How do you like to be thanked by organizations?

flickr photo by stickwithjosh

I recently read an article on the Event360 blog about Event Participant Retention.  Within the article they gave a good benchmark for return participants – around 30%.

While reading about building an event retention program, it made me think back to my post about the 3 reasons Twitter is the best tool for your event!  It enhances participant experience and allows them to engage throughout the year and want to come back for the same experience if not a better one than the year before.

So how do YOU want organizations to follow up with YOU after an event?

The Works

Are you looking for the works? A thank you letter, put on the eNewsletter list, thanked on a Facebook tab, and shouted out on Twitter?

Buffet Style

Or do you want the organization to have options during the event to choose how to stay connected?  Do you want address, email, Twitter handle, Facebook page as choices on a sign up sheet (all optional, none mandatory) and have the organization follow up that way?

See You Next Year

How many of you just want a quick thank you and to be left alone until next year?

Comment below, join the discussion on Facebook, or Tweet Me!

How advocacy campaigns can create a network of #millennial donors for your non-profit (reposted)

I am reposting this article because it ties in with my last post.  Tuesday’s post spoke about WHY SOCIAL MEDIA IS IMPORTANT TO YOUR ADVOCACY CAMPAIGN, but why exactly are advocacy campaigns important to your fundraising efforts?
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In July 2011, there was a great article written on fundraisingcoach.com. Written by Christina Attard (@gptekkie), the article entitled “Good news about Millennials and Fundraising” dove into great statistics and tendencies about millennial, specifically millennial donors.

Christina touched on the very important aspects of millennials to remember…

  • Millennials aren’t in the best position financially to be giving money away.
  • Millennials expect to be treated exactly like donors of past generations only through different media and outlets
  • 55% of millennials are giving already; what about recognizing the top tier of millennial donors
photo by pratanti

As a millennial, personally there is not a lot of cash to be given to ALL of the organizations that do a FANTASTIC job of serving the causes that I am passionate about.  However, there are plenty of possibilities to serve your nonprofit.

As a fundraiser, I want to make sure that potential millennial donors have a chance to connect with my organization, remember what we do, and make a positive impact.  Advocacy campaigns are built for millennials.

Here are some tips to make it easy for the technology-using, passions-flaring, and world-saving millennials to make an initial connection with your non-profit’s cause that will last forever:
  • Action alerts – whether this be asking to donate a tweet, use house party profits for your organization, or send an email to a legislator, giving millennials goals to achieve is the first step.
  • Leadership programs – create  an opportunity that encourages the millennial working for your organization or the millennial that has been volunteering since high school to lead a program that includes others from their friend network and professional connections to create awareness for your cause.
  • Volunteer/internship opportunities –  especially for college-aged millennials, the first volunteer or internship that they participate in could be the organization that they will support the most.  Knowing that you made an impact within a summer internship creates a link to that organization that is hard to break.

Advocacy campaigns are just the beginning, may not result in a lot of initial donation, but can create a group of loyal followers who WANT to make a difference.

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Millennials – what opportunities with non-profits have caused you to maintain your connection with their cause?
Fundraisers – how have you created opportunities to let young professionals make an impact on the community under your organization’s mission?

Comment below!
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Why is social media so important to advocacy campaigns?

During Hunger + Homelessness Week (follow @HandHWeek), many are advocating for causes, organizations, and programs that help the homeless and help raise awareness about the hunger situation around the globe.  Social media is a fantastic tool to help raise awareness, but why does an advocacy campaign NEED to use social media? Because when used effectively, it can gear people to advocate on behalf of your cause.

Prime example – Occupy Wall Street. They were able to stay on track this morning even after Liberty Park was cleared for a cleaning.

Here are three reasons why social media is important to your advocacy campaign:

1. Give people a how-to. With a blog, you create a central place for advocates to go for information on how to respond to current events.  You can give “how-to’s” on basically anything surrounding your campaign.  How to contact your legislator; How to write an effective advocacy email; How to use video to advocate.

flickr photo by danielmoyle

2. Immediately respond to advocate questions. If you haven’t noticed, I am a huge advocate for….. Twitter.  In this context, using Twitter for advocacy campaigns can allow you to have a forum for advocates to ask questions on how they can better advocate for your cause.  Providing them a hashtag to use for info can allow you to immediately respond to them and give them resources they can refer to in the future.

3. Give advocates ownership of the cause’s voice.  Not only does social media provide a medium for advocates to interact with the leaders of your organization, but it allows them a place to communicate with other advocates.  A great example here is on the National Movement for America’s Children site. Forums discussions are encouraged here to help shape the national strategy.

The online world has changed from a source of broadcasting information to a community space for collaboration.  In order to keep your pulse on your advocates and your movement, social media is a must have.

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How have you seen advocacy groups use social media well?
How would you like to collaborate with advocacy groups online?
Comment below.

3 Reasons Twitter is the BEST tool for your event

On Saturday,  I had the pleasure of speaking during a breakout session at the Indiana State Festivals Association‘s Fall Conference.  My very first speaking engagement gave me one BIG lesson – focus, focus, focus.

My session was on using social media to promote your event.  I spent too much time trying to explain all of the social media tools instead of focusing on the most important one –

Twitter is the most beneficial tool to use before, during, and after your event.  And, here are three reasons why:

  1. The Back Conversation

    Twitter allows attendees to chat back and forth with other attendees and contacts that they have online.  All that has to be done for the event is creating a unique, short, and recognizable hashtag.  Your hashtag will allow attendees to follow your event, network with others using the hashtag, and it also allows you to send quick info to everyone who is attending.

  2. Allows attendees to give insight to NON-attendees

    By creating buzz on Twitter, others who were not able to attend can follow and learn paraphrased points from the various events as well.  Potential attendees, those who were not able to make it this year, or attendees’ coworkers can benefit from following the event’s hashtag.  This also marks your event as beneficial and can drive attendance for the next year.

  3. Ability to Monitor

    The measure of a successful event is the degree of attendee engagement and satisfaction.  Which calls for the ability to cater to an attendee’s complaints or discomfort with any situation that may come up during the course of the event day(s).  Having a clear system of conversation also creates a vehicle to monitor when people are dissatisfied with a part of your event.  Now it is just up to YOU to take care of the problem.

Do you think that Twitter is the BEST tool for an event?  How do you use Twitter to better your event experience? Comment below!

The Social Networker: Follow-up – Why is the simple step so hard?

This blog series focuses on tools & techniques to make sure you are using your time and money efficiently when networking and job searching.  If you like what you are reading and want to get other posts, subscribe here.

Okay so you have gotten an introduction, attended an event and sought out advice.  What to do next?  Sit back and wait, right!  Everything should work now.  The ball is in their court.  Something will come sometime.  Be patient, good things will come soon.

These sayings all have their place and time, but they should never show up during networking.  If you sit back and wait, potential contacts could be passing by.  Just because you did a few things to head in the right direction doesn’t mean everything will work.  You may think the ball is in their court, but there is always SOMETHING more you can do.

FOLLOW UP!

After meeting with someone, set a date in the future to contact them and catch up.  If you had a few ideas bounced around in your meeting, share more information on those ideas with that contact.  Every now and then a quick “Hey, how have things been?” message can go a long way.

I guess my point is that there should never be a point where you get comfortable enough to not want to keep in contact with others.

So here is the last social media tool & technique to takeaway from my Social Networker series.

Social Media Tool

ALL OF THEM – Email, LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook.. use them all to keep in touch with your contacts.  You can quickly find out which outlets will get thire attention and then work from there.  The great thing about social media is that it is SOCIAL.
Key Point: If you have something to share, make sure you share it with the contacts who will be able to use it.  That will keep your value high with them.

Networking Technique

Use your calendar – Set dates and times to contact others.  Give yourself a reminder to give someone  a phone call, write another an email, or DM a close contact to see how they are doing.
My Advice: Keeping these points of contact on your calendar will keep you focused and allow you to take on the even MORE contacts you will earn being the SOCIAL NETWORKER that you are now.

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How do you plan to start networking with others?
What is your favorite part of networking?
Comment below.

The Social Networker: Ask for advice, get a job… ask for a job, get advice!

This blog series focuses on tools & techniques to make sure you are using your time and money efficiently when networking and job searching.  If you like what you are reading and want to get other posts, subscribe here.

Out of all of the things I have heard when talking to people about networking and making new contacts, this is the best golden nugget of information I have ever received.

Ask for advice, get a job…
ask for a job, get advice!

And this can be interchanged with almost anything.  But the mantra means – don’t try to shortcut!  Networking is a step by step process.  You can’t go up to the CEO of a company and say – “I need a job, hire me”.  Sure, people have done that, but I believe that is the exception to the rule.  A step by step process always introduces the thought of “time consuming” and “energy draining”, but for the time put in and the energy put out, it is always worth it.

Here is a social media tool & technique to help you become more efficient with your time and energy.

Social Media Tool

Email – An underrated tool because it isn’t always thought of as social media.  But sending an email is just as social as a tweet or a Facebook message.  An email is almost more useful when asking advice, too.  It gives you more space to express yourself, and expectations when reading an email are more laxed when it comes to how detailed the message is.  In a tweet you have 14o characters to get your point across (even in a DM).  Long Facebook messages can be overwhelming.
Key Point: Use email to your advantage, ask for advice, and take the next step.

Networking Technique

flickr photo by tj scenes

Ask questions – Asking questions is almost as underrated as sending emails.  I feel this is a big flaw of the millennial generation.  (Yes, I am calling out my generation a bit here).  We want to broadcast our accomplishments and our opinions, but we forget how important learning by asking is.  We are quick to Google instead of asking someone who may know. 
My Advice:
In networking, if you ask someone a question, it is not just a way to get answers, but also a way to show them that they are valuable to you and that they are in the forefront of your mind, so in turn you will be in the forefront of their mind.

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What are some sayings that you keep in mind when networking?
Have you ever asked for advice and gotten a job?
Comment below.

The Social Networker: Going beyond the networking event

This blog series focuses on tools & techniques to make sure you are using your time and money efficiently when networking and job searching.  If you like what you are reading and want to get other posts, subscribe here.

Everyone has been there – the happy hour networking event that feels a lot like speed dating.  Using that hour to get as many business cards into other’s hands while still expressing yourself and showing the importance of your professional accomplishments.

However, how do you make the next step? A lot of times someone says “Oh! I’ll email you later this week and set something up”.  But in all honesty, that same person has probably met as many people as you have and forgets who to contact or who not to contact and you may be lost in translation.

Here is a social media tool and technique to make sure you stick out in that person’s mind and also show that you weren’t just attending the happy hour for the two free drinks.

Social Media Tool

Twitter – I’m just going to come out and say it – “If you are networking and not on Twitter, then you are one step behind”.  Twitter is almost like an extended networking happy hour.  Lots of conversations going on, you can quickly connect with a lot of people, but the best part, you can easily follow up with someone.
Key Point: Twitter is a gateway to connect with someone further.  You can use this tool to link to your LinkedIn profile, show your personality, and express your interests both personally and professionally.

Networking Technique

Make the next step – After you make that connection with someone at a networking event, make sure to leave that conversation knowing how you are going to further that connection.  If it is an exchange of business cards, the best way is probably by an email.  Maybe you exchange Twitter handles, follow them and send them a quick ‘nice to meet you’ tweet.
My Advice: If the follow-up path is unclear, try to find a way to stay connected with that person.  Furthering any connection you make will show that you are making an effort to get to know someone, and they will appreciate that.

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What are some tips & tricks you use to make sure you follow up with recent contacts?
How do you remind yourself who is who after leaving a networking event with a handful of business cards? Comment below!

The Social Networker: Getting the Introduction

This blog series focuses on tools & techniques to make sure you are using your time and money efficiently when networking and job searching.  If you like what you are reading and want to get other posts, subscribe here.

Oh let me to introduce you to….

This may be the most important part of networking.  Getting the introduction means that someone believes it is important for you to meet someone else.  Also, they believe that YOU are important enough for another person to meet.

flickr photo by buddawiggi

That is kind of a selfish way of looking at it, but that is a hard obstacle to get over in the professional world.  In order to make the next step, you need to be confident enough to express some of your accomplishments.
(That could start me on a tangent, so back to the point).

The key to getting an introduction is making it easy for others to see what you have accomplished, what you are interested in doing with your career, and ideas that may be bouncing around in your head.

Here is a social media tool and a technique that will make you more efficient in doing all of these things.

Social Media Tool

LinkedIn – This tool gives you the space to include your resume, provide a summary of what your professional strengths are, and include interests.  The profile page should be a focal point for the social networker.  When I was networking toward the end of my senior year of college, I created my own business cards that had a link to my LinkedIn Profile and I marketed it as my resume.
Key point: A great part of LinkedIn – the degrees of separation.  When you search for other people to connect with you can see WHO can introduce you to whom.  Or, if you are researching a company, LinkedIn will show you who works there and how many degrees of separation you have between those people.

Networking Technique

Express yourself – I like to compare this to trying to increase your company’s search ranking in Google.  When someone types in “health care in Indianapolis”, I want HealthNet to show up in the top 5.
My point: If you express your interests and career goals with contacts that you have already made, that increases your ranking in their mind on who to mention your name to.
Example: Let’s say you are interested in marketing and sales. The next time one of your contacts is out talking with a professional friend who mentions they are expanding their marketing team, you want to be in the top 5 names that jump to the forefront of your contacts mind.

Expressing your accomplishments and interests to your contacts will boost your “search ranking” in their minds.

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What tips & tricks do YOU use when trying to get someone to introduce you?
Do you prefer a different social media tool to LinkedIn?
Comment below!