she also emphasizes the need to see emails as part of anongoing program of interactions with our supporters. Successful email programs often start like first dates (either through introductions from a friend or a random encounter) but blossom over time into relationships.20 And, like other relationships, it deepens over time and expands into other parts of our life: We start to show up a meetings, we give of our time, and then dig into our pockets. 48
  50. 50. 7. Measuring our performanceThe single most powerful feature of online advocacy is theability to track one’s effectiveness. Fund raising, inherently,is about numbers and performance; long before the web wasborn, direct mail marketing firms were tracking lists andmeasuring performance.The growth of email has allowed the melding of thesefundraising practices with previously difficult to trackadvocacy campaigns, and online advocacy tools allow forvery detailed data collection and feedback of campaigns. 49
  51. 51. Nonprofit industry benchmarksThe annual eNonprofit Benchmarks Study provides an analysis of online messaging, fundraising andadvocacy metrics for nonprofit organizations. This study of 31 US based national non-profit organizationsserves as the industry standard.The findings for 2009 advocacy emails21 include: Open rate: 14.26% of advocacy emails get opened. The statistic means, on average, more than 85% of the emails communications professionals unleash on the world go unread. Click-through rate: 4.65% of the recipients of advocacy emails click on the action link contained in emails. Response rate: 4.00 % of email recipients actually sign the petition, email the legislator, or take the action desired. Churn rate: On average, 16.83% of email addresses “went bad” in 2009. (Another 2010 benchmark study of 500 nonprofits found that most organizations lack usable email addresses on 44% of their membership file.22)These statistics remind us that (a) growing our list is vital, and (b) we should be grateful that the costdifference between sending 1,000 emails and 10,000 emails is zero. 50
  52. 52. Comparison of CTPP’s list performance with industry standardsSalsa, our email package, is a very user-friendly, robust tool whichour first organizer, now a part time consultant, handles well, andwhich CTPP’s new executive director is coming up to speed on. 51
  53. 53. Two groups with very similar missions and communities to ours use Salsa andhave grown their influence through strong online programs.One is the Connecticut based Working Families: 52
  54. 54. The second is a “moms” organizing group:MomRising, a national organization started by a founder, used petitions and other online tools in Salsa’s onlineprogram to grow to over 140,000 members in 24 months.23 53
  55. 55. Salsa boasts a variety of online tools, and just announced a newseries of “apps” produced by marketing partners. 54
  56. 56. One of the tools we most regularly use allows us to track the emailperformance metrics we spoke of above. See the details below on our“vote for our new logo” email. 55
  57. 57. We can also track performance of specific action campaigns: On our recentemail seeking support for the Children In the Recession bill we saw that 52emails were sent to Senators, 10 with personalized subject lines or content.We can alsosee which Senators got how manyemails and from whom: 56
  58. 58. We are just starting to scratch the surface of what we can dowith Salsa and look forward to learning the system more andgaining some technical assistance to help us refine our use ofthe systems tools. The following pages show what we can learn from a relatively quick look at some of CTPPs 2008 – 2010 email experience 57
  59. 59. 12 Da t 0.00% 5.00% 10.00% 15.00% 20.00% 25.00% 30.00% 35.00% 40.00% 45.00% /1 5/ e 20 1/ 24 07 /2 2/ 00 27 8 /2 0 3/ 08 4/ 20 3/ 25 08 /2 4/ 00 10 8 /2 5/ 00 15 8 /2 7/ 00 31 8 /2 9/ 00 20 8 /2 11 00 /3 8 /2 12 00 /2 8 /2 0 1/ 08 7/ 20 1/ 17 09 /2 1/ 00 29 9 /2 2/ 00 24 9 /2 3/ 00 19 9 /2 0 4/ 09 8/ Emails sent to more than 1000 recipients 20 5/ 09 4/ 20 6/ 09 4/ 2 6/ 00 11 9 /2 2008 - 2010 7/ 00 13 9 /2 8/ 00 24 9 diminished since end of the 2009 legislative session. /2 8/ 00 CT Parent Power Email Open Rates 31 9 /2 9/ 00 14 9 /2 10 00 /7 9 11 /20 /1 09 3 12 /20 /2 09 1/ 2 2/ 00 15 9 /2 01 0 On average, our open rates were high – 19.54% - but they have steadily58
  60. 60.  Generally, and not surprisingly, opens rates were higher during the 2008 and 2009 legislative sessions. Open rates peaked in early and late 2008 for emails around schools work, an email titled “Victory,” and a meeting notice. Two 2009 emails - “Upcoming Trainings and Events” and “We won!” - enjoyed open rates exceeding 30%. Click-through (taking action) rates have generally been below industry average, but exceeded those at specific points, most notably during the 2009 legislative session. 59
  61. 61. 0.00% 5.00% 10.00% 15.00% 20.00% 25.00% 30.00% 35.00% 40.00% 45.00% Date 12/12/2007 1/10/2008 2/4/2008 2/27/2008 3/4/2008 Open Rate 3/13/2008 4/8/2008 4/10/2008 5/8/2008 5/27/2008 7/31/2008 9/20/2008 10/24/2008 11/13/2008 12/8/2008 1/7/2009 1/14/2009 1/21/2009 2/4/2009 2/24/2009 3/6/2009 4/4/2009 4/27/2009 5/4/2009 6/3/2009 6/9/2009 6/11/2009 Emails sent to more than 1000 recipients 2008 - 2010 7/13/2009 8/13/2009 8/27/2009 9/1/2009 9/14/2009 9/30/2009 10/16/2009 12/7/2009 12/21/2009 Rate Click- Through 2/14/2010 CT Parent Power Email Open and Click-Through Rates 3/11/2010 0.00% 2.00% 4.00% 6.00% 8.00% 10.00% 12.00% 14.00%60
  62. 62.  At points, our open rates have exceeded 30%, double the industry average, and our click-through rates exceeded 5%. Click through rates exceeding 5% were on emails with subjects about saving the HUSKY (Medicaid) program, saving parent leadership training programs, and the “We Won” email. Our highest click-through rate was in the recent vote for our logo and is the peak on the right hand side of the above chart. That 11.7% click through rate affirms the idea that people like being asked their opinion and will respond when presented with the opportunity. 61
  63. 63. Since the “We Won” email had both high open and click-through rates,it deserves the right to take a bow:Not surprisingly, this email is about the culmination of a broad offlineand online campaign and had a clear, timely message. 62
  64. 64. This chart showsall emailsexceeding a 20%open rate and/ora 4% click-through rate,with redhighlighting forthose emailsexceeding 30%open rate and/or5% click-through.We will continue tomine this data for itslessons about the workthat our members value. 63
  65. 65. Google Analytics: taking the guesswork out of what works on our websiteOnce we launch the new site, we can take advantage of Google Analytics, a freetool which give us information about who is coming to website, what they arefinding useful (and what they are ignoring) and data like: o new versus return visitors o “visitor loyalty” - how frequently people come to our site and how long they stay. o how someone got to us: Did they google us? Did they come to us through a link on someone elses website? Find us through our Facebook or YouTube page? o which pages were most popular o keywords people used to find us24 64
  66. 66. 8. Where Do We Go From Here?Our new website is projected to launch in mid-July. Most of the designwork is completed and the next few weeks is focused on writing. Inaddition, we need to finalize the three action components for therevolving slide show on the homepage, which will feature one actioneach for health care, schools, and early care and education. Finally, wewill need to identify documents and links for some resources pages; thismay be a good project to “crowdsource” out to our list, in a similarfashion to how we voted on the logo.Beyond this immediate work, we hope to engage the organization inlearning from the experiences of others. 65
  67. 67. “Imitation is the highest form of flattery”We propose looking more closely at the sites of similar groups and seeing whatbest practices may be out there. Steering committee members, staff, andsupporters can begin this process. It may helpful to bring in some seasonedexpertise to help dig deeper and see what is relevant to us. Sites worthconsidering include:   CT Parent Advocacy Center  ConnCAN  CT Working Families  CT Commission on Children  Children’s Alliance (A “local” group surveyed in the 2009 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study, M+R Strategic Services and Nonprofit Technology Network)  Children First for Oregon (A “local” group surveyed in the 2009 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study, M+R Strategic Services and Nonprofit Technology Network)  Voices for America’s Children  Equal Voice for America’s Working Families 66
  68. 68. Old Tricks and New ToolsThere are many old tricks and new tools we could consider, and the support of a strategic onlinemarketing consultant may well help us figure out which may be useful and when to deploy.Specific approaches to consider include:1. Site “Check-up” - Once we’re up and running, it might be helpful to have someone with moretechnical competence than us to take a look and make recommendations about what we’ve donewell and what we could improve. Consultants with expertise in Salsa or PicNET, our new webprovider, would likely be of value.2. Mining our lists - In most organizations, 7% of members account for almost one-third of all theonline advocacy.25 In addition, different types of user seek different online experiences. A study of“the Wired Wealthy” found three main user types – “All Business,” “Casual Connectors,” and“Relationship Seekers” – each of whom could be appealed to in different ways.26 As our list grows,there may be more strategic ways to segment our supporters.3. Dues and memberships – The idea of more defined membership and dues paying has beenkicked around for a while. We built out the website anticipating some sort of formal membershipstatus. This is an area calling for some deeper thinking.4. is a domain we purchased with the possibility of kicking off a campaign toget grass-roots Connecticut residents to proclaim what they would do if they were governor. Such 67
  69. 69. a direct, participatory way of the electorate educating the candidates has intriguing possibilities.There are online approaches to do this which would allow others in the community to vote for theirfavorite ideas, or, in Facebook lexicon “like” specific proposals. Done well, this has the potential togenerate a lot of interest and harvest a lot of email addresses.5. Web Meetings – We know that good “face to face” meetings provide both for “one to many”communication - a parent leader telling their story about why school reform is so important or anhealth care wonk explaining what’s in the federal health care reform – and for “many to many”participatory discussion. In the past, CTPP used conference calls with our members for “many tomany” discussions.We can now do the same with online web meetings. Services from our current provider,ReadyTalk, allow for calls in presenter only mode as well as in discussion mode with webpresentations with real time polling and reporting, recording capability, and tools for connectingwith Facebook and Twitter both before and after the meeting. 68
  70. 70. Consider the potential for a doing a series of online, interactive half hour sessions on the issues atstake in school reform and health care reform and the importance of the 2010 gubernatorialelection. We could have a PowerPoint presentation with commentary, questions and answers,online polling and the like all scheduled conveniently for parents – we could even poll our membersfor the best times - and then record the meeting and post for others to view. CAHS has beensuccessfully holding webinars already so this may be a good collaborative project with one of ourpartners.6. Going to where our potential supporters already are: We can purchase banner ads, get anonprofit grant for Google ads, post information on parent websites, ask supportive organizationsto post links to our site and engage in other forays out into the online world.We’ve just scratched the surface with Facebook.The site keeps encouraging us to take advantageof their ads: 69
  71. 71. Additionally, Google provides grants to non-profits for its ad program:Exploring how might use these opportunities – and how we would track their value – are clearlyworth considering. The best wisdom about social networking is that organizations should developa coherent strategy that is sustainable for the organization rather than engage in a scattershotapproach. 70
  72. 72. 7. “Paid acquisition:” Care2, Network for Good, FirstGiving, Greater Good Network and otheronline services create communities around participation in progressive causes, host petitioncampaigns, and drive traffic towards partner non-profit sites. These services will recruit a set number of new e-mail addresses for you on a cost-per-name basis. To do this, they set up online actions related to your mission, promote the actions to their own members and then enable those who take the actions to check a box to opt in to your nonprofit’s e-mail list. You then pay a set cost for each name. You might be able to entice third-party Web sites to recruit donors on your behalf, too, by offering to pay them a set amount for every donor they send your way. The cost per donor typically will be much higher than the cost of the e-mail address of someone you later try to convert into a donor. 27While generally these services have a nationwide focus, in discussion they have indicated that theyare able to do state-specific“geotargetting” and their pricing typically includes charging only fordelivering what their end user non-profit is looking for.8. “Catalist:” Catalist is a list provider that specializes in meshing voting lists with commerciallyavailable consumer data. Catalist reports it could provide a list of 998,172 registered voters (in690,151 households) in CT in households with children under the ages of 5, 11 or 17 and coded aseither likely or possible to vote in 2010. The data fields they supply would include all of the voterdata, phone numbers and some census data, and could be matched for email addresses. 71
  73. 73. A list of registered voters in Connecticut with children under the age of 5 and likely to vote in the2010 gubernatorial election could be a very useful list to work via direct mail, phone banking, oremail for our early care and education work.MomsRising found Catalist data helpful in their work: MomsRising’s use of the Catalist-Salsa integration was two-tiered. First, they matched their Milwaukee voter-file list from Salsa and called unregistered members to ask them to register to vote. This proved especially powerful for the members who had been dropped from the voting rolls, many of whom had no idea that they werent registered. Second, MomsRising ran a "Sick or Treat" campaign on-the-ground in Milwaukee. They distributed 15,000 pieces of "Sick or Treat" candy with "Vote YES on paid sick days" on the wrapper to families to hand out on Halloween. To boost this effort, MomsRising pulled Catalists phone data on Milwaukee members, and called them to ask them to vote YES on paid sick days, and to ask if they would like to distribute the candy. The phone calls made using the Catalist data increased member participation in the Sick or Treat campaign by 50%.28Catalist’s data is typically expensive, running more $10,000 for a one-shot deal, and $35,000 for asubscription. The good news from Salsa, which arrived shortly before this writing, is that theyrenegotiated a partnership with Catalist that will make this data available at a nominal rate (in thehundreds of dollars.) We are pursuing more information on this. 72
  74. 74. 9. Cultivation plans for our donors – as we develop a donor base, we need to make sure tonurture those relationships. The two way communications of Web 2.0 allow us to do that moresystematically, allow us to listen, engage and deepen the relationship.29 There are some verydeveloped strategies about how we could do this, and we can learn usefully from the experience ofothers.10. Supporting the Interaction Institute for Social Change Process - Graustein Memorial Fund hascontracted with the Interaction Institute for Social Change (IISC) to help create an inclusive,transparent 18 - 24 month process for the building of a statewide early care and education system.GMF states, “Connecticut will need broad based public awareness and will to make the decisionsrequired to remake the early childhood system.” CTPP’s online program may well be a useful toolin the dissemination of information and interactive discussions of issues as the process proceeds.11. Mobile - Mobile computing - using one’s phone to access the web - is becoming increasinglyimportant. As web access by phone expands, it becomes a relatively inexpensive and convenientway to go online. At least 2 of our 9 member steering committee get their email almost exclusivelyon their phones. African-Americans are among the most active users of phones for internet accessand are the fastest growing segment of the market; this growing use is narrowing the digital divide.Texting, text-based fundraising, and “call now” alerts are all growing tools for online engagement,particularly among low-income communities.30 It may be an opportunity for us. 73
  75. 75. CONCLUSIONAs the length and breadth of this memo indicate, not only are thepossibilities of online advocacy endless, but they evolve daily. It’s adynamic and confusing landscape, ripe with possibility and, as you seehere, quite overwhelming.Clearly, both continuing to use our tools and learning from ourcommunity will be one way to grow our capacity. It is equally clear, thatwe could use the benefit of a strategic online marketing “Sherpa” tohelp us figure out the best ways up the Connecticut parent onlineorganizing mountain. This would be someone(s) to help us figure outwhich paths to take, which to avoid, when to stop for provisions, andwhere to seek shelter when the avalanches occur. 74
  76. 76. This memo offers an overview of where CT Parent Power might go withits online program. As a next step, we propose to seek advice onstrategic online marketing consultants who colleagues think might be agood match for us, share this memo with them, and solicit someproposals from them about assistance they might offer.Following receipt of these proposals, we suggest establishing a workinggroup of Steering Committee members and supportive colleagues toconsider next steps.Thank you for the time youve taken to plow through this memo. Welook forward to hearing your thoughts about how we might continue toexpand CT Parent Power’s work in the online world. 75
  77. 77. 1 With our online program in the middle of a transition, an extremely part-time eAdvocacy staffer, and the hecticactivity of the legislative session, we did something really stupid: I don’t think we thanked people or told them whatthey’re choice even was! Maybe we’ll announce their good work with the launch of the new website.2 Mark Connors, “Integrating Online and Offline Activities to Build Stronger Relationships,” People to PeopleFundraising, ed. Ted Hart, et al., (Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley, 2007) 187.3 Connors 1884 Connors 1875 Steven R. MacLaughlin, “The Changing Nature of Community: Leveraging the Internet to Build Relationships andExpand the Reach of Your Organization,” People to People Fundraising, ed. Ted Hart, et al., (Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley,2007) 4.6 Katya Andreson, The 8 Online Fundraising Changes You Must Make in 2010 (Network for Good, ) 9.7 Sheeraz Haji and Greg Neichin,“Building Successful Online Communities,” Nonprofit Internet Strategies, ed. TedHart, et al., (Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley, 2005) 89.8 Sheeraz Haji and Greg Neichin 93.9 Sheeraz Haji and Greg Neichin 96.10 Sheerz Haji and Emma Zolbrod, “Advocacy 2.0: Leveraging Social Networking to Further Your Organization’sMission,” People to People Fundraising, ed. Ted Hart, et al., (Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley, 2007) 40.11 Katya Andreson and Bill Strathmann, “Crafting the Marketing Strategy to Make it Happen,”, People to PeopleFundraising, ed. Ted Hart, et al., (Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley, 2007) 80 -81.12 Phil King and Nicci Noble, “Peer to Peer Fundraising and Community Building,” People to People Fundraising, ed.Ted Hart, et al., (Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley, 2007) 62.13 For more, see Mark Sutton, “How Individual Supporters Use Online Fundraising Pages to Make a Difference,”People to People Fundraising, ed. Ted Hart, et al., (Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley, 2007) 117 ff.14 Michael Gilbert, “The Gilber E-Mail Manifesto for Nonprofits,” Nonprofit Internet Strategies, ed. Ted Hart, et al.,(Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley, 2005) 329.15 Farra Trompeter, “Online Communications Opportunities” presentation slide 2.25.10. 76
  78. 78. 16 M+R Strategic Services and Nonprofit Technology Network, 2009 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study, 9 May 2010,, 2.17 Madeline Stanionis, Raising Thousands (if Not Tens of Thousands) of Dollars with Email, (Medfield, MA, Emerson &Church, 2006) 10.18 Stanionis 1519 Stanionis 16 ff20 Stanionis 39 ff21 M+R Strategic Services and Nonprofit Technology Network, 2010 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study, 9 May 2010,, 2.22 Vinay Bhagat et al, The Convio Online Nonprofit Benchmark Study, March 2010, 5 May 2010, 14.23 “Salsa Helps Grow to 140,000 Members in 24 Months,” 11 May 2009, Ten Best Features of Google Analytics, 9 May 2010, M+R Strategic Services and Nonprofit Technology Network, 2009 eNonprofit Benchmarks Study.26 Convio et al, The Wired Wealthy, 5 May 2010,, 33.27 Geoff Handy, The Five Basic Steps to Acquiring Donors Online, May 2009, 5 May 2010, “Salsa » Case Studies » MomsRising ,” 9 May 2010, For more on this, see Jon Thorsen and David Lawson, “Relationships Take Two: Donor-Centered Stewardship,”People to People Fundraising, ed. Ted Hart, et al., (Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley, 2007) 107 ff.30 See Mobile Commons - Connect / Engage / Measure, Chrisse Brodigan, Texting for Change, Immigration Reform’s Stealth Strategy, 29 January 2010, Huffington Post thanks Farra and Leah 77