, April 26th, 2013
By Jenifer Snyder, Executive Director of The mGive Foundation
“I was born this way,” proclaims the anthem of a current pop diva. If you prefer a more traditional expression of that sentiment, consider, “to thine own self be true.” But whether it’s the words of Lady GaGa or William Shakespeare that speak to you, my advice is to embrace that message and be true to who you are and not who others or our culture tell you to be.
And that advice goes double in matters of gender roles in the workplace.
I’ve never let myself be constrained by conforming to society’s norms of how a woman should act in the workplace if it wasn’t consistent to who I am as a person and my own professional values.
Long ago, I decided to shrug off how I was “supposed” to behave. For me, this meant not listening to advice about how I was to ignore what might be considered stereotypical female behaviors. It is more important to me to be genuine and cultivate a leadership style that plays to my strengths and fits the organization and people I lead. Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama offer two good examples of women who are comfortable with themselves and who embrace their own distinct approaches to gender roles.
“Which designers do you prefer?” a reporter once asked then-Secretary of State Clinton, to which she famously replied, “Would you ever ask a man that question?” Whereas First Lady Michele Obama has appeared on the cover of Vogue, embracing her influence as a fashion trendsetter without diminishing her stature as a successful lawyer. Both women have stellar careers forged by their own unique personalities and approaches to “traditional” gender roles.
Women in the workplace sometimes face a bias against them as being “weak.” One response to this stereotype would be to fight it by proving we can be as steely and tough as men are thought to be. Or, better yet, this line of reasoning goes, women can get ahead by acting even “tougher” than men.
My advice is be who you are and turn that into your source of power. If you are a good listener, empathetic and compassionate, use those skills. Some of my most successful moments as a leader have come when I’ve been thoughtful and flexible and balanced my priorities among multiple demands.
Flexibility and the ability to juggle multiple priorities is a key skill for any leader of a non-profit organization, especially given the scarcity of resources and the need for non-profit leaders to wear multiple hats. Are women better multitaskers than men? The research is mixed. But many women have developed a unique set of cultivated skills that come from juggling the twin demands of being manager and mom.
When it comes to multitasking in a non-profit setting, modern women have had practice at balancing, prioritizing and making decisions about what roles to fill and when those roles need primary focus. Having a successful career and being caregiver at home teaches us to be nimble. This is an advantage that many men do not have. These multiple demands force us to plan and strategize – a key advantage for women according to one researcher.
Professor Keith Laws from the University of Hertfordshire conducted a study on multitasking and found that, during an exercise to find a lost key while enduring multiple interruptions, women had the edge. “The women have a much better planning and strategy for finding the key. The men tend to jump into it and be far less organized and thorough. It’s as if they don’t stop to reflect and plan for a moment.”
That advantage for women may diminish, however, as the Millennial generation enters the workforce. We typically hear that striking a balance between career and family is a concern for women more than men. Not so for Millennials. According to Boston College professor Kathleen Gerson, there is a greater emphasis on “gender flexibility” among Millennials than other generations in fulfilling roles at home and as breadwinners. A Boston College study The New Dad underscored this point – “more than ever before, understanding a young employee’s belief that that he or she can sufficiently meet the needs and responsibilities of parenting as well as meet the expectations and obligations of the workplace will be paramount to retaining and advancing high quality workers.”
I believe that by being true to ourselves and being unconstrained by traditional roles also means that we can be more open to innovation and useful change. A corporate culture that sticks to a top-down, non-listening leadership style can easily miss bold new ideas. That sort of rigidity is one reason why great companies like Kodak became obsolete – they refused to listen to a changing world and the world left them behind.
Being flexible and unconstrained also empowers you to take risks. Nearly everyone told me that starting a company to empower text donations through mobile phones would never work. They were wrong and today mobile fundraising is making a difference in earthquake recovery to helping the victims of the recent bombing at the Boston Marathon.
We live in a world now where conformity – gender or otherwise – is valued less and authenticity is prized more. Be authentic. Be yourself. The world awaits.
Jenifer Snyder, Executive Director of The mGive Foundation
Jenifer Snyder is Executive Director of The mGive Foundation. She brings years of leadership experience in the mobile industry to the position. Previously, Jenifer was a founder and General Counsel for 9 Squared, Inc., a mobile content and services company subsequently acquired by the Zed Group. She left Zed in 2007 and started building the mobile channel for social and charitable effort, later forming The mGive Foundation.
, April 24th, 2013
Good fundraising ideas don’t just happen. And reliable, loyal donors don’t fall from the sky. If you’ve been pulling your hair out trying to determine how to raise more money with shrinking resources, perhaps it’s time to review fundamentals. Last post we discussed the first principle of fundraising – Research. Today, let’s look at the second principle: Identification.
Management expert Peter Drucker said: “The aim of marketing is to know and understand the customer so well the product or service fits him and sells itself.”
Identification will enable you to find likely supporters who “fit” your message and mission. And it helps you find the most effective messages to use and the best ways to deliver them.
The key is to segment your list into categories of similar people. It’s finding the who, where, what, why, and when of fundraising for charity.
The Who, Where, What, Why and When
First, Identify who they are: What age groups will support your cause? Where do they live (city, state, region, zip code or even neighborhood)? How much education do they have and what are their household incomes?
What do they do: What level of activity can you expect from them based on their history? How much will they give? Will they volunteer to attend an event? Participate in your social media? Recruit friends and family to the cause?
Why they get involved: Looking at survey responses, or even the performance of individuals or groups to specific appeals, what messages work best? Are there specific subjects or issues they are more interested in than others? When they get involved: Some donors may give at year-end; others may make routine donations. Others may only give at an event. Timing is everything in determining how to raise funds.
Where, or how they participate: Do they respond best to direct mail? Mobile solicitation? Event fundraising? Is a phone call the most likely way to guarantee their involvement? Identify the best method for outreach.
Example: Identifying text donors
One way to help identify supporters is to overlay market research with your data. This research can help guide you who to seek and how to reach out to them. Using mobile outreach as an example, we know from the mGive 2012 Text Giving Study that the following is identified profile of a likely text donor:
- Thirty-four to 44 years of age
- College educated
Our data also tells us that this universe is also:
- Likely to give amounts greater than $250 that can be solicited through other channels.
- Willing to donate through an organization’s website (increasingly accessed through smartphones)
- Likely to give at fundraising events
- Wants additional information via text on more topics than text donations
- Can be solicited for monthly recurring text donations through their phone bill.
This information enables you to identify who to solicit for text donations, drive traffic to your website, ask the right supporters for recurring and larger donations and build better relationships with donors who want information via mobile.
The principle of identification makes your fundraising more effective. Identifying the supporters and communication strategies that “fit” will make your fundraising blossom. Think of it as landscaping your yard. Plants have different needs, with varying requirements for water and sunlight. Identifying their proper care causes them to grow. Now we have to carefully cultivate — the next topic on our series on the principles of fundraising.
, April 4th, 2013
Indiana Jones was a man of action, but his adventures always started with his nose in a book. Professor Jones did his research. Without research, Indiana Jones could not have found his hidden treasures.
The same is true with non-profits. Before we can engage our supporters, we need to do the research. We have to, Indiana Jones-like, whip our data into shape (okay, I’ll stop with the Indiana Jones puns, lest you think me a Raider of the Lost Snark…).
As a successful fundraiser, you know that research is the foundation for winning new supporters and increasing donations.
Mobile can aid your research efforts, especially when it comes to surveying supporters and prospects. With the mGive platform, you can collect data in real time and gain powerful insights by:
- Polling your supporters or attendees at an event and capture what they think and feel in the moment.
- Providing another communication channel besides phone, Internet, or mail.
- Surveying supporters and donors on preferred messaging to improve engagement.
Another key factor that makes mobile a powerful research tool are the high open rates. Did you know that 97 percent of text messages are opened and 85 percent of those are read within 15 minutes of receipt? The immediacy and potential for higher capture rates produces better quality data. The better the data, the more accurate the research. This translates to stronger support, larger donations and higher ROI.
Finally – We know how consumers use and respond to mobile communication. mGive has done the research (Indiana Jones would be proud.) to help you effectively use mobile in your overall strategy. In fact, mGive is the only organization to have done national polling on text giving in the United States.
Here are three takeaways from our latest research that can help guide ideas for fundraising and communication:
- Supporters want to receive text messages on multiple topics, not just donation information. Mobile is about effective communication, not just solicitation.
- The age gap between text-donor-respondent generations is narrowing and close to even in our latest survey. Mobile is increasingly an effective way to raise funds among all age groups, not just the younger crowd.
- Eighty-five percent of respondents who give to an organization by text are inclined to give larger amounts via other channels. Mobile won’t hurt but will help your traditional fundraising efforts.
Using mobile to help you gather information for your research, plus mGive’s tools to help you manage the information you gain, plus our own unique research and insight, adds up to a solid foundation for all your fundraising and communication efforts. Indiana Jones used research to find “fortune and glory.” We can help you use research to develop the best engagement strategy to raise funds for your organization.
, March 28th, 2013
Legend is, if you catch a Leprechaun he has to give you all the gold you request. That’s why Leprechauns are careful to make you think that they have just one pot of gold. Leprechauns actually have vast storehouses of gold, according to Martin Nelson Burton, author of, Dear Mr. Leprechaun: Letters from My First Friendship.
But when it comes to finding treasure of mobile outreach, you don’t have to catch a leprechaun to gain all the communication “gold” you want because mGive is here. And we are more cooperative than Leprechauns. We’re happy to share our treasure trove of knowledge in setting up mobile campaigns.
The first nugget of gold: text-to-donate fundraising won’t threaten other contribution sources. Some nonprofits worry that mobile fundraising will “cannibalize” traditional fundraising activities, but that’s untrue. Our 2012 mGive Text Giving Study showed that 85 percent of mobile donors said they are inclined to give larger amounts AND through other channels in addition to mobile.
A bigger gold nugget: consumers want to do more than donate through mobile. In our study, nearly 40 percent said they wanted to receive text messages from nonprofits on multiple topics, not just donation information.
This was recently demonstrated by mGive client the Fellowship of Catholic University Students (FOCUS) who offered to text people, who signed up on their website, with immediate alerts when a new pope had been elected. FOCUS expected a few thousand, but nearly 87,000 had signed up for the text message alert by the time white smoke was issuing from the Vatican.
It’s clear: people see their mobile devices as their portal to the world.
According to a November 2012 Pew Internet and American Life project report:
“[cell phones] mean many things to their owners: an always-available link to friends and family, a pocket computer, or a time-saving tool— even an actual telephone.”
Proof of how ingrained cell phones are into our daily life, Pew reports that 68 percent of cell phone owners check their phones even when they don’t feel it vibrating or ringing. With all those people reaching for their phones, it’s no wonder text message open rates soar at 97 percent (compared to email at 14 percent). The message they could be eagerly checking for could be yours.
So here are some nuggets about how you can be using mobile in your outreach:
- List build;
- Reactivate lapsed donors – especially those whose email addresses have gone “bad.” People tend to have three email addresses but only one mobile phone number;
- Toy or food drive donations;
- Surveys and quizzes;
- Drive traffic to social media assets;
- Keep supporters better informed;
- Share volunteer information;
- Call to action for advocacy.
And here’s the clincher – you can do all this while people are self-motivated to engage – not just when they are online or have time to talk to a live person. The availability and ease of mobile phones make it possible for people to act when their hearts most demand it.
Using mobile communication in your outreach is effective. Determining the best ways to integrate mobile into that outreach depends on goals, audience, timeframe, message and other variables. But you don’t have to figure that out on your own – mGive’s support system offers our expertise and “best practices” so you can find that pot of mobile gold that provides the most riches for your organization. Unlike Leprechauns we don’t want to keep all our treasure hidden from you. We want to provide access to mobile gold.
, March 21st, 2013
mGive helps Mile High United Way build engagement and support for annual Turkey Trot
Mile High United Way
What would you do if you had 10,000 eager race attendants, ready to take action for your organization?
Connect with your audience in the most powerful way possible – by tapping into them through their phone to spark their interest in your cause and hold their attention even after the event is over. In other words, create a mobile community for volunteers, race participants, and supporters in order to cultivate relationships and create long-term donors.
By sending targeted, relevant messages before, during and after the event, mobile allowed Mile High United Way to make meaningful connections with supporters in their mobile community. By ramping up messages in the future they will be able to increase awareness for the race and get more people to fundraise through run/walk sponsorships.
Mobile also opened up a new avenue for volunteer interactions for Mile High United Way. With text messages before and during the event they were able to alert volunteers of any changes and ensure that everyone had important contact information right on their phone. In the future they can use mobile to alert their community to future volunteer options, and how Mile High United Way volunteers have made a significant impact in the community.
Mile High United Way, the first United Way in the country, uses proceeds from the Turkey Trot to invest back into the community in the areas of School Readiness, Youth Success and Adult Self-Sufficiency.
- The School Readiness Initiative provides children the support they need to be ready for school and reading at or above grade level by the end of third grade.
- The Youth Success Initiative offers mentoring, tutoring, drop-out prevention and many other programs to ensure more students graduate high school ready for college or work.
- The Adult Self Sufficiency program affords low-income individuals and families the opportunity to move toward economic self-sufficiency.
Mile High United Way executed an mGive mobile campaign for its 39th Annual Turkey Trot, an event that attracts more than 10,000 people, in October 2012 to encourage support and participation of the four mile “fun run” Thanksgiving morning.
Racers and volunteers were asked to include their cell phone numbers on the online Turkey Trot registration form. Those who included their phone numbers were sent a welcome message to join the Mile High United Way mobile community as well as a social share link for Facebook. The link encouraged friends to join the race and directed them back to the online registration form.
Messages were sent out to the mobile community members before, during and after the race. These messages included race day information, thanks for participation, motivational messages and information about Mile High United Way.
During the event static signage encouraged participants to test their turkey knowledge with a mobile poll.
“This finally gives us the base audience with which to begin communicating and messaging about the Mile High United Way,” said Robert Thompson, director of media relations at Mile High United Way.
Adding the mobile component to this run/walk provided a platform to cultivate relationships with volunteers and donors, supporting the work Mile High United Way does in its community.
At the minimum, mobile improved Mile High communication and engagement with their supporters; allowing them to better engage and receive feedback before, during and after events.
On average, emails are only opened 15 percent of the time compared to SMS messages being opened 97 percent of the time. By adding mobile to Mile High United Way’s engagement strategy, they were able to reach six and a half times more people with text than they would have through email.
- Of the 4,083 online registrants, 710 opted-into the Mile High United Way mobile community.
- Three Social Share links were generated for the Turkey Trot, generating 89 clicks before and during the event and 154 clicks after the event. The Social Share tool allowed trotters to share participation with friends through pre-determined social media links.
- During the race, 50 participants took the mobile poll.
Continuing with Mobile
Because of the success that they continue to see by using mobile, it has become a permanent part of Mile High United Way’s communications strategy.
Mile High United Way has continued to send messages to their mobile community an average of two times a month since the Turkey Trot. By sending out focused messages to their supporters, they have maintained a retention rate of 88%.
Mile High United Way expertly used mobile to follow one of the key principals of fundraising: build rapport and engage supporters BEFORE you ask for money. Mobile is the fun, forward-thinking conduit Mile High United Way is using to easily cultivate relationships in order to turn this year’s event attendees into loyal donors of the future.
“Because of the amazing response, we are excited to use mobile again with Turkey Trot next year,” said Thompson. “Now that we have a healthy audience of opt-ins, we plan to regularly talk to them—mostly storytelling about our impact in the community, links to videos, volunteer opportunities, and incorporate donation asks later on.”
, March 17th, 2013
Do you have the “luck of the Irish” when it comes to using mobile to build solid relationships with supporters? Luck likely has nothing to do with it. As Obi-Wan Kenobi told a skeptical Han Solo, “In my experience, there is no such thing as luck.”
So how do you get “lucky” with mobile outreach? Relax – you don’t need to be Irish or learn the ways of the Force. Good “luck” in mobile means cultivating prospects and supporters all the time, not just when asking for a donation. “Luck” comes from sharing information and news and keeping supporters engaged in your organization.
This is a lesson that political campaigns have learned well.
According to Pew Research findings on the 2012 election cycle, nearly 90 percent of registered voters have cell phones; 75 percent of those voters use text. 45 percent of those with smartphones used them to read about election news on social networking sites.
No wonder presidential campaigns in 2012 expanded their mobile communication to include text donations, list building, geo-targeted ads, mobile web sites, apps and videos to connect with voters through their phones.
One political consultant, Paul Bremer, of Rhythm NewMedia, told Mobile Marketer that mobile has clear advantages over other forms of communications. “Mobile devices are single task in nature and lend themselves to a more immersive experience than online or TV,” he said.
Chris Newell, who ran the mobile outreach efforts for Hillary Clinton’s 2008 presidential primary bid, said mobile helps politicians connect with people in a more personal way. Politicians, he said, see mobile as “an immediate way to mobilize thousands of volunteers.” He pointed to a 30 percent click-through rate for texts as an example of the great response from mobile.
The same lessons can be applied to nonprofits wanting to build better relationships with their supporters. The goal is to educate, engage and empower people about a cause through use of mobile technology.
- Collect mobile phone numbers as early as possible in the relationship. Give likely supporters attending your events a reason to opt-in to your mobile list. Ask them to sign up or volunteer. Ask them to sign a petition or even take a quiz.
- Before your event, engage supporters by giving weather reports, attire recommendations, parking tips and other logistical information.
- During the event, communicate any last-minute updates, surprise perks for registrants or “insider” information.
- Afterwards, thank supporters, share emotional stories or videos about how their participation made a difference.
- Include mobile options in all your supporter touch points, including printed collateral.
- Make sure your website is optimized for mobile (mGive can help with that).
One of mGive’s clients, the Best Friends Animal Society, asked supporters to take a mobile pledge by committing to adopt their next pet from a rescue group. The campaign got nearly 1,500 pledges, building the Society’s mobile community list and helping them to reach a larger audience.
You don’t need the luck of the Irish to succeed at mobile communication – just build relationships with your supporters to find that pot of gold for your organization.