SRK shows off his abs at India Today conclave

first_imgSuperstar Shah Rukh Khan shows off his six-pack abs to the gathering at the 10th India Today Conclave at Taj Palace Hotel in New Delhi on March 18, 2011.Shah Rukh Khan presented two sides of his enigmatic personality at a packed-beyondcapacity session on ‘Movies, Magic, Life: Making Movies Work in a Brand New World’. He first spoke at length on how the film industry’s growth was linked with developments in science and mathematics, and then brought the house down by lifting his shirt to prove that his “four-pack abs” were very much intact.His shirt-lifting moment came when India Today Group’s chief creative officer, Kalli Purie, asked him if he still had the sixpack abs he had developed for his 2007 blockbuster, Om Shanti Om. “Not six-pack abs, but I do still have four-pack abs,” the superstar said, lifting his shirt.”I don’t want to hide it, so you can confirm it right here.” That sent the audience into a frenzy of claps and cheers.The other big Shah Rukh moment happened when the session’s chairperson, actor and TV show host Koel Purie Rinchet, asked him what his first action would be if he became the country’s Prime Minister for a day. “I would go on a holiday,” SRK quipped, and then added on a serious note: “Just being honest is not enough. It is important to ensure that everyone in the office is honest and that we weed out corruption from every aspect of the government machinery.” He said if he were the PM for a day, he would wipe out corruption, “which has gone into our veins”. But he was quick to add: “I think our PM is a nice person.advertisementHe is doing a very good job.” Based on a guest’s tweet, Koel asked if SRK wanted his privacy back, which he has lost after attaining superstardom. “All my life, I have worked to become a star and be recognised,” SRK replied. “I hate it when I see celebrities hide their faces behind glares to evade the public eye. I want people to scream out my name when I land at the airport. I want girls to tear off my clothes. I want them to invade my privacy. I love to be troubled and disturbed,” he added with his trademark swagger.Looking dapper in his favourite black suit, SRK came without his famous ‘Rasta’ hairdo that he was seen sporting till recently for his upcoming film, Don 2.”It’s too cumbersome to maintain long hair,” he said later.Giving a glimpse of his vintage wit, SRK confessed he had prepared his speech for the session on his iPad, and said: ” Actors are not meant to be smart.” Smart, though, was the operative word as Shah Rukh’s session got underway. Addressing the topic at hand, the actor brilliantly reinterpreted Frank Capra to explain the development of Indian cinema.”Film, Frank Capra said, is one of the three universal languages ? the other two being music and mathematics. Indian films, I dare to add in this modern decade, are all three languages rolled into one. We have the music, the images, and the corporates have brought in the mathematics,” SRK said.Looking ahead from his vantage point, he said: ” We need to make our own Harry Potter films.Hollywood has trained the world to watch films that are made on a set format. To sustain ourselves in the market, we need to master the skills in which we are lagging behind.” He then summed up his session, re- phrasing his famous dialogue from Om Shanti Om: “Duniya ko hamari badi badi filmein abhi dekhna baaki hai mere dost (The world is yet to see our really big films, my friend).” After Shah Rukh’s address, the session was thrown open for questions. When a retired Brigadier from Bastar pointed to the difficult situation in the Naxalite-affected districts of Chhattisgarh, and how the magic of cinema could be used to do something for the affected people, SRK’s line was pragmatic: “It’s a tall order to make films for a specific people. I joke about my dancing in marriages for money, but I slog 16 hours a day to entertain and bring smiles on the faces of people because my films are based on common emotions.” A guest from Denmark asked how he would like to be remembered.”At 46, I am passing through mid-life crises,” SRK replied. ” I would want to say it in third person: ‘ Here is SRK. Remember that he tried and tried too hard’.”advertisementlast_img read more

Chouhan mulls govt jobs for wrestlers who excel at major meets

first_imgIndore, Nov 18 (PTI) Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan today said his government will seriously think over providing government jobs to wrestlers who excel in major competitions.”Wrestling was an important sport of India and is being played since centuries. No stone will be left unturned to promote it,” he said addressing the concluding function of the four-day long National Wrestling Competition here.”The government will seriously ponder over giving government jobs to wrestlers who excel in major competitions,” he added.”Now wrestling is no less glamorous than cricket. We are going to provide all possible help to impart training to the wrestlers in the state,” he said in the presence of famed wrestlers Sushil Kumar and Sakshi Malik. PTI HWP LAL RSYlast_img read more

India well equipped to do well in South Africa: Murali Vijay to India Today

first_imgMurali Vijay will be key as India eye their maiden Test series triumph in South Africa next year. The seasoned opener made a sensational comeback, slamming back-to-back hundreds against Sri Lanka.Vijay has the ability to bat in difficult conditions overseas and along with either of Shikhar Dhawan or KL Rahul, the onus will be on him to lay a strong base for a star-studded middle-order.Having played 53 Tests since his debut in 2008, Vijay is one of the most experienced players in this Indian team. And it speaks volumes of his skills that he is still the first-choice opener despite a long injury lay-off. In this time, both Dhawan and Rahul put in some brilliant performances but Vijay sealed his spot immediately upon his return.India Today caught up with Vijay, days before India’s departure for South Africa.Excerpts from an exclusive interview:Boria: How do you rate India’s chances in South Africa this time?Vijay: It is going to be a team effort to pull off a series win abroad. Hopefully, we can do that this time around. We are looking forward to that and we are preparing so that we can contribute to the team and go ahead in the series.Boria: The other two openers – Shikhar Dhawan and Lokesh Rahul are also in good form. Your thoughts? Vijay: It is actually good to be in form. All three openers are in form, so there are a lot of options for the captain and the management. Hopefully, we three can perform and contribute in the near future.advertisementBoria: India batted spectacularly at Lord’s in 2014. Ajinkya Rahane scored a hundred and you made 95. What is the secret of batting in such difficult conditions? Vijay: It is not difficult. Just concentrate on what’s happening around and be completely focused  on the ball. That’s the best thing as a batsman you can do at that time. There are going to be situations when it is going to be difficult at times and for me what works is thinking about what is happening in front of me rather than thinking about how the wicket is going to behave and how the bowlers are going to come at me. Just keep it simple and take each ball as it comes.Boria: Rate Virat Kohli as captain, batsman and now somebody who has complete control of the teamVijay: Fantastic. The whole world knows what he is capable of and how he has been so consistent for three years now. It’s been fantastic. I wish him all the luck and I hope we can pull off a major series abroad…that’s the main criteria for everybody.Boria: Virat has just tied the knot with Anushka Sharma.Vijay: It’s a great thing for him and Anushka (Sharma). I hope they have a great life together.Boria: Tell us a little about your fancy celebrations in the middle.Vijay: I think you should have fun in the middle. I’m a person like that because good times come in very limited edition. So whenever you are in a good space and performing or anyone is performing, you should enjoy more and celebrate together.Boria: The next 14 months will define the legacy of this Indian team? You have challenging overseas tours of South Africa, England and Australia lined up in that period. Vijay: Not only South Africa. It’s about how we are going to go about it the whole season. It is going to be very important for us. If you think about short team goals then yes, this series is very important for us to start. I personally think we are well equipped to do well. As I said, we’ve got to go there, get used to the conditions really fast and find a way to perform.Boria: What are your personal goals Do you have any personal goals?Vijay: I just want to do well. It doesn’t matter where we play. As I told you, (I try) not to over think and build from my basic game and be confident when I reach South Africa and not confuse myself too much. At the end of the day, it is going to be between ball and bat and I think I’m equipped for it and hopefully I can go and deliver for the Indian team.last_img read more

Heena Sidhu feels shooters will better previous Asian Games result

first_imgExperienced shooter Heena Sidhu will be hunting her first gold medal at the Asian Games as she previously won a silver (2010) and bronze (2014) in team events. The entire shooting contingent left a lot to be desired as they managed eight medals that included one gold and a silver each in Incheon.Currently training at the national camp here, the 28-year-old markswoman said the team has trained for a long time and are in a better shape to do better than what they did last time around.”I think it has been a long time since we are preparing now. It’s a strong team that we have and the shooting team will do better than what we did in the last Asian Games,” Sidhu told Mail Today.The shooting team had to work harder as they will head for World Championship in South Korea (from August 31) immediately after the Asiad. Sidhu said the shooters are in a dilemma whether to focus on the former or the latter.”We are not just preparing for the Asian Games but also for the World Championship. Asian Games can be seen as a way to prepare for the World Championship but sometimes one also needs to conserve your energy. So shooters right now are somewhere in between wanting to take Asian Games as a stepping stone for the World Championship and at the same time deliver a good score at the Asiad,” said the Jalandhar-based girl.When it comes to her, Sidhu said Worlds is very taxing on the body but she likes to strike a balance between both the big competitions as a medal at Asiad is a confidence booster.advertisement”We have to strike a balance because I can’t say which Championship is more important among the two. World Championship is highly competitive and it is going to take every ounce of your energy and your reserves. So out of the Asian Games and World Championship, Worlds is more important from the shooting point of view but putting on a good result at the Asian Games also adds to your confidence,” she explained.Talking about her medal chances, Sidhu said her focus will be on giving her best and hope rest falls into place for her. The former World No. 1 will be representing India in the 10m air pistol event.”I can’t really say if I will deliver a gold or a silver medal at any competition. Yes, I do have the gold in my sight but I can’t guarantee it. I was also saying the same thing before going for the Commonwealth Games. My idea is always to deliver my best, rest we will see,” she concluded.last_img read more

Lakshya Sen enters main draw of New Zealand Open

first_imgYoung Indian shuttler Lakshya Sen made it to the main draw of New Zealand Open after getting the better of compatriot Ajay Jayaram and Malaysia’s Teck Zhi Soo in his qualifying round matches.Up against a senior and more experienced compatriot, Lakshya showed a lot of determination as he handed Jayaram a 21-18 21-13 defeat in his first qualifying match that lasted 31 minutes.He then took 32 minutes to thrash Zhi Soo 21-11 21-12 in his second qualifier and storm into the main draw of the men’s singles.In the main draw, the 17-year-old will be up against Wang Tzu Wei of Taipei in his opening round.Another Indian in the fray on Tuesday, Parupalli Kashyap failed to make the main round as he lost his second qualifying match.Kashyap put up an impressive show in his opening qualifier, beating Peter Yan of Australia 21-8 21-9 in just 26 minutes but could not cross the second hurdle, going down 16-21 18-21 to Sun Feixiang of China in a battle that lasted 42 minutes.The main draw matches will commence on Wednesday.Also Read | Saina Nehwal eyes second title of season at New Zealand Openlast_img read more

Computex 2019: HP’s latest ENVY series laptop is made of wood, new Elite NoteBook sports leather design

first_imgComputex 2019 is going on in Taipei, Taiwan right now. Today is Day 1 of the electronics trade show and we have already seen some very new and exciting technologies come up. One among many companies demonstrating their latest products is HP. On Day 1 of Computex 2019, HP introduced three new laptops ENVY Wood series, Elite series, and ZBook series. The most exciting of the three laptops is ENVY Wood Series. Yes, exactly like the name suggests this laptop is made of wood, partially.HP claims that the for the ENVY Wood series of laptops the company has used some “authentic” wood across the keyboard to polish the design and make the laptop look premium. In comparison, the HP Elite notebook comes packed with a leather finish. Commenting on the launch of the new range of laptops, Alex Cho, president, Personal Systems, HP Inc said, “Today’s consumers, workers, and creators desire products that provide authentic and human-like experiences that adapt to the way they work and live.” The company also said, “Our newest additions to the HP portfolio – premium EliteBooks, powerful Z workstations, immersive VR, and premium one-of-a-kind ENVY PCs – is why HP leads the way in creating the world’s most exciting devices and intelligent solutions.”The ENVY Wood series includes four laptops called HP ENVY 13, HP ENVY x360 13, HP ENVY x360 15, and the HP ENVY 17. The wood structure across the keyboard of the laptop comes in three colour combination — Nightfall Black with Natural Walnut, Ceramic White with White Birch, or Natural Silver with Pale Birch. All the four ENVY laptops are powered by next-gen Intel Core processors or 2nd gen AMD Ryzen Mobile processors with Radeon Vega Graphics.advertisementMoving focus to the Elite series, under this HP has announced three laptops including Elite x2 G4, EliteBook x360 1030 G4, and EliteBook x360 1040 G6. HP claims that the Elite x2 G4 is the world’s first business detachable laptop paired with a leather keyboard folio, privacy screen, among other things. The device comes with a 14-inch anti-glare LED-backlit display and is powered by 8th Generation Intel Core i7 processor, NVIDIA Quadro M620/ Intel UHD Graphics 620 and comes paired with 8GB of RAM and 512GB PCIe NVMe storage. As for the pricing the HP Elite x2 G4 comes at a starting price of $1,499.The EliteBook x360 1030G and EliteBook x360 1040 G6 as HP claims are the world’s smallest and lightest business convertible laptops. Both the laptops comes packed with a 14-inch display, up to 32GB RAM, and a battery that lasts up to 24 hours. The HP EliteBook x360 1030 G4 comes at a starting price of $1,449 while the HP EliteBook x360 1040 G6 costs $1,499.HP also announced Mini-in-One 24, new HP EliteDesk, HP EliteDesk 800 G5 Desktop Mini PC, HP EliteDisplay E223d, and the HP EliteDisplay E273d docking monitors. In addition, the company has also brought ZBook 15 G6 and ZBook 17 G6 mobile workstations. Not just that the laptop manufacturer also announced HP Z1 Entry Tower G5, HP Z2 Mini G4, HP Z2 Small Form Factor G4, and HP Z2 Tower G4 workstations.Disclaimer: The reporter’s travel and stay have been arranged by Asus.last_img read more

World Cup 2019: England’s struggle leaves Virat Kohli surprised

first_imgIndia captain Virat Kohli admitted that England’s mid-campaign wobble at ICC Cricket World Cup has left everyone in the cricket fraternity surprised.England were billed as the pre-tournament favourites. They had been in fine form in the lead-up to the World Cup and entered the quadrennial tournament as the top-ranked ODI side. Captain Eoin Morgan took pride in being the pre-tournament favourites and their batting firepower was dominating the narrative.However, cut to the last week on June, England are fighting to keep their campaign alive. After thrashing South Africa in their World Cup 2019 opener, England lost to Pakistan but it was seen as an off-day for Eoin Morgan’s men.However, their inability to chase down scores has become a pattern now. Back-to-back defeats to Sri Lanka and Australia has dented their semi-final hopes. England now need to beat Virat Kohli’s India and Kane Williamson’s New Zealand in their last 2 league games to keep their chances alive.Speaking to the press on the eve of India’s World Cup 2019 match against England in Bimmingham, Kohli said: “Everyone is a bit surprised because we thought England is probably going to dominate in their own conditions. But as I said at the beginning of the tournament, pressure is going to be a massive factor and low scores are going to be defended.”We got a scare from Afghanistan… So you can’t take anything for granted.”Virat Kohli’s prediction has certainly come true. Even as talks of teams breaching 500-run mark were going around, Kohli said scores of 260-270 would be defended. England failed to chase 232 against Sri Lanka and 286 vs arch-rivals Australia.advertisementMeanwhile, Virat Kohli also said he deals with high-intensity situations by hiding pressure on the field. The India captain also said pressure is what keeps him motivated.”That would be a lie if I say I’m not under pressure. I’m probably good at hiding it,” Kohli said.”Everyone feels butterflies in their stomach. I’m glad that I feel like that. If I don’t, then probably I don’t have enough motivation to play anymore.”I look forward to that, and maybe that’s why my body language is the way it is. But in all honesty, everyone feels pressure. It’s just the way you portray it to the opposition is what makes all the difference.””Bhuvi is recovering very fast. When he gets fit, it’s going to be a bit of a headache for us to see what we’re going to do.”Also Read | World Cup 2019: Desperate England brace for ruthless India as semi-finals race heats upAlso Read | World Cup 2019: What happened when India last met England in a World CupAlso Read | Harbhajan Singh slams Basit Ali for his unsavoury comments regarding Indialast_img read more

Game by Game Predictions

first_imgNCAA Football: Big 12 Media DayPhoto Attribution: US PresswireI went through the schedules, game by game, and selected a winner for each. Let’s get to it… 1) Oklahoma (7-2) – I hate doing this, but the Sooners come away winning the tie-breaker in a three-way tie for first with Kansas State and OSU. OU is incredible at home in games that should, or even could, be close.Losses: @TCU, @WVU2) Kansas State (7-2) – I’m dumbfounded that their over/under win total is at 7 games (on Sportsbook.ag). Most of the media is criticizing the way they won last year: Close games, being outgained by opponents, a one dimensional QB, etc. Bill Snyder brings back key components of last season’s 10-win team: Collin Klein and their two best defensive players, Arthur Brown (LB) and Nigel Malone (CB).Losses: @OU, @TCU3) Oklahoma State (7-2) – It’s a shame the two losses come against the other teams at 7-2. Many are already getting carried away with projections for Lunt. He’ll have plenty of success in our offensive system, but he’ll also make quite a few mistakes. With the offense taking a step back this year, the defense will step up and gain the respect of the hating media.Losses: @KSU, @OU4) West Virginia (6-3) – I love what West Virginia brings to the Big 12, but I’m not buying into the hype for their first year just because they rolled Clemson in the Orange Bowl last year. The Big East has ZERO teams in this year’s preseason USA Today Coaches Poll. The Big 12 has five, and that’s not including the Mountaineers. It’s naïve to think they’re high-powered offense will steamroll a new, tougher conference.Losses: @OSU, @Texas, vs KSU 5) TCU (6-3) – The top half of the league all finished within one game of each other, which shows how wide open I believe this league is. Basically ditto what I said about West Virginia, but nobody is going to have any issues with predicting the Horned Frogs at #5. Gary Patterson is the real deal, and I wonder how many recruits he’ll steal from us in years to come. It will take some time before they can make a run at a conference championship.Losses: @OSU, @Texas @WVU6) Texas (5-4) – Your 15th ranked team in the nation! It didn’t matter who they put at QB. If either McCoy or Ash had made a significant improvement, it wouldn’t have taken so long for Mack to make a decision. They had a good defense last year, good enough to lift them to a 6th place finish in the conference and a trip to the Holiday Bowl. Oh, and let me address the Malcolm Brown hype. As their primary rusher, he racked up 74.2 ypg. But it’s Texas so I’m not surprised to see some media members crowning him as the best running back in the Big 12 (Randle ran for 93.5 ypg in 2011).Losses: OU, @OSU, @TTU, @KSU7) Iowa State (2-7) – After a quick run through their schedule, I had them winning 4 or 5 games, but I knew I was giving them too much credit for one game that will occupy a portion of my mind forever. The Cyclones still aren’t good, and are actually a home underdog to open their season against Tulsa…at home!Wins: Baylor, TTU8) Baylor (2-7) – I’m such a hater. The Bears aren’t “sic’ing” anything this year. Bob Griffin, Kendall Wright, Terance Ganaway…all gone, and they’re taking a big chunk of those 45 points per game with them. As for the defense, I don’t think it matters how many guys from a 113th ranked defense (by points, not yards) are suiting up again.Wins: KU, TTU9) Texas Tech (2-7) – If I were to pick a team that might surprise me, it’s Tech. I’m putting them ninth because I haven’t bought into Tuberville as a Big 12 coach. Not all is lost for the Red Raiders because they’re going to get a huge rivalry win over the Longhorns in early November.Wins: KU, Texas10) Kansas (1-8) – They’re on their way up, in wins that is. Jayhawk fans have one date circled on their calendar, October 30. If you checked their schedule, you probably Googled the wrong one. It’s all hoops in Lawrence this year, per usual (as my boys @ScooterandJack would say).Win: Iowa StateI know you disagree somewhere up there. What are your projections? What upsets do you see coming? Who’s winning the Big 12?If you’re looking for the comments section, it has moved to our forum, The Chamber. You can go there to comment and holler about these articles, specifically in these threads. You can register for a free account right here and will need one to comment.If you’re wondering why we decided to do this, we wrote about that here. Thank you and cheers!last_img read more

Milan still a long way from restoring greatness despite their summer splurge

first_img• Another round of games, another round of VAR conversations. Claudio Gavillucci had initially awarded Inter a free-kick when João Mário was brought down by SPAL’s Francesco Vicari on the edge of the box, but replays showed pretty quickly that this should have been a penalty. So why did it take five minutes for the referee to reach the same conclusion? I’m still inclined to call these teething problems which should improve over time, but I can see why people get frustrated.• The game was Inter-SPAL. And the sponsor on SPAL’s shirt? Ciro Immobile takes the acclaim from Lazio supporters after his hat-trick. Photograph: Vincenzo Pinto/AFP/Getty Images Share on Twitter Share on Facebook Share on Pinterest • Wins for Inter, Juventus and Napoli mean those three remain level at the top on maximum points. Sampdoria were denied the chance to keep pace after their game against Roma was postponed due to rain in Genoa.• It was interesting to see how Massimiliano Allegri shuffled his deck before Juve’s Champions League game against Barcelona this week. Wojciech Szczesny made his debut in goal, while Blaise Matuidi and Douglas Costa both got their first starts for the club as well. In the end, though, things still got a lot more straightforward for the Bianconeri once Paulo Dybala had come on to replace the latter member of that trio.• Rodrigo Palacio: better at American football tackling than the Milan native who made his (otherwise highly successful) NFL debut on Sunday night. Results: Atalanta 2-1 Sassuolo, Benevento 0-1 Torino, Bologna 0-3 Napoli, Cagliari 1-0 Crotone, Inter 2-0 SPAL, Juventus 3-0 Chievo, Laizo 4-1 Milan, Udinese 1-0 Genoa, Verona 0-5 Fiorentina Pinterest Lazio Share on LinkedIn European club football Milan Twitter Andrea Motta (@neoandrea)#InterSpal: it’s funny to see this sponsor today on #Spal’s shirt. #SerieA pic.twitter.com/8d0tMQD0saSeptember 10, 2017 Topics Facebook Share via Email Reuse this content ACF Fiorentina BRA (@AcfFiorentinaBr)Você que não viu o Golaço de Jordan Veretout, Confere ai essa Pintura:#ForzaViola pic.twitter.com/ntLj74EdfpSeptember 11, 2017 blogposts Paulo Dybala’s fine strike caps Juventus’s home victory over Chievo Milan were the opposite: a ragged mess of individuals, a truth which their own manager, Vincenzo Montella, acknowledged at the end. “We didn’t have the mental strength to react,” he observed. “Everyone wanted to fix things on their own.”They would pull one goal back through Riccardo Montolivo: insufficient to disguise how poor they had been. Montella’s decision to leave several of this summer’s highest profile additions out of his starting XI – from André Silva to Hakan Calhanoglu and Nikola Kalinic – might raise eyebrows, though the latter two both entered as second-half substitutes without making any great impact on the game.The absence of right-back Andrea Conti, who impressed last season at Atalanta and has continued to do so in Milan, was damaging, but cannot be an excuse on its own for such a defeat. It was the club’s most expensive signing, meanwhile, who put in the most disappointing performance of all.Luring Leonardo Bonucci from Juventus was the greatest coup of a spectacular summer. Besides being one of the best defenders on the planet, this was a guy who could bring a dash of that elusive ‘winning mentality’ – a player who had won six consecutive Scudetti and been to two of the last three Champions League finals. He was immediately handed the Milan captaincy.As with the rest of the side, early performances had been encouraging, but on Sunday he was all at sea. Bonucci lost track of Immobile at the back post on Lazio’s second goal, and seemed to get caught in no man’s land on the third as well. For the fourth he was nowhere to be seen, having been caught up the pitch attempting to support the attack. Gazzetta dello Sport named him the worst player on the pitch, with a rating of four out of 10. That might have been taking things a bit far, but this was not a good day at the office. At times Bonucci was guilty of getting drawn out of position in a bid to cover for team-mates’ mistakes, but in other moments he was simply losing his one-on-one battles.He has not forgotten to defend overnight, of course, and none should doubt that better days lie ahead. Having Alessio Romagnoli back to full fitness will be a boon – permitting Montella to move beyond his current 4-3-3 and experiment with a three-man defence similar to the one that Bonucci was part of most often in Turin.These are still early days for a project with grand ambitions. If Rome was not built in a day, then Milan cannot be restored to the pinnacle of world football in a single summer, either. Nevertheless, a defeat this heavy cannot be shrugged off completely. Sharp improvement is required if this team hopes to weather further storms that lie ahead.Talking points• Just the five goals for Fiorentina as they blitzed Verona at the Bentegodi. That scoreline, it must be said, owed a lot to the hosts’ deficiencies but after defeats to Inter and Sampdoria this was a timely result for a young Viola team, featuring the 22-year-old Giovanni Simeone (son of Diego) and the 19-year-old Federico Chiesa (son of Enrica) in its front line. This might not be the strongest Fiorentina side we have seen in recent years, but with five other players under 26 in the starting lineup at the weekend, it is certainly a young one, and it will be interesting to watch it develop. • And while you’re waiting for that to happen, maybe just stop for the next year to admire Jordan Veretout’s free-kick. But you don’t splurge €200m on new signings just to make life easier against Crotone and Craiova. Returning to the Champions League is not so much an ambition as an economic imperative for Li Yonghong’s new ownership group, and Lazio will be direct rivals in the race for the top four.It would be absurd to talk of must-win games so early in the campaign, but at the very least this felt like a must-prove-that-we-are-headed-in-the-right-direction game. In that, Milan failed. On a day when the city hosting them flooded, they contrived to go down in flames. There was a brief period, at the start, when they played with conviction, laying claim to the ball and forcing their hosts onto the back foot. Even then, though, they rarely threatened. The 19-year-old striker Patrick Cutrone, after excelling against lesser opponents, was bullied by Stefan Radu and Stefan De Vrij. Fabio Borini was woeful on the left of attack. Even Suso, on the opposite flank, looked subdued.Lazio, by contrast, were swift, direct and clinical. They took the lead in the 38th minute, Ciro Immobile blasting home from the penalty spot after being felled by Franck Kessié. They were 4-0 up by the 49th, the striker completing a hat-trick either side of the break before teeing up Luis Alberto for the fourth.Immobile was brilliant, exploiting the spaces left by Milan and taking his chances with aplomb. He is the first Lazio player to score three against Milan since 1942.Behind him, Lazio dominated the midfield even whilst allowing Milan to enjoy more than 60% of the possession. Lucas Leiva and Marco Parolo provided a steady shield in front of the defence, while Luis Alberto and Sergej Milinkovic-Savic gave the team length, slipping back into midfield to help combat the Milan press before racing forwards to support Immobile on each counter.Most of all, Lazio were cohesive – a tight unit in which every player had a clear sense of their role. A testament, in short, to Simone Inzaghi, who is quietly establishing himself as one of the most promising tacticians on the peninsula. He confessed afterwards that he had been devastated when it appeared that the game might be called off, when he knew that his team had prepared it just right. Sooner or later, something was going to rain on Milan’s parade. At first it seemed like it might be the actual rain, as the skies opened above Rome on Sunday, dumping four inches of water on the capital in three hours. As streets were submerged and public transport ground to a halt, it seemed inevitable that the Rossoneri’s game away to Lazio would need to be pushed back to a later date.Instead, it was postponed for just one hour: officials trusting in both the weather forecast and the pitch drainage system at the Stadio Olimpico. From a logistical standpoint, it turned out to be the right decision. With hindsight, however, Milan might have wished for more time to prepare.Here was the first true test of their extraordinary summer rebuild. Milan had begun the season in encouraging form, winning six consecutive games between Europa League qualifying and Serie A. Serie A Share on Messenger Share on WhatsApp Read morelast_img read more

London Broncos produce late turnaround to deepen gloom for Leeds

first_img Support The Guardian Share on LinkedIn Super League Share on Messenger match reports Share on Pinterest It is still surely too early to suggest that both Leeds and Wigan are in any sort of relegation battle this season, but in the Rhinos’ case in particular, it is becoming increasingly difficult to argue with both their recent performances and the fast-developing Super League table.Nothing is decided in March of course, but with almost a quarter of the season now gone, the last two champions – alongside Huddersfield – are already four points adrift of a London side few experts would come close to surviving in their first season back among the elite, let alone sit joint-fifth at this stage in proceedings.“I’m not concerned with what people think,” said London’s coach, Danny Ward, after this remarkable late comeback handed the Broncos a third win of the season: and consigned Leeds to a sixth defeat in seven games. This will have been the most frustrating, given how the Rhinos were eight points ahead with four minutes remaining and still somehow found a way to lose. Read more Rugby league Share on Twitter Share on WhatsApp Share on Facebook Reuse this content Wakefield Trinity switch sights to glory after fighting off threat of ruin Since you’re here… Share via Email That said, the effort London showed to not only lead 8-0 at half-time, but score two tries in those final four minutes is well worthy of a mention. “If people take us lightly, that’s their business,” Ward continued. His side deserved their eight-point half-time lead courtesy of a try for Jay Pitts and two goals from Kieran Dixon, but that appeared to stir Leeds into life.By the hour mark, they had forged a two-score lead courtesy of tries for Richie Myler, Trent Merrin and Tom Briscoe – and at that stage, the game looked beyond a visibly-tired Broncos before somehow, Leeds conspired to collapse. “It’s a long season, and there’s no white flag here,” insisted a defiant Rhinos coach, David Furner, afterwards. “I’m angry and I’m not happy about it. Those last few minutes.. that’s hurt the group.” From nowhere, a rare London foray into Leeds territory yielded a solo try from Matty Fozard to reduce the gap to four – and suddenly, the Broncos were revitalised.Perhaps the most impressive thing about this critic-defying London side is the core of London-produced players in their side, and it was fitting one of them scored the winning try. They sprang downfield again, this time Jordan Abdull’s cross-field kick falling into the path of Will Lovell, who touched down to give Dixon the simplest of conversions to win the game. As for Leeds, you wonder where their season goes from here – even at such an early stage.Leeds Walker; Briscoe, Newman, Hurrell, Handley; Lolohea, Myler; Peteru, Parcell, Oledzki, Ferres, Sutcliffe, Merrin. Interchange Cuthbertson, Donaldson, Jones-Buchanan, Holroyd. Tries Myler, Merrin, Briscoe. Goals Lolohea 2. London Walker; Dixon, Morgan, Kear, Williams; Abdull, Cunningham; Battye, Pelissier, Butler, Pitts, Yates, Davis. Interchange Fozard, Richards, Lovell, Mason. Tries Pitts, Fozard, Lovell. Goals Dixon 3. Referee C Kendall. Attendance 11,229. London Broncos Topics Leeds Rhinos … we have a small favour to ask. More people are reading and supporting The Guardian’s independent, investigative journalism than ever before. And unlike many new organisations, we have chosen an approach that allows us to keep our journalism accessible to all, regardless of where they live or what they can afford. But we need your ongoing support to keep working as we do.The Guardian will engage with the most critical issues of our time – from the escalating climate catastrophe to widespread inequality to the influence of big tech on our lives. At a time when factual information is a necessity, we believe that each of us, around the world, deserves access to accurate reporting with integrity at its heart.Our editorial independence means we set our own agenda and voice our own opinions. Guardian journalism is free from commercial and political bias and not influenced by billionaire owners or shareholders. This means we can give a voice to those less heard, explore where others turn away, and rigorously challenge those in power.We need your support to keep delivering quality journalism, to maintain our openness and to protect our precious independence. Every reader contribution, big or small, is so valuable. Support The Guardian from as little as $1 – and it only takes a minute. Thank you.last_img read more

How Crisis Compels Donors to Give Online: A Study on Disaster Giving

first_imgOnline giving is growing exponentially per year, from just over half a billion dollars in 2000 to more than $4.5 billion in 2005 (source: ePhilanthropy Foundation), however it still represents a relatively small percentage of total charitable giving.The notable exception is giving in response to humanitarian crises, when the Internet is becoming donors’ avenue of choice.The Chronicle of Philanthropy has noted that Internet donations for the 2004 South Asian tsunami relief accounted for more than one-third of the total raised – more than twice the proportion of online gifts in the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.After Hurricane Katrina, half of relief giving was online, representing the largest outpouring of donations online in history.Marking the one-year anniversary of that disaster, Network for Good made this study of the recent, large-scale humanitarian emergencies that promoted massive online donations in order to analyze:Why donors give onlineHow donors give online: their giving behaviorsImplications for nonprofits seeking to fundraise onlineBe sure to view the other Network for Good studies listed in the related articles below for more in-depth research.last_img read more

Drilling for the Truth: The Power of Testing in Fundraising

first_imgAre you constantly testing in your fundraising program? Are you learning one or two new things every month? You should be.Here is a quick summary of recent findings from direct-mail tests conducted for a Merkle|Domain client involved in international humanitarian work.Compelling Test Results and Conclusions1. Donors read their mail. Sometimes there is a temptation to reduce the cost of a direct mail appeal package by eliminating the letter and relying on a double buckslip form: one part a short personalized message, the other a reply coupon. We conducted two separate tests to determine whether including the letter would increase response. In both cases the packages that included the letter secured a higher response rate, higher average gift, and higher net revenue than the package without the letter.2. Integration of effort using different communication channels — telephone and direct mail works! Two randomly selected audience groups of 10,000 donors each were mailed identical appeal packages. The test group also received a pre-mailing alert phone call. The response rate of the test group was 15.6% higher, and net revenue from this group was 45% higher than from the group that did not receive the call.3. Donors appreciate a good deal. Two test panels of 10,000 donors each were involved in a matching gift offer test. The direct mail packages sent to both panels were identical except that the test group’s did not contain the matching gift offer. The results were no surprise. The panel that received the matching gift offer responded at a rate 56% higher than the group without the matching gift offer. Net revenue was 53% higher from the matching gift panel.4. Package inserts or alternative response options may sometimes depress response rates. We tested giving donors the opportunity to sign up for ongoing electronic funds transfer (EFT) by including a “send me more information” checkbox on the reply coupon. We also tested whether inserting an information flier would boost EFT sign-ups.Unfortunately, when the EFT option was promoted with the check-off box, response declined by 15.8% and net revenue declined 34.3%.When the promotional flier was added in addition to the check-box, response dropped by 19.6% and net revenue dropped by 42% compared to the control panel that did not receive the EFT option. The take-away value from this test is to stay focused on a single message and response option in your direct mail appeal packages.5. A cover letter included with newsletter packages sent to frequent givers can generate higher response. We included a separate cover letter from the organization’s CEO with the newsletter package sent to frequent givers. The response rate from those receiving the cover letter increased by 16.6% compared to those who received no cover letter. When the cost of the cover letter was added to the overall cost of the package, net revenue remained unchanged; however, the cover letter may contribute to a stronger relationship and increase donor loyalty.6. Personalized copy referring to a donor’s previous gift can build donor loyalty. We often include copy in appeal packages that references the donor’s previous gift amount and the project their gift supported. We have learned over the years that this type of referencing affirms donors and helps to accomplish the Donor Loyalty Cycle™ elements of affirmation and reporting. A recent test, however, indicates that such referencing doesn’t always boost response.A direct mail appeal package focusing on an emergency situation in Africa was mailed to two randomly selected groups. The test group’s letter referenced their most recent gift amount, reported a few details about the project they had supported, and encouraged them to give again for the emergency project. The control group received the same package but no reference to their previous gift. The control group outperformed the test group with a 5.3% higher response rate, 9.4% higher average gift, and 16.7% higher net revenue.What did we learn from this test? While it’s important to affirm donors for their previous giving, and report back to them on how their gift was used, the nature of the given appeal package might not lend itself to specific previous gift referencing. In this case, for example, the emergency nature of the package was probably diluted by the previous gift reference.A Final WordYou should be regularly testing in your direct mail fundraising program. But remember, not all tests can be universally applied. Your test results may be very different from what we have reported here. The make-up of your donor file, the nature of your cause, your brand positioning, and your communication style and content are unique to your organization.Our goal at Merkle|Domain is to change fundraising to be more effective, more efficient, and more keenly focused on building donor loyalty. That’s how we can change the world!Source: Merkle Orange Papershttp://www.merkledomain.com/site/PageServer?pagename=orange_testingCopyright © 2007 Merkle Inc.All rights reservedlast_img read more

10 Steps To Re-infusing Passion Into Your Organization

first_imgCelebrate outside-the-box thinking. Organize brainstorming meetings. Encourage employees to think outside the box to come up with unconventional solutions to problems or opportunities. Sometimes it’s best to eliminate authority figures from these meetings to allow a free flow of thoughts and a process that gives birth to fresh ideas.Have fun. Everyone knows what this means and what it looks like. In our company it’s practical jokes; it’s strange sounds on the intercom; it’s games and competitions; it’s going out to eat together or just sitting around shooting the breeze. You can see fun when you see laughter and the celebration of work.Publish your vision and mission. Do employees actually know what your vision and mission is? If not, it’s either because you don’t have them or you haven’t published them. Get them out there. Talk about them. Explain how you came up with them. Remember, THIS is why you are together.Create and publish your list of values. You have a set of values that you run the organization by. If it is not written down, then it’s informal. Write down the list. Include a focus on the people served, your donors, and fun. Publish it. Talk about it. Ask employees to hold you and others accountable to live by it.Bring a person your organization regularly serves into your environment. There is nothing like looking into the eyes of one of the people that has been helped by your organization. Bring them in, if possible, and sit them right down in the middle of the sacred halls. Have them interrupt the process of running the organization. Place them in a place (meeting) where everyone needs to focus on the real thing that is going on here. Talk to them about their journey. What was their life like before your organization helped them? How is it now? How do they feel? Get in touch with all of these. Don’t be afraid of it. Embrace it.Keep talking always about people served and donors. We mentioned it several times, but it is worth mentioning again. Remember, everything you do is about the people you serve and your donors. It is important to keep that focus.Get away from your desk and regularly talk to others about how excited you are about the people you serve and your donors. It is so easy to get wrapped up in the work and be stuck to your desk all day or in meetings. Plan to be absent from your desk. Put it on your calendar. Get out of your office and be with your staff for no reason but just to talk. Spread your joy. Share a story of how a person the organization helped really touched you. Talk about a donor and how encouraged you are about their help.Get emotional about things. This isn’t just about plans, charts, grids, logic and the mind. It is about people. Allow your heart to be broken by the tragedies of life. Celebrate the victories. Get excited. Jump up and down. Be human. When your employees sense that you do have blood running through those veins; that you can cry and laugh; that you are real when they sense that, you will be on your way to getting passion back into the workplace.These are just some of the ideas we have on getting passion back into the workplace. Share your ideas with us. We’d like to hear them. And if you give us permission, we’d like to publish them. Talk back.Source: Merkle Orange Papershttp://www.merkledomain.com/site/PageServer?pagename=orange_passionCopyright © 2007 Merkle Inc.All rights reserved Take steps to fall back in love with donors. They are the true stakeholders in your organization. The board isn’t. The president isn’t. Even you aren’t. It is the donor who truly owns the charity. Why not start behaving that way? Here are some things you can do to remind yourself (and everyone else) that, after the person who is helped by your charity, the next most important person is the donor:Regularly (once a week) read donor letters to employees or pass excerpts along via e-mail. Focus especially on donor letters that express gratitude for being able to serve.Have a donor come in and address employees in a company or department meeting. Ask them why they are involved and why they stay involved.Encourage employees to call or visit with donors to talk about their motivations for being involved. You come to work lifeless. Everyone around you has that look in their eyes: a glaze that signals boredom, purposelessness, fatalism.“What am I doing here?” you ask. Good question. What are you doing? If you are a leader or manager and you see this zombie-like state among your organization’s employees, there is something you can and should do about it.What are the key indicators that an organization has lost its passion, and how do you counteract it?Key Signs That Your Organization Lacks PassionThe leader is really not excited about what the organization does. In fact, many employees aren’t either. They are there more for the paycheck than the cause.There is no clear mission or purpose.No one talks or cares about who ultimately benefits from what the organization does.Managers and leaders are more focused on process than they are on doing good work.There is no overarching vision for the organization.There is a noticeable absence of flexibility. Everything is very regimented and very predictable. Outside-the-box thinking is discouraged.There is a lack of culture and personality; fun is not promoted.There is a lot of turf protection and lack of cooperation between individuals and departments.10 Steps To Re-infusing Passion Into Your OrganizationTake steps to fall back in love with those who are helped by your organization. Who are they? How is your organization helping to change their lives? How can you help more? Here are some ways to inspire the people in your organization to move the focus from themselves back to the people you are organized to serve:Once a week, share a story with your staff about a dilemma faced by a person served by your organization. This will most likely be a dilemma that has not yet been resolved. The purpose of this exercise is to keep employees focused on why your organization exists.Once a week, share a success story about someone who has been helped by your organization. This will cement in your employees’ minds that what you are doing is really working.In your monthly company meeting, have an employee speak about the vision and mission of your organization and what it means on a personal level to him or her. This will remind your employees that what you are doing is important.Do everything possible to give the people helped by your organization prominence. Hang pictures of them in the halls. Talk about them. Ask, “How does my job serve the people we are helping?” Remember, it is about them. Nothing else matters very much.last_img read more

The 10 Commandments of MySpace Advocacy

first_imgMySpace has been attracting a lot of interest in the nonprofit world lately, and understandably so: it’s the largest and fastest-growing online social network. The site claims 100 million registered users, many of whom spend more time on MySpace than on any other Web site. Many of your online supporters are probably already using MySpace.But if engaging your supporters online is part of your job description, you’ve probably greeted this buzz with a few clear-eyed questions: Can this stuff really facilitate advocacy or volunteerism? Can it build my list? Can it raise money? Isn’t it all 13-year-olds?It’s true that the demographic does skew much younger than that of most nonprofits and political campaigns, but there is strong evidence that MySpace is getting “older.” An October 2006 study by ComScore found that more than half of MySpace’s users are 35 and older. These users seem to be driving MySpace’s recent population boom.There’s a lot you can do on MySpace, and some things you can’t. If you’re peering over the edge, here are a few things to keep in mind about jumping into the wonderful world of campaigning on MySpace, with all its possibilities and pitfalls.Thou Shall:1. Decide if MySpace is the right network for your organization.Pick MySpace because you want to engage young people. Don’t pick it just because it’s big. Other networks may be smaller but more effective. TechSoup’s What Can Social Networking Do for Your Organization? offers guidance on using different types of social networks.Most organizations using social networks maintain a presence on more than one site, but remember that undertaking this kind of project will take considerable staff resources.Do you have someone around who already has experience with MySpace? A young staffer? An intern? Your niece? Get them involved; their experience will be a big help.2. Prepare to lose control.You can’t possibly vet every word of every person’s profile who wants to become your friend. If you or your lawyers are not comfortable with the fact that you’re going to lose some control over content, MySpace probably isn’t right for you.On MySpace, friends can post “comments” on your page. You can set MySpace to either post these comments automatically or to require your approval before doing so. If you choose the latter option, make sure you’re reviewing and accepting (or rejecting) new comments quickly – your new friends won’t like it if it takes two days for their comment to show up.3. Know that your MySpace efforts may not pay off right away.Email advocacy and fundraising provide immediate gratification in terms of actions taken or dollars raised; success on MySpace is measured in terms of how many friends you make. Converting those friends to activists or donors will likely be a long-term process.4. Look at who’s already talking about your organization on MySpace, if anyone.Are there MySpace groups? Fake profiles set up by supporters? Blog postings?Are there people talking about your work on other social networks? If so, putting your energy into building your presence on MySpace may not be as effective as concentrating on this other network.5. Make sure your site is ready before you tell anyone about it.A lot of your list members may “friend” you early on and then not look at your page much after that, so it’s best to be prepared to wow them – first impressions do matter.MySpace can sometimes do tricky things to the code you try to use. It’s a good idea to set up a dummy account to test your layout before you make your changes live.Control what your organization will look like on other people’s friend lists – pick a great picture and title that will show up on your friends’ pages.6. Post your edgiest, most viral content.Social networks really work best when people are passing content around. Think of your MySpace page as a place to test out ideas that you think people will want to be associated with. This could be as simple as a great profile name or as involved as a video or flash animation. If it doesn’t make you think “Cool!” then it’s probably not viral.You may have better luck with a page based on a specific campaign or “gimmick” than a general page plugging your organization.If you have a “personality” as part of your campaign – a candidate, a character, a target, an animal – you might want to set up a “fake” profile for them.You can post videos and music on MySpace. If you have these, post them.7. Figure out which of your supporters are on MySpace already, and ask them to be your first friends.If you survey your members, find out which of them have MySpace profiles.Send them an email asking them to become your friend – you can expect a response rate typical of your best action alerts.The normal process for becoming a friend on MySpace is that you visit a person’s MySpace page and click on the appropriate link to add them as a friend. But don’t try using this link in a MySpace bulletin – MySpace will strip out the code, replacing it with a link to the general MySpace.com homepage.MySpace has a feature where you can upload your personal address book, send your contacts a “friend request” through the MySpace system, and enable them to automatically “friend” you. You’d think this would be a great way to get your current listmembers to be your “friends” on MySpace, right? Only if you have a tiny list. MySpace won’t let you import more than 90 of these email addresses at a given time.8. Continue communicating with your MySpace friends.Emails to your current list members whom you know are on MySpace are more effective than any of the methods of communication available to you through MySpace (bulletins, which go to all your friends, MySpace blogs, and MySpace “mail”).Nonetheless, encourage people to subscribe to your MySpace blog – if their email notifications are “on,” they’ll know every time you put up a new posting.Regularly update your site with new content reflecting whatever issues you’re working on.9. Devote staff time to making your MySpace page a success.You will need to assign a staff person to regularly accept friend requests, post comments on other people’s pages, and invite other people to become friends. Otherwise, your MySpace page will languish.There are a number of shady third-party programs that will automatically send out and accept friend requests, post comments, and do other things you might want an intern to do. These programs amount to spamming, and they violate MySpace’s terms and conditions. Remember, MySpace can take down your profile anytime it wants, and it would be sad to lose all those great activists.10. Funnel users to your organizational Web site to build your email list.Communicating on MySpace is great but you should always be trying to get your new friends onto your organizational email list. Only then will you be able to move from passive to direct communication with them.Put prominent, easy action links on your MySpace profile to help convert people who visit your MySpace page into email list members, not just MySpace friends.Make sure to keep track of who comes into your system through your MySpaceprofile, and tailor your messages to them accordingly whenever possible.Good luck! May you make more friends than you do mistakes.Copyright: M+R Strategic ServicesSource: http://techsoup.org/learningcenter/internet/page6915.cfmlast_img read more

How to Write a Human Interest Story

first_imgParagraph 3: The nut graph. Leave your reader on a strong note. Don’t take a “kitchen sink” approach. Be concise; not every detail has to be thrown in. Including a few well-placed and powerful anecdotes or quotes is much more effective than cramming it all in. Pick and choose what best conveys your message and the emotion of the story. Be clear and specific about your results. How much money have you raised? How many people/animals/etc., have you helped? How much have you been able to improve a certain situation? TIP: Keep your statistics updated and handy. Paragraph 5: The kicker. Return to the anecdote: How did the situation turn out?Or go more global and end with an over-arching statement about how your nonprofit is having an impact, along the lines of “we’re changing the world” or “we’re making life better for fill-in-the-blank.” Tell your readers why they should care. To effectively resonate, a reader has to become emotionally invested in a story and its subjects. How does what you are writing about affect them and the world around them? There are as many different ways to tell stories as there are stories to tell. But how can you squeeze the emotional anecdotes, the news peg, facts, and figures into a short story that is a quick and easy read? If you are not breaking news, here’s one sure-fire formula to help get you started. This is where you put the news peg and a reference to your organization, if it’s not mentioned already. Why are you telling this story? Why now? What’s the context? What are the key statistics that add oomph and/or urgency to your story? Be clear and specific about your goals. Be sure the listener or reader knows why there is a need for what you do. TIP: Put yourself in the shoes of readers or TV viewers and ask the question: Why should I care? Clearly identify what is unique about your organization and what you are doing. Details you might want to include: age of the group, what you do, is it a model for programs in other parts of the country?  State? Your community? TIP: If you can’t claim a superlative, try to put what you are doing into perspective. Does your organization or efforts fit into any kind of trend? This is where you get your reader hooked into the story. Start with a short anecdote that’s no longer than two paragraphs that shows (vs. tells) the point of your story. An anecdote could be about someone you helped, an amazing volunteer or employee, the nonprofit’s involvement in a newsy event (such as  assisting with wildfires in California, or helping steer wayward whales out to sea), or — particularly for newer nonprofits — the “aha!” moment that led to the birth of the organization. Paragraph 4: The descriptor: Who are you? Don’t try to get fancy with your writing.  Doing so can make it difficult for people to read your story and can even hide the message you are trying to get across. Use clear, straightforward language, and tell your story from beginning to end . If you are writing something technical, find a way to translate it into more accessible language. How would you explain it to your mother? Your son? Direct readers to explore your website or ask questions of the group if they want more detailed information. Paragraphs 1-2: The lede.(Lede: Noun. lead, lead-in, the introductory section of a story) As with the lede, wrapping up with a powerful quote is a good, concise way to end the story. Proofread. Better yet, have someone else proofread your story for you before  sending it out or posting it to your website. Make sure to catch all spelling and grammatical errors while checking to make sure the story makes sense. Does it have a clear beginning, middle and end? Are the facts correct? Does it answer the questions that it raises? Is any information missing?last_img read more

New Year’s Resolutions

first_imgGone are the days when outdated Web sites were simply a lost opportunity for successful marketing. In today’s world of Internet and media savvy consumers, Web sites must be relevant, unique, targeted, and personal, with built-in tools to capture user information and to obtain their permission to keep the conversation going.The Web has the potential to be one of your most cost-effective outreach tools ever. How well is your site doing the job? In 2008, I challenge you to meet these 5 resolutions to help your nonprofit grab and keep the attention of your top audiences.Resolution #1: Make your Web copy relevantThe importance of writing Web content that is relevant to your target users (content that speaks specifically to what a group needs or wants) is nothing new. However, many organizations still list quality Web design and copy writing low on their priority list.Take that marketing plan back off the shelf and review your organization’s target markets – who are the top three visitors you want coming to your site, and what do they want to see or read when they get there? Next, create market-specific content (copy, images, and/or interactive graphics) for each of your target markets. At a minimum, add this content to the top-tier pages of your Web site this year (those pages that have the highest number of hits such as your homepage). Even if you do nothing else to drive more traffic to your site, the visitors you DO receive will now be much more likely to connect with your organization.Resolution #2: Boost your online social savvyGone are the days when Web sites had the monopoly on online interactions. A revolution in online social networks has emerged that is changing the face of how individuals and organizations interact on the Web. To stay competitive, nonprofits must stay up to speed on the latest tools of social marketing, and understand how these tools may (or may not) grab the attention of their target markets.Have you considered the impact that tools like a blog, community forum, video, or other interactive media may have on the effectiveness of your Web site as a marketing, public outreach, or fundraising tool? If your organization struggles enrolling people into what you do, these interactive media may be do the trick far better than static copy ever could.Resolution #3: Ask for permissionAs marketing guru Seth Godin explains in his books “Permission Marketing,” and “The Purple Cow,” media-savvy consumers simply don’t want what they didn’t ask for. Gone are the days of email harvesting and seemingly cheap email campaigns to get the word out – and for good reason. In fact, most e-marketing and e-newsletter distribution vendors (companies that provide a web-based infrastructure to distribute emails or e-newsletter to your database of contacts) will not allow you to use their service unless you sign a waiver confirming you have permission to contact everyone on your list.In this permission-only world, it’s critical that your organization have a plan to ask visitors to your site for permission to continue to communication. Adding such a “lead capture tool” to your Web site is now easier than ever.In fact, most email distribution services (such as aWeber, CoolerEmail) can help you add a lead capture tool to your site in a manner of minutes, even if you are not technically savvy.Remember – the best lead capture tools offer something of value in exchange for gathering the user’s contact information. For instance, a subscription to a valuable e-Newsletter, a relevant white paper download, or a resource guide.Resolution #4: Get noticedWith the right positioning on the Web (matched with relevant content and permission-based lead capture), nonprofits can cost-effectively find new customers, donors, members, volunteers or advocates. And in turn, they can also boost their market share, revenue, funds, membership lists, and even amplify their success with national outreach campaigns.Resolution #5: Track, track, trackEven with the wealth of free or inexpensive tools available to track response on all of your electronic communications (Web site, email, e-newsletter), many organizations still do not track how well these tools are doing the job.If you use an email distribution service to distribute your publication (such as aWeber or CoolerEmail), your service typically includes response reports for each publication. You can track who opened your publication, how many bounced (indicating either a bad email address of the user hasn’t approved your address to get past their spam filters), which links were clicked on, etc. This data can be very helpful to determine the relevancy and perceived value of your publication’s content. And, it can really help you determine the coming year’s editorial calendar.The same is true of tracking basic Web site analytics – this data can tell you a lot about user behavior, and which pages are or are not working effectively to generate the response you’re looking for.Don’t worry – tracking Web analytics doesn’t have to be time-consuming. Focus on analyzing basic traffic data every quarter or so, such as: hits per month; average page views per visitor, conversion rates (ratio of hits per how many people took the action you wanted them to take, like make donation, purchase a product, or sign up for your e-newsletter); and referring sites or keywords (these tell you how people are finding you).Regardless of where you are in your marketing or fundraising program development, keeping these five resolutions could be one of the best things you’ll do for your organization this year.Tiffany Meyer is president of Numa Marketing, and the author of Writing a Results-Driven Marketing Plan. Find more information about her nonprofit marketing services, register for her affordable nonprofit marketing e-courses, or sign up for her monthly e-zine The Smart Nonprofit at www.numamarketing.com. ©2007 Tiffany Meyerlast_img read more

How to Get Your Board and Administrators to Support Marketing

first_imgTiffany Meyer is president of Numa Marketing, and the author of Writing a Results-Driven Marketing Plan. Find more information about her nonprofit marketing services, register for her affordable nonprofit marketing e-courses, or sign up for her monthly e-zine The Smart Nonprofit at www.numamarketing.com. ©2007 Tiffany Meyer While the overall investment in marketing amid nonprofits has grown substantially over the years, the general comfort level with marketing among nonprofit executives has not yet caught up. Indeed, even next to its second cousin “public relations,” marketing can still carry a dirty connotation, sometimes difficult to justify to spendthrift board members and constituents.Conquering the Potato ChipFor many grassroots and cause-oriented nonprofits in particular, the term “marketing” can conjure up what I call the “potato chip syndrome”- people trying to sell me something I simply don’t need just for the sake of making money. The discomfort arises because it puts a nonprofit leader’s values in question: “I’m here to make a difference in the world, not to make money.”If you struggle obtaining buy-in for your marketing program budget, just sharing the cold hard facts about potential financial results may not be enough. It’s time to a take a different approach by putting these five keys to action. Buy-in begins with a shift in perception – starting with the potato chip.Key #1: Shift perception – Marketing is our friendThe first key to obtaining executive buy in is to help shift your board and administrators’ perception of what “marketing is.” The truth is this: Marketing is a nonprofit’s friend. To help shift perception, continually share these key concepts about the benefits of nonprofit marketing:Marketing helps us make a bigger difference – A strategic, results-oriented, well-planned marketing program will position our organization to make a difference to a greater number of people with the least amount of expenditure possible.Strategic marketing helps us stand out from the crowd – Marketing gives us the tools and messages to tell the public and our customers what we do exceptionally well.Strategic marketing equals efficiency – The truth is, most nonprofits ARE marketing their organization, products or services, but many are doing so reactively – without a plan in place. Strategic, formal marketing brings efficiency, focus, accountability, and cost-effectiveness to your effort. It helps you ensure that every dollar spent renders positive results.Key #2: Deliver efficiencyNothing can turn a marketing-phobe off more than a stack of seemingly useless marketing collateral materials that scream “expensive.” Yeah, they’re beautiful, but what will our constituents think? The second key to obtaining – and maintaining – executive buy-in for your marketing expenditure is to deliver efficiency with everything you do.Audit your publications and your program processes to see where you can streamline, eliminate waste, reduce printing or mailing costs, etc. Consider which publications will have more positive results by integrating budget-conscious designs (e.g. black and white or two color, recycled paper, etc.). Report your audit findings and the actions you take to executives to prove that you’re making every dollar count.Key #3: Start with needsYour organization exists to serve basic human needs, right? That’s where the passion to serve comes from, and that’s where your organization can make a difference. Perhaps it’s to educate at-risk youth, to provide essential resources for families affected by cancer, or to provide quality recreational spaces for the community. How will marketing help you maximize the number of people your organization is able to serve?The third key to landing executive buy-in is to “start with needs.” Work with your key leadership to identify measurable marketing objectives that are based on meeting the needs of your customers. In most cases, you will be able to set objectives that do double-duty – they meet the needs of your customers AND your financial needs (e.g., revenue) at the same time.For instance, let’s say that with little or no marketing you’re parent training programs reach 500 people each year. Sounds great doesn’t it? I mean that’s 500 people whose lives and families were changed by your training. But what is the context for measuring the value of that number? How many people really need what you’re offering? Is it 10,000 or 50,000? What is your potential market and what is your current share of that market?Let’s say your training programs are filling rooms each time, but so far you’ve only been successful reaching one of your two primary markets. In other words, you’re making a difference, but there’s another group out there that you haven’t helped yet. Yes, in reaching that second group there is definite potential to increase your revenue and your market share, but it also means helping make a difference in more people’s lives.Instead of an objective that simply reads, “increase revenue by 20% in 2006” you state “increase market share by 20% among Hispanic clientele in the southwest Washington region,” you not only have a very specific objective to work toward, but you’ll have a much easier time getting buy-in to fund that initiative.Key #4: Stay flexible, yet focusedWhen we sell the benefit of marketing by selling the potential impact of results, we often set our tactics up to be prematurely scrutinized by upper management. Take care to stay flexible but focused during your quarterly marketing plan evaluations. If some strategies simply aren’t doing the job it may be time to pull the plug on them. But do so with caution. Avoid quickly replacing one strategy with another, particularly mid-year.Before pulling the plug on a tactic, ask these questions: What is your evaluation telling you? Are you getting no response from your marketing tactic, or simply not the degree of response you’d like? Could your messaging be tweaked? Or is your messaging paying off, but your distribution simply isn’t finding enough of your target market? In other words, instead of pulling the plug entirely (and potentially losing your focus on reaching a specific market), stay flexible.When you facilitate a quarterly or semi-annual marketing report to your board, come prepared. Understand what your evaluation is telling you, and come with a game plan of recommendations. For instance, if your recommendation is to continue status quo with a tactic that hasn’t achieved the desired results by waiting it out another six months, be prepared to justify this choice. (e.g., Perhaps you’ve read a case study or consulted a colleague who has advised that your tactic takes longer to render results than you’d originally anticipated).Key #5: Communicate results as impact statementsLet’s face it; we’re not all numbers people. And reporting on marketing results can quite easily become a game of “fun with charts.” If you want to maintain buy-in on your marketing initiatives, report your results each quarter but take care in how you report. Remember pathos and logos? Appeal to your executives “emotional” and “logical” appeals by partnering the numbers with the personal impact your marketing program is having on the customers you serve. In other words, growing market share typically means your organization is bringing in more revenue. But it also means you’re making a bigger difference in the communities you serve. Period.last_img read more

The stuffed animal rule

first_imgIn our house, there is a trunk full of stuffed animals. I don’t buy them, but my children periodically get them as gifts. We have too many, and the girls only play with a few. So every time I get the chance, I donate a handful of the better stock to charity or, if the stuffed animal sings or squawks something truly annoying, the trash can. But somehow, despite my downsizing, the number of animals remains constant. The trunk is always full. It’s as if these creatures reproduce when I’m at the office each day, their fluffy offspring rapidly replenishing any depletion in their ranks. The phenomenon is something I call the stuffed animal rule: No matter how hard you try to simplify and give yourself space — to breathe, to live, to think big — silly things always crowd back into your life. Especially this time of year. We try to keep focused on what’s important, but it’s so hard. Stuff gets in the way – fluffy, inconsequential stuff that takes up too much space. That’s why it’s a challenge to get people’s attention right now. To ask them to help your cause. They want to do good, they think of doing good, but then a flurry of things crowd their minds and the moment is gone. The trunk is full.Think of your job this time of year as doing two things:1. Not adding to the clutter. Don’t crowd people with your message. Don’t stuff in a lot of inconsequential detail that gets in the way of your point. Don’t be yet another appeal jamming their inbox. Show great economy in expressing why someone should care and what you can achieve together.2. Clearing out the clutter. Help people remember what’s more important than the details distracting them from what matters most. Don’t criticize their clutter. But cut through it with the amazing stories that remind us of what it is to be human. Help people get back in touch with what this season is really about. They’ll thank you. And support you. And feel far better.last_img read more

What You Need to Know about Perception

first_imgMany people think marketing is a battle of products. In the long run, they figure, the best product will win. Marketing people are preoccupied with doing research and “getting the facts.” They analyze the situation to make sure that truth is on their side. Then they sail confidently into the marketing arena, secure in the knowledge that they have the best product and that ultimately the best product will win.It’s an illusion. There is no objective reality. There are no facts. There are no best products. All that exists in the world of marketing are perceptions in the minds of the customer or prospect. The perception is the reality. Everything else is an illusion.These are the words of Trout & Ries in their must-own, classic book, The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing. And it’s a law that certainly applies to us more than ever.I quote them today because there are constant reminders of this law around us. As well as cautionary tales about what happens when you do things to shake people’s perceptions in the wrong way.Does Starbucks taste better that Pete’s or Caribou? Or is it the perception of its taste – fueled by the ambiance of their stores and their first mover claim to that perception – that explains why there are more Starbucks outlets around? Is growth slowing for Starbucks because the coffee tastes that much worse than before – or because it isn’t the perceptive experience that it used to be?The great brands of our sector seek to own certain perceptions. Kiva.org is about directly helping another person with an hand-up. American Red Cross was about coming to our rescue – until that perception was shaken. They are still recovering.The perception of former NY Governor Spitzer was that he was squeaky clean and ruthless in holding others to lawful and moral standards. When people learned something that flew in the face of this perception, he was finished – as a brand and certainly as a politician. The product – his work as governor – is secondary in most people’s minds to the more primary (and primal) issue of whether he lived up to what he projected and what we perceived.So what do you do about it? You focus on your audience as much as your programs. You show why you matter to them rather than trying to convince them to listen to what you do. You seek to own a unique perception in the minds of your audience rather than trying to dislodge their perception of your competition. You can fine-tune your programs or re-brand all day long, but until you connect to what is in someone’s heart or mind and create a perception, your “product” doesn’t exist for them. If you do have a place in people’s hearts and minds, honor that perception with your actions. People don’t like to have their perceptions proved wrong. In fact, they hate it because they don’t like to be proven wrong.last_img read more

Gloom and Doom Are Downers

first_imgThis is my latest column for Fundraising Success. I print it here to share it with you, but also in response to this week’s Nonprofit Consultants’ Carnival, which is hosted by Sam Davidson and focuses on “green” in honor of St. Patrick’s Day. I think this message is especially important for the environmental movement.A few months ago, I saw a full-spread, anti-slave labor ad that featured shackled hands, one on each side of the two pages. Attaching them was a strip of paper that formed a chain holding the pages together. It was an arresting image that seized my attention.Then it got even better. It got interactive. When you laid the pages flat, the chain broke.But then it got worse. Underneath the broken chain was a message: “Ending slave labor is not this easy.” There was a tiny “ILO” logo in the upper right asking you to visit the International Labour Organization’s Web site to find out “how to help.” I loved the handcuffs. I hated the message so much I blogged my disappointment. (Hat tip to osocio.org blog, formerly Houtlust Blog, for running the ad — that’s where I first saw it.)Here’s why I hated it: I felt powerless to help because even the ILO admitted it was not easy to do anything about slave labor. How can I have faith that it will possibly overcome the problem? What in this ad makes me believe I could possibly make a difference? Nothing. I just felt weak and world-weary.What if instead the message said, “You just took the first step to ending slave labor. Now take another one. Visit www.ilo.org – .” I would have felt inspired, not tired. I might have donated money or time.If you haven’t guessed by now, I am not a fan of fear-based, gloom-and-doom messaging. I think it’s a downer; a downer as in diminished donations, dispirited advocates and doubting audiences. Feeling depressed yet? Me too.That’s my point. In this edition of my forgotten fundamentals column, I want to focus on hope. And not just because my state is flooded with Obama ads — which I happen to think are very good, regardless of your political stripe. I want to focus on hope, inspiration and aspiration because they are the basis of a long-term relationship. Here’s the problem with fear. It sometimes works — if we get scared into doing something quickly. But over time, our fear is going to erode, so we might not act again. (Think “The Boy Who Cried Wolf.”) Or, the fearful, gloom-and-doom approach can backfire. It can make us feel powerless. It can make us feel helpless. It can make us feel a problem is insurmountable, intractable and just plain permanent. It can make us want to run away.The more drama you give your problem, the more risk you take. If the apocalypse is coming, why bother trying to make change? If you scare with scale, you’ll lose. If you empower with feasible steps to set things right, you’ll motivate — and affect social change. Environmental campaigns often focus on negative consequences. That’s not all bad — but you need feasible, corrective steps paired with the negative consequences. If you’re going to try to fundraise with melting polar ice caps, you’re going to need to convince people their donations can stop us all from drowning. You need them to believe their actions can change things. You want them to feel hopeful — and good.This logic doesn’t only apply to a good cause; it also holds true for lingerie. A Journal of Consumer Research study from February covered in The Washington Post found that when people buy gifts at the last minute, they are motivated by fear — specifically, fear of being in the doghouse. The whole experience of going to Victoria’s Secret the night before Valentine’s Day in a desperate shopping spree for your honey is negative, and the doghouse-dodging shoppers in the store don’t tend to get warm, fuzzy feelings about giving or about the brand. By contrast, non-procrastinators aren’t motivated by fear, and they tend to feel happy and loving about their gift experiences — and the brand.In other words, The Washington Post noted, fear rarely wins people’s hearts.We should keep this in mind. Scaring people into giving is about as effective as a holdup: Someone will hand over his wallet, but he’s not going to feel good about it or you.Here’s a good rule of thumb: Threaten dire consequences only when there is an immediate, specific and feasible recommendation for remedying them. Show need alongside positive results. Give people a way to channel the emotions you evoke into real change. That’s what we all want. We want to be able to change what’s wrong. We want to set things right. We want hope that things can be better. We want to aspire to be something more. The last thing we want to feel is helpless. Remember that, and tap into those human needs as much as you can. Sell, don’t scold. Pair negative consequences of inaction with the uplifting image of action. Show the solution. Convince people that, together, we can handle the challenge, not just hand-wring our way into despair. In other words, break those chains of negativity. We want out of them.last_img read more