Chad Beguelin on the Cut Songs & Camels That Paved Aladdin’s Road to B’way

first_img The writing was on the wall: our road to Tony Nominee for Best Musical just hit a major, axel-busting pothole the size of Kansas. A particularly hard thing to do is to return to the theater after you’ve just been crucified by the critics. I was standing in the alley behind the Ed Mirvish Theatre contemplating whether or not to go through the stage door. Facing the cast was going to be particularly embarrassing. I felt like a hack and a fraud and as if I had let everyone down. But I knew I had to man up and swallow my pride. I wanted to create musicals and dealing with pans was just part of the gig. I opened the stage door and walked through. Who will win Best Musical? It’s fun to speculate, but in the end, no one really knows. For me, the real award is knowing how far the show has come and getting to feel the energy of the audiences nightly at the New Amsterdam Theater. Somewhere in a dumpster behind the Ed Mirvish Theatre, you not only find discarded orchestrations, costumes and crumpled script pages. You’ll find the word “cute.” One of the hardest things about being an author is enduring that moment when the lights come up after a performance. That’s the moment when the other theatergoers turn to their friends and assess the show. The first words I heard out of the woman in front of me as she pulled on her coat were, “Well, that was cute.” True, it could have been worse. But cute was not what we were going for in the slightest. We were hoping for hilarious and sweepingly romantic and over-the-top joy. Somehow we had just delivered cute. I tried to calm the growing panic in my stomach by telling myself that perhaps the critics would be more kind. View Comments Soon everything was being examined. Whole chunks of scenes were gutted. New jokes and punch lines were tested out. Alan and I wrote a new song for Jasmine. Then rewrote it again once we hit previews on Broadway. And suddenly things actually began to work. The laughs were getting louder, the applause stronger. “Friend Like Me” stopped the show cold with standing ovations during our first three Broadway performances. I’ve never seen a cast work so hard or be so generous with their time and talent. I also learned the most valuable lesson when creating a musical: the best idea wins. Aladdin The first person I saw was our director Casey Nicholaw. He could immediately read the dread on my face and his first words were, “We are going to fix this show.” I knew the odds of turning an out-of-town flop into a hit were about as likely as harnessing a unicorn and riding it to Mars. But there was a fresh determination in Casey’s voice. We were heading back to NYC to completely dismantle the show and put it back together. The news that big changes were coming began to hum around the theater. The cast was game and ready for anything. I was still a nervous wreck, but I began to realize something very important. Sink or swim, we were in this together. Creating Aladdin seemed simple enough on paper. Take a beloved animated classic and bring it to life. Retrofit a handful of songs that were cut from the film. Add a few new characters and songs and sit back and wait to be nominated for a Best Musical Tony. What could possibly be challenging about that? In retrospect, just about all of the above. We soon zeroed in on two separate Act One numbers and one recurring storytelling device. The opening number confused our audience because it featured characters that never appeared in the movie. We solved that by having our Genie open the show. Casey completely re-staged a song called “Babkak, Omar, Aladdin, Kassim” into a big production number involving the whole town of Agrabah. And we reluctantly scrapped a recurring narration device when we realized it was unnecessary. The morning of the Tony nominations was a nail biter. Audiences were loving the show and the production had received warm reviews that completely wiped the trauma of Toronto away. But there were no guarantees. But then suddenly the announcement came that we were up for Best Musical. It was surreal to say the least. We had somehow managed to saddle a unicorn and ride it to Mars. The most important meeting was at producer Tom Schumacher’s apartment. It was Tom, Casey and myself discussing the show over breakfast. What wasn’t working and how do we fix it? Related Shows They weren’t. About the author: After penning the book and lyrics for The Wedding Singer, lyrics for Elf, and the book for Disney’s On the Record, you’d think that writing a catchy, crowd-pleasing musical would be a breeze for Aladdin scribe Chad Beguelin. But as he reveals in his First Person feature for, the Great White Way can be a bumpy ride, even for a four-time Tony nominee. While most writers leave a few scenes on the cutting room floor, Aladdin went through a major transformation from its out-of-town tryout in Toronto, Canada, to its Broadway premiere at the New Amsterdam Theatre. Read below to find out how the stage adaptation of Aladdin, starring Adam Jacobs, Courtney Reed and James Monroe Iglehart, went from a “cute” evening at the theater to a magical, Tony-nominated fan favorite. Things started out benignly enough. We began our out of town performances this past winter in Toronto. It was a particularly brutal winter, the kind of arctic freeze that seems somehow angry and personal. The night of our first preview, it was only slightly warmer inside the theater. Instead of huge laughs we were getting polite titters. Instead of standing ovations we were getting what can only be described as a group “golf clap.” from $57.50last_img read more

Cricket News Virat Kohli achieves this monumental CENTURY as Indian captain after Antigua Test win

first_img New Delhi: Virat Kohli’s Indian cricket team continued their domination over the West Indies as they registered a 318-run win in the first Test at North Sound, Antigua. Ajinkya Rahane was the star with 81 and 102 while Ishant Sharma and Jasprit Bumrah picked up five wickets apiece to give India their best win in terms of runs overseas. Virat Kohli had a modest match, scoring 9 and 51 but as captain, he achieved a monumental feat after winning the match. This was Kohli’s 100th win across all formats as captain and it continued his upward trend ever since he was appointed full-time during the Sri Lanka series in 2015.It was India’s biggest overseas Test win in terns of runs. Overall, this is India’s fourth biggest victory. Four of the five biggest Test wins for India in terms of runs have come under Kohli’s captaincy. This was Kohli’s 27th win as Test captain and 12th overseas, surpassing Sourav Ganguly on the overseas wins but levelling with MS Dhoni for overall wins. In addition to 27 Test wins, Kohli has won 58 matches as skipper in ODIs followed by 15 in Twenty20 Internationals. Kohli is the third Indian skipper to achieve 100 wins as skipper overall behind MS Dhoni and Mohammad Azharuddin. Dhoni has the most wins with 178 followed by Azharuddin with 104. Ricky Ponting of Australia has the most wins and the best success rate among all captains in contemporary history. Ponting has 220 wins combined in all formats and he is the only player to have registered over 200 wins in cricket as captain. Overall, Kohli is the 12th skipper to have registered 100 wins as a skipper in all formats combined. Apart from Kohli, Dhoni, Ponting and Azharuddin, the other skippers who have won 100 or more matches are New Zealand’s Stephen Fleming, South Africa’s Graeme Smith, Australia’s Allan Border, Sri Lanka’s Arjuna Ranatunga, South Africa’s Hansie Cronje, Mahela Jayawardene, West Indies’s Clive Lloyd and Australia’s Steve Waugh. highlights For all the Latest Sports News News, Cricket News News, Download News Nation Android and iOS Mobile Apps.center_img Only 12 captains have won 100 matches combined as skipper across formats.Ricky Ponting leads the list with 220 wins.MS Dhoni is second on the list with 178 wins.last_img read more

Inspiring tomorrow’s active citizens

first_imgWith the new school year under way, Brand South Africa and the Department of Basic Education are inspiring learners to work hard and achieve excellence in academics and extramural activities.Play Your Part ambassador and marketing specialist, Sindi Mqutheni, challenged learners to achieve their goals for this year. (Images: Brand South Africa)Phindi MadunaToday Brand South Africa collaborated with the Department of Basic Education to kick-start the beginning of the new school year at Ratanda Primary School in the Sedibeng East District of Gauteng.The beginning of each year brings possibilities and opportunities to endeavour to achieve new goals. It is in this spirit that the Department of Basic Education and Brand South Africa wanted to inspire learners to play their part in the development of their future and that of their communities by not only staying in school but also striving for excellence in their academics, sports and extramural activities.In order to the attain this, learners need the support from and cooperation of their guardians, educators and members of their communities, said Ms Mabaso, Foundation Phase Head of Department.Toni Gumede, Brand South Africa’s stakeholder relationship manager, future active citizens will know their responsibility to their communities and country.Ms Mabaso addressed some guardians and many new and returning learners of Ratanda Primary School at the school’s first assembly for 2018. Ms Mabaso emphasised the importance of guardians being involved in their children’s school life and helping them manage the different aspects of it.She urged guardians to ask educators and community members for help and ensure that their children are punctual for school, up to date with their homework assignments, and dressed smartly.The most important thing, she concluded, is that learners, guardians, educators and community members work together.Play Your Part ambassador, Ms Sindi Mqutheni was the keynote speaker who motivated learners who were excitedly waiting to start the beginning of the academic year.She challenged the learners to write down the goals that they hope to achieve this year, develop a plan of action on how they are going to reach those goals and stick to it. In that way, she imparted the importance of the characteristics of ambition, hard work and discipline on the part of learners.This is the role that learners are encouraged to play in developing themselves, their communities and the country.“Brand South Africa believes that by making children aware of their roles and responsibilities to themselves, their communities and their country, we are contributing to their upbringing as future active citizens,” added Ms Toni Gumede, Stakeholder Relationship Manager at Brand South Africa.last_img read more

Orthopedic services

first_imgDefinitionOrthopedics, or orthopedic services, is the medical specialty that involves the treatment of the musculoskeletal system, which is made up of your body?s bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles.InformationAny number of medical problems can affect the bones, joints, ligaments, tendons, and muscles.Bone problems may include:Bone deformitiesBone infectionsBone problems may include:Bone tumorsFracturesNeed for amputationNonunions and malunionsSpinal deformitiesJoint problems may include:ArthritisBursitisDislocationJoint painJoint swellingLigament tearsCommon orthopedic-related diagnoses based on body part:Ankle and foot:BunionsFasciitisFoot and ankle deformitiesFracturesHammer toeHeel painHeel spursJoint pain and arthritisSprainsTarsal tunnel syndromeSesamoiditisHand and wristFracturesJoint painArthritisTendon or ligament injuryCarpal tunnel syndromeGanglion cystRheumatoid arthritisTendinitisShoulderArthritisBursitisDislocationFrozen shoulder (adhesive capsulitis)Impingement syndromeLoose or foreign bodiesRotator cuff tearRotator cuff tendinitisSeparationTorn labrumSLAP tearsKnee:Cartilage and meniscus injuriesDislocation of the kneecap (patella)Ligament sprains or tears (anterior cruciate, posterior cruciate, medial collateral and lateral collateral ligament tears)Loose or foreign bodiesOsgood-Schlatter diseasePainTendinitisElbow:ArthritisBursitisDislocation or separationLigament sprains or tearsLoose or foreign bodiesPainTennis or golfers elbow (epicondylitis or tendinitis)Elbow stiffness or contracturesSpine:Herniated (slipped) discInfection of the spineInjury to the spineScoliosisSpinal stenosisSpinal tumorFracturesSpinal cord injuriesSERVICES AND TREATMENTSImaging procedures can help diagnose or even treat many orthopedic conditions. Your health care provider may order:Arthrograms (joint x-ray)Bone scansComputed tomography (CT) scanDiscographyMagnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scanX-raysSometimes, treatment involves injections of medicine into the painful area. This may involve:Corticosteroid injections into joints, tendons and ligaments, and around the spineHyaluronic acid injection to help relieve arthritis painSurgical procedures used in the treatment of orthopedics include:advertisementAmputationArthroscopic surgeriesBunionectomy and hammer toe repairCartilage repair or resurfacing proceduresCartilage surgery to kneeFracture careJoint replacement (arthroplasty)Ligament reconstructionsRepair of torn ligaments and tendonsSpine surgery, including diskectomy, foraminotomy, laminectomy, and spinal fusionNewer orthopedic services procedures include minimally invasive surgery techniques, advanced external fixation, and the use of bone graft substitutes and bone-fusing protein.WHO IS INVOLVEDOrthopedic care often involves a team approach. Your team may include a doctor as well as a non-doctor specialist such as a physical therapist, as well as others.Orthopedic surgeons receive 5 or more extra years of training in the care of disorders of the bones, muscles, tendons, ligaments.Physical medicine and rehabilitation doctors have 4 or more extra years of training in this type of care after they graduated from medical school. They are also referred to as physiatrists. They do not perform surgery although they can give joint injections.Sports medicine physicians are doctors with experience in sports medicine who have a primary specialty in family practice, internal medicine, emergency medicine, pediatrics, or physical medicine and rehabilitation. Most have 1-2 years of additional training in sports medicine through subspecialty programs in sports medicine. Sports medicine is a special branch of orthopedics designed to provide complete medical care to active people of all ages.Other doctors that may be a part of the orthopedics team include:NeurologistsPain specialistsPrimary care doctorsPsychiatristsNon-doctor health professionals that may be a part of the orthopedics team include:Athletic trainersCounselorsNurse practitionersPhysical therapistsPhysician assistantsPsychologistsSocial workersVocational workersReferences Canale ST, Beaty JH, eds. Campbells Operative Orthopaedics. 11th ed. Philadelphia,Pa: Mosby Elsevier; 2007.Silverstein JA, Moeller JL, Hutchinson MR. Common issues in orthopedics. In: Rakel RE, ed. Textbook of Family Medicine. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2011:chap 30.Musculoskeletal disorders.In:Frontera, WR, Silver JK, Rizzo TD Jr, eds. Essentials of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation. 2nd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2008: chap 1 – 88.Review Date:3/1/2012Reviewed By:Linda J. Vorvick, MD, Medical Director and Director of Didactic Curriculum, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, Department of Family Medicine, UW Medicine, School of Medicine, University of Washington. C. Benjamin Ma, MD, Assistant Professor, Chief, Sports Medicine and Shoulder Service, UCSF Department of Orthopaedic Surgery. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.last_img read more

Change the World by Working in a Virtual One: Interview with Evonne Heyning

first_imgHow does your organization use Second Life?Amoration is a nonprofit studio developing ManorMeta, a futuristic TV/DVD series and interactive online network for families around the globe. ManorMeta’s growing architecture has quickly taken over our free time. ManorMeta premiered in early 2006 and quickly became a destination for world-changers and innovators in design, education, sustainability, artificial intelligence, and the arts. Our goal has been to produce a family media series built on a very fantastic new technological age.ManorTV is kid-friendly edutainment now in early production. Our virtual home has six foster kids, three adults, numerous animal and computer-generated characters, and is filled with music, humor, and technological magic. (Think: next-generation “Sesame Street.”)Amoration, our 501(c)3 organization, has produced media and developed new concepts for programming in the virtual world since December 2005. We have provided support on nonprofit projects such as Camp Darfur, producing crossover print and video machinima from our builds to compliment real world awareness events. The ZeroOne art show (a festival of art and digital culture that took place in San Jose, California in August 2006) increased demand for our rare designs and we opened two ManorMeta Mineral Matrix education shops to build a growing business in the virtual world.Why did you decide to do something in Second Life? After a fun job interview in the virtual world in the Summer of 2005 and encouragement from Sue Stonebender and friends from the Omidyar Network (a mission-based investment group committed to fostering individual self-empowerment on a global scale), I gave Second Life a test run in January of 2006. With the pilot for the ManorMeta series nearly finished, we needed a dynamic, collaborative building space that would help us develop our ideas on interactivity in real and virtual spaces. Second Life became a tremendous tool for set and character development and storyboarding – now, story ideas emerge from our Second dramas! We’ve successfully turned our early-adopter audience into active participants by starting our process in the virtual world.How was the project planned? What expertise was needed? We have had mostly positive results in presentations with potential partners, Amoration Advisors, and volunteers. The world is intriguing enough to gather interest, but few find they have enough juice and bandwidth to sign up for Second Life and join us in the virtual world on a regular basis. Those who meet us there and play often get very involved in like-minded projects! Some who cannot join us in Second Life still spread the meme through the Web; we provide them with a natural spotlight space with links and interactive content at no cost.Our first development award came from a key Linden partner so we did not worry that our investment in the platform would be considered wasteful. We found our virtual world meeting enhanced our work with Omidyar Network and other leaders from many different disciplines. We host some advisor meetings in-world (in Second Life) as a way to stay connected and integrated with our virtual space.The learning curve has been steep and it has taken us every bit of nine months to learn building, scripting, event hosting, and media production in-world. We have tried to do this without investing extra money into Second Life; instead of hiring scriptwriters and machinima producers, we learned how to do it ourselves.How did the project unfold? What were some of the challenges? What worked well? As a development platform, Second Life is an excellent tool. It works well for archiving drawings, ideas, storyboards, and movement directions. Of course, if you write about hackers and digital access, you’re bound to get hacked and “griefed” (the Second Life term for virtual harassment). As a networking device, it is clever and very sticky; it has tremendous potential as our computers and bandwidth catch up with the technology. Some of our primary mentors and advisors are unable to run Second Life smoothly on their primary work computers due to software and hardware restrictions, so we are not yet able to integrate them with our virtual-development process.How much time and money did you spend? To date we have spent less than $20 in Second Life. Our goal is to keep this project as sustainable as possible while providing financial stipends for the volunteer artists who have been working on this project for the last year. Amoration is a young 501(c)3 sponsored by the International Humanities Center; our staff has been working as volunteers for our arts education endeavors since 2004. We have approximately two dozen AMO Advisors who have given time and talent to help this project grow.How did you explain the project to organizational leaders or constituents? As an independent studio, we hold true to our organizational mission. We seek partners and projects that enhance a better world vision and we have made many new friends through the ManorMeta experiments.What are the benefits to your organization? The largest benefit to our organization is the interactivity, feedback, collaboration, and creative capital that we have exchanged in fun and captivating ways. There is so much potential as we build and bridge these new frontiers for kids around the world.What advice would you give to other nonprofits who might be interested? Write to us now at [email protected] We have found many tremendous pieces in this puzzle and we’d like to hear how you think they should fit together. If you have helpful leads for product and production partners for AMO Studio, please drop a line or introduce yourself in-world to In Kenzo, Common Cure, or any avatar from the ManorMeta group. We’ve been meeting tons of actors, stunt leads, musicians, and other talent and our team for this project is growing every week. We consider this to be a family and we invite people who want to create a culture of conscious compassion to tell us what you love to do.Copyright: CompuMentorSource: read more

Kiva in Second Life: Interview With Official SL Volunteers, a micro-finance organization, has funded nearly 17,0000 loans to entrepreneurs in developing countries and last week crossed the $11 million rank. has already had a very big year, funding about $9 million worth of loans so far, and having been featured in the mainstream media including the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Oprah and on ABC News.  With the assistance of dedicated volunteers, Kiva also maintains a presence on different social networking sites and has recently established a presence on Second Life through the Techsoup Nonprofits Commons Project.I discovered this when I clicked on Skeeboo Tammas’s profile while chatting with him in Second Life.   His profile said.Do good at! For $25, you can help fund a small loan to someone in need in a developing country. Kiva is not a charity. You get repaid and e-mail updates as the business succeeds! From there you can withdraw your funds or lend it back out. You can also donate Lindens to one of our Fundraisers, or drop it into the donation box at our virtual office here on Second Life. Click on the Picks tab above to teleport there! For more information about this amazing social lending network, visit Kiva.orgThat’s only one method they use to help educate Second Life users about Kiva’s work.Skeeboo Tammas (or Joe Alamo in real life), a volunteer who also runs, Kiva’s MySpace page, their profile and created the browser bar.  that the staff does not have time to manage.Julles Boucher or (Julia Bailey, PhD) serves as’s Second Life Coordinator on a volunteer basis.   She entered Second Life because of her relationship with, but has purchased land and operates a shop called Garb the World.  She is scientist in real life and a self-described philanthropist who has invested $5,000 plus in   She is interested in technology and is an owner of an Internet-based business.I sat down with to learn more about their efforts on Kiva’s behalf in the virtual world.What is doing in SL?Expanding marketing and awareness. We had an office a while back that someone donated but it disappeared, so we got a booth at 1st Life Aid, a few other places and we are just starting to set up a presence with the Nonprofit Commons Project. We think it is a good idea to be located with other nonprofits.Why do you think Second Life  is important for nonprofits – particularly fundraising?Second Life is a good way to disseminate information.  There is a large audience and it has been very helpful for other volunteers to work on projects in here.  For example, one morning I worked from my home in California with Joe in NY and a volunteer in Belgium in setting up an information booth. We also had help from the preson who runs the booth and who is in South Africa.  It’s exciting to meet other people in world who care about and work together.What are your goals for having a presence in SL with an office?Exposing the Kiva organization to new people in this interesting digital world and raising money to fund loans.  The strategy is kind of loose at the moment for us as we feel our way around this world.  We’ve set up a booth and got 15 loans (at $25 each), but donations really started pouring in when wwe got the first Life Aid booth.  Mostly we’re attending events and doing virtual guerrilla marketing.  There is another group that has raised $300 USD for Kikiva on Second Life and we also work with them. Given your experience with managing’s presence in other social networking sites like myspace, how do virtual worlds compare in terms of the ROI?Second Life is 3-D and very interesting in things can be done in terms of virtual marketing. It can go beyond a standard web page and we’re taking advantage of that.  I think it’s been very good. Kiva has had it’s biggest year ever and our digital marketing has had a big role in that. Maybe not as big as Oprah, but still …What advice would you give to nonprofits just starting off in second life?Start a team to figure things out, invite your volunteers/donors to help and empower them as the Official Second Life volunteer, look for gamers who are already familiar with these virtual worlds.  Attend lots of meetings and talk to people and ask questions and get help.  There are lots of people in Second Life who want to help and there are many users here hanging out who would love to volunteer for a non-profit.Source: read more

Media Habits of 12-24 Year-Olds vs. 25-54 Year-Olds — Key to Shaping Your Nonprofit Marketing Agenda

first_imgCare GREATLY about sources of news and information onlineNurture your brand — it’s vital for these folks Like mobile for voice (and a few for data) but do not see their world on mobile phonesI think this is going to change very soon, pay close attention to this factor Source: the AuthorNancy E. Schwartz helps nonprofits succeed through effective marketing and communications. As President of Nancy Schwartz & Company (, 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”, ( and read her blog at 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. For first time willing (2005) to pay for digital content-never beforeInventory your information assets and think about options for distribution Will never own a land-line phoneWill not watch television on someone else’s schedule much longer, and much less interested in TVTV ads won’t work, unless they’re part of the show (how about cause placement?) Use IM. Think email is for their parentsLife of a 25-54Still read offline newspapers and magazinesCast your op-eds to this group, boomers and seniors Little interest in the source of information and most information aggregatedEverything will move to mobileMore than advocacy and fundraising alerts, and make it interactive please Aggregate information online and use RSS (though few know the term)Community important for tasks, much less so for socializingTrust experts on factual information but rely heavily on reviews of peers on hotels, electronics, etcStart to use social networking with these folks, they’re on the path of increased reliance on audience-generated content I recently read the 2007 Digital Future Report from the USC Annenberg School’s Center for the Digital Future, and am still digesting. Take some time to dig into the summary of findings that’ll help you shape your communications choices to today’s (and tomorrow’s) digital habits.Here’s are some crucial takes on habits of those 12 to 24–juxtaposed with those of audiences 25 to 54–and how they’ll impact your nonprofit marketing:Audiences 12-24Will never read a newspaper but attracted to some magazinesSo op-eds don’t reach them, at least in print Heavy into email Trust unknown peers more than experts/community at the center of Internet experience/want to be heard (user generated)Stop ignoring social networkinglast_img read more

Online Fundraising Tactics – What Works?

first_imgMatch.58 percent$59 Standalone.31 percent$55 When it comes to online fundraising, there is no “one size fits all” magic formula to inspire list members to give. However, some tactics do work better than others.In an attempt to find out which strategies work best and when, we reviewed more than 180 fundraising appeals sent out over the course of the 2006 calendar year by nine prominent national non-profit organizations (see Study Participants for a full list). We explored everything from “double your money” matching gift opportunities to deadline-driven campaigns to goal-oriented asks. For the purposes of our analysis, we grouped the appeals we reviewed into one or more of the following four tactic categories:Multiple Appeal Series. Messages sent as part of a cohesive, multiple appeal campaign over the course of three weeks were compared to stand alone appeals that were not part of a larger series.Deadline-Driven. Stand alone or multiple appeal series that used a deadline to drive giving were compared to those without a deadline.Matching Gift. Stand alone or multiple appeal fundraising series that included a matching gift offer were compared to those without a matching gift element.Dollar Goal. Stand alone or multiple appeal series that focused on reaching a monetary goal were compared to those that did not make use of a dollar goal.However, many of the messages we reviewed fell into more than one of these categories — for example, a three-appeal matching gift series with a deadline of June 2nd and a goal of raising $25,000 would fall into all four categories. Because there are substantial variations in response rate, average gift, etc., among the organizations, we chose to evaluate these four tactics within each organization rather than compare the messages to each other. This led to a fairly small sample size, making it harder to draw definitive conclusions; however, our results did trend toward statistical significance in three of the four tactic categories.Multiple Appeal SeriesPerhaps the most striking finding was the difference between multiple appeal series (a fundraising campaign made up of two or more appeals) and single or “stand-alone” fundraising appeals. We found that the multiple fundraising appeal series tended to outperform one-time appeals, resulting in both a higher response rate and a higher average gift. Deadline Versus No Deadline Average Response RateAverage Gift Karen Matheson is the Manager of Quantitative Research and Analysis for M+R Strategic Services.Eve Fox is a vice president of the eCampaigns division of M+R Strategic Services.Copyright © 2007 M+R Strategic Services. All Rights Reserved. Series1.32 percent$99 No Match.34 percent$39 For more information on study methodology and statistical significance of results, please see Study Methodology, below. Multi-Appeal Versus Standalonecenter_img No Deadline$60 Matching GiftsDespite the fact that our small sample size prevents us from drawing any firm conclusions, the results of the analysis did trend towards significance. It appears that the idea of making a donation that will be doubled by another donor (or group of donors) is motivational to many online donors. A matching gift campaign also provides the perfect rationale to introduce a deadline and to send out multiple appeals, both good ways to boost returns. Matching Gift Versus No Matching Gift Average Response RateAverage Gift Dollar GoalsUnfortunately, the jury is still out on the effectiveness of including a dollar goal in a fundraising appeal. The results of our analysis were not large enough (again, possibly because of the small sample size) to be considered statistically significant. However, setting a dollar goal for a fundraising campaign does provide a solid rationale for setting a deadline to reach the goal and for sending multiple appeals leading up to the deadline — both tactics which are likely to increase response rates overall.ConclusionNo matter what your current fundraising strategies or goals are, we recommend that you continue to test different messaging hooks and tactics to find out which ones work best for your audience. A carefully crafted multiple appeal series could be used in conjunction with standalone messages, and might just increase your response rates and overall donations. Deadlines, matching gifts, and dollar goals are creative (and often effective) ways of raising money and engaging your email list members. Every organization has unique and specific needs, but the strategies described above are a useful place to start testing new approaches.Study ParticipantsDonorsChooseLeague of Conservation VotersNational Parks Conservation AssociationOxfam AmericaPlanned Parenthood Federation of AmericaPhil Angelides’ Campaign for Governor of CaliforniaPublic CampaignSave Darfur CoalitionThe Wilderness SocietyStudy MethodologyWe reviewed more than 180 fundraising appeals sent out by the nine national nonprofit organizations listed above between January and December of 2006. We examined appeals in four categories: appeal versus series, deadline-driven versus no deadline, matching gift versus no match, and dollar goal versus no goal. As explained above, every fundraising appeal was categorized by whether it was a member of each appeal category; this allowed for messages to belong to none of these categories or all of these categories.Because differences among the organizations’ message tone and donor databases were difficult to control for, we compared messages by fundraising tactic within organizations. One downside to using this “paired samples” data was that it kept our sample size small, which reduced our ability to generalize the results to all organizations.Given that the sample size was so small, it is encouraging to see some statistically significant (at the .05 level) results in the data we presented. Our results did trend toward statistical significance in three of the four tactics investigated. “Statistical significance” means that the differences we found within the paired samples were unlikely to be the result of chance variations. For more information about statistical significance, check see Statsoft’s article Elementary Concepts in Statistics.About the Authors: Deadline-Driven Appeals and SeriesThe results of our analysis showed that appeals and series that included a deadline by which gifts must be made tended to be more effective than open-ended appeals without specific deadlines. Although the difference between average gifts was significant, the difference between the response rates was not statistically significant (so we have not included it here).Although further analysis (ideally with a larger sample size) is warranted, it appears that deadlines, whether tiered to some real-life event or introduced without explanation, do tend to boost the returns on a fundraising appeal or campaign. Deadline$93 Average Giftlast_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

The No-Neck View of the World: Network for Good Heeds its Own Advice

first_imgHave you ever noticed how very young kids’ drawings usually don’t feature a person’s neck? Have you wondered why?My theory is that if you’re two or three years old and your perspective is pretty low to the ground, you don’t see people’s necks when you look up. You see a head sitting on arms.I can’t think of a better analogy for marketing. Marketing mandates that we look at the world through the eyes of our audience and communicate from that perspective. It can be hard to tear ourselves away from the comfort of our long-necked world view, but we must.Believe me; I know how difficult it is firsthand. I forgot the very marketing principles I tout all the time. The brilliant folks out at ASU (namely a brilliant person by the name of Gregory Neidert) pointed out that I had been violating all my own marketing principles on Network for Good’s web site. Where was the audience perspective? Wouldn’t people who come to the site want it to know if it was safe or reliable? Wouldn’t they want to know if other people trusted the site? And why wasn’t the “search for your favorite charity”-the reason most people come to our site-the most prominent thing on the page? Well, because I forgot to do as I say.Here is the way our site was, and how it is now. Since we started working completely from the audience perspective, conversion is up 30%. If you haven’t read it, get this book from those ASU folks.last_img read more