Small Advocacy Victories…. CELEBRATE THEM!

In working on an advocacy campaign – the basis of the campaign is a petition drive competition between different locations – an objective of mine was to contact legislators from Washington, D.C. in hopes of setting up meetings and potential site visits during their week of home office work on the first week of May.

(Which just happens to be the week leading up to the Indiana Presidential Primary.. GO VOTE!)
flickr photo by Alan Cleaver

Just like with any plan, you dream big!

I was dreaming big… we are going to get EACH legislator to come out and see ALL of our new sites, and we are going to have a TON of signatures of all of our supporters to hand them on their visit.  A HUGE ADVOCACY WIN!!

(Not that easy)

Even when contacting the legislator’s scheduler, all of the legislators already had their week full.  Okay.. okay.  Take a week off and call them to see if we can meet with staff.. right?  Still waiting on that.

BUT! I received a phone call last week.  A staff person that works in the home office of a legislator called ME?  Needless to say, I was caught off guard.

“I’d love to come out and see EVERYTHING that you want me to see! I can come out…. next Friday! I am wide open NEXT FRIDAY!”

(Catch your breath, Willie.  Think this through.  You can’t do it well if you do it next Friday.  But we need ONE visit, you can’t lose her.)

Thoughts running through my head, I was overreacting, but I was excited.  I calmed down and said – “Well I would really love for you to meet our Senior Admin team, and it would be tough to get them all together in a week.  Are there any other dates that could work?”

We mapped out a few more possibilities, I was able to ask our Senior Admin team what days would work best, and we are on our way to setting up a meeting!

Now for those who aren’t really heavy into the advocacy aspect of working at a nonprofit, I can understand why you are thinking – “Okay this isn’t that big of a deal.  It is a staffer from the home office.  This is just another thing we have to put on our plate and help plan.”

But… if advocacy is what you do at your nonprofit or company.  Take this time to celebrate! You don’t need to throw a huge cake and ice cream shindig on a Friday.  However, if you get a staffer from the home office to call YOU and want to make time to get to know your organization, then celebrate yourself.  It is easy to get bogged down in the advocacy world.  Sending numerous emails, letters and putting in phone calls with no returns or responses can be tough.

So make sure to take time and celebrate… even the small victories.

Basically… I did this…

One Week Later – 3 things I will implement from #AFPMeet

A week ago today, I was asleep.

Today, I wish I was still asleep.

Everyone could use a little more sleep, but that is a different subject.  After a week back into the swing of things, I have gotten to wrap my head around what all went down at the AFP Conference in Vancouver.

Vancouver Skyline

Reading everyone’s takeaways, things they’ve learned and lessons taught got me thinking about one point that I read – getting smacked in the face with reality, and you can’t directly implement EVERYTHING you learned.  It’s tough when you learn so many great things from a ton of different people only to arrive back in a place where it’s not IMPOSSIBLE to implement but it will take a long while to do so.

Instead of burning myself out and trying to change organizational culture in a week, I have decided to pick 3 THINGS that I would be able to implement within the year.

Here are those 3 things:

1) Put my organization on Google+.
Credit this to Marc Pittman, and his Beyond the Basics education session on the very first day!  Using Google+ to train the search engine to increase your chances at being in the top 5 search terms can be very beneficial, especially for an organization whose majority of website visits comes from search engines.

2) Create good content and ASK.
A tough thing for nonprofits is getting stories picked up by the media, having corporate parties become a fundraiser, or getting a video to go viral.  Scott Harrison from charity:water showed us ALL that by creating good content and not being afraid to put it out there and ask people to show it, we can actually see our stories in the media and out in the community. (And don’t forget about getting good at video).

3) Keep in touch.
It is SO EASY at any conference to be really excited to meet new people.  And, I touched on this in my post before going to the conference.  Keeping in touch with the people that you exchanged business cards with TAKES ACTION.  You can’t just sit back and hope the the other person will contact you.  Just because the person my be from a different part of the world, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t have the same amount of excitement to keep in touch with them as you did when you initially met them.

#AFPmeet was great.  I learned a ton that was not listed here, and maybe I will end up somewhere someday that other lessons learned will fit within that organization.  But, continually learning lessons from others who attended, wrote blog posts or have thoughts in the future is what I can do now.

What did you learn and will implement from the AFP Conference?
How will you keep in touch?
Comment below.. or tweet me – @Willie_Matis

Managing your Work, Time and Energy While Still Having a Life – Karen Osborne at #AFPMEET


And she just asked us to take out a clean sheet of paper.  What?!?

Karen Osborne, within the first 5 minutes, had everyone hooked.  Work/Life blanace is something that EVERYONE struggles with.  We all want to be successful, we all want to be there for our families, and we ALL want and know that we need to take care of OURSELVES.

I think the best way to sum up Karen’s talk is by giving her great quotes as takeaways:

“You can work 24/7/365 and never ever ever be done with everything.  And what stinks, success breeds more work.”

“We can NOT multitask” (Sorry, Karen, I am live blogging this as you are talking. Oops!)

“Your [bio]rythms matter in this”

“Open door policy does not mean that others people’s problems are more important than yours”

“Everyone should have 3-5 priority buckets (a maximum of 5)”

Online Tools – Rescue Time, iDoneThis, TallyZoo, Simpleology, HeartMath, GravityEight.

“The average worker wastes 2.5 hours a week looking for documents.”

“Do you know how to say NO?”

“Don’t OVER PROMISE and under deliver.”

“Yes. No. Yes. Yes I understand why that is important.  No, I can’t get that done right now. Yes we can definitely talk about it sometime down the road.”

“What areas of life balance are missing for you?  How important is that area to you?”

“Brainstorm and Share solutions.”

I like this last quote the best.  When you identify what your biggest problem with work/life balance is, then present that problem to a friend and have them give you as many ideas as possible to help with that problem.  Find the solution that will have the highest impact but will be the easiest to do.

“It is okay to say, ‘I need to think about that’.”

Karen’s talk was AWESOME. I feel like we, as professionals, can never get enough tips on how to manage time.  Managing your time is very important.

Have any questions about what I heard from Karen about managing your time?  Comment below or tweet at me – @Willie_Matis.

Marc Pitman at #AFPMEET – Beyond the Basics: Twitter, Facebook & Google+ Tips for Nonprofits

So my first few days here in Vancouver were spent taking in the town.  And it can be summed up in one word…


Vancouver is a great place.  If you are looking for somewhere different, then I suggest coming here to spend a good 3-4 days.  My first full day was spent searching the west part of the city.  The second day, Nathan Hand got here, and we explored the southern part.  Capped off by a SUDDEN DEATH OVERTIME win by the Vancouver Canucks!  It. Was. AWESOME!

And now it is time to learn…

Session #1 – Beyond the Basics: Twitter, Facebook & Google+ Tips for Nonprofits by Marc A. Pitman.

Everyone in the group here uses Facebook and Twitter… and a few of us are “ON” Google+.  I was weary about coming to a social media session because sometimes (and Marc said it best).. even some of the advanced social media sessions revert to a remedial session.

Marc did a fantastic job of asking US what we want out of the session.  And then he got to it…

10 Takeaways from this session

1) You will get most of your donations from email.  Email is still social media.  Email is where action actually happens.  Email raises more money than any other social media site.  Twitter raises the most money between Facebook, Twitter and G+.  With email you can put a more in depth call to action.

2) Social media is only one part of your marketing & fundraising.

3) Be consistent & Be playful.  The entire reason for having marketing & fundraising is to be recognized.  Stay consistent with your messages no matter what platform yo uare on.  But, but playful and feel free to experiment with different tone/voice.

4) A small little tidbit shared by Marc.  Do you have an ethical bribe for people to join your email lists?  Offer something of value so that people will want to sign up for your email.  It doesn’t have to be money, just offer something that people will want.  (For example, Marc will give you his slides and a book if you join his.)

5) FACEBOOK TIMELINE!!  The cover photo – make it 851 pixels by 315 pixels.  Your profile picture – 180×180.  Tab photos – 110×74.  A bonus – STATIC HTML (search for the app, do it).  Seriously… do it.

6) Encourage your staff to like your posts and comment on your posts.  Just make it be an internal email.  Don’t mandate it, but allow people to get on Facebook in a sanctioned way during the work day and simply ask them to share your recent post.  Then… sit back and watch your posts be put into more News Feeds.

7) To give a dog a pill, you have to do what? Wrap the pill in bacon.  Fundraising is the pill you are trying to give.  Social media is the bacon.

8.) Twitter lists.  Use them for your donors.  It will help yo uinteract with them online.  We need to treat our donors like people.  Not ATMs.

9) Google + is affecting your SEO.  Even if you aren’t actively using it.  Your G+ updates come up in Google searches.  And Google promotes you for certain searches.  Posting pictures on G+? THOSE show up in a Google search too.

10) – it helps dress up your Google+ page.

I can’t wait to get Marc’s slideshow from this session.  He had so many nuggets of information that will help nonprofits to better engage online.  Recognizing that social media is just part of your marketing & fundraising approach is crucial to remember.

Got any questions about Marc’s session?  Comment below or tweet at me – @Willie_Matis.  Or just ask Marc – @marcapitman.