#AFPMeet: That’s THIS week?

I found out back in NOVEMBER that I was going to be able to attend this year’s Association for Fundraising Professionals (AFP) International Conference.  So I have had to keep reminding myself that – YES, WILLIE! It’s this week.  It feels like time has flown this year, and I am super excited to be headed to Vancouver for the conference.

I really want to take a quick second to express my gratitude to my AFP chapter, the Indiana chapter, for choosing me for the Chamberlain scholarship!  If it wasn’t for the scholarship, then I would DEFINITELY not be going to this year’s conference.  I plan on making the most out of this trip and hope to learn MORE than I can teach (which I don’t think will be very hard haha).  Everyone on the review committee, again, I want to thank you for giving me this opportunity.

In an effort to make the most out of this trip, I put together 3 goals for the trip up to Vancouver:

1) See Vancouver

Vancouver Island
flickr photo by justinjfj

This goal just scratches the very surface, but sometimes I try to dig TOO DEEP for goals.  It is easy to get caught up in all of the sessions, events and more that go on at a conference (hey that is the entire reason you go right?), but I want to make sure I experience the city.  I may not ever have another reason to come to Vancouver.

2) Meet 5 new people

Don’t get me wrong… I am going to meet A LOT of new people!  I am already meeting a ton just by following the #afpmeet hashtag.  So, the reason I say “five” is because I want to meet 5 new people that I will be able to stay in contact with beyond the conference.  It is easy to go through a conference, meet a bunch of people, swap contact info and never take the next step.  I want to actually take that next step with at least 5 great fundraisers that I meet this weekend.  (if you want to meetup at the conference, shoot me a tweet – @Willie_Matis).

3) Grow as a fundraiser

Okay, so this is a goal that every attendee has (duh, Willie, if you didn’t want to grow as a fundraiser, then why would you go to the conference).  Let me explain.. this goal has goals within it.  When I think of my interests as a fundraiser, I think about cause marketing and online fundraising.  When I think of my strengths as a fundraiser, I think about being able to make new contacts via social media and not being afraid to ask someone to have a meeting.  When I think of my weaknesses as a fundraiser, I think of my lack of experience in sending direct mail pieces and lack of experience in developing donor relationships to ask for major gifts.

So – growth as a fundraiser – that means 1) learning about best practices in cause marketing and online fundraising; 2) meeting people who are BETTER at social media and networking than myself; and 3) attending the sessions regarding annual fund programs, making the ask, and donor cultivation.

I think that I just mapped out my time in Vancouver.

If you have kept reading this to the end, then I am glad you were interested in my goals or hope they helped you to find YOUR goals for #afpmeet.

If you are still reading and want to meet for some coffee or a drink before/between/after any sessions, then shoot me a tweet.  Even if your tweet just says – “Hey @Willie_Matis! Let’s meet up at #afpmeet“.. I’ll do it. (You could be one of the five people haha).

And, now….. if you are STILL reading, then you may want to subscribe to my blog.  I am going to be live blogging throughout the entire conference with lessons learned, things that confuse me, and points that I feel like the speaker got wrong.  I may even develop a Canadian blog accent!

HAPPY #AFPMEET!!

 

The 3 Best Things about #Slacktivism

Last week, Stacy McCoy and I had a pretty intense debate about slacktivism. I like slacktivism. Stacy doesn’t.  You can read and catch up real quick if you want!

(Thanks for coming back!)

Since that debate happened, I have been reading other articles about how others feel about slacktivism. You can read a few here, here, here and here.  Hey! Even NTEN had a webinar on how to move your activists from online to offline!

Slacktivism is a hot topic now because of Kony 2012 (which if you don’t know about the #Kony2012 campaign, then you probably aren’t reading this post right now either).  So to further support my point on why I LIKE slacktivism, here are the 3 best things about slacktivism – form other people’s words –

1. You can reach a lot more people, faster, through viral campaigns.

2. Slacktivism is totally fine, if you look at it as the first rung of the engagement ladder.

3. Exposing more people to something new and giving them opportunities to act.

Duane on the Ladder
flickr photo by thisreidwrites

The point I want to stress most is making sure that slacktivism is your cause’s or organization’s FIRST rung of engagement.  If you are satisfied with a video that has gone viral then you are kidding yourself.  You are allowed to be pleased, but you should not be satisfied until you get a few of your slacktivist to turn into activists.

As organizations begin to ramp up their social media efforts, slacktivism should be looked at as a GOOD thing.  And in my head, I look at it using simple math…..

Without social media —
[CAUSE] + [FLYERS/POSTERS/BROCHURES/BILLBOARDS] =
[X AMOUNT OF ACITIVISTS ENGAGED]

With social media —
[CAUSE] + [FLYERS/POSTERS/BROCHURES/BILLBOARDS] + [TWEETS/RETWEETS/SHARES/BLOG POSTS/PICTURES] =
[A LOT MORE THAN X AMOUNT OF ACITIVISTS ENGAGED]

More awareness spread = Greater possibility of reaching the activists that will actually ENGAGE!

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What do you think?

Am I warming you up to slacktivism?
Or, do you still think those 3 points are just not worth the effort?

#Slacktivism: Is it vandalizing real activism?

Stacy McCoy and I had a great conversation via  Twitter about slacktivism the other day, so we felt a blog debate was  the best way to try and settle it. Be sure to head over and check out her post here – http://mymusingmind.wordpress.com/ – after reading mine, of course!
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Slacker.

Activism.

Slacktivism.

Facebook button count is wrong, use RealShare
flickr photo by birgerking

Wikipedia says– “The word is usually considered a pejorative term that describes “feel-good” measures, in support of an issue or social cause, that have little or no practical effect other than to make the person doing it feel satisfaction”.

Urban Dictionary says – “The act of participating in obviously pointless activities as an expedient alternative to actually expending effort to fix a problem.”

Mashable says – “So called ‘slacktivists’ take easy, social actions in support of a cause – signing a petition, liking a Facebook Page or putting a pink ribbon on their avatar.” (Well the author was Katya Andreson)

From March 6th to the 8th, we saw a lot of this – #Kony2012, #stopkony, Make Kony Famous, Invisible Children. (Heck, we are still seeing a lot of it) The Kony 2012 video that aired on Vimeo and YouTube has over 100 million views and counting! There were more posts on Facebook on March 6th, 7th, and 8th about Kony and Invisble Children than the new iPad announcement (Nice post @notothequo).  Oprah tweeted about it (and seem kind of annoyed that people didn’t know that she already supported Invisible Children).

Everybody who's tweeting me about #LRA I've helped. Gave Major dollars had Invisible Children on my show 2x. showing #STOPKONY Mar 18 #OWN
@Oprah
Oprah Winfrey

The call-to-action of Invisible Children’s video about Kony 2012 is to raise awareness about what Joseph Kony is doing to children in Uganda to put the pressure on the American government to keep advisers in Uganda to help the army there capture Kony. And, it sparked A LOT of conversation on the twittersphere and other social media sites.

The conversation had arguments from both sides of the coin.  Those supporting Invisible Children‘s efforts and those who have pointed out mistakes and misleading facts in the video.

These are two of the better posts I have read in opposition to the Kony 2012 video:

Solving War Crimes with Wristbands: The Arrogance of ‘Kony 2012’
Kony 2012: Causing more harm than good

And you can read Invisible Children’s director respond to these critiques on the Today Show’s website:

Maker of ‘Kony 2012’ video deflects critics, urges action

One thing that has stuck with me throughout the entire thing, though, is the word “SLACKTIVISM”.  One word, and I can’t get over it.  Since the first time I saw it, I know that it has had a negative connotation.  Just read the definitions above, again. But then read Katya’s post on Mashable.

I LIKE SLACKTIVISM.

Yes, personally, I like slacktivism.  People are now doing more research on Invisible Children, Joseph Kony and Tri.  People who may just be on Twitter to follow celebrities now know about Kony and Invisible Children.  People who keep their Facebook private and use it only to connect with close friends know about children in Uganda and other African nations who are being kidnapped and forced to be in an army.  All because of clicks, shares and retweets.

This knowledge may only be “profile picture” deep, but in this new world of technology, having your cause heard once is a start.  Then, that person may hear it again.  That person may overhear two other people talking about the cause at a coffee shop.  Next thing you know, the wheels are spinning.  “What is this Kony 2012?” “Who are Invisible Children?” “I need to figure this out”.

I like slacktivism.  It gets people talking.  When people talk, they project.  They project through Facebook & Twitter.  When people start hearing about these things in other places, they research.  Through slacktivism, you just got millions of people to be awareWhich, in my opinion, increases your chances of increasing the number of people who act.

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I DISAGREE, WILLIE! I TOTALLY DISAGREE! Hey readers, check out why I disagree with Willie” – Stacy McCoy. Read her post here and join the conversation.  You can leave a comment or tweet either of us – @Willie_Matis & @StacyMccoy.
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Do you think slacktivism is good?
Do you think it is vandalizing real activism and offline activists’ work?
Join the conversation! Tweet me.

Creating Advocacy from Scratch: Inviting Guests

Alright, alright.  You are cooking up MORE than just instant rice. You have all of your advocates lined up, aimed in the right direction….. now what?

You need to have some guests over for dinner!

Glasses on a Table
flickr photo by design-gate

In advocacy, it can be very intimidating when trying to reach out to guests.  Whether they are legislators or staffers, one big mental road block is that those in control of our government are smarter, more powerful and intimidating human beings.

Get past that road block.  There are some dumb, lacking control and weak legislators out there.  [Okay, I am not attacking legislators here, sorry.. just had to look for opposites to my previous sentence.] But seriously, as an advocate, you should look at legislators as co-workers.  You need to be in constant contact with them, emailing staffers on the regular, cultivating relationships, and extending invitations to dinner parties!

Being able to invite guests to your advocacy efforts is VERY important.  And here are three instances where they MUST be invited:
  1. Touring your facility or services | Constantly
    Whenever your legislators are home from Washington, D.C., or local legislators are on recess see if they wanna come check out your newest building, success story or program! Any excuse you can come up withfor them to come out, meet your staff and experience the good work your organization is doing is worth the invitation. 
  2. Meeting at their office | After your petition or letter drive
    If you just held a petition drive to garner support for your cause, then you need to set up an appointment to meet with a staffer at the very least.  Being able to hand them a stack of signatures with names and zip codes – muy importante – can physically show them how many potential voters support your cause and how many potential votersthey will upset if they do anything to oppose your cause. 
  3. Have them speak | During your community event
    If you are having trouble getting a legislator to tour your building or see your program, then team up with another local group to hold a community event.  Invite your congressman to speak.  They will be able to be in front of potential voters, and it will give you an “in” to talk to them about the work you do.

The more, the merrier. Invite guests to dinner, and you will surely have a good time.  Invite legislators to your advocacy efforts and you will surely have success in sending your message.

What are some effective ways that YOU have invited guests over for dinner?