Why You Can’t Evolve Reason and Morality

first_imgMaterialists and Darwinians never seem to get it; you can’t get here from there. Here’s another failed attempt.In an article on Phys.org, Brian Flood describes how atheists get reason and morality. In “Reliance on reason, evidence as a moral issue measured in study,” he begins with a common assumption: evolutionists are rational, deriving their beliefs on the basis of evidence.The theory of evolution by natural selection is one of several examples of societal disputes that center on the validity of specific beliefs, where one position is backed up by logical reasoning and scientific evidence, and the other is not.So which is which? Are evolutionists the ones who use logical reasoning and scientific evidence? You know where this is going. Brian Flood talks about a study coming out of academia, where certain psychologists afflicted with the Yoda Complex try to analyze how lower life forms (i.e., their fellow hominids outside the ivory tower) justify their beliefs. In particular, they “study” how those hominids “moralize rationality.” Funny, they never define those terms. Presumably, they merely assume they are the moral, rational ones.Guess who gets the winning nod? The secularists, of course. (“Secular” here can be seen as a euphemism for atheist or Darwinist, since they previously referred to natural selection.)While morality is commonly linked to religiosity and a belief in God, the current research identifies a secular moral value and how it may affect individuals’ interpersonal relations and societal engagement.As an example, one study showed that individuals who strongly moralized rationality were uniquely willing to donate to, and volunteer for, a charity that sought to prevent the spread of pseudoscience and superstition in society.My, who could those muddle-headed hominids be, promoting pseudoscience and superstition? The framing of the question gives it away. It’s those with “religiosity and a belief in God.” Send in the righteous secularists to the rescue!The ending comments in the article are not-so-subtle jabs against conservatives in the recent American presidential election. As reported earlier, politics, ethics and scientific philosophy are all tied together in a worldview package (11/17/16).Regular readers are already formulating sound responses, but let’s clarify one thing at the outset: people should avoid pseudoscience. We agree with efforts to prevent the spread of superstition. In fact, that’s the very reason we are going to refute this article. Secular morality based on natural selection is a superstition. It is pseudoscience. To be charitable, we must oppose its spread.These evolutionary psychologists are blind to their own self-refuting worldview. The only way they can speak at all is to steal the goods from Christians: morality, logic, and reason. You can’t evolve those out of particles in motion, where Stuff Happens mindlessly without purpose or meaning. If reason and morality are stuff that just happened by unguided processes of physics and chemistry, they are neither reasonable nor moral. Reason and morality must link up to eternal principles. If either evolves, it implodes (e.g., what is reasonable or moral today could be the opposite next year).As thieves, plagiarists and pseudoscientists, these Yoda-impersonating psychologists must be opposed. It’s for their own good and the good of society. It’s the most charitable thing you can do. It doesn’t take a sword or a bullet. All you have to do is take their masks off and hold up a mirror. They already know better. They are created in the image of God, but they’ve been lying to themselves all this time. Here’s a video that shows one Christian evangelist’s way of exposing atheists to the truth. Your method may differ, but the fact remains: human beings are not really atheists. They know in their heart of hearts that there is a God. (Visited 67 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

South African English is lekker!

first_imgSouth Africans speak English, but that doesn’t mean you’ll always understand us. Our “robots” are nothing like R2D2, “just now” doesn’t mean immediately, and “babbelas” is not a shampoo.South African English has a flavour all its own, borrowing freely from Afrikaans, which is similar to Dutch and Flemish, as well as from the country’s many African languages. Some words come from colonial-era Malay and Portuguese immigrants.Note: In many words derived from Afrikaans, the letter “g” is pronounced in the same way as the “ch” in the Scottish “loch” or the German “achtung” – a kind of growl at the back of the throat. In the pronunciation guides below, the spelling for this sound is given as “gh”.Aabba: Carry a child secured to one’s back with a blanket. From the Khoi-San.amasi: [pronounced “um-ah-see”] A popular drink of thick sour milk. From isiZulu. An alternative name is maas.apartheid: [ap-art-hate] Literally “apart-ness” in Afrikaans, apartheid was the policy of racial separation, and the resulting oppression of the black majority, implemented by the National Party from 1948 to 1990.Read more: A short history of South Africaag: [agh] Generally used at the beginning of a sentence, to express resignation or irritation, as in: “Ag no man! What did you do that for?”Bbabbelas: [bub-buh-luss] A hangover.bagel: [bay-gell] An overly groomed materialistic young man, and the male version of a kugel.bakgat: [buck-ghut] Well done, cool, awesome.bakkie: [buck-ee] A pick-up truck.bergie: : [bear-ghee] From the Afrikaans berg, “mountain”, originally referring to vagrants who sheltered in the forests of Cape Town’s Table Mountain and now a word for anyone who is down and out.biltong: [bill-tong] This South African favourite is dried and salted meat, similar to beef jerky, although it can be made from ostrich, kudu or any other red meat.Read more: South African cuisinebioscope: A cinema or movie theatre, originally a defunct international English word that has survived longer in South Africa because of the influence of the Afrikaans, bioskoop.biscuit: In South Africa a cookie is known as a “biscuit”. The word is also a term of affection, as in, “Hey, you biscuit”.bliksem: To beat up, hit or punch; or a mischievous person.blooming: [blimmin] A variation on “very”, as in, “That new bakkie is blimmin big.”bobotie: [buh-boor-tee] A dish of Malay origin, made with minced meat and spices, and topped with an egg sauce.boerewors: [boor-uh-vors] Literally, “farmer’s sausage”. A savoury sausage developed by the Boers – today’s Afrikaners – some 200 years ago, boerewors is South African food at its most traditional.boet: [like “book”, with a t] A term of affection, from the Afrikaans for “brother”.boma: [bow-mah] An open thatched structure used for dinners, entertainment and parties.bonsella: Surprise gift, something extra, or a bribe. From isiZulu.born frees: South Africans who were born into a democratic South Africa – that is, after 1994.bosberaad: [borse-bah-raad] A strategy meeting or conference, usually held in a remote bushveld location, such as a game farm.bottle store: liquor store, off-licence.braai: [br-eye] An outdoor barbecue, where meat such as steak, chicken and boerewors are cooked, served with pap and bredie.bredie: [brear-dee] A traditional South African mutton stew, first brought to the country by Malay immigrants. It now refers to any kind of stew.bru: [brew] A term of affection, shortened from Afrikaans broer, meaning “brother”. An example would be, “Hey, my bru, howzit?”bunny chow: Delicious and cheap food on the go, bunny chow is curry served in a hollowed-out half-loaf of bread, generally sold in greasy-spoon cafés.bushveld: [bush-felt] Taken from the Afrikaans bosveld [“bush field”], the bushveld is a terrain of thick scrubby trees and bush in dense thickets, with grassy groundcover between.Ccafé: [kaf-ay, kaff-ee or kayff] The ubiquitous small neighbourhood convenience store, often found on street corners and stocking cigarettes, cold drinks and newspapers.chill bru: Relax, my mate. Take it easy.china: To most people, China is the world’s most populous country, but to a South African it can mean something entirely different. China means “good friend”, as in, “This oke’s my china”. It’s one of the few Cockney rhyming slang words to survive in the country, coming from “china plate” = “mate”.chommie: Friend, from the English, “chum”.cooldrink, colddrink: This is the common term for a soda, such as Coca-Cola. Ask for “a soda” in South Africa, and you will receive a club soda.Ddassie: The rock hyrax, a small herbivore that lives in mountainous habitats and is reputed to be the species mostly closely related to the elephant. The name comes from the Afrikaans das, meaning “badger”.Read more: South Africa’s wildlife wondersdeurmekaar: [dee-oor-muh-car] Afrikaans for confused, disorganised or stupid, as in, “He’s a bit deurmekaar“.dinges: [ding-us] A thing, thingamabob, whatzit, whatchamacallit or whatsizname, as in, “When is dinges coming around?”doek: [like book] A head scarf worn to protect a woman’s hair.dolos: Interlocking blocks of concrete in an H-shape, with one arm rotated through 90º. The dolos is a South African invention used to protect seawalls and preserve beaches from erosion. The name comes from the Afrikaans word for the knuckle bones in an animal’s leg. The plural is dolosse.Read more: South Africa’s wave-breaking dolossedonga: A natural ditch resulting from severe soil erosion. From the isiZulu for “wall”.donner: [dor-nuh] Beat up. From the Afrikaans donder, meaning “thunder”.dop: [dawp] An alcoholic drink: “Can I pour you a dop?” It can also mean failure: “I dopped the test.”dorp: A small town on the platteland.droewors: [droo-uh-vors] Dried boerewors, similar to biltong.dummy: A baby’s pacifier.dumpie: A South African beer served in a brown 340ml bottle.Durbs: The city of Durban.Read more: Head for the Durban beachfrontdwaal: [dwarl] Lack of concentration or focus: “Sorry, I was in a bit of a dwaal. Could you repeat that?”Eeina: [ay-nuh or ay-nar] Ouch! Can also mean “sore”.eish: [aysh] Used to express surprise, wonder, frustration or outrage: “Eish! That cut was eina!”FFixed up: Used to mean “that’s good” or “sorted”. Example: “Let’s meet at the restaurant.” The reply: “Fixed up.”flog: No whips implied. South Africans use flog to mean “sell”, as in, “I think it’s time I flogged this old car.”frikkadel: [frik-kuh-dell] A traditional meatball.fundi: [foon-dee] Expert. From the Nguni, umfundisi, meaning “teacher” or “preacher”.fynbos: [fayn-baws] “Fine bush” in Afrikaans, fynbos is a vegetation type unique to the Cape Floral Region, a Unesco World Heritage Site. Made up of some 6 000 plant species, including many types of protea.Gallery: South Africa’s plant lifeGgatvol: [ghut-foll] Taken from Afrikaans, this means “fed up”, as in “Jislaaik, my china, I’m gatvol of working in this hot sun.” Translation: “Gee, my friend, I’m fed up with working in this hot sun.”gogga, goggo: [gho-gha or gho-gho] Insect, bug. From the Khoikhoi xo-xon.gogo: [goh-goh] Grandmother or elderly woman, from isiZulu.graze: Eat.Hhang of: Very or big, as in, “It’s hang of a difficult”, or, “I had a hang of a problem”.hanepoot: [haa-nah-poort] A sweet wine made from the muscat blanc d’Alexandrie grape cultivar.hap: [hup] Taste, bite, as in, “Take a hap of this”.hey: This popular expression can be used as a standalone question meaning “pardon” or “what”, as in, “Hey? What did you say?” Or it can be used to prompt affirmation or agreement, as in, “It was a great film, hey?”homelands: The spurious “independent” states in which black South Africans were forced to take citizenship under the policy of apartheid. Also known as bantustans.howzit: A traditional South African greeting that translates roughly as “How are you?”, “How are things?”, or simply “Hello”.Iindaba: [in-daa-bah] A conference or expo, from the isiZulu word meaning “a matter for discussion”.inyanga : A traditional herbalist and healer.is it: [as one word: izit] An expression frequently used in conversation and equivalent to, “Is that so?”Jja: [yaa] Yes.jawelnofine: Literally, “yes, well, no, fine”, all scrunched into a single word and similar to the rhetorical expression, “How about that?”jislaaik: [yis-like] An expression of outrage or surprise: “Jislaaik, I just saw Elvis!”jol: [jawl] A versatile word with many meanings, including “party”, “disco”, “having fun”, or just “thing”.Jozi: [jo-zee] The city of Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city, which is also known as Joburg or Joeys.Read more: Joburg on the movejust now: If a South African tells you they will do something “just now”, they mean they’ll do it in the near future – not immediately, as in, “I’ll do the dishes just now.”Kkasie: [kaa-see] Shortened form of lokasie, “location” in Afrikaans, the older word for township. Refers to the low-income dormitory suburbs outside cities and towns to which black South Africans were confined during the apartheid era.khaya: [k-eye-ya] Home. From the Nguni group of languages.kif: Cool, neat, great or wonderful. From the Arabic kayf, meaning enjoyment or wellbeing.knobkierie: [k-nob-kee-ree] A fighting stick with a knob on the business end. From the Afrikaans knop [“knob”] and the Khoi-San kirri or keeri, meaning “stick”.koeksister: [kook-sister] A traditional Malay and now also Afrikaner sweet, made from twisted yeast dough, deep fried and dipped in syrup. The right-wing enclave of Orania in the Northern Cape even has its own statue to the koeksister. The word comes from the Dutch koek (“cake”) and sissen, meaning “to sizzle”.koki: [koh-key] A coloured marker or felt-tip pen.koppie: [kor-pie] A small hill.kraal: An enclosure for livestock, or a rural village of huts surrounded by a stockade. The word may come from the Portuguese curral [“corral”], or from the Dutch kraal, meaning bead, as in the beads of a necklace – kraals are generally round in shape.kugel: [koo-gell] An overly groomed materialistic young woman, from the Yiddish for a plain pudding garnished as a delicacy. A bagel is the male variety.kwaito: [kw-eye-toe] The music of South Africa’s urban black youth, a mixture of South African disco, hip hop, R&B, ragga, and a heavy dose of house music beats.Read more: Kwaito: much more than musickwela: [kw-eh-la] A popular form of township music from the 1950s, based on the pennywhistle, a cheap and simple instrument taken up by street performers. The term kwela comes from the isiZulu for “get up”, though in township slang it also referred to the police vans, the kwela-kwela. It is said that the young men who played the pennywhistle on street corners also acted as lookouts to warn those drinking in illegal shebeens of the arrival of the cops.Read more: South African musicLlaatlammetjie: [laart-lum-et-chie] The youngest child of a family, born [mostly by accident] to older parents and many years younger than its siblings. The word means “late lamb” in Afrikaans.laduma!: [la-doo-mah] A popular cheer celebrating goals scored at soccer matches, from the isiZulu for “it thunders”.Read more: Soccer in South Africalappie: [luppie] A cleaning cloth.lekgotla: [lek-ghot-lah] A planning or strategy session.lekker: [lekk-irr with a rolling r] Nice, good, great, cool or tasty.MMadiba: [muh-dee-buh] An affectionate name for former President Nelson Mandela, and the name of his clan.Read more: Nelson Mandelamake a plan: devise a way to overcome difficulties. “Leave it to me, I’ll make a plan.”mal: [mull] Mad, from Afrikaans.mampara: [mum-puh-rah] An idiot, a silly person. From the Sotho languages.mampoer: [mum-poo-er] Extremely potent brandy made from peaches or other fruit, similar to American moonshine. See witblitz.Marmite: Trade name of a dark-coloured spread made from vegetable extract and used on bread or toast.mealie: [pronounce mih-lih] Maize or corn. A mealie is a maize cob, and mealie meal is maize meal, the staple diet of South Africa, which is mostly cooked into pap. From the Afrikaans mielie.moegoe: [moo-ghoo] A fool, buffoon, idiot or simpleton.mossie: [morse-ee] Common name of the Cape sparrow, also applied to the house sparrow, and sometimes used to refer to any small undistinguished wild bird.Gallery: Birdlife of South Africamuti : [moo-ti] Medicine, typically traditional African medicine. From the isiZulu, umuthi.Read more: Joburg’s king of muti museumMzansi: [m-zun-zee] A popular word for South Africa.Nnaartjie: [nar-chee] The South African word for tangerine, Citrus reticulata.nappy: A baby’s diaper.nca: Fine, beautiful. Pronounced with a downward click of the tongue.nê: [neh] “Really?” or “is that so?” Often used sarcastically.now-now: Shortly, in a bit, as in, “I’ll be there now-now.”Ooke, ou: A man, similar to “guy” or “bloke”. The word “ou” [oh] can be used interchangeably.Ppap: [pup] The staple food of South Africa, a porridge made from mealie meal (maize meal) cooked with water and salt to a fairly stiff consistency, stywepap being the stiffest. “Pap” can also mean weak or tired.papsak: [pup-suck] Cheap box wine sold in its foil container, without the box.pasop: [pus-orp] An Afrikaans word meaning “beware” or “watch out”.pavement: South Africans walk on pavements and drive cars on the road [at least that’s the idea]. The pavement is the sidewalk.piet-my-vrou: [peet-may-frow] The red-chested cuckoo, Cuculus solitarus. The name, an approximation of the bird’s call, literally means “Peter my wife” in Afrikaans.platteland: [plutt-uh-lunt] Farmland, countryside. Literally flat land in Afrikaans, it now refers to any rural area in which agriculture takes place, including the mountainous Cape winelands.Gallery: South Africa’s countrysidepotjiekos: [poi-chee-kors] Traditional Afrikaner food, generally a rich stew, cooked in a three-legged cast-iron pot over a fire. The word means “little-pot food” in Afrikaans.puffadder: A viper or adder of the species Britis arietans. From the Afrikaans pofadder.Rrand: The South African currency, which is made up of 100 cents. The name comes from the Witwatersrand (Dutch for “white waters ridge”), the region in Gauteng province in which most of the country’s gold deposits are found.robots: Traffic lights.rock up: To arrive somewhere unannounced or uninvited. It’s the kind of thing friends do: “I was going to go out but then my china rocked up.”rooibos: [roy-borss] Afrikaans for red bush, this popular South African tea made from the Cyclopia genistoides bush is gaining worldwide popularity for its health benefits.Read more: SA cuisine: glossary of termsrooinek: [roy-neck] English-speaking South African, from the Afrikaans for red neck, but without the connotations given the term in the US. It was first coined by Afrikaners decades ago to refer to immigrant Englishmen, whose white necks were particularly prone to sunburn.rubbish bin: Alternatively dustbin or dirt bin. Garbage can.Ssamoosa: [suh-moo-suh] A small, spicy, triangular-shaped pie deep-fried in oil. Originally made by the Indian and Malay communities, samoosas – known as samosas in Britain – are popular with all South Africans.sangoma: [sun-go-mah] Traditional healer or diviner.sarmie: Sandwich.scale, scaly: To “scale something” means to steal it. A “scaly person” is not to be trusted.shame: Broadly denotes sympathetic feeling. A South African admiring a baby, kitten or puppy might say, “Ag shame!”, to emphasise its cuteness.sharp: Often doubled up for effect as sharp- sharp! , this word is used as a greeting, a farewell, for agreement, or just to express enthusiasm.shebeen: A township tavern, illegal under the apartheid regime, often set up in a private house and frequented by black South Africans. The word is originally Gaelic.shongololo: Large brown millipede, from the isiZulu ukushonga, meaning “to roll up”.sjambok: [sham-bok] A stout leather whip made from animal hide.skebenga: [ska-beng-gah] Gangster, crook, criminal. From the Nguni word for gangster. See also skelm or skollie.skelm: [skellem] A shifty or untrustworthy person; a criminal.skinner: [skinner] Gossip, from Afrikaans. A person who gossips is known as a skinnerbek: “Jislaaik, bru, I’m going to donner that skinnerbek for skinnering about me.” Translation: “Gee, my friend, I’m going to hit that guy for gossiping about me.”skollie: [skoh-li] Gangster, criminal, from the Greek skolios, meaning crooked.skop, skiet en donner: [skorp, skeet en donner] Action movie. Taken from Afrikaans, it literally means “kick, shoot and beat up”.skrik: Fright. “I caught a big skrik” means, “I got a big fright”.skrik vir niks: Scared of nothing.slap chips: [slup chips] French fries, usually soft, oily and vinegar-drenched, bought in a brown paper bag. Slap is Afrikaans for “limp”, which is how French fries are generally made here.smaak stukkend: Love to bits. In Afrikaans smaak means “like”, and stukkend means “broken”.smokes: Cigarettes.snoek: [like book] A popular and tasty fish, often eaten smoked. A snoek braai is a real South African treat.sosatie: [soh-saa-tee] A kebab, often lamb on a stick.spanspek: [spun-speck] Cantaloupe, an orange-fleshed melon. The word comes from the Afrikaans Spaanse spek, meaning “Spanish bacon”. The story goes that Juana Smith, the Spanish wife of 19th-century Cape governor Harry Smith, insisted on eating melon instead of bacon for breakfast, causing her bemused Afrikaans-speaking servants to coin the word.spaza: Informal township shop.spookgerook: [spoo-ahk-ghah-roo-ahk] Literally, in Afrikaans, “ghost-smoked”. Used jokingly, the word means “mad” or “paranoid”.stoep: [stup] Porch or verandah.stompie: A cigarette butt. From the Afrikaans stomp, meaning “stump”. The expression “picking up stompies” means intruding into a conversation at its tail end, with little information about its content.stroppy: Difficult, unco-operative, argumentative or stubborn.struesbob: [s-true-zz-bob] “As true as Bob”, as true as God, the gospel truth.Ttakkies: Running shoes or sneakers. “Fat takkies” are extra- wide tyres.tannie: [tunny] An Afrikaans word meaning “auntie”, but also used to refer to any older female of authority.taxi: Not a metered car with a single occupant, but a minibus used to transport a large number of people, and the most common way of getting around in South Africa.to die for: An expression popular in the affluent suburbs of Johannesburg and Cape Town, denoting enthusiastic approval for an object or person: “That necklace is to die for.”tom: Money.toppie: Old man.townships: Low-income dormitory suburbs outside cities and towns – effectively ghettos – to which black South Africans were confined during the apartheid era.Read more: Soweto, heartbeat of the nationtoyi-toyi: A knees-up protest dance.tsotsi: A gangster, hoodlum or thug – and the title of South Africa’s first Oscar-winning movie.tune grief: Cause trouble.Uubuntu: Southern African humanist philosophy that holds as its central tenet that a person is a person through others.Read more: An ubuntu Buddhist in IxopoVveld: [felt] Open grassland. From the Dutch for “field”.velskoen: [fell-skun] Simple, unworked leather shoes.vetkoek: [fet-cook] “Fat cake” in Afrikaans, vetkoek is a doughnut-sized bread roll made from deep-fried yeast dough. Mainly served with a savoury mince filling, it is artery-clogging and delicious.voetsek: [foot-sak] Go away, buzz off.voetstoots: [foot-stoots] “As is” or “with all its faults”. The term is used when advertising, for example, a car or house for sale. If the item is sold “voetstoots”, the buyer may not claim for any defects, hidden or otherwise, discovered after the sale. From the Dutch met de voet te stoten, meaning “to kick”.vrot: [frot] Rotten or smelly.vuvuzela: [voo-voo-zeh-lah] A large, colourful plastic trumpet with the sound of a foghorn, blown enthusiastically by virtually everyone in the crowd at soccer matches. According to some, the word comes from the isiZulu for “making noise”.Read more: Vuvuzela: football’s beautiful noiseMediaClub photos: Vuvuzelas conquer the worldWwindgat: [vint-ghut] Show-off or blabbermouth. Taken from the Afrikaans, it literally means “wind hole”.witblitz: [vit-blitz] Potent home- made distilled alcohol, much like the American moonshine. The word means “white lightning” in Afrikaans. See mampoer.Yyebo: Yes. Used to show agreement or approval. From isiZulu. SAinfo reporter. Additional information sourced from Wiktionary, Wikipedia and the Rhodes University Dictionary Unit for SA English.Updated: October 2013Would you like to use this article in your publication or on your website? See: Using SAinfo materiallast_img read more

Make it Easy for Online Readers to Spread the Word

first_imgCalvin College’s release on its Sushi Theatre is a great example. Note the prompt to Share the Story, and the easy-to-use links to do so. Also, as higher ed marketing guru Bob Johnson points out, “the topic of the press release, ‘Sushi Theatre’ is included in the title tag for the page, making it more likely that a search engine ‘spyders’ will find and index it. The keyword in the title tag is then repeated in the major text heading (the headline in this case) on the page, and again early in the text itself.”Source: http://www.gettingattention.org/my_weblog/2007/03/make_it_easy_fo.htmlAbout the AuthorNancy E. Schwartz helps nonprofits succeed through effective marketing and communications. As President of Nancy Schwartz & Company (http://www.nancyschwartz.com/), Nancy and her team provide marketing planning and implementation services to organizations as varied as the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Center for Asian American Media, and Wake County (NC) Health Services.Subscribe to her free e-newsletter “Getting Attention”, (http://www.nancyschwartz.com/getting_attention.html) and read her blog at http://www.gettingattention.org/ for more insights, ideas and great tips on attracting the attention your organization deserves.NOTE: You’re welcome to “reprint” this article online as long as it remains complete and unaltered (including the copyright and “about the author” info at the end), and you send a copy of your reprint. Nothing’s more powerful than having your audiences spread the word about your program, organization or new leadership. Such “viral marketing” is far more powerful than your organization telling its own story as friends tend to listen to friends, and believe what they say. To encourage viral marketing, make it as easy as possible for your audiences to spread the word. Here are two great ways to do so:1. Include a ‘forward to a friend’ link in your e-news and advocacy campaigns.2. Enable your audiences to spread the word more broadly, via social networking tools. Here’s how:Crafted to double as direct communications with your target audiences. They have to be engaging, succinct and formatted for easy digestion (lots of bullets, white space and short paragraphs).Integrate key tools to link to spokesperson bio and contact info, related resources and more. They’ll make a world of difference.Feature the single keyword for the release in the page title tag, the primary content heading (in your list of releases, or in your site) and the text at the top of the release (ideally in the first sentence of the first paragraph).One-click buttons to Share the Story (more engaging than Forward to a Friend):Add the site to reader’s bookmarks via DeliciousRate the site via DIGG.last_img read more

Sample Online Fundraising Plan

first_imgWe’ll maximize our giving opportunities on the site and give them high visibility on our home page and other pages, especially our most visited pages and those pages that tend to evoke strong emotions (animal pages). This is a sample plan for an imaginary local animal rescue organization called Save the Animals (STA) which is trying to take their outreach efforts online to become well known in the community. While the specifics of your online fundraising plan will be unique for your organization, the overarching themes will likely be similar. This intensive plan calls for a relatively high budget but you will likely want or need to dedicate much less.The goals of this online fundraising plan are to:Open an online channel of communication with direct mail donors who want it.Acquire new online donors.Cultivate and re-solicit existing and new online donors.The key to acquiring new online donors will be developing partnerships to drive traffic to our site, building a large e-mail list for prospecting, and making our site even more successful in converting visitors into donors. In addition, we’ll expand the opportunities for raising money elsewhere online. At the same time, we will use our direct mail (and telephone) program to offer online communications to those donors and to integrate online communication with other fundraising communications.1. WebsiteOur site should be a major tool in engaging and interacting with new and existing donors, while still meeting the needs of our various other constituencies- people seeking to adopt, kids, animal lovers, etc. Some of our donors also probably visit our site now and then, so it needs to demonstrate to them that they’ve invested wisely. They should see offline fundraising themes reflected on the site, new content, things to do, compelling features, etc. Many new people will also visit our site simply to look at the animals, without any intention of adopting. We’ll need online mechanisms to engage those people and to turn them into donors. Here’s what we’ll do to make that happen.We’ll re-develop our site to improve its look and feel and increase its functionality. We’ll focus on finding vendors and/or application service providers (ASPs) who offer easy-maintenance solutions to reduce the burden on staff. Then, we’ll work to make our site more appealing to our various constituencies with interactivity (surveys, contests), news, compelling appeals, easy event sign-ups, and new features like e-cards. On an ongoing basis, we’ll monitor opportunities for promoting STA’s work online in the context of animal-related news and our many events.2. E-mail marketingWe’ll develop an e-mail outreach program for communicating regularly with donors and prospects. The program will initially include a monthly e-newsletter with donor and non-donor versions and occasional action or event alerts. Eventually, we’ll build in targeted e-mail messages for people with expressed interests in certain subjects like a no-kill policy, dogs, feral cat care, etc., and deliver e-mail renewals for existing online donors; and solicitations and special appeals for both existing donors and prospects. As our e-mail list grows, we’ll test ways to use email to boost response to direct mail, such as:– Sending a pre-mail e-mail that tells people that they’ll be receiving an important letter in the mail or invite people to respond– Sending a post-mail e-mail that says “We hope you received our recent letter. If you haven’t had a chance to give yet, please give online today. It’s fast, easy, and efficient.”We’ll promote some online services in our direct mail – especially our store during the holidays. Increasing our visibility on our offline corporate partners’ Web sites through links, banners, and special campaigns. We’ll develop and implement strategies for building our e-mail list. In addition to offering simple email sign-ups on our site, we’ll design creative ways to build our prospect e-mail list through incentives, such as offering a chance to win a gift certificate to a local pet store for people who subscribe to our e-newsletter.3. Increasing site trafficWith a compelling website and technology in place to manage content and donor relationships, we’ll develop campaigns to drive traffic to our site. We’ll work to improve our search engine and directory rankings and links, create and run campaigns on our site and elsewhere, and develop corporate partnerships and sponsorships to drive traffic to our site. Strategies will include:Finding an appealing, easy-to-remember URL We will develop a persistent program for gradually gathering the e-mail addresses of direct mail donors who want to add e-mail to their communications with us. We will test asks in the direct mail (P.S., buck slip, reply device, etc.) and track response to finding the most effective and least expensive ways to gather e-mail addresses without depressing gift response. We’ll send test and track communications and re-solicitations to these donors.6. Tracking, benchmarking, reportingWe’ll evaluate the e-mail messaging program by tracking the number of recipients that are converted into new donors and the number of gifts and renewals received from existing donors in direct response to an e-mail solicitation. We’ll also carefully monitor the overall giving levels of donors receiving the e-news versus donors not receiving the e-news to evaluate the e-news as a cultivation tool. Promoting our fundraising campaigns on media sites. We’ll develop graphics and try to place them free on national, regional and local media sites.center_img We’ll send a cultivation mailer to our lapsed donors inviting them to visit our Web site. We can direct them to a special page on our website that makes an appeal for why they should make another gift. Promoting our site as a no-kill information center by disseminating (free) content, tips, facts and interactive devices to other sites with links back to our site. The spring appeal will be combined with a no-kill (or other issues) awareness campaign with special web pages and a strong tell-a-friend element. While it will have a fundraising element, the focus of this campaign will be to build our online reputation and our e-mail list.5. Integration with Direct MailWe’ll use traditional communications channels to build our donor e-mail list and promote our website. Promoting our events online through event listing services like CitySearch.com, local media listings, and others. Maximizing our search engine rankings by improving our meta tags, buying some keywords, and paying for increased rankings at some sites.4. Special CampaignsWe’ll run a few targeted online campaigns throughout the year: one in December, and one in the spring.The December campaign will have a holiday focus with special holiday giving opportunities (gift memberships, with the calendar as one of its features) and also drive traffic to our store. We’ll evaluate our site traffic to determine which content is most appealing and increase the visibility of that content, as well as tie in giving opportunities.7. BudgetExpenses depend on many choices, but might include:Website redevelopment (including back-end functionality) $15,000-$100,000E-mail messaging system set-up fee $250-$500 one timeWebsite maintenance $500-$2,000 monthlyE-mail messaging on-going fees up to $250 monthlyBanner ad development $5,000 annuallyOnline campaigns $10,000-$50,000 eachConsultant – ongoing monthly retainer $3,500 monthly– Consultation on website development– Development of online partnerships– Production and management of monthly e-news and up to one stand-alone solicitation to donors and non-donors– E-mail messaging system management, including monthly data imports/exports to integrate with offline database– Integration with direct mail– Copywriting for appeals for the sitelast_img read more

Organizing Your Nonprofit Marketing Plan

first_imgA properly organized nonprofit marketing plan supports itself like a pyramid. For each goal, there are objectives; every objective has strategies; and each strategy has tactics.However, all too often the terms goal, objective, strategy and tactic are used as interchangeable ways of saying the same thing. Plainly put, they are not – and the resulting lack of precision can be problematic.GoalsA goal is a “statement of being” for the plan. While the completion of the goal signifies the end of your plan, the objectives, strategies and tactics are the means to that end.ObjectivesCompared to the goal, objectives are more focused and specific, and the best-formulated objectives express results as measurable outcomes. Think in terms of the awareness, attitude or action that you hope to invoke. Often there are multiple objectives in support of a single goal. Meaningful objectives start with action verbs and have four parts. They:Identify a specific audience being addressed,State a measurable outcome,Set an attainment level, andSet a timeframe.StrategiesStrategies are where the rubber meets the road. Rarely is one strategy enough to fully accomplish an objective. Likewise, it is not unusual for a single strategy to serve multiple objectives.TacticsTactics are the specific tools you use to implement your strategies. News releases, brochures, media pitches, e-newsletters, blogs, Web sites, surveys, focus groups, and videos are just a few examples that spring to mind. It is the truly creative part of the plan’s authors to decide exactly which tactics are needed to successfully implement the chosen strategies.In ClosingA good marketing plan is interlinked from top to bottom. Without good tactics, a strategy will not successfully complete an objective, rendering the success of a goal limited.A true marketing plan forces the authors to employ the right mix of experience with critical thinking. With this understanding of the key differences between goals, objectives, strategies and tactics, the end result is a plan that can be executed successfully.(Source: Arketti Group)last_img read more

Seven Steps to Graphing Your Facebook Strategy

first_imgThere is an article on TechCrunch by Dave McClure called “7 steps to Graphing Your Facebook Strategy“.Here are seven major aspects of Facebook you can use to increase the visibility of your startup, business, product or service:1. Set Up Your Graph: Profiles & Privacy2. Make Connections: Networks, Groups & Events3. The Need for Feed: Your [Shared] Social Activity Stream4. Share Your Content: Share & People-Tag Your Stories & Media5. App to the Future: The Facebook Platform, APIs, & Applications6. Pay to Play: Ad Networks, Sponsored Stories, & Paid Distribution7. Show Me The Bunny: Gifts, Points, & Virtual Currency[Editor’s note: For important Facebook demographical information that can be crucial when starting or redesigning your Facebook strategy, view this slideshow posted by Beth Kanter on her blog.]Source: http://beth.typepad.com/beths_blog/2007/10/seven-steps-to-.htmllast_img read more

Seven Tips for Running a MySpace Campaign

first_imgRaising awareness is vital to the survival of most social benefit organizations. Your organization may be doing important and valuable work – but if no one knows you exist, you are missing out on the opportunity to meet, engage, and motivate others to take action on your behalf.Unfortunately, because nonprofits have limited resources, they can face significant challenges when deciding how to get their message out to large numbers of people. They must continually answer the all-important question, “How can we reach the most number of people in the most cost-effective way?”Enter MySpace, one of the most popular social networks on the Web today.Designed to help like-minded individuals and organizations connect and share information, social networks are showing promise as low-cost, high-impact marketing channels because they are both highly visited and highly targeted. In particular, many nonprofits are starting to set up profiles on social-networking sites like MySpace to keep “friends” up to date on the latest activities. These friends then invite more friends to join the group and so on, ultimately allowing the nonprofit to reach people well beyond its original circle.If you decide to launch a MySpace page for your organization, here are seven things you can do to increase your chances of success:1. On your MySpace page, ask friends to take specific actions such as “link to our Web site,” “subscribe to our e-newsletter,” “tell a friend about our current campaign,” “contact us to learn about,” and so on.2. Write blog entries and circulate your entries via your “bulletin board.” Invite friends to post comments to your blog; visit your friends’ pages and leave relevant and valuable comments; host events; and continue to add friends.3. Add videos to your MySpace pages. Images and videos have a way of motivating people to take action.4. Update your MySpace page frequently and customize it to resemble your organization’s look and feel. Be careful not to make your page appear too stuffy.5. Don’t make the mistake of staying within your own circle of like-minded organizations. When you add friends, consider reaching out to folks outside of your circle. In particular, nonprofits could reach out (via MySpace) to for-profit companies with strong social responsibility programs that can help spread the word about their causes.6. Add your MySpace URL to your email signature line, business card, and letterhead in order to encourage people to visit your MySpace page.7. Write articles about how your organization is using MySpace to advance its causes and submit them to both online and print publications. Or publish them on your Web site and ask bloggers to link to them.Social networking does require a commitment; but when done right, it has the power to get your message to people that traditional marketing efforts miss – and at a very low cost. Given this, many experts see social networking as a defining example of how emerging technologies are leveling the playing field between large corporations and modest-sized nonprofits.Now get inspired and get your organization’s message out there!Copyright: Cruz Coleman AssociatesSource: http://www.techsoup.org/learningcenter/internet/page6016.cfmlast_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

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

Tips for Including Images in HTML Emails

first_imgBased on the results of several tests we conducted, the inclusion of additional images does not increase response rates to advocacy messages or fundraising appeals, nor does it decrease them. While it may not hurt to include properly formatted images in your email message (thought it could hurt if your message gets quarantined or rejected by a potential donor or activist because it looks blank in the preview pane), it also does not appear to help at all.However, if you’ve got a great photo of a charismatic or cuddly animal, beautiful landscape, or appealing person making direct eye contact, you may want to use it – provided you take the time to format your image properly:1) Use smaller header images. Large header images may take a long time to load. They also push the text of your email message farther down the screen, forcing readers to scroll down to read your message or click on the all-important links to the action or donation page. To minimize scrolling and loading time, make sure that the first few paragraphs of your email message (and at least one link to the action or fundraising page) are visible above the fold in your HTML message.2) Always include the image dimensions and alt text. With so many email providers using image-blocking technology these days, HTML messages that don’t include the image dimensions or alternative text can leave your messages looking completely mangled. Specifying image dimensions will ensure that the appropriate amount of blank space is left in place of the image. The alt text (text that appears in place of a blocked image) will clue your readers in to what they should be seeing. However, if you use spacer images (and we don’t recommend them), do not include alt text!3) Cut back on spacer images. Image blocking makes it less attractive to use spacer images as they will manifest themselves as unnecessary little Xs in empty boxes.4) Avoid image overload. While it can be tempting to jam pack HTML messages with images and photos, the more images you include in your message the longer it will take to download. For your list members with dial-up or other slow Internet connections, this can lead to a frustratingly long wait time to read your email messages! Try to avoid sending image-laden messages and be sure to keep the file size of any images you do include to a minimum.5) Consider adding an unobtrusive “view web version” link. This link offers people an option to view the message as it was intended to look. However, keep in mind that this link does constitute another (unnecessary) barrier between your user and whatever it is you want them to do. Ideally, your message should be created so that it’s not necessary to include a link to a web version.Source: http://www.mrss.com/news/Do_Images_Help_Or_Hurt.pdflast_img read more