Archive for the ‘Marketing and Social Media’ Category

Book Review: The Mission Myth

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Sometimes I feel like a capitalist at my nonprofit.

Maybe it’s because I’m focused on results.  Maybe it’s because I’m a sales gal at heart, i.e. I’m used to having a “number on my head.”

Either way.  As a leader at a nonprofit, there are times when I feel out of sync with my colleagues and wonder if I’m too focused on revenue vs. mission.

That is why I LOVED The Mission Myth: Building Nonprofit Momentum Through Better Business by Deirdre Maloney.

Maloney is a veteran Executive Director, who spent seven years learning the ups and downs of institution-building, while leading the Colorado AIDS Project.  The Mission Myth is her excellent attempt to show that it takes much more than passion (i.e. mission) to run a successful, thriving nonprofit.  According to her, it takes passion and The Four Ms: Management, Money, Marketing and Measurement.

Whether you are an experienced nonprofit leader or new to the sector, you’ll appreciate Maloney’s honest and practical advice about about managing your board, getting real about fundraising, enhancing your communication, recruiting new talent, using data to make better decisions and more.  Use it to mitigate your own managerial mistakes.

I hope you will read the whole book but here are a few points that really resonated for me.

Your mission may inspire you to get up in the morning but it won’t make you or your team a success! Too many nonprofit leaders (you know who you are) are passionate about changing the world and that is a good thing.  But (and there is a big BUT here) if you don’t find a way to scale your passion through good leadership, efficient processes, stable funding, transparent policies and more you won’t be in business for long.  Don’t be fooled by the image of the charitable sector as a poster child for peace, love and happiness.  Running a nonprofit is running a business and it’s really hard work.

Be explicit (in your communication). This is one of the best pieces of advice I’ve heard lately.  Be explicit, i.e. say what you mean and mean what you say.  This is so hard for many of us as nonprofit leaders.  We don’t want to deal with hurt feelings. We long to be liked.  We’re nice people. (We work for nonprofits after all!)  Unfortunately, it’s not possible or reasonable to expect other people to read your mind (or mine).  To lessen the confusion, frustration and inefficiency at your nonprofit, strive to be clear, succinct and timely in your communication.

Fundraising is sales. “When you, as part of your organization, engage in fundraising, you engage in sales.  Good sales.  The money you bring in goes toward a cause that matters. You need to understand and embrace this.  If you are unwilling to believe your job is sales, if you think this is an organic process, one where the prospects merely need to hear about your great work and will hand over their hard-earned money, you are kidding yourself.”  Amen!

Thanks again to Deirdre Maloney for a solid book and for helping us all to do good well.



This blog was reprinted from Jocelyn Harmon’s blog spot, Marketing Nonprofits, with her permission.

Link Roundup: Facebook+Instagram, arts education and creativity tests

Friday, April 13th, 2012

What a week! Here’s what we tweeted this week:


Takeaways: As a digital native, I’m definitely guilty of this: “watching” a show on TV while working on my laptop (switching between Word, Facebook, Twitter and Gmail) while having my phone handy for miscellaneous things (like Instagram, which is only available through iPhone and Android). It’s turning our brains to mush and making things difficult for marketers. Not great for anyone involved.


Takeaways: The internet was all atwitter of Facebook’s one million dollar purchase of Instagram, and here’s one digital strategist’s take on it: this is “the official shift to an image-powered web.”


Advocacy activities regrettably got in the way of posting #WednesdayWinning and #ThursdayTips articles on their respective days, so here they are, under the #FridayFun hashtag:

Takeaways: Such a great story of how arts education helps kids build confidence and become lifelong artists!

Takeaways: It’s Friday. Test your creativity a little!

As always, follow us at @creativemoco!

Link Roundup: CEOs tweeting, Instagram for Android and The Voice

Friday, April 6th, 2012

Here are the articles we tweeted this week:


Takeaways: “Consumers believe C-suite engagement in social media can benefit how they view a brand and its executive leadership. The majority of survey respondents, 78%, said CEO participation in social media leads to better communication, while 71% said it leads to improved brand image and 64% said it provides more transparency.” Wow. On a related note, follow our CEO, @SuzanJenkins!


Takeaways: Like Pinterest, Instagram is another new social media darling (click here to see how brands are using it). Instagram was previously only available for the iPhone, but now that they’ve released a version for Android, I see a lot more of my friends taking advantage of this free photo-sharing app. Will your brand join in?


Takeaways: I’m obsessed with The Voice. I’m really interested in the whole music-making/recording process in general, so everything from the blind auditions to the coaching sessions intrigues me. What’s even more exciting is that a Gaithersburg native is competing — and she’s good.


Takeaways: Really interesting breakdown of the kinds of work that take up your time (Reactionary, Planning, Procedural, Insecurity and Problem-Solving). How does your workday stack up?

As always, follow us at @creativemoco for these daily article tweets!

Link Roundup: Enewsletters, Timelines (again) and creative outlets

Friday, March 30th, 2012

Here are the articles we tweeted this week at @creativemoco:


Takeaways: Pay attention to your subject line, keep it short and sweet and share quality content. A definite must-read for anyone looking to freshen up their email marketing!


Takeaways: Whether we like it or not, Facebook’s going to flip the switch on Timelines for brands tomorrow. Here’s 10 examples of brands getting creative with the new Facebook Timeline layout — either through its design or how they’re using the layout as an opportunity to further engage their fans.


Takeaways: We had such a great conversation on Twitter last Thursday over the #whymoco hashtag! Everyone, from elected officials and community organizations to local businesses and residents, chimed in to answer the questions: What do you love about Montgomery County? Why should someone move here?


Takeaways: This is an article written by a graphic designer about needing an outlet outside of graphic design. I can definitely relate to this — I’m a former pianist, and I’ve been itching to get back to tickling the ivories!

Be sure to follow us at @creativemoco to get these daily articles!

Link Roundup: Live-streaming on YouTube, DC Arts Advocacy Day and working with crazy

Friday, March 16th, 2012

Here are the articles we tweeted this week:


Takeaways: We’re not major advertisers on Twitter so we don’t have access to these special brand pages, but I still find these upcoming changes interesting: “Twitter has also shown signs of wanting to be a destination where users linger isntead of a portal that dispatches them elsewhere though outbound links.” Let’s see how this goes and if Twitter brand pages will extend to non-advertisers. (Maybe Twitter will follow Google and develop a Twitter for Nonprofits program?)


Takeaways: Speaking of Google for Nonprofits…if your nonprofit is enrolled in that program, your YouTube channel now has live-streaming capability! We haven’t used it yet, but I have a feeling we will soon.


Takeaways: We’re all about supporting creativity, and our neighbors to the south lobbied their representatives on Wednesday. If you live in D.C., check out DC Advocates for the Arts‘ work and get involved there. (If you live in Montgomery County, click here to visit our Take Action page and learn how you can get involved!)


Takeaways: Bullying can take place in the workplace. How do you identify a bully and how can you cope? Working With Crazy can help!

Follow us at @creativemoco for our awesome daily article tweets!

Link Roundup: Google+, Poetry Out Loud and creating a productive workspace

Friday, March 2nd, 2012

Missed our daily article tweets this week? No worries — that’s what our Link Roundup is for!


Takeaways: I found this article to be really interesting. Its premise: most of your fans/followers just want to listen; they don’t necessarily want to engage with you. As a marketer, this doesn’t make me too happy, but as a consumer, it makes total sense. Do I engage with all 308 Facebook pages I like, or reply to all tweets of the 875 people I’m following on Twitter? Nope. I’m interested in hearing if this affects marketers’ strategies when it comes to social media, or if it just helps inform the analytics they get back.


Takeaways: I really had such high hopes for Google+ but was waiting until some sort of critical mass was reached before investing work time in it. (I did find it funny when a multitude of “Google + Best Practices for Nonprofits” articles started popping up.) While I saw some brands use it amazingly well (The Muppets hosted a hangout) and watched friends abandon Facebook and engage more on Google+, I personally just couldn’t get the hang of it. I don’t want to write Google+ off, but it’s not looking good.


Takeaways: This was the third year that I’ve had the privilege of observing the Montgomery County Poetry Out loud competition, and the third year in the row that our local MoCo champ has advanced to the state competition. Congrats, Kari, and we wish you the best in the state competition this Saturday!


Takeaways: The right workspace is all about the right reminders, tools, distractions and surroundings. If you have all four, you could have an incredibly productive (and creative) day!

Make sure you follow us at @creativemoco to get our daily article tweets in real time!

Link Roundup: 2011’s worst social media screw-ups, the Freedom House and productivity rituals

Friday, February 24th, 2012

Hope everyone had a fabulous week! This week, we hosted our first ever #CreativeMoCo Tweetup, which was an amazing night of conversation and connections. Thanks to all who came. If you didn’t (or even if you did), read our Storify summary of the night!

And without further ado, here are the daily articles we tweeted this week:


Takeaways: Basically, don’t do this. You’d be shocked at some of the case studies on this list.


Takeaways: It seems like Facebook’s always changing things up. Whether you’ve gotten used to the new Timeline for personal profiles or not, they’re going ahead and launching the same look for brands. Don’t worry though, you still have time to wrap your head around these changes — they”re starting off with a small beta group.


Takeaways: The new National Museum of African American History and Culture will feature a good amount of Maryland and Montgomery County treasures, including the Freedom House (also known as the Jones-Hall-Sims House), a two-story log house build by freed slaves from Montgomery County. The article has more information about the Freedom House about halfway down — a really great read.


Takeaways: According to this video from the Harvard Business Review, automatic rituals decrease the amount of energy needed to tackle your to-do list. It’s pretty interesting, and the video can do more justice to the idea than I can!

Follow us at @creativemoco to get our article tweets daily!

Link Roundup: Google spreadsheets, pARTnership and fighting that creativity block

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Happy Friday! Here are the daily articles we tweeted this week:


Takeaways: So some techy people have figured out how to use Google Spreadsheets to analyze your social media efforts. If you’re a datahead, you’ll love these! Setting them up is a little time intensive (it’s not so “plug and play”), but each have good directions on how to make them work.


Takeaways: With varying screen resolutions and other factors, just how relevant is “The Fold” on the web? Our web developers at Wood Street explore the issue.


Takeaways: Americans for the Arts has just launched The Partnership Movement (emphasis on the “art” in partnership!), an initiative that encourages business leaders to build their competitive advantage by partnering with the arts. This site has 8 reasons for businesses to partner with the arts, features case studies of successful arts & business partnerships and even has a searchable directory so business can easily find their arts partner. It’s really exciting — can’t wait to see what innovative things come out of this movement!


Takeaways: This got a lot of retweets, so I’m guessing that I’m not the only one facing dreaded afternoon slumps! Click through, it’s worth it.

Again, don’t wait until Friday to get the digest — follow us on Twitter (@creativemoco)!

Link Roundup: Pinterest, Maryland Arts Day and how to be creative

Friday, February 10th, 2012

Each workday, we tweet articles that might be helpful to other organizations and companies. Here’s what we posted this week:


Takeaways: The buzz around Pinterest is growing, especially with new data showing that it refers more traffic than Google+, LinkedIn and YouTube combined. I personally don’t think this means that all brands have to be on it, but if it makes sense for yours (visual art, interior design, photography, etc.) and if you have time to invest in it, I think it’s worth checking out.


Takeaways: This is an interesting infographic that explores companies’ feelings about their employees’ use of Twitter, but the thoughts expressed here can definitely extend to employees’ use of social networking in general. The main takeaway is probably that social media training and an online communications policy are key to avoiding any snafus that may put your organization in jeopardy.


Takeaways: We were in Annapolis for Maryland Arts Day and had the opportunity to speak with the legislators above, as well as Delegate Mizeur and Comptroller Franchot. Just search for #MDArtsDay2012 — you’ll see tweets from arts advocates all over Maryland!


Takeaways: These thoughts from Sir Ken Robinson talk about how to be creative, the role of a creative leader and how creativity is not an afterthought. It’s a seriously inspiring and affirming read; take a few minutes out of your day when you need a pick-me-up!

Don’t wait until Friday for the digest; follow us at @creativemoco to get our daily articles in real time.

Link Roundup: Animated email marketing, polar bears at the Super Bowl and our local Poetry Out Loud champ

Friday, February 3rd, 2012

And here’s what we tweeted this week at @creativemoco!


Takeaways: First, a little background. I’m signed up to receive emails from Coach, Last Call Neiman Marcus and other luxury brands, and I noticed their subtle and classy use of animated GIFs in their email marketing. (Yes, it’s possible — we’ve moved beyond the flashing GIFs of Geocities and Angelfire!) If you’re going to go this route, make sure that the first frame of your GIF stands alone and works in the context of the rest of the email. Animated GIFs work in most email clients but not all, and only the first frame of your GIF will appear in email clients that don’t support animation. Also, take care that the animation isn’t overwhelming or distracting — keep it subtle and give it a purpose.


Takeaways: Each time the Super Bowl goes to commercial break on Sunday, Coca-Cola’s ad execs will decide on site which of their two prepared ads air depending on who is winning. There’s also an online component where the two polar bears will be shown reacting to the game in (almost) real time! This is probably one of the most ambitious and innovative Super Bowl ad campaigns I’ve seen recently, and I’m excited to see its actual implementation. I also can’t help but wonder what ways we and other businesses can become more interactive and use online media to enhance live experiences, if appropriate.


Takeaways: On January 18, local students participated in the Montgomery County Poetry Out Loud competition and Kari Barclay of Richard Montgomery High School emerged as our County champion! He’s advancing to the regional competition at Calvert Marine Museum on February 11. Kari also placed first in last year’s Poetry Out loud competition. Congrats to Kari and all Poetry Out Loud participants — you did Montgomery County proud!


Takeaways: Well-rested = happier = more productive! I’m taking note of #3, #4, #8 and #9 in this blog post.

Make sure to follow us at @creativemoco for our daily article tweets! Also, join us and others in Montgomery County’s creative community at the #CreativeMoCo Tweetup at The Fillmore Silver Spring on Wednesday, February 22. Register now!