Building Buy-In for the Value of Risk

“You can start effecting small changes along the way and then leadership will notice. If you are in a place where it’s just about the bottom line, well, you can start changing the culture and the culture will help shift the bottom line, too.” — Will Dennis, St. Joe’s Prep

Will Dennis wants people in leadership positions to come from a place of “yes.” With a background in theater and improvisation, Will, manager of the Prep Fund at St. Joseph’s Preparatory School, knows the notion of “yes” and taking a risk on an idea is paramount — and often pays off. He believes in the value of conversation in determining what drives people’s participation with an organization and creating a real relationship. For those who want their organization to start taking more risks, he gives listeners who want start making a difference a two-part challenge and shares advice on how change starts from anywhere. He and Beth explore:

  • How companies can use the techniques of improv
  • Why failure doesn’t always mean what you think it means
  • How to create genuine relationships in a time when communication is done over email
  • How can you start to learn to think about risks?
  • Ways you can help create an environment where risk is supported and encouraged
  • Why calling someone by name can make a difference in a conversation

Resources:

Email Will at WilliamJDennis@gmail.com or at WDennis@SJPrep.org

Follow Will on Twitter at @WilliamJDennis

St. Joe’s Prep website

Revisit Session 153 with Anika Rahman

 

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Working Wikipedia as a Content Outlet and SEO Strategy

“We just look for ways to share broadly and when you start talking about how are you going to share beyond Philadelphia, you have to do it digitally.” — Shelley Wilks Geehr, Chemical Heritage Foundation

This week, Beth is back with the team from Chemical Heritage Foundation. This time, she talks with Shelley Wilks Geehr, director of the Roy Eddleman Institute, about the roles of social media and digital content for the museum. Shelley explores the various media assets of the organization, from its quarterly print (yes, print!) magazine to a podcast to weekly Twitter takeovers. She also explains the role of Wikipedia in their organization and how it has helped attract attention to the museum. They talk about:

  • What is the role of a Wikipedian?
  • How to make Wikipedia an invaluable resource
  • The benefits of having social media-focused projects like Twitter takeovers and Wiki salons
  • How the museum decides what content they create
  • How CHF’s Wikipedia page has drawn more visitors to their website
  • Why was working with a Wikipedian more worthwhile than investing in an SEO consultant?

Resources:

Chemical Heritage Foundation website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Email Shelley: ShelleyG@chemheritage.org

The Roy Eddleman Institute for Interpretation and Education

CHF’s Wikipedia page

The Lantern Theater

Conversations on Chemistry by Jane Marcet

The Fairy-Land of Science by Arabella Buckley

 

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Creating a Bigger Impact Through Collaboration

“We are surrounded by historic content and historic sites and so it makes perfect sense to me that we would seek out partners who are also working on issues of the historic preservation.” — Elisabeth Berry Drago, Chemical Heritage Foundation

When you start a new project — like a new exhibit at a museum — you might look at what other organizations are doing, and that can be a good thing. This session is all about collaboration — both internally and externally — as Elisabeth Berry Drago and Rebecca Ortenberg from the Chemical Heritage Foundation join in to talk about how the museum worked with other organizations as it developed its newest exhibit. They discuss how they worked to personalize the exhibit for museum-goers and how they looked to other organizations for help in creating that experience. They talk about the new Things Falls Apart exhibit and how they strive to create a personal connection with both visitors and the wider community. They explore:

  • How to ask other organizations for help or advice
  • Why an emotional connection is just as important as a personalized one
  • How the museum seeks to connect with a wide audience
  • Ways you can learn from other organizations or institutions
  • How to work with other departments within your organization on a project
  • Why it’s OK that one project won’t connect with everyone

Resources:

Chemical Heritage Foundation website, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram

Things Fall Apart exhibit and walking tour

Email Elisabeth: eberrydrago@chemheritage.org

Email Rebecca: rortenberg@chemheritage.org

Eastern State Penitentiary

National Park Service

Drexel University’s Fox Historic Costume Collection

Detour guided walking tours

 

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Become a Champion

You want people to participate in your work. Donate, attend events, enroll, join — whatever it is you need to thrive.

Participation, however, is not just an external thing. Who you are on the inside reflects what happens on the outside. The most successful, thriving organizations have gotten where they are because they’ve rallied around a clear, impactful, shared vision.

NOT by chasing “buy-in.”

Because if you’re chasing buy-in, that means that the vision you’re promoting isn’t SHARED.

If you want to catapult your organization to the next level, the most important role you can play is to become a champion by helping your team create this vision.

And by “team” we mean leadership, staff, donors, students, volunteers … which brings us to fear. It feels risky to let your community have a say in who you are. It can be terrifying to tell your leadership they need to think differently. But it is only when there is cohesive excitement that you build a foundation for growth.

When this is working people report it as getting “buy-in,” but it really requires more than that. We call it “becoming a champion.” Buy-in sounds like someone was convinced that another person’s idea is worth doing. Champions are all-in supporters who inspire others.

When organization leaders invite participation into and among their team members to create a shared vision, their championship becomes a culture of championship.

And it’s so much easier to attract people who want to invest in a shared future.

Becoming a champion is just one of the shifts in thinking it takes to build a participation-centered brand and skyrocket success.

 

If you’re ready now to become your organization’s champion and advance a shared vision, we’re here to help!

In October we’ll be running a new session of our Build Your Brand Course. The program will include weekly Mastermind sessions to ask questions and get feedback on your work. To get a feel for what the experience is like, we are running a free Mastermind-style session, Skyrocket Branding Mastermind in September. This will help us get feedback and give you a taste of what you’ll get out of the course.

 

 

Creating Emotional Traction

“I have always defined a brand as a relationship and that means it’s inherently an emotional kind of connection…” — Cynthia Round

It’s easy to think of branding as something superficial. But at its core, a brand is really just a relationship, as Cynthia Round explains on this week’s session. A brand creates an inherently emotional connection that inspires loyalty and ongoing action. Why does your audience connect with your organization? Asking qualitative questions that seek to answer how people identify with a brand helped Cynthia in her work at organizations like United Way Worldwide and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She uses past experience to illustrate the importance of identifying the audience that understands you and knows why they connect with an organization. She and Beth explore:

  • Why brands may be more important for nonprofits than for-profits
  • How a brand becomes more than an image or perception
  • How to study what underlies the passion and the loyalty of your most loyal users
  • And what kind of questions should you be asking your loyal users in order to understand your ideal audience?
  • How to get people thinking about what is different about your organization that sets it apart and creates an emotional connection  
  • What is what Cynthia calls “the burning question”?

Resources:

Find Cynthia on Twitter and LinkedIn

The Met’s website

Procter & Gamble website

United Way Worldwide website

Interbrand brand consultancy

“An Emotional Connection Matters More than Customer Satisfaction” from Harvard Business Review

 

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Fueling Exceptional New Member Experiences

“There’s super huge danger in treating your new members like every other member. If you just send them the same old message that everyone else gets, they’re likely to ignore it because they don’t understand how it applies to them and when they ignore early on, it really starts that practice of ignoring.” — Amanda Kaiser, Smooth the Path

Amanda Kaiser, qualitative member researcher with Smooth the Path, has done more than 300 interviews with members of associations to understand their worries, challenges, problems and experiences with the association to determine why they engage or don’t engage. In doing so, she’s learned a few lessons and tips that she shares in this week’s session. She explains why the new member process is upside down. Early experiences with your association — whether it’s the first webinar, the first interaction with a staff person or the first conference they went to — leave a longer lasting impression on new members than you might think. She and Beth explore:

  • How this information applies beyond associations
  • The difference between features, benefits and value
  • How to use Amanda’s 3-3-3 model of engagement
  • Practicing imaginative empathy to help shape a new member’s experience
  • Different tests for engagement based on stories Amanda has heard
  • Why the emails you send new members matter

Resources:

Smooth the Path website

Fueling Exceptional New Member Experiences: Strategies for Member Onboarding, Engagement, and Retention e-book

Revisit episode 37 with Amanda: Rebranding Starts with Understanding your Community

 

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Avoiding the Spam Filter

“Just like you have a reputation in your life, every time someone clicks that spam button, your reputation goes down a little bit. The lower reputation you have, the less likely your emails are to show up in someone’s inbox.” — Spencer Brooks

Are you struggling to reach your audience through email? Spencer Brooks from Brooks Digital joins in this week to talk about how your emails can be of value to your subscribers. He talks about what it takes to get your emails into people’s inboxes and how to avoid the spam filter. For those dealing with low click-rates and high unsubscribe rates, he provides tips on how to clean up your list so that you are getting the best results that you can. He and Beth explore:

  • How to combine social media and email so that they work together
  • The best way to target emails so they are about the receiver and not all about you
  • How to increase sendability and get your emails into more inboxes
  • What is the best way to send out bulk emails?
  • What to do about all of those unsubscribes

Resources:

Spencer’s Website

Email Spencer: Spencer@Brooks.Digital

Find Spencer on Twitter @SpencerBrooks

 

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Lead like a Champion

“Leadership doesn’t mean you’re just the best at something. It actually means that you bring together the best people, that they look to you to bring them together and unite them around a common vision and mission.” — Anika Rahman

Anika Rahman has worked with such organizations as Rainforest Alliance, the Ms. Foundation, and the United Nations Population Fund. She joins this session to talk about the different facets of one of her favorite topics: leadership. Anika explores areas of leadership from how it is different for men and women to how leaders should deal with failure. Failure, she says, in some sense means that you’ve been pushing yourself to your limits and there are opportunities to learn from it. She talks about the true role of a leader when it comes to creating inspiration and — most importantly — trust. She and Beth explore:

  • What are the differences between a vision and a mission
  • How a leader can build trust
  • What makes something a movement?
  • Why women in leadership roles may often deal with “imposter syndrome” more than men
  • What does “leadership” actually mean?
  • What changes occur in an organization when the leader is truly championing ideas?

Resources:

Anika’s website

Find Anika on LinkedIn and Twitter

Revisit Adrien Segar’s episode

The Rainforest Alliance

The Ms. Foundation for Women

United Nations Population Fund

Center for Reproductive Rights

 

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The Myth About Member Benefits, and What it Means for Your Organization

The magnificent manifesto—and what it can do for you!

Do you remember the American Express ads declaring “Membership has its privileges?”

Admit it. There are days when you wish that was all you had to say to get your existing members to renew and new members to join, right?

American Express smartly adopted the idea of ‘membership” to claim the value and specialness of being their customer. It’s clear you don’t have to literally be a membership organization to capitalize on the idea. Either way — it takes work to win loyalty, cut through today’s information overload and build up your brand to the point where people are aspiring to be part of it.

But most of us already realize that. The problem is most of us don’t know we’re going about “the work” of winning member loyalty all wrong.

 

The Myth: Sell your benefits!

Often, the things you call “benefits” are actually thinly masked “features.”

It’s not about what you do, have, or sell (features), people care about the outcome they receive by participating (benefit).

For example, if you are a hospital, you might want to promote the quality of your doctors or the cutting-edge technologies you use. Those are both features, and adding “you have access to…” does not turn it into a benefit.

Same goes for organizations that offer things like certifications. You may think that is a benefit, but it’s not. No one lays awake at night thinking “what I really need is a great webinar…”

They want the result of that webinar, certification, program, treatment, or experience to advance their career, regain their health, improve their lives or whatever value that brought them to your organization.

Instead of showcasing your features, demonstrate the ultimate, personal value your members get from them. That’s a benefit.

Put yourself in your members’ shoes. Find out what they want. Show them how they can get what they need from you.

 

Buying into Yourself as a Leader

“It’s not about the organization. It’s about the lives they’re changing and I think when a leader can stay really focused on that and keep everybody else focused on that, I think that’s another sign of good leadership.” — Sandy Rees, Get Fully Funded

What makes a good leader? Sandy Rees from Get Fully Funded jumps in this week to talk about getting into the mindset of being a good leader — especially if you don’t see yourself as one at first. Leaders set the tone of the organization, and Sandy gives tips about how to buy into yourself as a leader. For those starting a new nonprofit, she talks about the importance of finding staff and volunteers who believe in the organization’s mission as much as you do and are willing to put in the time and talent to get the organization off the ground. She talks about mistakes people make with volunteers, how to build participation within a new organization, and more. She and Beth explore:

  • Why your nonprofit is like your child
  • The leader’s role of focusing on the lives the organization is changing, not the money the organization needs
  • What Sandy sees as signs of good leadership
  • What makes other staff or board members feel the need to step in to lead
  • How a leader can effectively communicate the organization’s mission to others

Resources:

Sandy’s website

Get Fully Funded on Facebook

 

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