Govt lends support to WCB fire victims

first_imgThrough the Social Protection Ministry and the administration of Region Five (Mahaica/Berbice), Government has provided support to the West Coast Berbice family of thirteen who lost their home to fire on August 1.Social Protection Minister Amna Ally on Friday handed over mattresses, stoves, pots and pans, clothing, furniture, food items and other household necessities to the family.During her stop at Kingelley, Minister Ally extended sympathy to the victims on behalf of the Social Protection Ministry and on behalf of President David Granger. The minister also handed over the sum of $500,000 to a local lumber dealer to enable the victims to purchase building construction materials. She assured the victims that they could expect continued assistance to rebuild their home in the form of sand, stone, cement and hollow blocks.The Regional Administration of Region 5 also assisted with a number of construction materials. Regional Executive Officer Ovid Morrison disclosed that the building materials donated would help the victims substantially in their efforts to build another home.Owner of the ravaged building, Shellon Long, has said the efforts of the Social Protection Ministry and the Region Five Administration to stand with her and her family at this time have been a source of considerable relief. She said life for herself, husband and their children are returning to some normalcy.Reports are that tragedy struck Long’s family at just before midday on August 1: while most persons were enjoying their planned Emancipation Day programmes, her house was discovered to be on fire; and within minutes, the building was reduced to rubble. Eleven children, aged 17, 15, 13, 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 3 and a 1-year-old baby, are among those homeless.When this newspaper arrived on the scene, Maxwell McDonald, who shared the home with his reputed wife Shellon Long, detailed that none of the children told him what had caused the fire, but he noted that they were all confused.According to McDonald, as he returned home from work on Wednesday, he observed the thick smoke in the air. He said one of his work colleagues told him that it was his house on fire, and he quickly dismounted from the truck and ran home.McDonald said he was only told by the children that the fire had started in the back bedroom.Meanwhile, Officer in Charge of Operations at the Guyana Fire Service in Berbice, Divisional Fire Officer Clive McDonald, said the fire call was received at about 11:05h on Wednesday, and the GFS responded promptly. By the time they arrived on scene, the building was already flattened. Fire Officer McDonald told this publication that the fire was caused by children who were left unsupervised and were playing with matches.last_img read more

In The Spotlight – Ben Moylan

first_imgIn the fifth edition of In The Spotlight, Australian Men’s Open player, Ben Moylan, speaks about how he got involved in Touch Football and the biggest influences on his Touch Football career.   Name: Ben MoylanNickname: RangaAge: 21Affiliate: Penrith/Sydney MetsOccupation: GreenkeeperPosition: MiddleDebut for Australia: 2009 Youth Trans TasmanCareer highlights so far: 2009 Youth Trans Tasman, 2009 and 2010 Mixed Open Trans TasmanHow you got involved in Touch Football: I played in a school Touch tournament when I was 10 and Colm Maguire (a development officer at the time) thought I should go and play for an affiliate. He organised me to play at Penrith and have been there ever since.Favourite player: Chris BenfieldWhat does it mean to you to be representing Australia at the 2011 World Cup: It means a lot to me. It is what I have always wanted to do in my chosen sport. I am also very honoured to be able to represent our country.Biggest influence on your Touch Football career: My parents have influenced my career a lot not only financially but also morally. Without them I wouldn’t have been playing at all. Also my Penrith coach David Collins has also been there during my career and is always pushing me to do better on and off the field.Favourite sporting moment: Beating New Zealand in 2009 Mixed Open Trans Tasman in Wollongong in front of my family and friends.What do you know about Scotland: Don’t eat haggis.Any superstitions: I always put my left boot on before my right boot.Funniest Australian teammate: Nick Good or Anthony ZiadeFavourite quote: “a man that does his best has done enough”Any travel plans for after World Cup: Barcelona, London and Amsterdam.Stay tuned to the website for the upcoming editions of In The Spotlight, which will feature every Open’s player travelling to the World Cup. With only 49 days to go until the 2011 Federation of International Touch World Cup, be sure to be regularly visiting the Touch Football Australia website to keep up-to-date with all of the latest news and information. Don’t forget to become a fan of Touch Football Australia on Facebook and Twitter in the lead up to the 2011 World Cup to find out all you need to know about Australia’s World Cup campaign:http://www.facebook.com/#!/pages/Touch-Football-Australia/384949403384 www.twitter.com/touchfootyauslast_img read more

Involving Your Audience—Upstream!

first_imgGood marketers understand the values of your audience, not your own, should shape how you communicate.  So I want to call your attention to someone who is letting their audience shape their creative work, turning their web redesign into a conversation with constituents. American Rivers is truly moving audience feedback upstream as the organization rethinks americanrivers.org, nationalrivercleanup.org, and healthyrivers.org.First, check out their blog, which shows just how transparent and collaborative their redesign is.  Also take a look at their Flickr contest, where they are asking river-lovers to upload their own photos.My Network for Good colleague Stacie Mann  knows the clever guy behind this work and the blog, Chas Offutt, and asked him how goes the marketing conversation that he’s started.  Here are his responses:1) Was there any pushback within organization about being so transparent? Nothing to date, but I’m not exactly sure how many people are aware of the blog. I’ve been rolling it out on an individual basis to generate feedback, greater review before I make a larger outward push. These small steps have worked out well as I’ve made a quite a few changes over the first 5 weeks that have greatly impacted the direction of my efforts. I’ve gotten some excellent feedback from co-workers, friends, and counterparts within the online advocacy community.2) What results are you seeing with blogging?Well, I’m seeing growth in traffic, comments, and general participation (Crazy Egg’s heat map is pretty cool, which, by the way, that idea came from a visitor). And, internally, I’m getting a lot of support from folks who appreciate being involved in the process. Last month, I held a Web 2.0 Introduction that went over really well. It would be great to have del.icio.us, Flickr, and RSS on our site, but what good would it be if the staff had no idea what it means and more importantly, how it can benefit their work. I feel the blog, as well as my work within the organization, should contain an education (i.e. testing) component – hence some of the “blog bling”. The success of our efforts online will not be because of me or my team, but the organization as a whole.3) What kinds of things surprised you? Good or bad… Aside from folks actually reading it, I’ve been a little surprised with the number of paths that I’ve been able to pursue as a result of this online dialogue – I seem to be referred to some cool new thing everyday (e.g. Vizu from Katya). I know I’m not the first to experience these online changes and one reason I wanted to do start this blog was to learn more about what’s happening in my field and reach out to those who have gone, going, or thinking about going through a website redesign.  Down the road, I’d love to see everyone in the organization blogging (but not like PhilTube) about their work – that would be awesome.last_img read more

Help! My Boss Hates Marketing!

first_img“Help! My boss hates marketing!” is one of the most common comments I get from people who speak to me after my presentations. Here are some quick answers to: “How do I get my boss/board/team to value/fund/stop hating marketing?”Simply stated, you don’t. Instead, you do the following six things.1. Stop calling it marketing. Call it something else.Instead of trying to convince your boss, board or team to love marketing, try showing them what THEY care about and how you can make that happen.2. Show how your “initiative” meets their agenda. Don’t position your agenda as a marketing campaign; frame it as your initiative to support your boss’s goals, in your boss’s language. Demonstrate how you are going to help make that fundraising goal, audience behavior change or front-page newspaper story happen.3. Make it about the audience.A good way to depersonalize different visions for “marketing” is to make it about your audience’s preferences rather than a philosophical tug of war between you and said boss. A little audience research is great fodder for advancing your agenda.4. Report every wee step of progress.Every single time anything good happens, be sure the boss knows it. Identify some early, likely wins toward your boss’s goals and report victories.5. Give your boss credit and put him or her in the spotlight. When good things happen, give credit to your boss. Create a dashboard that shows progress against your boss’s goals and let your boss show that progress to the board. Your boss will like you for it. If you pitched your organization’s story in a completely new, marketing-savvy way to reporters and that yielded your boss’s photo in the paper, all the better.6. Seek forgiveness, not permission. If all else fails, just do what you want to do anyway, quietly, and tell your boss about it when something good happens.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

Sell the Issue, then Your Organization to Better Connect with Your Audience

first_imgAt least at the get go. That’s the most vital takeaway from my Cause Marketing 101 for Nonprofits workshop earlier in the year, and one that’s applicable to every communications strategy you use — at least for early passes and newer audiences.As session leaders Jay Aldous and Stevan Miller (both brilliant facilitators and cause marketing geniuses with the US Fund for UNICEF) pointed out, the immediate point of connection has to be on the issues. The issues shared by your organization and your audiences (be it a potential cause marketing partner, a prospective donor or board member, or a possible program participant), or their needs that your organization/products/services can address, are the first point of connection.Here’s a great UNICEF example, used to develop cause marketing partners for their immunization program. Immunizations don’t have emotional weight, but the right to a healthy childhood does, especially with moms. So UNICEF went after partners in the baby and child product arena (among others). Point of connection made.Once that connection is made, then jump in with your powerfully succinct summary showing (always stronger than telling) that your organization does it better — is the most effective in addressing those issues, satisfying those needs, with a concrete proof or two.Jay and Stevan, a million thank yous. Sometimes the simplest path is so hard to find.Source: http://www.gettingattention.org/my_weblog/2007/05/heres_your_poin.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.last_img read more

Four Ways to Make Your Nonprofit Newsletter a Powerful Fundraising Tool

first_imgYour nonprofit newsletter can be one of your best fundraising tools. That’s because a newsletter has a unique platform to show donors the impact of their giving — and cement the relationship. And it can do this while earning a fundraising return that rivals (or even beats) appeal letters. The key is to make sure your newsletter builds donor loyalty. Loyal donors will give more, stay with you longer, and be your best advocates.A loyalty-building newsletter requires clear, muscular writing and eye-catching design. But that isn’t enough. Apply these four principles to your newsletter — and watch your donors respond!1. It’s about your donor:The heart of a loyalty-building newsletter is showing the donor she makes a difference. That’s the central message of your newsletter. The “star” is your donor. Not you.Your audience is your donor. Your donor wants to hear one thing from you: That her giving matters. This principle should guide all your decisions about newsletter content. When you consider putting something in your newsletter, ask yourself: “Does this demonstrate to the donor that her involvement matters?” If it doesn’t, throw it out.Once you have the right material, there’s another step: Repeatedly, throughout every newsletter you publish, you should include variations of this phrase: “This is possible because you and others gave.” Never miss an opportunity to remind her of her critical role in your work.A loyalty-building newsletter is NOT about:The success and competence of the organization. It’s about the work made possible by the donor. Your successes should be framed as your donors’ accomplishments.The inner workings of the organization. Your director attended an important conference? A much-loved staff member had a baby? Resist the temptation to tell all your donors. Use the space for things more relevant to them.The accomplishments of employees, board members, corporate donors. There are more appropriate and personal ways of thanking and recognizing these key parts of your team. Your newsletter is not the place.2. You need your donor:Your newsletter doesn’t have to be an appeal for funds. In fact, it shouldn’t be. But don’t shy away from asking for gifts. Contrary to what some people in the nonprofit world think, being asked is not an annoyance or an intrusion for donors.Donors want to be wanted. From a donor’s point of view, evidence that you need her tells her that she’s significant! So when you have financial needs, be clear and bold. Ask for help. Donors will reward you by giving.3. Use the power of story:Human beings have a need for stories. Stories are a key way we assimilate knowledge. Wise leaders and thinkers throughout human history have used stories to communicate important truths. So does a loyalty-building newsletter.What is a story? It’s a dramatic account of people overcoming odds and achieving something worthwhile. It has a beginning, middle, and end. A point of view. Tension and resolution. It’s dramatic and well written.A typical newsletter story goes something like this:Something is wrong or broken.Your organization gets involved.Happy ending: Things were made right.Take away the first part, and the story collapses. It’s the beginnings of the stories that are unique. That will get readers interested, engaged, be reading — and giving gifts because they see the wonderful things that happen when they give. Any storyteller will tell you: Conflict and trouble make a story fascinating. They are also what make our happy endings more meaningful. Don’t be afraid of the pain. As long as it resolves in the end, showing that the donor made a difference, you have a powerful story.4. Use headlines to keep readers reading:It doesn’t matter how strong a story is if nobody reads it. Too many nonprofit newsletters obscure their material under bloodless, dispassionate headlines. Your headlines should take sides, have a strong point of view, advocate, shout, tease. The world’s best headline writers work for the supermarket tabloids. They understand an important truth: The headline is what pulls a reader into a story.Good newsletter headlines should have:Strong verbs. A headline should be a sentence, not a title or a label. Avoid “-ing” verbs — they can really let all the steam out of a headline.Relationships. Because human relationships are innately interesting, feature them in the headline whenever possible.Multiple elements. Kickers (above the main headline) and/or subheads (below) enrich headlines by adding quotations or other interest-generating material.If your headlines make you cringe — that’s a sign that they’re strong.Try these principles in your newsletter. You — and your donors — will be very pleased with the results.Source: Merkle Orange Papers  Copyright © 2007 Merkle Inc. All rights reservedlast_img read more

New Donor Bonding: The Amazing Value of Loyal Donors

first_imgAffirmation Letter This fully personalized affirmation letter mails to new donors as soon as their first gift is received. It’s mailed first class. There is no gift ask or reply envelope. The single purpose of the letter is to affirm the new donor and welcome them to the community of “caring people working to end hunger in our country.”Official Gift Acknowledgment/Receipt Package The America’s Second Harvest official gift receipt package contains strong donor affirmation content that focuses on the core mission to fight hunger in America. The outer envelope carries this message as does every piece inside.Note how the gift receipt reinforces the core message “Official receipt to help end hunger in America.” Even the bounce-back coupon carries this vital message.Personal Guidebook As the final step in the new donor bonding effort, this package presents a positive solution to hunger in America. The package components include:A personal guidebook packed with the history, mission, and methods of America’s Second Harvest.A lift note from former Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman.A communications preference card giving donors the opportunity to express their opinion about how they want to be communicated with, thereby giving them control and choice in their relationship with America’s Second Harvest.A gift response coupon. New donor acquisition is the life blood of your organization.In order to grow, and reap the benefit of increased revenue, you must acquire more new donors each year than you lose plus more to fuel growth. The most successful nonprofit organizations have ongoing acquisition programs that generate a steady stream of new donors.But, even the most successful acquisition programs can fail if the newly acquired donors do not continue their support beyond their first gift. That’s why new donor bonding efforts are so vitally important.This Merkle|Domain white paper shares how America’s Second Harvest dramatically improved the performance of their new donors and built incredibly strong donor loyalty. You can achieve the same results!Here are the key principles to follow as you welcome new donors to your organization.Immediately thank new donors for their first gift and affirm the excellent choice they made to support your work.New donors should receive sufficient information about your organization’s vision and accomplishments that they begin to gain a thorough understanding of how their gifts are being used.Work extremely hard to obtain a second gift from new donors as quickly as possible. New donors who give a second gift relatively soon after their first gift will continue their support at a rate two or more times greater than those who do not give again right away.The America’s Second Harvest New Donor Bonding/Welcome Program follows this timeline: $ First Gift Received $No Gift Ask Affirmation Letter mailed to new donorGift Acknowledgement/Receipt Package mailed to new donor, second gift opportunity included“How to End Hunger in America Guidebook” mailed to new donor, second gift opportunity includedThree Impacts That Helped Increase Donor Loyalty Source: Merkle Orange Papershttp://www.merkledomain.com/site/PageServer?pagename=orange_new_donorCopyright © 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

Tear It Down and Virtual Guantanamo: Two Examples of Virtual Advocacy

first_imgTwo virtual representations of Guantanamo Bay prison have been launched, one with the specific goal of encouraging the U.S. government to close the real prison and the other to encourage public discourse.   Both projects are engaging examples of virtual advocacy, with one creating a virtual representation of the detention center in the virtual world Second Life and the other, a flash-based web site that has a video game quality to it.Tearitdown.org, from by Amnesty International USA, is billed as an online movement to tear down the prison at Guantánamo Bay. Visitors to Web site can eliminate one pixel from a photo of Guantánamo by signing a pledge protesting the U.S. government’s detention center. This project is part of AIUSA’s America I Believe In campaign that seeks to restore America’s leadership on human rights and end abuses in the war on terror. All 500,000 petitions will be delivered in person to the president, encouraging the U.S. government to close the real prison.The site departs from the typical online advocacy tactic of getting people to sign a online petition with some compelling messaging and forwarding it via email to friends.  After you sign the petition, the online pledge rips a pixel from a photograph depicting hooded and handcuffed prisoners at the detention site.   The pixel is replaced with your name and is left behind.  Indeed, after I signed the petition,a pointer to the pixel with name on it.  I saw there mesmerized watching the animation and reading the other names of the petition signers (not all 47,000 of them, though) and was offered a badge to put on my social networking profile or blog.The Web site includes case studies, other actions and information about upcoming protest concerts happening around the country in the next six months.USC Institute for Media Literacy and the Seton Hall School of Law launched a “Virtual Guantanamo” to focus on public policy issues surrounding the Guantanamo Bay Detention Center.  The first discussion held about various political, legal and ethical questions surrounding the detention center focused on constitutional questions relevant to Guantanamo. The mixed-reality discussion took place in real life at Seton Hall and in the virtual world, Second Life.  Blogger Rik Riel writes about his harrowing experience as a virtual prisoner there.Source: http://beth.typepad.com/beths_blog/2007/09/tear-it-down-an.htmllast_img read more