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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Communication Starts with Trust

“They won’t trust that the information that we’re providing is useful to them if they don’t see themselves in it, and that’s the attitude that we’ve always taken about our English language, but we really only thought about it through the lens of the issue that we’re focusing on, which is breast cancer.” — Janine Guglielmino, Living Beyond Breast Cancer

Breast cancer. Cáncer de mama. Cancer du sein. This week on Driving Participation, Beth is joined by Janine Guglielmino from Living Beyond Breast Cancer (LBBC) and  Myriam Siftar, President/CEO of MTM LinguaSoft, a language services company that creates compelling and culturally relevant multilingual content to reach audiences across languages and cultures. They talk about a recent project they completed in which LBBC materials about stage 4 breast cancer were translated into five other languages to better serve their audience and those who needed the information most. They created brochures as tools for health care professionals to be able to have some of those types of conversations with their patients. Guglielmino notes that this allows people to see themselves represented, which builds trust. They explore:

  • Creating and following communication and branding guidelines
  • How they are getting the message out about this project in different ways
  • Why a neutral message is not feasible
  • The difference between a regular translation project and doing a cultural assessment
  • How visuals and colors translate to other languages in ways you would not expect
  • How they conveyed this project in a way that made funders value it as something to fund

Resources:

Living Beyond Breast Cancer website

Living Beyond Breast Cancer Twitter

Janine’s Twitter

Email Janine: janine@lbbc.org

Myriam’s Twitter

Myriam’s LinkedIn

Tips for Healthcare Communication with Asian-American Audiences

5 Tips for Healthcare Marketing to Hispanic Audiences

Why do you need pre-translation cultural consulting?

 

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The Magnificent Manifesto—And What It Can Do For You!

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

Last month, FilmRise studio released a new indie film featuring two-time Academy Award winner Cate Blanchett—Manifesto.

Have you seen it? We haven’t either.

That’s because in May, we were busy helping the Delaware Art Alliance create their own manifesto.

 

Why write a manifesto for a nonprofit?

Because if you can’t inspire your members to care about your work, you’ll flounder.

It will show up in members reporting that they give because it’s their civic duty or because their parents did — not because they feel inspired and valued.

In retention rates that meet the “norm” of 47% but have you struggling to hang on to half of all the people you bring in.

In days where you stare at a blank page wondering what to write.

In redesigning your logo or invitations to build awareness when that’s not the root of the problem.

A manifesto is valuable resource in the branding toolkit that builds the bridge between mission and vision. It helps you share “why” your work matters as opposed to “what” and “how”.

 

What is a manifesto?

First to dust off some of that high school social studies vocabulary, a manifesto is a written public declaration of what you believe or what you intend to do.

Throughout history, manifestos have been used to rally support for different movements and political groups—from the America’s Declaration of Independence to the Communist Manifesto.

A nonprofit manifesto takes your mission, vision, and values—which are really written for your internal audience to guide your strategy and decision-making—and frames them in a way that rallies your audience members and calls them to action.

 

A manifesto helps you rally your true team.

To rally your people, you need to really know who they are. You need to know who you are. And you need to connect with the goals you share.

But here’s the catch. If you want to be branded, you have to be willing to be perfect for some at the expense of being totally wrong for others. When you do that, you’re going to lose some people along the way.

And that’s not just ok, it’s great. Believe it or not, a smaller, deeply engaged audience typically generates more revenue than a large disconnected one.

 

Get started.

So how do you go about writing a manifesto to fire up your staff and supporters?

The format we like to use prompts “why” thinking with completing the phrases: “We value,” “We believe,” and “We are committed to.” Then closes with an action statement: “We invite you to…”

Last month we facilitated a workshop with the Delaware Arts Alliance to guide a group of staff, members, media and government through a manifesto exercise. The participants challenged assumptions and each other to reveal the things that were critically important to them. They made some tough—but very strategic—decisions that we’re certain will pay dividends in a strong, thriving organization! We’re excited for them as they refine their role and put a stake in the sand.

If your organization is feeling stuck or scattered, we can help. Let’s talk about getting your brand into focus or creating your own manifesto.

Give us a call at 267-468-7949 or drop us a line at info@iriscreative.com!

The Post-Donation Experience

“The number one step to establishing a fabulous post-gift communication with your donor is a warm and fuzzy ‘thank you’ that expresses joy and celebration on the part of the donor’s gift.” — Gail Perry, Fired-Up Fundraising

So a donor made a gift… Now what? Gail Perry from Fired-Up Fundraising joins in to talk about the post-donation experience. What kind of communication should you use for this donor? What should your message be? How do you invite the donor in and build an emotional connection? Gail answers these questions and more. She discusses different communications strategies, how to put the “fun” in fundraising events, why nonprofits shouldn’t be afraid of email and the benefits of a print newsletter. She explains why a “thank you” card to a donor can go a long way — as long as it’s done correctly. She and Beth explore:

  • Gail’s five steps to close a major gift
  • What should your goal be when you’re communicating with donors?
  • Why communication preferences matter
  • Why you shouldn’t be afraid to email more
  • What Gail recommends as a post-gift experience
  • How you can create an effective print newsletter

Resources:

Fired-Up Fundraising and Gail’s website

Email Gail at GP@GailPerry.com

Making Money with Donor Newsletters by Tom Ahern on Amazon

The Agitator blog

Session 143: Think Small: Experiments in Personalization with the Drexel Fund team

Session 133: Developing Your Audience Focus with Jeff Miles

 

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Creating a Culture of Collaboration

“That’s what collaboration is really all about: it’s not about just working together and sharing office space. It’s having a relationship with an individual or one organization having a relationship with another organization.” — Hardy Smith

Create collaboration with consultant and speaker Hardy Smith as he joins in to share the best way to create not just a relationship, but a true collaboration. Real collaboration between people — or even between organizations — comes with many benefits. It helps vent out the issues at the root of a challenge and helps vent out the opportunities for creating solutions, he says. He shares where organizations go wrong with collaboration and the one element that makes a key difference. He and Beth explore:

  • The differences between internal and external collaboration
  • What are some of the keys for a successful long-term relationship?
  • The contrast between simply working together and collaborating
  • Why disagreements are sometimes a good thing
  • Creating a culture of leadership buy-in
  • Why the need to collaborate is probably greater now than ever before

Resources:

Hardy’s website

Email Hardy: Hardy@HardySmith.com

Find Hardy on Twitter @HardySmith1

Read his Boardsource blogs

Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration by Ed Catmull on Amazon

Association of Fundraising Professionals

DP 112 with Greg Koch from Zoo Miami: Adapting Your Message to Your Audience

 

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April’s Slam Dunk and What It Can Teach Us.

April's Slam Dunk and What It Can Teach Us

Here at Iris Creative, last month could be summed up in one word: April.

No, we don’t mean the page of the calendar we were on. We’re talking about April THE GIRAFFE. And like many of her fans around the world, we obsessively followed her for weeks.

In case you missed it, on April 15 Animal Adventure Park in upstate New York hosted a live broadcast of their giraffe April giving birth to her calf for over 1 million YouTube viewers.

To date, their 39-minute YouTube archive clip has well over 14 million views. Fourteen million!

April even has her own official website—www.aprilthegiraffe.com. Folks contacting Animal Adventure Park with inquiries about giraffes are directed to a dedicated email address. And the Giraffe Cam even scored a sponsorship from none other than Toys“R”Us. (Remember their mascot Geoffrey?)

Needless to say, the event was a slam-dunk for a seasonal park in a county of just over 200,000 inhabitants.

From sharing slews of facts about giraffes and their conservation with millions of people to selling giraffe emojis, Animal Adventure Park orchestrated the awareness-building phenomenon many organizations dream of.

Or did they?

 

Building Awareness vs. Tapping Your Audience

Build awareness. It’s what everyone wants to do. But activities bent solely on building awareness can be costly—not only from a financial standpoint, but from a messaging standpoint as well.

Often, awareness-building initiatives result in a diluted message as you attempt to be everything to everyone in order to reach a broader audience. It’s so much harder to create a connection and differentiate yourself that way.

We’d much rather see organizations get a bigger bang for their buck—by creating a laser-focused connection with their ideal audience.

As it turns out, April’s Giraffe Cam didn’t start out with a vast audience in mind either—just her usual fans. And look where that focus got her!

Read on for our key takeaways from April’s blockbuster stream:

 

1. Listen to your audience.

According to a report by KENS5 Eyewitness News, the Giraffe Cam initiative started because the park—which is closed to visitors during the off-season—had been receiving inquiries about the status of April’s pregnancy from regular-season visitors.

The park listened.

They came up with the Giraffe Cam to keep interested folks informed.

And things snowballed from there.

 

2. Building momentum takes time.

The Giraffe Cam went live weeks before April’s calf was born, mostly, it seems, because the park simply didn’t know exactly when the big moment would arrive. Her tentative due date was mid-February.

The lead-up gave April’s viewership time to gain momentum—and secure a sponsor with appropriate tie-ins. The park even set up a text alert system so obsessed fans like us could get the latest updates.

(The Toys“R”Us logo switched to Babies“R”Us when the calf made his appearance. Talk about message alignment!)

None of this would have happened if they simply went live five minutes before the birth.

 

3. Follow up after an event. Invite participation. And add a little suspense!

After the live birth the morning of April 15th, the screen didn’t just go black. In addition to watching footage of the baby giraffe, people waited in suspense for the big gender reveal later that day. (Spoiler alert: It’s a boy!)

The park also encouraged fans—for a fee —to participate in two rounds of voting to help staff name the calf.

And you guessed it. They made an event of the name reveal, too. We’ll let you discover that one for yourself.

 

Do you see an opportunity to connect with your audience? Run with it!

Need some help getting off the ground? From engaging audiences to making the most of your events, creating connections is what we do best.

Give us a call at 267-468-7949 or drop us a line at info@iriscreative.com!

(Live streams not included.)

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